FENCES, FOOTBALL AND THE FAB FOUR
Over the past few years the Liverpool’s historic waterfront has undergone a dramatic makeover to become a one-stop paradise for culture lovers, foodies and families alike.
But it wasn’t always like that. Liverpool was once a thriving port handling nearly half of the world’s trade. When trade dried up, the docks fell derelict and the city suffered hugely.
I grew up near there – Scousers nicknamed those living in the surrounding countryside like me ‘Woolybacks’ – and remember the sadness of seeing shops boarded up, streets deserted and buildings falling to ruin. But a huge regeneration project has transformed the old docks into an eye-catching and dynamic hub, rebranded as Liverpool Waterfront.Grand state-of-the-art buildings such as the Museum of Liverpool stand side-by-side with traditional landmarks like the Grade 1 listed Royal Liver Building, its two iconic Liver Birds perched on top casting a protective eye over everyone.
Old warehouses like the red brick Albert Dock have been tastefully converted into classy restaurants, shops, bars, galleries and museums. You can still catch a ferry across the Mersey – immortalised in the Gerry and the Pacemakers song – but you can also savour the sights from 60 metres up on the Wheel Of Liverpool. And if shopping’s your bag you can drop into nearby Liverpool One, a huge open-air network of high street and one-off stores.
My mum Beryl was born and bred in the city and used to work in its shipping offices during busier times. Recently I took her back with my own children to the old Pier Head, as Scousers (and Woolybacks!) knew it, to show her the changes.
‘I didn’t think anything could bring Liverpool back to life like this,’ she said. ‘But this is brilliant. It’s brought two eras together.’If you reckon there’s little more to Liverpool than football, the Fab Four and – bearing in mind the date – Aintree Racecourse, think again.