The poster outside The Jacey cinema is advertising Black Orpheus, a 1959 film about the Rio Carnival, but this is 1970 and the end of an era for Brown’s department store. Clayton Square was once Liverpool’s finest city centre square but it had gradually become rough at the edges and in need of serious investment. Had it got it, back in the 1970s, we would be admiring an interesting mix of late-Georgian/Victorian buildings which would have softened the brutal impact of St John’s Market. What we got was a repeat of the same mistake. Rip out the character and erect a shopping mall which, after little more than 20 years, is already showing its age. As is always the case, commercial interests run rough-shod over the sensibilities of the public – the very people they are trying to entice into their crumbling malls. In truth the public has voted – which is why these ‘shopping experiences’ are emptying out. Sadly, the damage is already done and no amount of hand-wringing can restore the period character to the area.

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