Tag: National Museums Liverpool

Story of the week: On the waterfront in Liverpool


The wind of change is blowing in off the River Mersey.

The afternoon of my visit may be darker than the trademark Scouse sense of humour, but the shifting-cityscape view from One Park West, the city’s new £60m, 17-storey residential development, testifies to Liverpool status as Britain’s renaissance city.

The northwest English city went about a major self-reinvention in the run up to its role as the 2008 European Capital of Culture.

More than 15m people attended a cultural event or attraction during the cultural jamboree and the value of tourism to Liverpool’s economy rose by 25 per cent. But can Liverpool sustain the growth?

Property developer Grosvenor, the company behind the £1bn Liverpool ONE shopping complex that adjoins One Park West, thinks so. Sales at One Park West topped £25m in the first year and Liverpool ONE now attracts 22m visitors per month.

“Confidence. That’s the difference,” says Grosvenor Projects Director Guy Butler.

“Liverpool has a can-do attitude and its people are proud of their city once more. Grosvenor has five more projects on the table over the next five years. We will be investing a further £100m in the city.”

Changing landscape 

The cityscape is certainly changing fast.

As I take a stroll along the Unesco World Heritage-listed waterfront, cranes are hovering over residential development Mann Island, due for summer completion through Countryside/Neptune, and the £72m Museum of Liverpool [pictured above], a major new cultural attraction due to open Spring 2011.

Langtree Developments are working on the regeneration of the former Liverpool Garden Festival Site, while Peel Holdings has tabled proposals for Liverpool Waters, the regeneration of 150 acres of currently redundant waterfront.

“The market was already accelerating before we won the Capital of Culture bid and we got ahead of ourselves as a city,” says Alan Bevan, Partner with estate agents City Residential.

“Today, however, the market has fallen has back from the off-plan peaks of 2007 and city-centre living is far more affordable.”

City Residential figures show the average sale price in the city centre has fallen 8.46 per cent over the last 12 months with the average city-centre and docklands prices now £134,263 and £142,525 respectively, both around nine per cent down year on year.

“While the leafy suburbs of Woolton and Allerton were popular with buyers before, the combination of increased affordability and a greatly improved infrastructure are now firmly driving sales in the city centre,” he adds.

Georgian quarter

The range of properties is broad from young-professional apartments to grand Georgian homes, albeit at far more affordable prices than London or Bath.

Popular central regions include South Ferry Quay, a dockside address where City Residential are marketing two-bed apartments with parking for £130,000, and the area around Duke Street with two-beds for £120,000.

The city’s well-preserved Georgian quarter, located between the city’s iconic twin cathedrals, boasts streets of neat, feature properties. Grade II-listed properties abound and stately five-bedroom homes attract a price tag around £500,000.

On the doorstep is the Art Deco-styled Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, home to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, while St George’s Hall, a fine example of neo-classical architecture, hosts major cultural events a short distance from train hub, Lime Street Station.

Different values

Jacquie Rogers relocated from Brighton to Liverpool in May 2006 to head up the eight-person launch team for £164m Arena and Convention Centre (ACC) on Liverpool’s waterfront.

ACC Liverpool has since contributed £200m to the visitor economy of the city, hosting major events such as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2008; it has won the contract to bring next year’s Labour Party Conference to the city.

“Capital of Culture has brought a very European feel to Liverpool with its cafe culture,” says Rogers, who sold a three-bed, 1930’s semi on the outskirts of Brighton for £280,000. She bought a three-bedroom Victorian property with a large garden and views across the Dee Estuary on Merseyside for £320,000.

“When I first moved north, Liverpool had a negative perception but I could see the huge levels of investment pouring into the city. I realised it would be a very different city within a few years.”

Since relocating, Rogers has noticed how the market moves more slowly and properties hold their price longer compared to the south. “You do get more for your money but it’s not the case you will go from a semi to a stately home,” she says. “The quality of life is far better, however,” she says.

“I like the way people in Liverpool use their leisure time and income to enjoy life, not spent it in a frenzy of trying to achieve,” she adds.

Sunset views

Back at One Park West, Guy Butler is showing me round some of the show apartments. Buyers have an option to buy an upgrade package on top of the sale price, whereby the property is designed, fitted and furnished by an interior designer.

