There can be no area of Liverpool that has been changed as many times as Pier Head. Almost every decade, a new plan is implemented guaranteeing a ‘world-class’ environment. Never has such an expression been so widely misused. (I can remember only recently the City Council describing the new Williamson Square as ‘world class’ – a particularly inappropriate description for the collection of tin sheds masquerading as shops on one end and a soulless empty area in front). Pier Head traditionally was the only area of the river giving free access to the population, the rest falling under the control of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board. It was a place to watch the river, get a ferry ‘over the water’ and understand the source of Liverpool’s greatness.
Today’s photograph of the Landing Stage was taken around 1966 just before yet another restructuring (the Chinese restaurant phase). In the following years, the bus terminus was removed, grass areas were brought in and then taken away and, but probably not finally, a canal cut through the area. Each change is heralded as ‘world class’ and therefore unlikely to last more than another generation. The new ferry terminal is yet another attempt to stamp a contemporary vision on the waterfront but I find it bland and dated.

Landing Stage 1966

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