Thursday, April 09, 2009

Local History & Local Agendas

As a city Liverpool has generally made a mess of preserving & maintaining its historic features. This trend began around the time of industrialisation when the city's original pool was built over as the dock network took shape & the city expanded from its waterfront settlement (just think of all the economic, cultural & leisure-related benefits if it had been possible to reopen sections of the pool with just, say, 10% of the money splurged on culture year going toward such a project).
Civic historians may initially therefore welcome the reopening of the city's first dock ( ):
"Liverpool's Lost Dock is being opened to the public for the first time in 200 years. The first glimpse for centuries of the world's first enclosed commercial wet dock will be unveiled this Saturday."
The dock was first opened in 1715 & was filled in during the 1820s. The dock was featured on Channel 4's Time Team documentary, "The Lost Dock of Liverpool", this time last year ( ).
But wait, there's something ever so slightly amiss about this. It's located within Liverpool One. As the recession sinks its teeth in just that bit further, it isn't unduly cynical to see the Daily Post piece as little more than a glorified advert for the place at a time when an increasing number of retail spaces in the white elephant, sorry, prestigious development lie empty:
"The entrance is located by the large curved steps that lead up to the garden area on the upper tier of Liverpool One."
Oh yes, the garden area. Wayne Colquhoun remarks about the wisdom of allowing children to play there on his Liverpool Preservation Trust blog today ( ).
Wayne also observes about the dock's reopening:
"We can now walk around and see two old walls that are left below the tons of poured concrete, yippee! We are so lucky in Liverpool."
Wayne, Wayne, tut, tut, such sarcasm is most unwelcome & unwarranted given the heroic, nay Herculean endeavours of the city fathers, the Grosvenor people & our local fearless champions of investigative journalism on Old Hall Street to insulate Liverpool from the global recession & engender a renewed civic pride.

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