The new Museum of Liverpool has opened its doors today (Tuesday, 19 July). We’ll be down there in a few days: it’s open until 10 p.m. Friday to Sunday. The BBC summarises:
The museum, to which entry is free, is opening in two phases with three galleries, Global City, Wondrous Place and The People’s Republic, opening in the first phase.
Global City explores Liverpool’s links with the rest of the world and its position at the centre of a 19th Century trading network.
Wondrous Place takes in Liverpool’s creative and sporting personalities from the well-known stories of The Beatles and football, to the lesser-known like the popularity of boxing in the city
The People’s Republic gallery looks at the impact of daily life on the city. Exhibits include the first Ford Anglia to be produced at Ford’s Halewood plant and a recreation of 19th Century court housing where people lived in overcrowded unsanitary conditions.
Further galleries will open later in 2011 including a carriage from the Liverpool Overhead Railway and 1838 steam locomotive Lion.
The two ends of the Museum are marked by large windows eight metres high and 28 metres wide with views to the Pier Head and the river.
One slightly ironic aspect of the museum’s design is that not everybody is happy with it, nor the black pyramidical apartment block behind it. It’s felt by some that Liverpool’s heritage, its ‘historic waterfront’, is spoilt by the futuristic buildings.
The tension between ‘heritage’ and development is everywhere in Liverpool just now. Last month, a couple of us went to the first public consultation by Peel Holdings regarding the proposed Liverpool Waters project - It comprises offices, more than 9,000 new homes, a cultural building, a new cruise terminal and the 55-storey Shanghai Tower, which will be the tallest UK building outside London. A similar plan for Wirral Waters will change the face of the Mersey over the 25 years it takes to build, See Peel’s sites for the Wirral and Liverpool developments. Already disturbed by the museum building, a team from UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee will visit Liverpool to assess the impact of developments on the city’s World Heritage status. Liverpool Council is firmly behind the developments but agrees that modifications to plans may be needed. Regen.net reports:
the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has expressed concern that the development could have an impact on the site’s world heritage status, which applies to several parts of the city centre including the waterfront, and the warehouses and merchant’s houses around Duke Street and the William Brown Street area.
“All parties agree that regeneration of the area is important; however, there is considerable concern that the current proposals from Peel Holdings may have an impact on the Liverpool World Heritage Site,” a spokeswoman for DCMS said.
She confirmed that there would be a joint World Heritage Centre/International Council on Monuments and Sites mission to Liverpool, likely to be in the autumn, to examine the Liverpool Waters proposal and its potential impact, and to assess planning procedures and the overall development strategy for the site.
A spokeswoman for UNESCO said the delegation would be checking that the planned development “would not harm the outstanding universal value of Liverpool”.
Peel Holdings said it would not comment on a live planning application.
We’ll be reporting on the ‘consultation’ we had and discussing the proposals very soon.
The question of how important heritage and conservation do (or don’t) conflict with with development will form one aspect of Inspidered’s upcoming Hope Street Project. The project will consider Hope Street as a microcosm of the city as a whole from this aspect (but will be deeply involved with Hope Street as a place in its own right. Look out for more details soon).