My kind thanks to Dominic Wilkinson my host for his wise guidance.
We begin with a rapid ascent of the Radio City Tower – at the St John’s Shopping Centre.
Also known as St. John’s Beacon – a radio and observation tower in, built in 1969 and opened by Queen Elizabeth II, it was designed by James A. Roberts Associates of Birmingham.
At 138 metres tall it is the 32nd tallest in the building United Kingdom.
© Nancy Clendaniel May 1982
Spare a thought for the long gone Penny Farthing.
Now trading as the ever so sober and serious Courtyard Bar & Kitchen
And continue on to reflect upon the short life of the soon to be demolished Churchill Way flyover and walkways.
What we thought was built to last in effect wasn’t the case and it is almost impossible to maintain some of those structures that have internally deteriorated beyond being able to to be repaired.
Their construction was a direct result of Traffic in Towns was an influential report and popular book on urban and transport planning policy published 25 November 1963 for the UK Ministry of Transport by a team headed by the Professor Sir Colin Buchanan. The report warned of the potential damage caused by the motor car, while offering ways to mitigate it. It gave planners a set of policy blueprints to deal with its effects on the urban environment, including traffic containment and segregation, which could be balanced against urban redevelopment, new corridor and distribution roads and precincts.
Further developed in the 1965 Liverpool City Centre Plan:
In the 1960s, planning consultant Graeme Shankland advised Liverpool City Council on urban renewal. The resulting Liverpool City Centre Plan of 1965 declared two thirds of the city’s buildings to be obsolete, and proposed road-building on a vast scale, but it also recognised that Liverpool had outstanding Victorian architecture which must be preserved.
Onwards at ground level to the former Higson’s Offices 127 Dale Street 1964-65 Architect Derek Jones for Ormrod and Partners – now in use as HQ for the National Museums Liverpool.
A little ways down along the street on our right Kingsway House 1965-67 Derek Stephenson and Partners, currently undergoing refurbishment as luxury apartments following a spell as homeless shelter.
Hatton Garden is a former office building that is soon to be transformed into luxury city centre residential apartments. Perfect for young professionals and couples, each apartment will radiate a homely feel without compromising on space or style.
A respectful nod to the unassuming though mildly assertive New Oxford House.
To our left the former Midland Bank, 4 Dale Street, constructed in 1971 to designs of 1967 by Raymond Fletcher of Bradshaw, Rowse & Harker – Listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: is an important example of a post-war bank atypically employing a high-quality Modernist design reflective of its era – a form of late-1960s pop architecture bringing fun and diversity to the streetscape; its strikingly bold design marks a new consumerism in the clearing bank and an attempt to engage younger customers;
Further on down the road State House 1962 Edmund Kirby and Sons.
Tied stylistically to the neighbouring tunnel Ventilating Station 1931-34 by renowned local architect Herbert J Rowse.
Pausing to remember Turning the Place Over a temporary artwork conceived for Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture and saw a twenty six tonne section of Cross Keys House fixed to a giant pivot.
It opened in May 2007 and was due to be exhibited only into 2008, but proved such a phenomenal draw that it kept turning until 2011.
Nipping up Moorfields to Silkhouse Court on Tithebarn Street by Quiggin and Gee 1964 – built 1967-70.
Having recently been adorned with some incongruously imposed cladding:
Silkhouse Court is the latest residential development from Fortis Developments, in association with Elite City Living. Situated in the heart of Liverpool, one of the UK’s strongest emerging residential markets, the development is perfectly located between the modern business district and the city’s famous tourist landmarks.
Behind us Tempest House.
Refurbishment as office space:
The great thing about Tempest is it’ll completely change your work-life balance. We’ve created a cool, collaborative community within an inspiring space. Tempest looks to the past and points to the future. 1970s architecture, it’s brutal yet it’s refined, it’s old but at the same time it’s modern, and we really like those contradictions.
Back on ourselves down Vernon Street to Norwich House now 8 Water Street 1973 Edward Kirby and Sons.
With 50 luxury one and two bedroom apartments, some complete with private roof gardens offering panoramic views across Liverpool’s skyline, Dream Apartments Waterstreet are perfectly suited for both corporate and leisure guests alike.
Our apartments’ ‘home away from home’ design showcases a fully integrated handmade kitchen unit, beautiful bathroom with LED mood lighting and power shower to create a beautiful yet spacious living space. High speed internet access, car parking and 24-hour concierge service provides each visitor with hotel benefits whilst simultaneously the freedom and space that only serviced apartments can offer.
A turn around the block to the Oriel Chambers extension 1959-61 James & Bywaters, replacing the original bomb damaged facade.
And a more than appreciative nod to the Proto Modernism of Oriel Chambers themselves 1864 Peter Ellis.
One of the most remarkable buildings of its date in Europe – Pevsner.
Let’s nip down the road to look at the Sandcastle – the Royal and Sun Alliance Building by Tripe and Wakeham 1972-76 a big bright beautiful brick ziggurat with a Rowse Ventilation Station tucked neatly under its shoulder – linking functionalist moderne to a modern moderately restrained opulence.
Following the flow of Union Street at 100 stands the Sir John Moores Building 1962 designed by Littlewoods Department of Architecture and Planning.
Across the way the former Liverpool Daily Post and Echo Farmer & Dark 1970-74 is under wraps and awaiting orders.
Spare a thought for the long lost Cotton House facade of 1905 – extended and obscured by the Newton Dawson Forbes and Tate in 1967-69.
Back on ourselves again to Water Street where Drury House awaits.
Formerly the Commercial Union HQ – its canteen now long gone.
An elegant array of exposed stairways and classy cladding.
Then off to Fenwick Street and the Festival of Britain style opitimism of the Corn Exchange 1953-59 John Foster Jun. and James A Picton.
Turn around there’s the Bucket Fountain by sculptor Richard Huws in Beetham Plaza – under threat but newly listed!
In 1962 the Merseyside Civic Society commissioned the Welsh designer, Richard Huws, then a lecturer at the Liverpool School of Architecture (LSA), to design a kinetic fountain for central Liverpool. Dr Richard Moore, helped by university friends, all of whom were students of Richard Huws at the LSA at the time he was designing his Liverpool fountain, has recently traced the history of the fountain – known locally as the Bucket Fountain – exploring its origins, its final opening in the then Goree Piazza, Drury Lane in May 1967, its subsequent demise, its restoration between 1997 and 2000 and its present condition in the re-named Beetham Plaza.
His work as seen at the aforementioned Festival of Britain.
Water Mobile 1951
Here is Huws right in 1967 in the then Goree Piazza
If we scurry along there may be just enough time to take in the Queen Elizabeth II Law Courts – they were begun in 1973, opened in 1984. Architects were Farmer and Dark.