Churchill Way Flyovers and Walkways – Liverpool

It’s too late she’s gone.

Opened in 1972 as an almost belated response to George Buchanan’s 1963 Traffic in Towns which had informed the Liverpool City Centre Plan of 1965.

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.

These policies shaped the development of the urban landscape in the UK and some other countries for two or three decades. Unusually for a technical policy report, it was so much in demand that Penguin abridged it and republished it as a book in 1964.

The majority of the planned Walkways in the Sky remained unrealised.

The Churchill Way was realised and remained in use until September 2nd 2019 – closed and facing a £10 million demolition programme, following a maintenance report which found them to be unsafe – and presumably beyond economic repair.

And so I took one last look around taking snaps, an epitaph to the end of an era, and the end of an idea that was once once rendered concrete.

Take a closer walk with me.

Antony Holloway – Huyton Wall

Antony Holloway – artist born March 8th 1928 he died on August 9th 2000.

Dorset was where he was born and grew up and the Dorset landscape was always there deep within him. He was educated at Poole grammar school between 1939 and 1945. After national service in the Royal Air Force in Dorset and Germany from 1948 to 1953 he studied at Bournemouth College of Art. Then came the RCA.

Tony began work as a stained glass and mural designer and jumped, with astonishing confidence, into working as a consultant designer with the architects’ division of the London County Council. He learned how to deal with architects and builders, and became adept at getting as much out of the money available – never enough – for his projects.

In 1963 he was introduced to the Manchester architect, Harry Fairhurst. Eight years later, after they had worked together on commissions in Cheshire and Liverpool, Fairhurst sought Tony’s advice about a plan for five large stained-glass windows in Manchester Cathedral.

Tony asked to design and make the first window, the St George in the inner south-west aisle. It was completed in 1973. Further windows followed in 1976 and 1980 and the final window, Revelation was installed in 1995.

The Guardian

His Sculptural Wall on London Road Manchester – an integral part of Fairhurst’s UMIST scheme, is Grade II listed.

His concrete panels clad two opposing sides of the Faraday Tower which can also be seen on the UMIST site.

I discovered further reference to his work in an old copy of Studio International – serendipitously purchased from a local charity shop.

So I bided my time, awaiting the day I could take the train to Huyton, walk along Bluebell Lane, across the busy dual carriageway to Primrose Drive.

My patience was rewarded – 7,000 square feet of cast concrete retaining wall, surrounding the tower blocks, built on a site raised above the roads.

In 1987 the wall was open to public access – one of the three tower blocks has been subsequently demolished.

Tower Block

Partially covered with greenery and now securely contained within spiked railings, I circumnavigated the site catching and snapping the structure where I could – here are those very snaps.

St Michael And All Angels – Newton

St Michael and All Angels Church.

Screenshot 2018-10-23 at 14.55.40

1 Woodland Rd, West Kirby, Birkenhead, Wirral CH48 6ER

St Michael and All Angels is a well established Church of England church situated in the heart of Newton, on the border of West Kirby, Wirral.

Our vision is to know Jesus better and make him known to others. We do this by worshipping God, standing up for and sharing the joy of Jesus, loving others and making a real difference in the church and in our community.

What can I expect when I visit St Michaels?

When you come to St Michaels you will find a warm and friendly group of people committed to making church exciting, life-changing, and enjoyable. There are services for the whole family that include contemporary worship (including a café church service), a time of biblical teaching, and an opportunity to make a decision to follow Jesus Christ. Each service is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes in length.

We wandered away from West Kirby along the highways and bye-ways to Newton.

Newton consists of a village hall, post office, public house and a general store. The local park, aptly named Newton Park, has a football pitch, outdoor basketball courts and a playground for children. Wirral Council also has several allotments in Newton that are provided for residents to grow their own vegetables and plants.

And a most surprising elevated, elevating and angular church.

Such a revelation following several  rows of well behaved semis and open fields, my extensive yet limited research can find no record of architectural authorship or attribution.

Perhaps simply delivered by hand or hands unseen in 1963.

