Here’s why Liverpool originally gained its World Heritage status
2 years ago
In 2004, Liverpool was granted World Heritage status from UNESCO. The accolade puts the city alongside Stonehenge, the Great Barrier Reef and Great Wall of China, as ‘places of outstanding universal value to the whole community’.
Here are 10 things you need to know about Liverpool’s World Heritage status:
1. The World Heritage Site itself – Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City – reaches along Liverpool’s waterfront and takes in the Pier Head, Albert Dock, Stanley Dock Conservation Area, Duke St/Ropewalks, Commercial Area/ Castle St, Cultural Quarter/William Brown St. It includes many of the city’s most famous landmarks within its borders.
2. The listed buildings across the six sites are too many to list here but include the Liver Building, Bluecoat Chambers, Liverpool Town Hall, St George’s Hall. The Albert Dock features more Grade 1 listed buildings than anywhere else in the country!
3. Liverpool’s inclusion by UNESCO was attributed in no small way to its history as ‘the supreme example of a commercial port at the time of Britain’s greatest global influence.’ The role the city played in the mass movement of people notably including the trans-Atlantic slave trade, plus the development of docking technology and railway transportation, port management and building construction, all contributed. Also, Liverpool played a major role in the growth of the British Empire. Cultural activities and architecture were noted and praised by the judging committee.
4. A commitment to the conservation of historical buildings was an important factor in receiving the award. The committee praised the fact that such a wide range of buildings from the 18th through to 20th century were preserved and looked after, despite two world wars and the period of decline during the 1970s
5. That the six areas maintained their historical integrity was vital to winning the award. Despite some major regeneration and development projects over the years, the city’s street pattern was seen to still provide a good representation of different periods in Liverpool’s history.
6. Each of the sites relates to a different component and time in Liverpool’s maritime history. The Three Graces at the Pier Head – The Liver Building, Port of Liverpool Building and Cunard Building – stand as testament to the immense wealth in the city during the Victorian era, money generated because of its status as a major port.
7. The Cultural Quarter boasts no less than twelve statues and pieces of sculpture which caught the committee’s eye. They include the four stone lions guarding the front of St George’s Hall, and statues honouring the King’s Liverpool Regiment, William Rathbone, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
8. Liverpool’s maritime history was compared favourably to other major ports both in the UK and across the world. Its maritime function, plus architectural and cultural significance, had values and qualities to set it notably apart from the rest.
9. The grandeur of the buildings and monuments in the Castle St Conservation area also known as the Commercial Quarter, and its street development over the past three hundred years, ensured the area was included. It incorporates the magnificent Town Hall, plus Water St, Victoria St, and Old Hall St.
10. The William Brown Street area is also known as the ‘cultural quarter’, and a significant part of sealing the deal. It was and still is, the magnificent focus of the city’s civic buildings including St George’s Hall, Walker Art Gallery, World Museum, Lime St Station and more!