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Posts tagged ‘websites’

Liverpool Blogs, an exhibition, and more of interest from the LHS

Liver Building 2, by gloskeith (Creative Commons via Flickr)

Liver Building 2, by gloskeith (Creative Commons via Flickr)

I’d like to start this post with a kind of ‘metablog’. I would have liked to have made that word up myself, but a quick Google proves otherwise. Either way, the Liverpool Blogs blog is a blog about blogs. Try saying that after a Cains or two. I’ve only just discovered this site, and not had time to explore fully, but if you ever want to read more about Liverpool, then it’s the place to start.

The latest post as of this writing is a profile of the Scandinavian Church on Park Lane, which blogs at Save the Scandinavian Church in Liverpool. This site charts the events held at the church, and the ongoing efforts to keep this church in Liverpool. Apparently the mother church in Uppsala, Sweden wants to move the church to somewhere else in the world! The blog also posts in Swedish, so is certainly the real deal in terms of Scandinavian culture on Merseyside. Certainly a site of interest to readers of Liverpool Landscapes.

As for Liverpool Blogs, I’d recommend having a search through their links. If you’re a Liverpool blogger yourself, get in touch with them. I’ve no doubt I’ll be linking to this site in the future, and keeping an eye on it for new and interesting blogs!

Of interest to us Landscapophiles (a word I definitely just invented) is the Liverpool Echo’s Love Where You Live photo competition. The Echo is looking for images that demonstrate why you love where you live, but also illustrate the importance of caring for the environment. Two shots from Flickr have been uploaded as examples. There is also a secondary category for shots of people “who make a difference”.

The Feeling Listless blog discusses a new exhibition, Building Merseyside: A Contemporary Interpretation of the Architecture of Liverpool and the Surrounding Area, taking place at St. George’s Hall. The exhibition includes photography, sculpture and painting. The author, Stuart Ian Burns (the only Stuart Ian Burns around), makes a few good side notes on the fun of looking up at the buildings you might only ever consider to be shop fronts for HMV, Bhs or Dixons if you kept your eyes to ground level.

Finally, if you’re historically minded and you still haven’t looked at the Liverpool History Society Quetions blog, then do yourself a favour and go and have a look. Recently there have been three interesting posts about Liverpool’s urban archaeology: Botanic Gardens Wavertree, Martin’s Bank and St James Cemetary (sic) Tunnel.

In case you’re wondering, the Martin who asked the question is not me. And neither is the Martin of Martin’s Bank. Never mind.

Liverpool History Society Questions online

Some very interesting bits from the Net recently:

Liverpool History Society Questions is a blog I always watch – readers ask questions and (more often than not) Rob Ainsworth of Liverpool History Society comes up with an answer. Topics range from buildings to family history to maps, and two recent topics will be of interest to readers of this blog. From October 15th there is a great and detailed description of court houses in Liverpool. These cramped, airless and dim dwellings were thrown up around Liverpool in the 19th Century, and hundreds of families lived in them. I know that a number of my own ancestors lived in such conditions in Toxteth and around the Cathedral area (as it is now). The famous Dr. Duncan played a key role in their investigation, and there are only a couple left in the city (listed in September this year).

On October 19th a reader asks about the 1725 Chadwick Map, which should be familiar to anyone having researched Liverpool’s urban history for any length of time. The authenticity of a copy for sale in the US is in question, and Rob Ainsworth does a great job in describing the map’s history. Chadwick’s map is annotated with road names and landmarks in the margins, and can be seen in many Liverpool history publications, such as Aughton, and Liverpool 800. A decent reproduction can be found on the Mersey Gateway (though the labels are barely readable.) A paper copy can be bought from Scouse Press.

In a few other bits of news, the forever-delayed tram system may never see the light of day:

In a follow-up to my recent post on ShipAIS, you can keep track of the Queen Mary 2 while it stays in Liverpool:

Conservation Areas Resources

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.

If you know of any other places to find details of CAs at risk, let me know in the comments!

Liverpool photographs on ViewFinder

The Homepage of the ViewFinder website from the NMR

The Homepage of the ViewFinder website from the NMR

I’ve known about this site for a while. OK, I admit it, I worked on the project myself for five months in 2007. But the ViewFinder website from the National Monuments Record is an amazing resource, where you can access around 80,000 images from the NMR’s collection for free. Try out the results for an Advanced Search for Liverpool. My favourites are the ‘merchant palaces’ of West Derby, mainly because that’s where I grew up!

Let me know what you think of the site!

Site Redesign, and Archaeological Illustration

Just a quick word to let you know that Historic Liverpool is undergoing a complete cosmetic redesign, as the home page was getting a bit bogged down, and also I visited the  final show for the Oxford Brookes/Swindon College MA in Archaeological Reconstruction, and was somewhat inspired (and unbelievably impressed!) by their work. I’ve not quite finished yet, but the new style will slowly percolate throughout the site in the coming days.

The timeline now occupies the right hand side of the homepage, with the two main interactive maps on the left. Hopefully this is a much cleaner design, and much easier to navigate. Let me know what you think!