P1300127

P1300128

P1300129

P1300130

P1300131

P1300132

P1300133

P1300134

P1300135

P1300137

P1300138

P1300139

P1300140

P1300141

P1300142

P1300143

P1300146

P1300147

Mitzi Cunliffe – Owen’s Park Manchester

Mitzi Solomon Cunliffe January 1st 1918  December 30th 2006

American born, resident of Didsbury Manchester, sculptor and designer, responsible for, amongst other things, the BAFTA mask.

Mitzi_Cunliffe_Design

Her first large scale commission was two pieces for the Festival of Britain in 1951. One, known as Root Bodied Forth, shows figures emerging from a tree, and was displayed at the entrance of the Festival. The second, a pair of bronze handles in the form of hands, adorned the Regatta Restaurant. She created a similar piece, in the form of knots, in 1952 which remains at the School of Civic Design at Liverpool University, along with The Quickening in the rear courtyard.

p1090554

p1090555-copy

Cunliffe developed a technique for mass-producing abstract designs in relief in concrete, as architectural decoration, which she described as sculpture by the yard. She used the technique to decorate buildings throughout the UK, but particularly in and around Manchester.

d9d483ddd467272577443b6391e5a66a

Particularly this example of four modular panels named Cosmos, set in the wall of the student halls of residence in Owens Park, Fallowfield, Manchester.

P1270299

P1270300

P1270302

P1270303

P1270304

P1270306

P1270307

P1270308

P1270309

P1270310

P1270311

P1270312

P1270313

P1270314

P1270315

P1270316

P1270317

P1270318

P1270321

P1270322

P1270323

P1270324

P1270325

 

The George Hotel – Stockport

Screen Shot 2018-06-02 at 13.57.42

15 Wellington Road North Stockport SK4 1AF.

Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.

A delightful interwar pub on the corner of Heaton Lane and Wellington Road North, I moved to Stockport some forty years ago and was mightily impressed by the restrained exterior Deco design, wrought and hewn from soft pale sandstone. Equally impressive was the wood panelled, open, spacious interior space.

The George was always something of an anomaly, being the only Greater Manchester pub owned by Higson’s Brewery, our almost next door Liverpool neighbour.

P1200475 copy

Higsons_72

Higsons was founded in 1780 – 1974 saw the brewery merge with James Mellor & Sons. In 1978, Higsons acquired the Bent’s Brewery, which was based next to its North Street head office. Boddingtons of Manchester acquired Higsons in 1985 but decided to abandon brewing in 1989 to focus on its pubs.

They have/had fine former offices on Dale Street

venues_7

Boddingtons’ brewing arm was sold to Whitbread in 1990 which then subsequently closed the Higsons Stanhope brewery and then reopened by new owners as the Cains Brewery in 1991. Higsons beer was brewed in Sheffield and Durham for a few years after closure before being discontinued. The beer brand was revived in the current century and reborn in 2017, now served in the swish Baltic Triangle based Higson’s Tap & Still with an interior order that leaps backwards head first, into an imagined future of raw brick, reclaimed wood and industrial flourishes.

DcL2r33W0AARIGU

The George prospered – a town centre pub surrounded by workers in search of a wet and shoppers shirking their retail duties in favour of draught bitter or Cherry B.

1960

Its interior however did not fair so well, ripped out in the 80s – remade remodelled, in the deeply unattractive, anti-vernacular, sub-disco style de jour.

Renamed The Manhattan, riding the fun-pub wave, closed reopened as The George – there followed thirty year of uncertainty, struggling to find an identity throughout a time of ever-changing moods.

Screen Shot 2018-06-02 at 13.53.28

It became a daytime haunt of the hardened, shattered glass, blood on the tracks class of drinker, its reputation in tatters along with yesterday’s fish and chip papers.

The last time I came by you were still open for business.

P1160554

I bided a wee while, without imbibing, all the better to record your disabused Art Deco details.

P1160541

P1160542

 

P1160544

P1160545

P1160550

 

P1160552

I came by yesterday and you were all tinned-up with nowhere to go.

Premises To Let as of 13th May 2018 – on the 2nd April 2018 the licence has lapsed, so this will be a further barrier to it re-opening.