We peruse space-saving ideas in a yellow-Tartan studio flat with a pull-down bed (just sold for £120,000), while a three-bedroom corner suite in turquoise and chrome, featuring floor-to ceiling windows and a white grand piano John Lennon would doubtless approve of, is being marketed for £415,000 through King Sturge. Other One Park West features include a 24-hour gym, concierge service and a private roof terrace.

Around 50 of the original 326 apartments are still for sale with prices starting from £90,000 for a studio to £165,000 for a two bed.

“Clients range from young entrepreneurs seeking a city bolthole to well-heeled parents providing student digs with a view while their offspring study at one of the city’s universities,” explains Guy.

One postgraduate enjoying the view from his non-traditional student digs is 22-year-old Henry Brown, the son of a commodities broker from Hong Kong, who is studying Physics at Liverpool University.

While other students are shivering by one-bar electric fires in bedsits, Jones moved into a £350,000, three-bedroom apartment at One Park West in June 2009.

“I spent three months looking around but this pace stood out,” he says. “It makes financial sense. I think this place will not just hold its value, it will increase over the next ten years given the investment in the city.”

“Nothing beats coming home, opening the blinds and watching the sunset over the city with a few drinks.”

What did you think of this story? Post your comments below.

This article was first published in the Weekend FT in 2010.

Liked this? Try also Exploring the maritime heritage of Unesco-listed Liverpool.

Story of the week: Exploring the maritime heritage of Unesco-listed Liverpool


The Telegraph Cruise Show (October 11-12) comes to Liverpool’s Echo Arena, located on the city’s Unesco World Heritage-listed waterfront, next month.

Taking the show out of London reflects Liverpool’s renaissance as a cruise destination for first time since the golden age of cruising from Liverpool in the 1950s.

In May next year Liverpool will play host to the three largest Cunard ships ever built to mark 175 years since the inauguration of Cunard’s transatlantic service from Liverpool.

Indeed, since the £19m Liverpool Cruise Terminal began operations in 2007, cruise traffic has grown exponentially since then with 47 vessels and 54,595 passengers docking at the Pier Head in 2014, including Princess, Royal Caribbean and Fred Olsen.

Liverpool has plans to develop the cruise terminal further, accommodating ships with up to 3,500 passengers, within the next few years.

For day excursions, Liverpool offers a world-class combination of maritime-heritage architecture, cutting-edge cultural attractions and local delicacies.

These are all, handily, within a one-mile sweep along the River Mersey from the Cruise Terminal (Princes Dock) to the Echo Arena (Kings Dock) via the Albert Dock museum quarter and the Pier Head, home to Liverpool’s iconic Three Graces [pictured above], namely The Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building.

Historical perspective

Head left out of the Cruise Terminal, passing the Titanic Memorial, and the first major attraction is the Museum of Liverpool (liverpoolmuseums.org.uk).

Opened in 2011, the angular, glass-fronted building tells the story of the city and its people. Liverpool was one of the world’s major trading ports in the 18th and 19th centuries, and a hub for the mass movement of people from northern Europe to America.

In 2004 Unesco granted six areas of Liverpool, including a couple along the waterfront, World Heritage status as a maritime mercantile city.

The Great Port gallery explores the development of the docks and the tidal River Mersey while the Global City gallery examines Liverpool’s pivotal role in the expansion of the British Empire.

Look out for the evocative poem, The Gateway to the Atlantic, by the Liverpool-born poet Roger McCough, by the entrance to the former.

Artistic endeavour

Next cross the bridge to the Albert Dock, where Tate Liverpool (tate.org.uk/liverpool) has been bringing world-class exhibitions, including the Turner Prize, to the Liverpool waterfront since the regeneration of the docklands in the late 1980s.

It’s not too late to catch the Liverpool Biennial 2014, the UK Biennial of Contemporary Art, which runs until October 26 with Tate hosting the main exhibition, A Needle Walks into a Haystack.

Look out for Patrick Caulfield’s pop-art graphics and the wool rugs designed by the young artist Frances Bacon while he working as a junior interior designer in London.

