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The Light of Other Days: Reflections of Liverpool

by John Hussey
£14.95   paperback  Countyvise Ltd (2009)

The Light of Other Days: Reflections of Liverpool by John Hussey For reasons yet to be discerned, the city of Liverpool has always been in a state of flux, reinventing itself again and again, in a pathological desire to attain some unfathomable metropolitan nirvana. Intervals of comparative quietude are followed by frenzied building schemes in which buildings old or new, valuable or worthless, are casually discarded like worn-out toys, in order that the latest technological marvel can take their place. All too often, the new buildings cannot hold a candle to what went before, but Liverpool has always succumbed to the siren voices of carpetbagger architects and usually paid a high price for its frailty.
In a less enlightened age, buildings have been demolished with a staggering insouciance and most Liverpudlians of a certain age, have sighed for the loss of the Overhead Railway, the Sailor's Home, St. John's Market, the Dive, the Duck, the Magic Clock, the Spanish Winehouse, the Custom House, St.Peter's Church, the Baltic Fleet Chandler's shops, the fondly remembered Trams and so many other landmarks which marked out the city's uniqueness.
Despite the chequered history of architecture and the mistakes of the past, there is still a great deal to be proud of throughout Liverpool - what would London give for Dale Street, how they would love to get their hands on Princes Boulevard and not even the fabulous wealth of the capital could afford the transfer fee for St George's Hall or the Albert Dock.
The city is today on a vast learning curve and while it must be conceded that the world moves on, there is a dawning discernment that the buildings and architecture of our city are the objects of quiet pride by its citizens and the very existence of venerable buildings and the familiar furniture of the streets provides tangible evidence of stability and continuity in an often frenetic world. There has also grown up a realization that the value of the Georgian and Victorian heritage left by our forebears is actually priceless beyond measure - and the best thing of all is that these things are now of concern to the proverbial man in the streetA" and not merely an elite few who have always held the aesthetic fate of the city in their hands.
There is of course the jarring paradox that most of the city's architectural gems were formerly subsidised and instigated by a totally different and more imperious elite which bore no comparison to that of today's elected members and what I like to think of as My LiverpoolA" is in fact the visible manifestation of the motley legions of philanthropists and eccentrics, rogues and chancers, savants and merchants, blackguards and bankrupts, the dedicated and the feckless and the trustworthy and the devious who have at various times left their mark on this city - many of them can be found within the pages of this book.

ISBN 13: 9781906823221 | ISBN 10: 1906823227