And so your faux nowheresville interior will pass into yet another of somebody’s history, along with your fine Deco detail and disco destruction.

This a tale of our age – of monopoly capitalism, stay at home Bargain Booze tipplers, demographic shifts, de-populated town centres, fashion fads and cheap cladding.

Time changes everything except something within us which is never surprised by change.

P1250771

 

 

P1250776

P1250778

P1250781

P1250783

P1250785

P1250786

P1250789

P1250794

P1250796

 

 

 

Queen Elizabeth II Law Courts – Liverpool

And so castles made of sand, 
Fall in the sea, eventually.

Once there was a battle here, several actually, and battles mean castles, possibly.

13

Erected in the between 1232 and 1235, inevitably through the passage of time, blows were exchanged, the Banastre Rebellion of 1315, and later in 1689 Prince Rupert was battered by King Billy, and so on until it was eventually demolished in 1726. A series of churches ensued, finally to be supplanted by the arrival of an amusingly statuesque Queen Victoria, replete with plaque.

1200px-Victoria_Monument,_Liverpool_Plaque_2

In 1976 excavation of the south side of Castle Street was conducted before the construction of the Crown Courts building, which was built in the style of a castle.

What goes around comes around, ending up largely square in Derby Square.

And lo and so it came to pass, new law courts were erected upon the site begun in 1973, opened in 1984. Architects were Farmer and Dark, who were also responsible for the Fawley Power Station.

fawley

And the Cornwallis Building at the University of Kent.

Cornwallis uok 68

I passed by there yet again last Saturday, still maintaining a restrained ambivalence regarding this monolithic concrete and sand pseudo-castle. Less than, and larger than the sum of its parts. The quirky detailing and awkward geometry, producing a somewhat confused, yet imposing scheme, an ossified pinkish ribbed construct from another age.

Mass – possibly without redemption.

P1200504

P1200505

P1200506

P1200507

P1200508

P1200509

P1200510

Coat of arms by Richard Kindersley

P1200513

P1200515

P1200518

P1200519

P1200521

P1200523

P1200524

P1200525

P1200527

P1200529

P1200530

P1200532

P1200534

P1200537

William Mitchell – Liverpool

To wander the streets with a broad smile, open heart and eyes, is to enter into an unwritten contract with the unexpected and inexplicable.

Chance encounters with old, new or familiar friends.

Imagine my surprise, when for the first time ever I unexpectedly came upon these William Mitchell reliefs on Hope Street, whilst walking aimlessly away from Lime Street.

That sense of surprise has never diminished, my spirits lift and my smile broadens to a cheeky grin, my pace quickens in ever so eager anticipation as I approach.

Wrapped tightly around the low, low waist of the former Federation House – big, bossy and very, very beautiful – though at times obscured by more recent architectural intrusions.

Public Sculpture of Liverpool – Terry Cavanagh 1997

mitchell

The original raw concrete is now awash with washes of off-magnolia exterior emulsion.

mitchell-1

Hughes and Willet were seemingly less amazed or amused, the opinion of the Aztecs, or for that matter the Neo-Aztecs, is sadly not a matter of record.

aztec

I remain impressed by the impressed concrete relief, a convincing addition to a sharp functional modern office block, all of which have not dated disastrously as soon as the fashion supporting it has collapsed.

Treat yourself take a walk, surprise yourself once in a while.

Aztec bars were withdrawn shortly after their launch in 1967.

The Aztec race was all but wiped out following their disastrous encounter in 1519 with the Conquistadors.

The William Mitchell reliefs prevail to this this day, as of last Sunday.

p1090463-copy

p1090465-copy

p1090466-copy

p1090467-copy

p1090468-copy

p1090469-copy

p1090470-copy

p1090471-copy

p1090472-copy

p1090473-copy

p1090474-copy

p1090475-copy

p1090476-copy

p1090477-copy

p1090478-copy

p1090479-copy

p1090480-copy

p1090481-copy

p1090482-copy

p1090483-copy

 

Myrtle Gardens – Liverpool

Once again I wandered the warm and welcoming streets of Liverpool in search of houses.

