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Posts tagged ‘museum of liverpool’

Museum of Liverpool opens its doors

A press release from the new Museum of Liverpool:

Historic Liverpool 2010: A year in review

Photograph of Liverpool waterfront, including new museum under construction

Liverpool Waterfront, by Ade Bond via Flickr

It’s the end of 2010. It’s been an… interesting year politically – a coalition government for the first time in my lifetime; frequent use of the word ‘swingeing’ in many and varied ways; the Conservation Centre is shutting its doors to the public; and snow is keeping you indoors reading this.

But what else has happened this year? Anything to warm our annual nostalgia cockles?

2010 started on an optimistic note – it was the World Museum’s 250th anniversary, though this was somewhat overshadowed with the closure of the Conservation Centre.

February saw start of the excellent Streets of Liverpool blog. Later in February the keys were handed over for the new Museum of Liverpool, although controversy rose its ugly head later in the year when a historic view was shown to have been blocked.

March and April went by in a blur (oh yes, probably because I got married) and when things recovered the election was fast approaching. At the same time Lewis’s was heading for closure as everyone felt the pinch of recession.

In July the first object – a carriage from the Overhead Railway – moved into the museum, but at the same time the North West Development Agency closed its doors. Another funding source for culture had disappeared.

The Peel Waters project cropped up again and again in 2010. English Heritage expressed concerns about the effect of the new buildings on the World Heritage Site, while in later months Council Leader Joe Anderson reacted angrily to what he saw as EH’s interference with Liverpool’s development and future prospects.  Meanwhile we were spoiled for heritage and arts projects, including: Edge Hill station being turned into an arts venue, Heritage Open Days bringing people into Liverpool’s historic water supply, the funding of conservation for 95,000 aerial photographs of England as well as Visible in Stone – women’­s history and the built environment and in October Black History Month. Finally, Historic Liverpool underwent a bit of a redesign, although it’s far from a finished project. Here’s to another year of additions to that!

Phew! Liverpool and its heritage have had their ups and downs this year. We’ve celebrated the old, welcomed in the new (mostly) and commemorated the highs and lows of Liverpool’s past and imminent future.

Any predictions for the coming 12 months? Or is that an impossible task? And as for 2011, what kind of posts would you like to see here? More about researching Liverpool local history? Should I keep to the news and concentrate the history on Historic Liverpool? Or something completely different?

Some historical entertainments

The ghost town of Argleton, as old maps may have seen it

The mysterious town of Argleton, as a paper Google might have seen it, by Nefi via Flickr

I did recently promise some more entertaining blog content after the ‘historic environment’-heavy post this week. So here’s something to stick on your new iPad (or other less fancy PDF readers):

History of World Museum Liverpool

The institution currently known as World Museum Liverpool has a very long history. 150 years to be precise, and it’s celebrating in various ways. Download their free PDF called Liverpool’s Museum: the first 150 years.

I’ve not read the whole thing yet, but it’s already turning into a fascinating story of figures such as Thomas John Moore, William Brown, J.A. Picton and Lord Derby, who have all, in one way or another, left their mark on the city of Liverpool.

Lewis’s Slideshow

When you’re done with that, you should watch the ‘audio slideshow‘ commemorating the even older institution of Lewis’s, featuring voice-overs from former managers and employees, and with a soundtrack of the likes of ‘In My Liverpool Home’, which mentions old Dickie in passing.

There are some great images of the 1950s cafe interior, and the shop floors in days gone by.

Landscape Mystery

Now, you knew Google was getting too powerful, didn’t you? But now it’s creating whole English towns where none should be.

Do you know where Argleton is? Well, according to Google Maps it’s just off the Liverpool-Ormskirk road, near Aughton.

A trap to catch the unwary map-copier? A bad transcription of Aughton? Or a secret base where Google plans to spread it’s evil plan? You decide!

Liverpool Museum gets training grant

In the midst of economic troubles for many externally-funded organisations, National Museums Liverpool has struck lucky in getting £350,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The money will be used for audience development – reaching out to those who wouldn’t normally see the museum as ‘for them’. Six two-year placements at the new Museum of Liverpool will start from next year. More details available at Art in Liverpool.

Museum paid £750,000 for historic view, and visitor numbers up on 2007

Photo of the roof of the atrium in World Museum Liverpool

World Museum Liverpool, by Secret Pilgrim via Flickr

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.