Liverpool waterfront: June 2009

Went home for the weekend to take some snaps of the all-new-and-improved technicolor Liverpool waterfront. The Liver building looks as Liver Building as ever, but there are now loads of new high-rises winding their way north from the Pier Head. From a distance they look fantastic (including the blue one that looks like a ciggie lighter), but up close they seem a bit unloved and rather forlorn and empty.

Interestingly, in amongst all the glass-and-steel-that-won’t-look-at-all-dated-in-ten-years there’s still some old bits remaining, including a decrepit landing stage (above) that looks like the last people to pay it any attention were the Luftwaffe in 1941. No doubt soon it’ll play host to another hotel/apartment/office building that, like many of the others in the city, will be a monument to one of the many generous planning department lunches that took place with suspicious regularity between 2001-2006.

One building that looks as good now as it did on the day it was completed in 1934 is the stunning Queensway Tunnel ventilation shaft off The Strand (above), which provides fresh-ish air to the cars travelling between Liverpool and Birkenhead below. As you can see from my pictures, the structure is a classic piece of art deco design, with then-fashionable Egyptian-style touches, a pair of Buddhas(!) and a sculpture on the side of a fella dressed as a pilot. Why he’s there is anyone’s guess, though I suspect it’s a nod to the aviation revolution that was beginning to change forever the way we (and goods) would travel. A revolution, ironically, that would significantly harm the transatlantic trade – and thus the city – of Liverpool. No matter, it is a magnificent structure and one worth having a snoop around on your way from the city centre to the waterfront. Click on the pics to see them in full high resolution.

The far uglier ventilation shaft for the second tunnel, the Kingsway is here. You needn’t bother going to have a look at that.


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