Once again I found older housing, dressed up as newer housing with a new roof, windows and clientele, a stone’s throw from my former encounter in St Andrew’s Gardens.

Myrtle Gardens in Edge Hill was part of the larger project of Liverpool’s inter-war rehousing programme – a tale very well told by Municipal Dreams.

An area with a whole heap of history

And a whole heap more on this fine site The Liverpool Picture Book from whence these images were taken:

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-16-55-03

artist-impression

artists-impression

work-underway-at-myrtle-gardens

dscn0170-1

dscn0174

dscn0170-1

myrtle-gardens1

dscn0169

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-16-54-43

There is also a  comprehensive visual history here in this clip:

Containing the poignant lost faces of the estate:

A familiar tale of bomb damage, decline and sale to private developers and here we are today, a mix of short student lets, newcomers and a handful of long term residents.

Eddie the porter – named Eddie Porter, a clear case of nominative determinism, proved the perfect host, I introduced myself as the man from the Manchester Modernists, doors opened and the conversation flowed like fine wine.

Tales of lads illicitly playing football in the roof voids, families leaving concrete structures in order to huddle in corrugated iron Anderson Shelters, A Hitler’s time in the ‘Pool and his resolve  save the Liver Building, bombs that did fall on the now missing blocks of flats, a family celebrating the return of their son killed in an air raid.

We parted and I strolled amongst the elevated homes some 300 flats, over 80 years old and continuing to provide shelter and succour for the many, though sadly no longer under the sheltering wing of the Municipal Housing Department and their team of engineers, architects and builders.

p1090436-copy

p1090437-copy

p1090438-copy

p1090439-copy

p1090440a-copy

p1090441-copy

p1090442-copy

 

p1090444-copy

p1090445-copy

p1090446-copy

p1090447-copy

p1090448-copy

p1090449-copy

p1090450-copy

p1090452-copy

p1090453-copy

p1090454-copy

p1090455-copy

p1090456-copy

p1090458-copy

p1090459-copy

p1090460-copy

p1090461-copy

Wavertree Liverpool – Pathfinder

How does the modern world treat the past?

With a disdain bordering on a sociopathic destructive indifference it appears.

New Labour with an eye to rehouse the housed, tinned up hundreds of homes prior to demolition and redevelopment. They were and still are solid late Victorian terraces possibly in need of improvement – during the 1990’s, period housing stock was refurbished with central government funding, through a system of easily obtained grants. Improving the living conditions of many, maintaining the structures, and  supporting the local self-employed building trade.

So several years down the line, I visited the streets of Wavertree discussed in Owen Hatherley’s article of 2013.

Little or nothing has changed there are some tenanted houses, interspersed between the blanked out windows in sadly deserted streets, save the two camera shy free runners, who had lived and played in the area for some seven years.

p1090427-copy

When one door closes another door closes.

If working-class areas are to defend themselves, they need confidence, both in themselves and in the places they live, otherwise the whole grim process will go on, with councils making the same mistakes and the same lives being destroyed, without interruption.

p1090408-copy

p1090409-copy

p1090410-copy

p1090412-copy

p1090413-copy

p1090414-copy

p1090415-copy

p1090416-copy

p1090417-copy

p1090418-copy

p1090419-copy

p1090420-copy

 

 

p1090423-copy

p1090424-copy

p1090425-copy

p1090427a-copy

The Bullring – Liverpool

I love walking around the Bullring, there are no bulls, just students.

What was once imagined as inter-war social housing, a proud public utopia for you and me, is now a temporary pied-à-terre for them and their owners.

Built in 1935 as part of the city’s expansion of council homes, a time and place very much in thrall, to the then current developments in German Modernism.

https://berlinheritagehousing.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/large-housing-estate-britz/

DSC_0173 copy

It was one of many such developments across Liverpool, as outlined here:

in this detailed post by Municipal Dreams.

St Andrews Gardens, aka The Bullring is the sole survivor.

Bullring-1967

In 1967 the residents turned out in force to celebrate the opening of the very close by Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King.

Street-Part-Bullring

Faces now faded, the lost warm, wide smiles and pretty paper flowers of post-war dreams.