Susan Hiller’s Belshazzar’s Feast, the Writing on Your Wall, is an intriguing walk-in installation of a living room complete with armchairs, sidelights and a TV set.

While you’re browsing the minimalist gallery space, stop by the floor-to-ceiling windows to catch glimpses of the cityscape at different angles along the waterfront.

Museum quarter

Located just across the Albert Dock from Tate Liverpool is the Merseyside Maritime Museum, incorporating the International Slavery Museum.

The latter explores Liverpool’s role in the transatlantic slave trade, opening the visit with powerful quotes, such as Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 speech:

“In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free.”

The former traces Liverpool’s rich maritime heritage. When the city celebrated its 700th birthday in 1907, Edwardian Liverpool was at its zenith as a world trading port.

The tragic loss of three ships from 1912-1914, the Titanic, the Lusitania and the Empress of Ireland marked the end of this golden period. You can also still catch the temporary exhibition of vintage cruise posters, Sail Away: Liverpool Shipping Posters, until 2015.

The last of the cultural triumvirate is the Open Eye Gallery (openeye.org.uk), dedicated to photography.

The current exhibition, Not All Documents Are Records, features works of international photo-reportage and runs until October 19. There’s also a great little shop selling vintage cameras, European art magazines and art books by the likes of Martin Parr and Wolfgang Tillmans.

All three museums are free to visit.

First-class berth

Two new hotel openings this summer continue the maritime theme.

The hotel 30 James Street (rmstitanichotel.co.uk) is located in Albion House, the former headquarters of the White Star Line.

It had a soft opening in April with all 64 crushed-velour-motif rooms, the spa and the waterfront-facing Carpathia Champagne Bar and Restaurant, named after the ship that saved passengers of the ill-fated Titanic, open from September.

The Great Hall function room has a collection of White Star Line memorabilia, including black-and-white footage of the announcement of the Titanic disaster from the balcony of room 22 on April 15, 1912.

The other new opening is the Titanic Hotel Liverpool (titanichotelliverpool.com), five minutes in a taxi along Great Howard Street from The Three Graces in the less developed Stanley Dock area.

Opened in July, it combines 153 apartment-style rooms and a spa with a huge, open-plan dining area, Stanley’s Bar and Grill, all converted from an erstwhile rum warehouse on the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

Local flavour

The busiest pub along the waterfront remains the Pumphouse in the Albert Dock.

Avoid the crowds spilling out of the Beatles Story visitor attraction, and enjoy a traditional taste of old Liverpool, by crossing over the thoroughfare Strand to the authentic old pub, The Baltic Fleet (balticfleetpubliverpool.com). There has been a lively waterfront hostelry on this site since at least the 1850s.

Today the Grade II-listed building is the only pub left in Liverpool to brews on its own premises.

Tuck into a plate of traditional Liverpool scouse, a stew of carrots and mutton, adopted by seafaring Scousers from a traditional a Norwegian dish, and wash this down with a dark pint of Wapping Smoked Porter or a Liverpool Wit wheat beer, raising a glass to Liverpool’s second coming as a cruise destination.

See Visit Liverpool

* This story was first published by the Daily Telegraph. Liked this? Try this: Vintage cruise posters at the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

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Vintage cruise posters at the Merseyside Maritime Museum



I spent an afternoon recently talking about vintage cruise posters.

It was research for an article about a major new exhibition, Sail Away: Liverpool Shipping Posters [see above], which just opened at the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool’s Albert Dock.

The posters, produced between 1880 and 1997 to publicise cruise travel, bring to life the history of cruise travel through the ages and include posters from Liverpool’s golden period in the 1950s.

According to Roy Irlam, head of framing conversation for National Museums Liverpool, who prepared the images for public display:

“The return of cruise ships is restoring Liverpool’s pride as a maritime city.”

Here’s an extract:

The posters, often featuring striking images of the ships at their ocean-going finest, would have been displayed at cruise terminals and railway stations across Britain to tempt passengers to choose a particular line or destination.

Roy uses traditional methods to prepare artifacts from textiles to sculpture for public display.

“It is,” he nods, “with doors opening in galleries, the humidity of groups of people and all that shedding skin, surprisingly technical.”

Read the full story in the Daily Telegraph’s Cruise Style supplement (June issue).

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