Museum paid £750,000 for historic view, and visitor numbers up on 2007
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First some museum news: the Echo is reporting that National Museums Liverpool had to pay landowners Downing £750,000 as the new Museum of Liverpool building broke a covenant drawn up in 1963.
The covenant dictated that no building be constructed within 40 feet of the River Mersey, and any building here would not be more than 40 feet tall. This was to maintain the lines of sight between the Port of Liverpool building and offices at the Albert Dock. This document was signed in 1963 when the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board sold the land the museum now stands on to Liverpool Corporation.
It seems that NML’s David Fleming chose to pay the money upfront before Dowling were tempted into suing for a predicted £70,000.
Visitor numbers up for Liverpool museums
Better publicity for NML comes in the form of visitor numbers to all the museums on Merseyside, which rose to 2.2m in 2009 from just over 2m in 2007.
Of course, 2008 was going to take some beating, so it’s good to know that the trend from the last ‘normal’ year is a positive one. You can only imagine that with the new museum next year, visitor numbers will increase again.
More details and figures for the individual museums are available on the Art in Liverpool blog.
Lewis’s lives on – for a little while longer
Now that Lewis’s has announced it’s closing down, memories turn to its ‘golden years’ in the last century.
A new exhibition by photographer Stephen King is being shown at the Conservation Centre, focussing on the fabled ‘Fifth Floor’. This is where the old cafe was, along with the biggest hair salon in the world. It’s also home to an amazing range of (now) retro design – bright colours in the post-WWII era, yellow walls, orange ceilings and blue chairs, and egg-shaped hair-dryers and 1950s lino floors.
Photographs also include portraits of Lewis’s employees past and present, to breathe some life into the eerie space.
The exhibition runs from 26th February until 30th August. You can follow the exhibition on the Lewis’s Fifth Floor blog.
Abbey Road studios finally listed
You may be aware of the current saga of Abbey Road studios in London; its future uncertain while rumours flew that it would be sold off by owners EMI.
Well, the Culture Minister Margaret Hodge has announced that she would be taking on board English Heritage’s recommendations, and would be listing the Georgian townhouse which contains the studios.
English Heritage first proposed that the building be listed in 2003, but had been ignored until this great publicity opportunity fell at the minister’s feet. Even EH had originally been reluctant to recommend listing, but current listing criteria include ‘historic’ as well as ‘architectural’ significance. And Abbey Road certainly has that.