Upper Duke Street 1977

Seel Street 1980

Duke Street 1971

After my last post about School Lane and Hanover Street, I received a mixed postbag. Whilst most agreed with me that Liverpool had lost a valuable chunk of its early history, others felt the Liverpool One development was a substantial improvement on the semi-dereliction that existed before. My point was that the gradual chipping away at these streets happened before the conception of the Grosvenor plan – by which time the few remaining fragments were indeed rather meaningless. Certainly I would not argue against the Liverpool One effect – it has transformed the city centre, created much-needed jobs and raised the image of Liverpool.
To labour my point again, I have posted three photographs of the Duke Street/Seel Street area. Virtually all the early Georgian terraces have been removed in the last 30 years. Of course, preservation is nearly always an expensive option but there was little will to save them. The houses on Duke Street collapsed through neglect in the 1990s, the terraces on Seel Street were even more recent victims. Upper Duke Street may look grim in the photograph but renovated and repainted, the houses would be a far more interesting streetscape than the JMU building which occupies the site. We never seem to learn any lessons. Once gone, an important part of the city’s history disappears and no matter how many museums are built heralding the achievements of the city, the real heritage has already been dispatched.

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