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Posts tagged ‘Garden Festival Site’

New Museum is empty, Liverpool Map goes on display, work begins on Liverpool’s Garden Festival site

Photo of side of the New Museum of Liverpool based at Pier Head Liverpool.

New Museum Liverpool, by pixiepic, via Flickr

The keys were handed over to National Museums Liverpool from the developers last week, and now the pristine Museum of Liverpool is preparing for the installation of its exhibits ahead of the 2011 opening. The Liverpool Echo has a great slideshow of the museum, including the main entrance, the giant picture window, and the central spiral staircase.

You can also sponsor part of the Jura stone cladding, or one of the seats in the auditorium. Just pop over to www.liverpool for more information.

I’m looking forward to seeing it when it opens!

Liverpool Map to go on display

Speaking of the museum, a new fused glass map which will take pride of place in the galleries when MoL opens next year is to go on display at the Daily Post’s offices in the city centre. There’s a blog on the Daily Post web site to keep you up to date with progress with the map.

Now if only they’d do an electronic version I could stick on my site!

Work begins on the International Garden Festival site.

After 26 years, work is finally to start on the site of the 1984 Garden Festival. The Oriental gardens will be restored, lakes dredged and undergrowth cleared. Plenty of people in the Liverpool Echo article are ‘delighted’ at the ‘milestone’. 600 homes were built straight after the Festival, and Pleasure Island gave many a young schoolkid a fun Bank Holiday in the 1990s, but developers Langtree hope that this latest phase of building will create a worthy leisure facility for Merseyside and kick-start the collapsed apartment project from 2008.

The Mersey and its Banks – Regeneration

Liverpool Garden Festival by MC =), from Flickr

Liverpool Garden Festival by MC =), from Flickr

Two stories come together this week which conjure up memories of Liverpool in the 1980s (limited memories for me personally, as I was two when the Garden Festival was on!).

The Garden Festival site is finally beginning the last segment of its journey of regeneration. The company Langtree are the developers, who hope to begin work in November with the site being completed in a year. The ¬£250 million redevelopment will include restoration of many of the gardens, and the building of homes. The BBC story seems to suggest that the site has been derelict for the 25 years since the Festival, which I would suggest cruelly overlooks Pleasure Island, scene of many an exciting Bank Holiday in the mid-1990s. ūüėČ

The related story is that Lord Heseltine gave a speech yesterday to a conference celebrating 25 years of the Mersey Basin campaign, an effort to clean up the River Mersey. Lord Heseltine warned against resting on our laurels. The river is cleaner now than it has been since the Industrial Revolution, but this should be “the platform to leap forward, not the opportunity to congratulate ourselves on a job completed.”

Those who know their recent Liverpool history will be aware that Lord Heseltine was the initial force behind the 1984 Garden Festival, although the then ‘Minister for Merseyside’ was often criticised for ignoring the deeper problems of Liverpool, and settling for this rather ‘cosmetic’ and temporary fix. However, it has been pointed out that the festival raised the spirits of the region, and showed what a co-ordinated effort with the Merseyside Development Corporation could produce.

Of related interest is the fact that Otterspool Promenade on which the festival site stands was created from the dumping of household waste and debris from the Queensway tunnels from the 1930s, a process which clearly had some detrimental impact on the river, and meant that the natural features of Otterspool and Dingle Point were lost beneath the concrete which later capped the promenade.

It also goes to show that even recent history is constantly impacting on the landscape, shaping the city we live in! Feel free to share your Festival memories, or your views on the site in general!

Note: The photo above is from a collection of photos of the derelict Garden Festival site by MC =) on Flickr. This is a great collection of photos, though tinged with a slight spookiness and desolation. Plus an abandoned typewriter. It’s full of Creative Commons goodness too, so have a look!

Liverpool sites get £3.3m funding, listed building to be auctioned, and history going missing

Update: The BBC has reported that the Main Bridewell was sold at auction for ¬£450,000 to a developer. Though the article mentions that ‘In 2004 developers discussed turning the building into a luxury hotel’, I will be waiting with bated breath to see what they actually do.

One of those days when several interesting stories come along at once!

Lowlands, the Grade II listed merchants villa in Hayman’s Green, West Derby has just reopened following¬† a ¬£1.2m restoration project. The villa was designed and constructed by Thomas Haigh (architect also of¬† Marks & Spencer’s building in Church Street) and was owned and occupied by a succession of wealthy merchants and¬† financiers. Vast areas of West Derby were occupied by similar men in the Victorian and Edwardian periods. The Inland Revenue occupied the buildings following war damage to the India Buildings on Dale Street in Liverpool city centre. Since 1957 it has been owned by¬† the West Derby Community Association, and in the 1960s was a centre for the emerging Merseybeat scene, witnessing performances by the Quarrymen, Herman’s Hermits and Billy J. Kramer in the basement Pillar¬† Club or the main hall upstairs. This history places it on similar ground to the Cashbar, the more¬† famous club and coffee house just along the road at number 8.

The Garden Festival site is a place filled with memories for generations of families who all descended on it over the space of five months in 1984 (I distinctly remember the Postman Pat exhibit being centre of my attention). After lying derelict for many years (with the exception of Pleasure Island which occupied the site in the 1990s) ¬£2.1m has been released to allow the redevelopment of the site to¬† commence. The North West Development Agency have put up the cash which will see a project to restore¬† the Japanese and Chinese gardens and pagodas, as well as the streams, lakes and woodland which cover¬† the site, which will become another green area for the people of Liverpool. Owners Langtree maintain¬† their ambitions to build 1300 homes on the site, a plan which was approved after a public enquiry last¬† year. A further ¬£1.6m is being sought from the North West European Regional Development Fund. No real¬† mention of Pleasure Island on the news sites though…

The Main Bridewell on Cheapside, just of Dale Street is going for auction and is expected to fetch up¬† to ¬£500,000. It’s proximity to the magistrates court on Dale Street means it was used to house¬† defendants before trial, and was originally built in 1866 to hold petty criminals. The building closed¬† in 1999.

for more information on why the Bridewell was so named, see the question on the Bridewell.

Finally, in a mysterious and disturbing story, original Victorian features are going missing from the  area of Kensington in west Liverpool. Cobbles, cast-iron railings and original street signs are  disappearing from the streets around Edinburgh and Leopold Roads, but no one (residents or the Council)  seem to know who is pulling up these features. Rumour has it that the items (including stone setts  taken from ships which used them as ballast on voyages from Turkey) are being sold on the black market.  Areas removed are being replaced with tarmac. Anyone with information is being asked to contact the  council.