This week we get an updated list of the heritage at risk on Merseyside, see a unique perspective on how Liverpool has changed over the last few decades, plus some personal points of view on Liverpool and its past.
Posts tagged ‘heritage at risk’
Great work has been done to improve the lot of certain vulnerable historic buildings in Liverpool. Four buildings have been removed from the Heritage at Risk Register:
- North Warehouse, Stanley Dock Village;
- the ex-Royal Insurance HQ Building, North John Street;
- the Laundry and Laundry Cottage, Croxteth Park;
- the former St Andrew’s Church, Rodney Street.
You can read about the plans for these buildings in the not-proofread Liverpool Echo article: English Heritage praises Liverpool for historic buildings. Read more
In the news this week, English Heritage are continuing efforts to protect the historic environment, while a local resident of Woolton is playing her own role. David Fleming talks about Liverpool’s World Heritage Site status, and the Maritime Museum (of which he is ultimately responsible, amongst other things) appears on a new set of stamps.
It’s been four months (four!) since I last posted, and this is possibly the longest gap since I began the blog. It’s all in a good cause though, because my extra time has been going into finishing a book I’ve been writing, on Liverpool history of course! More info in good time, but until then I thought I’d share some photos of another Liverpool history book I recently bought, plus news of this year’s Heritage at Risk register. Read more
The Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse could possibly be described as the poster child of Liverpool’s failure to protect its heritage. But perhaps its fortunes are about to change with a project in the works to regenerate the whole of the north docklands.
Industrial Heritage at Risk is this year’s Heritage at Risk theme, launched today by English Heritage in conjunction with the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) and the Association for Industrial Archaeology (AIA). The annual Heritage at Risk survey launch is in October.
Liverpool is not always closely associated with ‘industry’ in the same sense as the wool industry of Manchester and Lancashire, or the coal industry of Yorkshire. Liverpool’s World Heritage Site is the ‘Maritime Mercantile City‘, and even though the Exchange buildings and the Customs house are closely linked with industry on a wider scale, it’s more accurate to class it as ‘commerce’.
However, commerce is difficult to see embodied in archaeology or buildings, and the buildings English Heritage are talking about are as often as not a product of industry, made possible by the Industrial Revolution, rather than playing a part in industrial production itself.
In fact, much of Liverpool’s built heritage fits this bill rather well.
[There is a lot more detail about the development of Liverpool’s small-scale industries (potteries, mills and the like) in the Liverpool and Toxteth sections of the Historic Liverpool website (or search for ‘mill‘ or ‘pottery‘ to see a whole lot more).]
Liverpool’s industrial heritage at risk
All the sites at risk in Merseyside can be seen via a search on English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk microsite: . You can then break the list down into classes of ‘at risk’ heritage, including buildings, conservation areas, scheduled monuments and registered parks and gardens.
But English Heritage wants a wider debate on this, rather than just promoting the current list of at-risk buildings. So, start here if you want (in the comments!) or visit the Industrial Heritage at Risk Flickr group.
Alarmingly there’s a photo of Albert Dock in the photo pool, but as I say this discussion is about a wider appreciation of industrial heritage. Remember, the Albert Dock was once indeed at risk of demolition, and is one of the best reminders of how historic buildings can be brought back into use successfully as modern developments.
The aim of the Flickr group is to bring people together to discuss which parts of their industrial heritage are most-loved, and those which perhaps should be added to the list come October. You can, as with any Flickr group, add photos and comments of your own.
So this is a call from one Liverpool historian to others: get your photos on there and promote the best of Liverpool industrial archaeology! Here’s a few suggestions to get you thinking:
- Albert dock (you can never have too much Albert Dock)
- Stanley Dock and the tobacco warehouse
- Liverpool Maritime Mercantil City World Heritage Site (plenty of room for discussion)
- Lime Street Station and the railway and tunnels to Edge Hill and beyond
- Former Bryant and May Match Factory
- The Three Graces
- Leeds-Liverpool Canal
Yes, that’s a headline and almost a pun at the same time, for of course the ‘Historic Liverpool’ in the title is your favourite map-based exploration of Merseyside’s history, Historic Liverpool. I have spent rather a lot of hours over the last week moving the entire site from lovingly hand-crafted HTML to Drupal, an open source (Free) content management system (CMS). This wonderful technology means I can spend less time on moving bits of the site round, while having to copy all changes from one page to another, and simply let Drupal do all the work. For anyone who’s used a blog this will be familiar territory. You simply type what you want into the CMS, and the pre-set design will take care of all the menus, sidebars etc. on all the pages. On a technical note, unfortunately MapServer, which I use to create the maps, doesn’t play well with Drupal (unless I upgrade my hosting package), so the mapping pages are done the old fashioned way – by hand. There are a few more stylistic tweaks to make (the article text is a bit small at the moment) but the site should be easier to maintain from now on.