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 20.47.34

Captured here on film:

Go take a walk today through a past and a future which we all still deserve.

There is still the sense of a magical space and possibilities as yet unrealised

God Bless Our Pope

Liverpool – The New Penny Farthing

89 Roe St – tucked into the side of the sprawling St John’s Centre car park and a cosily withdrawn corner of the Royal Court Theatre.

The New Penny Farthing.

DaqY5aKW4AAr_2R

A name which instantly evokes arcane loose change and strange bicycles.

Each time as I pass I’m drawn in, yet never enter.

Amazed by the array of ever changing signage, happy hours abound.

It’s a happy house, we’re happy here.

A dark drinking den awaits within, the daytime drinker abides, imbibing.

Stay new.

P1030207 copy

P1030209 copy

P1030829 copy

P1030206 copy

P1030828 copy

P1030215 copy

P1050539 copy

P1030208 copy

P1030203 copy

P1050537 copy

P1030835 copy

P1030213 copy

P1030830 copy

P1030832 copy

P1030216 copy

P1030214 copy

P1030210 copy

P1030205 copy

P1030833 copy

P1030211 copy

P1050536 copy

P1030831 copy

P1030838 copy

P1030212 copy

P1030834 copy

P1000715 copy

P1030837 copy

P1050538 copy

 

Liverpool – Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King

Possibly, probably and inevitably the finest Modernist building in Britain.

It continues to surprise the surprised visitor on each successive visit.

A compelling structure which articulates the ever changing marine light, both inside and out – physically and spiritually.

Dizzy detail waiting to be discovered and rediscovered.

A decorative order of the highest order.

Treat your body and mind to a day out – or simply banish the last traces of Cartesian Dualism and immerse yourself, soon.

http://www.liverpoolmetrocathedral.org.uk

 

P1030313 copy

P1030318 copy

P1030320 copy

P1030326 copy

P1030321 copy

P1030317 copy

P1030327 copy

P1030319 copy

P1030325 copy

P1050604 copy

P1050606 copy

P1050573 copy

P1030322 copy

P1050572 copy

P1050593 copy

P1050589 copy

P1030324 copy

P1050586 copy

P1050584 copy

P1050595 copy

P1030323 copy

P1030328 copy

P1050598 copy

P1050597 copy

P1050602 copy

P1050582 copy

P1050599 copy

P1050594 copy

P1050591 copy

P1050610 copy

P1050592 copy

P1050609 copy

P1050583 copy

P1050608 copy

 

State House – Liverpool

Standing on the corner watching all the world go by.

Reflecting on and reflecting it’s older neighbours.

State House Dale Street.

“Built 1962 to the designs of Edmund Kirby & Sons. It has an assertive service tower, apparently clad in polished granite. Unusually, above the entrance is a concrete slab with a relief depicting what looks like a coat of arms above the building’s name. Kirby’s practice moved into the building for a time.”

Three well proportioned volumes – a central service tower, main block and outriding, lower level base.

An exciting conflation of grids, contrasting in scale and finish.

As ever – go see for y’self.

Higson’s Offices – Liverpool

127 Dale Street, corner of North Street, just by the Ship and Mitre, across from the Queensway Tunnel entrance?

Yes that’s the one, Liverpool’s most remarkable, least remarked upon building.

So clean, so modern, so new, a delightful grid of materials, glass, steel, polished marble, brick and patinated beaten metal.

Stand back and wonder, move in and sigh with delight.

As I went about my snappy business, I was approached by a local – Mark.

Surprised by my curiously, up close, slow scrutiny of the building, he went on to explain that he was familiar with the architect Derek Jones who had worked on the design for Ormrod and Partners in 1964.

Formerly home to Higson’s Brewery offices, now housing the Merseyside Museums administration and design teams, the exterior is largely intact.

So am I.

Go take a look.

P1030856 copy

P1030852 copy

P1030863 copy

P1030853 copy

P1030854 copy

P1030860 copy

P1030862 copy

P1030867 copy

P1030859 copy

P1030855 copy

P1030868 copy

P1030858 copy

P1030861 copy

P1030857 copy

P1030866 copy