It is reassuring to read that the Lion locomotive, one of the oldest in the world, is to be displayed in the new Liverpool Museum Great Port Gallery (due to open in December). The Lion was built in 1837, along with its twin Tiger, to haul luggage trains between Liverpool and Manchester. In 1859, it was sold to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company to be used as a stationery pumping engine. In 1928, Lion was presented to Liverpool Engineering Society, who renovated it and eventually passed ownership to Liverpool Museum in 1970.
In one of my first blogs, back in February 2010, I bemoaned the fact that statues of Ken Dodd and Bessie Braddock had been sited prominently in Lime Street station, yet there was nothing there to highlight its significance as the oldest mainline working station in the world. I have nothing against having statues of local personalities scattered around the city but these two are incongruous in their present setting. Likewise, I have no real objection to artefacts being housed in museums but, as the photograph illustrates, the most dramatic setting for the Lion is where it once stood until 1941 – on a plinth at Lime Street. Thousands of people pass through every day and the message made would be quite clear – you are standing in a place where the greatest transport revolution in history started. Museums are important but I believe that we can often gain more by the imaginative siting of such historical objects in a more dynamic context,

Lion locomotive and Lime Street Station, 1930s

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