The Paradise Project

The making of Liverpool One.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll probably know that I have arguments with Liverpool One. Loved by many and successful though it is, I don’t go there much, preferring a more independent version of Liverpool around the fringes of our moved city centre. I’m also unhappy with the privatised nature of the streets, signed over to the Duke of Westminster for 250 years.Paradise01

But enough. I’ve written elsewhere about all that. So this is a post mainly about the wonder of a large scale building project and largely based on the observations of a single day.

On 16th April 2005 Sarah and I took our cameras for a walk around what was then being called ‘The Paradise Project’ – first the model, then the reality.

Sarah looking at the giant model in the shop where it lived in Lord Street.

Sarah looking at the giant model in the shop where it lived in Lord Street.

There were going to be trams at that stage.

There were going to be trams at that stage.

A joint tram station and bus station.

A joint tram station and bus station.

bbb

Liverpool One, the idea.

And truth to tell, the reality, sadly minus the trams, is much like that now in late 2013. But in April 2005 it was the largest construction site either of us had ever seen.

From the river to the cathedral, or so it appeared.

From the river to the Cathedral, or so it appeared.

The joyous flattening of 60s monstrosities.

The joyous flattening of 60s monstrosities. (Though sadly the Court building on the left escaped the wrecking ball.)

ss

Foundations rising.

The Fire Station hanging on - soon to go.

The Fire Station hanging on – soon to go.

Many of these taken through holes in the site fence.

Many of these taken through holes in the site fence.

Paradise11

A small city of portakabins in there. Crowding round the soon to be late and unlamented Moat House/Holiday Inn.

A small city of portakabins in there. Crowding round the soon to be late and unlamented Moat House/Holiday Inn.

The future, rising up.

The future, rising up.

Paradise14And going through these today, coming across familiar views now utterly changed.

Lookig into Paradise Street 2005. No John Lewis, no Apple Store, No Liverpool One.

Looking into Paradise Street 2005. No John Lewis, no Apple Store, No Liverpool One.

No bus station yet, either.

No bus station yet, either.

We all got used to this in those days. Picking our way around.

We all got used to this in those days. Picking our way around.

ss

In there, somewhere, is Liverpool’s original dock. The world’s first commercial dock, from 1715.

Taking down the 60s.

Taking down the 60s.

Remembering what was here.

Remembering what was here.

Paradise Street 2005. Radio Merseyside and The Friends' Meeting House. Both soon to go.

Paradise Street 2005. BBC Radio Merseyside and The Friends’ Meeting House. Both soon to go.

Some buildings though, will survive.

Some buildings though, will survive.

Not this one though.

Not this one though.

Paradise24

Or the ugly Paradise Street multi-storey car park and bus station.

Or the ugly Paradise Street multi-storey car park and bus station.

Let's pull them down.

Let’s pull them down.

Looking along School Lane? Another survivor.

It was Quiggins, then Jigsaw and it rezones today as Home.

It was Quiggins, then Jigsaw and it reopens today as Home. Though everything around it is now changed.

The road at the back of Quiggins.

The road at the back of Quiggins.

Where the car parks were.

Where the car parks were.

Now remember, this desolation is nothing to do with the Paradise Project. These are bomb-sites, left over from World War Two.

The 1940s frozen in time.

The 1940s frozen in time.

Ancient window, modern graffiti.

Ancient window, modern graffiti.

And even though it’s reconstruction time, it’s still April.

So spring is appearing around the site.

So spring is appearing around the site.

The Golden Phoenix and the Hanover Street multi-storey, late days.

The Golden Phoenix and the Hanover Street multi-storey, late days.

A surprising survivor. Just next to Lunya now.

A surprising survivor. Just next to Lunya now.

And so the demolished ends.

And so the demolished ends.

And the new rises. The new BBC Radio Merseyside, from the old Hanover Street multi.

And the new rises. The new BBC Radio Merseyside, from the old Hanover Street multi.

And first of everything to be finished from what will become Liverpool One?

A new multi-storey, ready for the new John Lewis , when it arrives.

A new multi-storey, ready for the new John Lewis , when it arrives.

And from up on its third floor...

And from up on its third floor…

Our city changes before our eyes.

Our city changes before our eyes.

The making of Liverpool One.

The making of Liverpool One.

The Paradise Project.

The Paradise Project.

And now, eight years later?

From some angles it's folding into the city.

From some angles it’s folding into the city.

From others?

Well...

Well…

Maybe it'll take a bit more time before it looks like Paradise.

Maybe it’ll take a bit more time before it looks like Paradise.

6 thoughts on “The Paradise Project

  1. Gerry

    Excellent documentation of recent history. It’s easy to forget the dereliction and the sixties eyesores that existed before Liverpool One. No doubt it’s been good for the city economically, and some of the architecture and landscaping is OK – but will it also be considered an eyesore in, say, a couple of generations?

    Reply
  2. robertday154

    A shame about the loss of the fire station, which for all its sixties brutalism looks an interesting building for its time (even if it is a little reminiscent of the Fire House in Truffaut’s film ‘Fahrenheit 451’…).

    But you can’t keep everything; cities are living organisms and change is important (as long as it’s change for the better). A shame that the new development presents such a cloned face to the world.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Its saving grace is that it makes a better job of following Liverpool’s traditional streets than what it’s replaced. And last Saturday, apparently, it had it’s highest ever visitor numbers of 180,000. So it is popular, but I wasn’t one of them (as if they could care, I’m sure.)

      Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      As Gerry says on here, what Liverpool One replaced was a load of post-war dereliction where the main error had been to needlessly demolish the old Custom House, just after the war.

      So, I don’t care for Liverpool One much, as you’ll gather. But as much of what I write elsewhere on here shows, I don’t agree that Liverpool has lost its individuality, not at all.

      Reply

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s