Two photographs of the same block on Brythen Street, with the Playhouse clearly visible in the first photograph to fix the location. A bit of a pub crawler’s dream – with The Old Royal next to Quinn’s Oyster Bar, Roberts (bird dealers), The Dart and The Old Dive on the opposite corner.
I have already posted a number of photographs around the Williamson Square/St John’s Market area. The destruction of the network of streets and squares to make way for the new market, road widening and (abandoned) civic centre scheme was one of Liverpool’s most significant architectural losses. My reason for resurrecting my opinion is the visit of Unesco officials to determine the threat posed to Liverpool’s World Heritage Status by Peel Holdings’ proposed Liverpool Waters development.
It is reassuring that the issue is being discussed at this stage. In the 1960s, the heritage lobby would have been brushed aside as an irrelevance. Today, the balance has shifted but is Liverpool Waters a threat or a necessary, even essential, scheme to create a future for the city? I am fairly clear where I stand. Unlike the 1960s redevelopment, which removed over a century of character and history, the Peel proposal is on derelict land which has been vacant for decades. The physical integrity of Pier Head is not threatened, the key issue is the visual impact (which has already been badly compromised by the Mann Island development). I cannot say I am a great fan of skyscrapers unless they are of a very high architectural quality – and most in this country are not. I prefer the human scale of smaller buildings in a more intimate setting where a restored Stanley Dock could take pride of place. Clearly Peel will have a strategy that will accommodate revisions to their plans and I hope that the public can have some input. Development at all cost is not the issue – even with 12,000 jobs at stake – but what future Liverpool has got without an ambitious plan.

Brythen Street c1965

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