A quick thank you to Jennie Anderson, who invited us to the show. Jennie’s website is, as you might expect from a web-leaning archaeological illustrator, a great example of attractive typography and layout, and full of fascinating archaeology too! Jennie’s MA has concentrated on interactive, Flash-based reconstruction, for such uses as visitor centres or even downloadable to your phone, to use while visiting the site. I’ll post a link here when I get one.

Access to Historic Liverpool data

In the spirit of free exchange of data, I’ve been looking into methods of sharing the data which I produce as part of the Historic Liverpool website. Although still a relatively low number, I will be producing ESRI shapefiles which are used to power the maps. As the About this website page explains, the layers of Listed Buildings, Parks and Gardens, Scheduled Monuments and World Heritage Sites are from the NMR’s Data Download service, where you can get hold of the national data after signing up for an account. I can’t redistribute the NMR’s data, but I intend to post direct links to my own created layers in due course. There are many ways of doing this, but an important question is one of data formats. Which data formats can I be certain that people can use, for free? Well, I know shapefiles can be used in such free (as in open source) software as QGIS, but I’d like to be able to give out data which is viewable in Google Earth, as this is a popular, free (as in no cost) piece of software which provides background mapping, which are near-impossible to come across in the UK for sensible amounts of money. It would also be great to be able to integrate my data with fun stuff such as topography and 3D historic buildings, of which a handful from Liverpool are available on Google Earth.

Google Earth view of Liverpool Pier Head

Google Earth view of Liverpool Pier Head

At the moment I’m therefore looking for ways to convert shapefiles to KML files (which can also be viewed in Google Maps without the need to download extra software). There are several programs simply called ‘SHP2KML’ which claim to do the job. If anyone’s done this before, or knows a better way to do this, I’d be grateful to hear it. Otherwise I’ll be studying the manuals for the ever-useful FWTools command-line programs.

Finally, on the topic of online resources, Wolfram Alpha is a new “computational knowledge engine”. It works like a search engine, but instead of bringing back a series of web pages which probably contain your results, it tries to reply with the results themselves. This is best seen in demonstration, so try going to the site and typing “population of liverpool” and see what you get!

New Scottish Royal Commission database

The new RCAHMS website

The new RCAHMS website

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) have redesigned and relaunched their website. From here you can search five of their databases: Canmore, PASTMAP, Scran, AirPhotoFinder and HLAMAP (explanations of each are on the website). Each record pulled back from searching links to all relevant photos in their database, along with reports and relevant books in a bibliography.

The new design looks smart, is easy to navigate, and for those (like me) for who it is important, the site works cleanly without images and CSS loading. It should work well with screen readers. I’ve not used one myself, but if you have any comments about this or other sites with that technology, feel free to vent below!

Liverpool as blueprint for British culture capital

Although officially no longer the European Capital of Culture, Liverpool’s success in 2008 has led to it becoming the blueprint for an ongoing series of similar, British-based awards in the future. Culture Secretary Andy Burnham (a Blues fan, it has been noted) announced today that the new award would be presented every two years. Liverpool 08 mastermind Phil Redmond will be drafted in to lead a working party to explore the idea, which hopes to stimulate regeneration and investment in other parts of the country, in the way it did in Merseyside.

The impact of the Capital of Culture year will be debated at the University of Liverpool. Called Impacts 08, the event will be attended by Burnham and Redmond, and will discuss the effect of events like the Tall Ships Race and Paul McCartney’s concert Liverpool Sound, which brought in £5m. Along similar lines, Edwin Heathecote in the Financial Times examines the legacy of 2008 in terms of the built landscape, giving a fairly positive view of such developments as the Blue Coat chambers and the massive Liverpool One centre.

Finally, what English Heritage suspects is Britain’s first mosque is being regenerated, over 100 years after it fell out of use. It is hoped that this centre on Brougham Terrace, West Derby Street, will show the age of the roots of British Islam. The mosque was founded by and Englishman, Henry William Quilliam, who converted to Islam in 1887.

Independent – Britain’s first mosque to be reborn – after more than a century

BBC News – Revamp for England’s first mosque

A few more things for those of you who like your online resources:

English Heritage’s Heritage Explorer website includes a page on Liverpool as a case study for how to use their educational resources. The site concentrates on West Derby, and the project carried out by a Year 2 class to look at the historic environment around their school. The page includes a lesson plan, and some tips on how to get the kids studying. As well as this case study, the Heritage Explorer site is full of other historic resources for use in the classroom.

Another of English Heritage’s projects is featured on the Council for British Archaeology’s new website. The Aerofilms collection is a massive number of aerial shots of the whole of Britain, spanning nearly 100 years. Only a handful of images are currently available, including one of Liverpool’s old customs house and surrounding bomb devastation in 1946, but plans are afoot to get this amazing resource online in the future.

Also, for those interested in the archaeology hidden under Liverpool Bay, Wessex Archaeology are conducting a pilot scheme to investigate this body of water as part of their England’s Historic Seascapes research, in association with English Heritage. There’s a great summary of all the exciting stuff that should be found on the seabed on their site, and I’ll try to keep you up to date with their findings.