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.
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.
There were going to be trams at that stage.
A joint tram station and bus station.
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.
The joyous flattening of 60s monstrosities. (Though sadly the Court building on the left escaped the wrecking ball.)
The Fire Station hanging on – soon to go.
Many of these taken through holes in the site fence.
A small city of portakabins in there. Crowding round the soon to be late and unlamented Moat House/Holiday Inn.
The future, rising up.
And going through these today, coming across familiar views now utterly changed.
Looking into Paradise Street 2005. No John Lewis, no Apple Store, No Liverpool One.
No bus station yet, either.
We all got used to this in those days. Picking our way around.
Taking down the 60s.
Remembering what was here.
Paradise Street 2005. BBC Radio Merseyside and The Friends’ Meeting House. Both soon to go.
Some buildings though, will survive.
Not this one though.
Or the ugly Paradise Street multi-storey car park and bus station.
Let’s pull them down.
Looking along School Lane? Another survivor.
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.
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.
Ancient window, modern graffiti.
And even though it’s reconstruction time, it’s still April.
So spring is appearing around the site.
The Golden Phoenix and the Hanover Street multi-storey, late days.
A surprising survivor. Just next to Lunya now.
And so the demolished ends.
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.
And from up on its third floor…
Our city changes before our eyes.
The Paradise Project.
And now, eight years later?
From some angles it’s folding into the city.
Maybe it’ll take a bit more time before it looks like Paradise.