One from the archives, a day trip to Liverpool back in 2009, when it was in the midst of the fallout of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. At the time there were significant rejuvenation efforts underway, with more undertaken since. While Liverpool is the fifth largest city in Britain (based on the metro area) it has the second largest number of cultural venues including art galleries. In less than day there (catching the train from and back to London) I could only visit a few heritage highlights of the city, a return visit is due sometime.
Liverpool Cathedral is an icon, the largest cathedral in Britain and the eight largest in the world, reflecting the once huge wealth of the city. At times in the 19th century it was wealthier than London. It took 74 years to build the cathedral, finally being completed in 1978. It was designed by the notable Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, son of the more famous Sir George Gilbert Scott.
Construction of the Catholic Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral only took five years, with the modernist building completed in 1967. It is the opposite of the gothic splendour of the Anglican Liverpool Cathedral, with a circular stained glass light filled interior, thanks to apparently the largest stained glass panel in the world. The fast build lead to a few architectural / structural failings though that needed later repair.
Liverpool was once the gateway to North America, one of the busiest port cities in the British Empire. Understandably there is a significant amount of heritage along the waterfront on the River Mersey.
The most famous are the Three Graces, starting with the Royal Liver Building. Opened in 1911, it was one of the first buildings to be built of reinforced concrete. The near hundred metre high building was one of the tallest buildings in the country when built, but it is now only the fifth tallest in Liverpool.
The neighbouring Cunard Building was built in three years during WW1, and remained the headquarters of the famous Cunard Line until the 1960s.
The final grace, the Port of Liverpool Building, also took three years to build, and was completed in 1907.
Completely different in design is the modern terminal for the Mersey Ferries close to the Three Graces.
Further along the waterfront is the Royal Albert Dock, though it was Albert Dock when I visited, the Royal part was only added in 2018. Opened in 1846 it was the first non-combustible warehouse complex in the world, as it featured no structural wood in the design, only stone, brick and cast iron. Once the most advanced port in the world, it fell into disrepair after the 1920s, but thankfully was saved in the 1980s through an ambitious regeneration scheme that has converted the site into museums, offices and apartments, making it the most popular sight for tourists in the city.
Couple of colourful ships moored at the docks.
Tate Liverpool is one of the most prominent sights in Royal Albert Docks. When opened in 1988 it was the only Tate outside of London, and for fifteen years was the largest modern art gallery in the country outside of London.
Though Tate Liverpool was good, I preferred the Walker Art Gallery, which opened in 1877. It is home to one of the largest art collections outside of London, housed in a beautiful classical building.
Nearby is Lime Street Station, Liverpool’s main train station, home to a statue of Sir Ken Dodd, one of the city’s best known comedians with his famous tickling stick.
There are many heritage buildings throughout the central city, including the Philharmonic Hall and others.
To end with St George’s Hall, one of the most impressive neo-classical buildings in Europe, paid for by public subscription, and completed in 1854. It was the reason I went to Liverpool, to attend a graduate recruitment event in the Great Hall, which thankfully I escaped early from to explore the city instead.