Which brings me to my main point, which is that I now have more time to add stuff to the maps, and I’ve started with the Buildings at Risk in Liverpool, which can now be found on the Liverpool Explorer map (have a play around with the other layers while you’re over there). Clicking on one of the diamonds when takes you to a summary of the state of these buildings, from where you can click through to the main English Heritage website for more details and a photo. When I get a chance to, I hope to be adding my own photos to the site, as the ones on english-heritage.org.uk are a bit small.
I hope you enjoy this first of many new layers (hoping to add other ‘At Risk’ sites soon), so please do send feedback!
Save Britain’s Heritage: I’ve read this organisation’s book Triumph, Disaster and Decay: the Save survey of Liverpool’s Heritage (2009). It was mostly decay, with the odd disaster here and there, and quite sobering story of the buildings lost on Merseyside since the Blitz. In the end it was a big inspiration to include the Buildings at Risk on this site, so try to find a copy if you can.
The Grade II Newsham Park Hospital building is under threat, reports the Echo, due to an increasing level of disrepair, and neglect on the part of the owners. Now councilor Steve Radford has stepped up to try to save the building, calling on the owners to take action. Comments on the Echo site reflect anger that the council is not doing enough, while also worrying that there is insufficient cash to do anything.
Newsham Park hospital began life as the Liverpool Seamen’s Orphan Institution, caring for the children of families lost at sea. The building was designed by Aigburth-born Sir Alfred Waterhouse, architect of Liverpool University’s Victoria Building and the latest Liverpool Royal Infirmiary building. The building was eventually used by the NHS, but closed in 1988 since when it has lain empty.
The building is not currently on English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk register.
In other architectural news, two buildings are up for an award seen as the antithesis of the prestigious RIBA award. The new Pier Head ferry terminal, and the Grosvenor’s Liverpool One (ironically shortlisted for the RIBA award) are up for the prize.
Although quirky, the new ferry terminal is not all that bad, especially as it’s such a small building (compared to, say, the new musuem). As with any new development, Liverpudlians are rightly protective of their Three Graces, and luckily people are coming to the defence of the terminal. I really admire the Liverpool One development (with perhaps the exception of the Lego flats to the north of Chevasse Park). The place is colourful, bright, and includes a green area which so many modern cities (Swindon, I’m looking at you!) lack.
What are your thoughts on the new development, and the awards?
I’ve recently mentioned English Heritage’s ‘Heritage At Risk’ campaign and project, so I thought I’d point any interested parties in the direction of some good resources to look at on the subject.
- Liverpool City Council has some good conservation area information, including a map of all Liverpool’s Conservation Areas and the roads which are in CAs.
- English Heritage’s main Conservation Areas at Risk pages are a natural starting point for info on this topic.
- The News Distribution Service (NDS) has a good summary page of Liverpool conservation areas at risk. The whole page can be downloaded as a PDF (ZIP file).
If you know of any other places to find details of CAs at risk, let me know in the comments!
The main thrust of EH’s report seems to be the problems of PVC windows and doors, unsightly satellite dishes and the loss of other original features of the suburbs. Though, of course, this is only the side deemed most relevant to the public, and there are many more pressing threats to the historic environment, such as dereliction, the declining economy, and uncontrolled development.
As you can see, the Daily Mail addresses the incredibly important issue of wheelie bins while others cherish their ‘tarnished jewels’. Closer to home the Wirral Globe mentions Hamilton Square. The ‘chairman’ of the Liverpool Preservation ‘Trust’ has another rant.
What are your views on the risks to your own historic environment?