Liverpool history sites of interest
This post marks a new era for Historic Liverpool, as I’m closing down my venerable Liverpool Landscapes blog after just under 10 years, and moving all the posts here, to the main Historic Liverpool website. This is the first post I’m writing here, and the others will appear here in the very near future.
I’ll keep writing about the same things, and so to kick off I’ve collected together a few web pages that have languished in my bookmarks for a little while now. I hope you find them interesting!
Discover Norse placenames near you
The British Museum had an exhibition a couple of years ago, called Vikings: life and legend. You may have heard about it for all the wrong reasons. That aside, the Museum has a web page relating to that exhibition, showing all the Norse place names in the British Isles. As you can see, there are a lot on the Wirral, with a lesser concentration on the east bank of the Mersey, after which it thins out into England.
This was due to the direction from which the Norse arrived in this part of the country – from Ireland and the Isle of Man. By the looks of things, the Norse were less likely to travel far from where they landed, and the pattern of their settlement remains partly fossilised in the landscape to this day. (The other language of settlement names is usually said to be ‘British’, or Anglo Saxon, in contrast to the Scandinavian influences of the Norse names.)
Is your part of Merseyside Norse? Find out at http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/vikings/vikings_live/old_norse_origins.aspx#formby
Sandfield Tower Up Close
Sandfield Tower was built in 1851 for Joseph Edwards, one of Liverpool’s (and West Derby’s) wealthy merchants. Sadly, the Tower has been vacant for a long time, and left victim to arsonists and vandals. It does have some friends though, who would like to see it restored. There’s an interesting argument to be had as to what to restore it to, as ‘former glory’ might not be practical for this house. It’s a stout old building, squarish but interesting none the less, and it would be great to see the sandstone structure brought back into use, even if only for flats or the like.
The History of Sandfield Tower website, which I’ve seen develop over the years, has now got a great set of slideshows which show every angle, inside and out. It’s one of Jonathan Wild’s campaigns, others of which can be seen on his website at Maelstrom Design. Jonathan also appears in a short BBC North West Tonight film which is linked to from the Tower website.
Read about memories and the campaign to save Sandfield Tower at http://www.sandfieldtower.co.uk.
Liverpool: City of Change and Challenge
The above will be a familiar phrase to anyone who’s investigated Liverpool’s post-war history. The city’s fortunes had, perhaps inevitably, been on the wane since its heyday in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, but after the Luftwaffe had done their thing the city was physically as well as economically damaged. The port was no longer the strength it had been, just as the cultural side of the city was beginning to explode.
There was a great post this time last year from Ronnie Hughes’s A Sense of Place blog about his love affair with the book Seaport by Quentin Hughes. In this post he flicks back and forth through the book, noting a prophetic quote from Graeme Shankland (he of the notorious Liverpool post-war planning), which is worth pondering.
The book is a survey of the town, including some now-lost gems. It was written in an era of optimism over Liverpool’s built future. Perhaps we should place it in the hands of those who are making decisions today?
Read Ronnie’s thoughts here: https://asenseofplace.com/2016/01/17/its-liverpool-in-1964/
City of Change
These pages show different ways in which our heritage is a product of many different influences, and how change is happening all the time. Whether it’s the Vikings landing on our shores and adding to the already complex mix of languages and cultures these islands have always had, or 20th century planners looking unsentimentally razing old neighbourhoods in the name of progress, change happens. But we’ve never had so much power to make massive changes in a short while, and as our power to change increases, our vigilance to choose only the best changes should increase also.