Sunday, 8 February 2009

Road Trip (North): Liverpool part 3

Part 1 ¦ Part 2

Next on our tour of Liverpool was the Pier Head. The Pier Head is definitely my favourite part of Liverpool and it has some of the best architecture in the world (once again, my fascination with old buildings comes up. It's not my fault I spent much of my working career as a property manager housed in a listed building, is it?)

The Pier Head is a small strip of land with three magnificent old buildings facing out over the Mersey River. This is where you will catch the ferry made famous by the Gerry and the Pacemakers song, Ferry Across the Mersey.

Liverpool Pier Head  Liverpool Pier Head 

Most days we would catch the Merseyrail under the Mersey and come out at Hamilton Square, then we would catch the ferry back. On this particular day though, it was very cold and we had loads to do so we settled for lots of photos instead!

The Royal Liver Building & the Cunard Building   The Port of Liverpool Building
The Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and the magnificent Port of Liverpool Building
(click on the pictures for larger shots)

The Royal Liver Building was built between 1908 and 1911. "Liver" in this instance is pronounced "laiver". It houses two Liver birds on top of the buildings. These are the fabled birds that look after the city of Liverpool and the story goes that if they were ever to fly away, then the city of Liverpool would cease to exist. They are not the only Liver birds in Liverpool but they are the biggest and most famous. The two Liver birds on the Royal Liver Building face in opposite directions - one of the birds faces inwards towards the city of Liverpool and the other faces the Mersey River.

Many of you will know the Liver birds from the Liverpool Football Club crest of course. I would post a picture but that would just ruin my blog. (I'm a proud Everton supporter).

The Cunard Building was built between 1914 and 1917 as the headquarters for the Cunard Line, the shipping company that owned the Lusitania. I'll talk about the Lusitania more in my next post about our visit to the Merseyside Maritime Museum. My brother worked on the fourth floor of the Cunard Building from 2006 to 2008 when I convinced him to rather come and live in London with us. Looks like that worked out for him as he is earning twice as much now than he was in Liverpool!!! In any event, I would absolutely love to work in an old building like the Cunard Building and I think he is very fortunate. He says they often popped over to the Royal Liver Building for lunch in one of the restaurants. Can you imagine that?

The Port of Liverpool Building was built between 1903 and 1907 and was designed by Sir Arnold Thornley following an architectural competition in 1901. It is an absolutely exquisite building with the most intricate details and finishings. Actually, after reading the details about it on the Liverpool World Heritage website, I now know that I have to go inside the building if I truly want to appreciate it.

During the Blitz in 1941, a bomb exploded in the basement of the Port of Liverpool Building. The cost of the restoration project that began after the war far exceeded the original cost of constructing the building!

Merchant Navy War Memorials Liverpool Pier Head   Merchant Navy War Memorials Liverpool Pier Head

Liverpool was so badly affected in the Blitz of World War II and these memorials to sailors from the Merchant Navy are also located on the Pier Head.

The Buildings of Liverpool Pier Head   The art deco George's Dock Ventilation
The Buildings of the Pier Head and the art deco George's Dock Ventilation with the rear of the Port of Liverpool Building and the Royal Liver Building in view
(click on the pictures for larger shots)

Finally we tear ourselves away from the old Pier Head and walk on up to the Albert Dock. On the way we are reminded of just how much this magical city has to offer.

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14 comments

  1. I really like Liverpool (the city) the dock area has been made very "cultural" pity I can't understand the locals when they speak!

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  2. The blitz caused so much damage in so many places -Plymouth, Southampton, for example. Liverpool seems to have managed to preserve some character thankfully.

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  3. i cant believe i still havent been to Liverpool! but now i know about the laiver birds haha

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  4. @ Mike: Heh. I like the city too - can you tell? :o) I understand all the accents up there. Most of my family have Lancashire accents but I think I "get" the Liverpudlian accent because I love it so much. I really, really like it.

    @ Sheila: I think I am going to start looking more into the history of the blitz and the damage it did. Given my interest in buildings, it would be interesting to know what was destroyed.

    @ MT: Have you at least been to the Emirates Stadium??? That is the important thing (for you that is, I would rather actually go to UAE).

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  5. Emm, you would love Prague. Lots of old architecture and history. Now I want to go :o)

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  6. I too enjoy these historic and architectural pleasing buildings. Thank you for teaching us about Liverpool and the laiver bird.

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  7. I've only been to Liverpool once on e business trip. I didn't gt to see it at all. So this is a good learnign curve for me about the City. Quite surprised how historic it is.

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  8. Hi,
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  9. Thanks for joining my followers! I see that we both love old building (and some newer ones)! I had the pleasure to visit Liverpool once, as a student, in 1961. What I especially remember of course would be these buildings (this was just "before the Beatles" - I saw them actually in Hamburg, the same year I believe, without realising who they were)! I was even invited inside the Cunard building!

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  10. I haven't been there yet. You post has encouraged me to put it on my list for this year.

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  11. Those are some nice pictures. They make me wish that I had visited that area when I was on vacation in England last time. Maybe next time?

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  12. @ Ivanhoe: I have wanted to go to Prague for longer than I have wanted to go to New York! I read most of Milan Kundera's books to that date in 1991 and have wanted to go ever since! I get awfully jealous of people when they go.

    @ DL: It's a pleasure! I hope you'll like York too then.

    @ Martin: It's a pity you didn't get to see much! Liverpool is full of history, as is Manchester, and I wasn't able to touch on even a fraction of it!

    @ Peter: hi! Your blog is lovely - I have not been to Paris yet. How excting - to have seen the Beatles!

    @ Mo: I would highly recommend it - Liverpool is especially lovely in summer.

    @ Tom: Yeah - maybe next time. Perhaps you could combine Liverpool and Dublin, for instance?

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  13. Just found your blog, I like the idea of being an eternal tourist. York is one of my favourite cities.

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  14. @ Walk Talk: I like the idea of being an eternal tourist too! Welcome to my blog!

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