More perspectives on the World Heritage Status loss in Liverpool

The ‘3 Graces’ on Liverpool waterfront taken from the new Museum of Liverpool, which may well be one of the planning compromises too far?

I’ve posted about this previously and here’s a link back to that posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2021/07/21/liverpool-world-heritage-status-lost/

Scouser opinions on the move/loss seem to be, as a generality, – ‘we did not ask for WHS’, ‘it was of no value’, ‘glad it’s gone’, ‘who cares the visitors will still come’ etc. etc.

Here’s a Scouser having his say having given the matter significant consideration – be prepared for a long read – Phil, an Everton fan and good friend of mine, does not have a short button!:-) –

phlhldn.blogspot.com/2021/08/the-liverpool-blitz-and-if-you-know.html

And here’s a quite different perspective, one that my professional historian relative agrees with –

sevenstreets.substack.com/p/unescos-binned-us-off-what-next-for

I’m not a Scouser as I only came to live on Merseyside aged 10 in 1968, so I’m not sure how long it will be before I’m adopted. My perspective is one of looking at the management of Liverpool City Council over quite a number of years and thinking along the lines of, ‘with better local management this rather sad (to me) situation need not have happened at all’.

Heritage is very important to me and I despair of old buildings and landscapes being lost so that another developer can make a quick Buck. Liverpool has changed massively since the dark days of the 1970s/1980s but I’m far from convinced that politicians and planners for the City really do have a strategic plan to carefully weave in new developments so they don’t compromise historic views and landscapes.

Other historic cities manage to do this successfully, or at least more successfully, so what’s gone wrong in Liverpool? Yes, planning laws and policy have been progressively (or is that more appropriately regressively) ‘relaxed’ over many generations by UK governments of all colours, in the name of speeding up the timescale of new developments. The trouble is, with historic landscapes, this rush to build anything cheap as fast as possible will clearly lead to unfortunate compromises. Personally, I’d rather see strengthened planning policies, especially ones adopted at a local level, so that due consideration and indeed protection can be given to historic buildings, Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas etc. etc.

But none of this lets Liverpool City Council off the hook though as the ‘Caller Report’, limited in scale as it was, has recently pointed a very critical finger at the Council’s activities, not least in the area of regeneration, property management, highways, and planning. Some Liverpool folk may well not want World Heritage Status back, I accept that, but I really do hope they want their City Council to get back on track in the area of regeneration and planning at least.

Historic buildings don’t exist in isolation, they sit in landscapes and the buildings close to them, in particular, need to be sympathetic in their design. My view is that Liverpool lost the art of fitting historic buildings in with new developments quite some time ago and yes the Museum of Liverpool was, for me at least, probably the start of the misstepping of regeneration and planning in the City.

Regional/Local Accents/Dialects can tie you in knots

I recall some years back having need to phone a call centre based in Glasgow; I had no idea what the person talking to me on the other end of the line was on about as he was talking pure ‘Glasgow patter’.

My Grandad on my Dad’s side who lived in Kirkby-In-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire for most of his life would say to me as a teenager that I had the worst Scouse accent he’d ever heard and that I was speaking far too quickly anyway for him to be able to work out what I was on about. I had been born in the same mining community but had left it when 6 years old spending 4 years in Rochdale and then the rest of my life to date on Merseyside. My accent will be predominately of Merseyside but with bits of Lancashire and Notts thrown in too.

St Wilfrid’s Church – Kirkby-In-Ashfield*

The interesting thing is that when I go back to Kirkby, which I do every couple of years, I can just switch back on to the local dialect/accent and pick up on it after all these years (56) away from my original home town.

Kirkby Cross*

What brought all this to mind was a recent phone conversation with a chap (Keith Murray) who was at one time a Kirkby resident and who still lives in Nottinghamshire. Our chat was about railways but he put me onto a piece he’d written in what he calls ‘Kerkbiese’ – you’ll need to click on the scans below to try to read them:-

If you’ve got through all that and you’ve never previously encountered a Notts accent then well done. If you found it hard going then you probably feel like I did when I was speaking to that chap from Glasgow all those years ago. The other point goes back to what my Grandad (Bill Robertson) used to say i.e. the speed of talking. There’s no doubt in my mind that in Liverpool people talk much faster than they do down in Nottinghamshire so it’s no surprise that a combination of dialect, speed of delivery and accent can make understanding very hard going.

Note: This posting links back to my previous one regarding Steaming back to Kirkby Loco, accessible via the link below, as it’s how I got in contact with Keith Murray:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2021/01/30/steaming-back-to-kirkby-loco-book-review/

* The two photos of paintings by an A Baldwin (one dated 1969) were found in my Dad’s house when I was clearing it out after he had passed on. I wonder who A Baldwin was and how my Dad picked up these paintings?

Maghull Wind Orchestra at the Bridgewater Hall

Well it seems that Sefton Borough’s most prominent wind orchestra has made it in the big time after playing at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall today.

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They were a part of a Opera entitled Get Weaving and they sounded great as indeed did all the participants.

Leaving Liverpool, Scouse passports in hand and off to that other place at the opposite end of the East Lancs Road (which is usually not mentioned in anything but disparaging terms by Liverpool folk) our brave orchestra went. Yes, Manchester to Scousers is an alien place just like Yorkshire is to those of us from Nottinghamshire.

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Playing at the Bridgewater, even though it is in Manchester, must be the pinnacle for any musician because it was built for music incorporating many modern acoustic advances which make it a truly wonderful place to listen to and perform music. I have seen The Rippingtons and Bob James’ Fourplay band there in the past so knew how good the place would be for our own quite wonderful local musicians of Maghull Wind Orchestra.

So we had a great time but don’t ask me what the opera was all about because I got the impression that only the writer of the lyrics really knows. I got the bit about celebrating the famous mass traspass of Kinder Scout in the 1930’s but the other aspects of it were a little mystical to me.