Friday, 7 May 2010

It wasn't Liverpool's greatest Edwardian church...

... but it was good of its type and date. It's gone to landfill this month anyway
Of course, it also wasn't anywhere near my shop, and it was being championed by the Heritage Mafia

Planning specialist Jonathan Brown from Merseyside Civic Society [remember them? - I refer you to my earlier posts about heritage collaborators] said:

"This church was the work of a man associated with some of Liverpool's finest mercantile buildings, and dedicated to the owner and editors of our great city newspapers, the Post and Echo. If English Heritage accept James Doyle is 'regionally important', from what is after all World city, why isn't that of 'national interest', the criteria for listing? Would the same be true if the connection was with famous buildings and newspapers in London? Of course not - these are simply double-standards. It's one rule for Bootle and another for Bromley."

So the LPT did nothing about it - except slagging off the people who brought it to a wider audience. How great are we?

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

A blast from the past.

As far back as 2008, people had me rumbled:

You have cited the ‘Liverpool Preservation Trust’, approvingly. This is an organisation that appears to be un-registered with the Charities Commission, to have no constitution, one ‘trustee’ (or ‘chairman’) and no members. I understand the sole ‘trustee’ parted ways with the Merseyside Civic Society because of his idiosyncratic views about the future of the city. The ‘trust’ is always happy to provide personal opinions; it is for others to decide how representative they are in reporting them and the credibility it imparts on the reporter in doing so.

Needless to say, Charles Korsham was quick to my defence.
Other names to watch include David Swift, Dr Anthony Small and Simon Taylor, all of whom mysteriously appear, in similar tones, when anyone dares to pay any attention to the man behind the curtain.

Jim Warren of the often very effective Bath Heritage Watchdog (which, while it doesn't yet have a constitution does have a polite, informative and open website with all the relevant information about membership etc), on the other hand, is real.

Dale Street Disaster

From the other LPT blog. One or two facts, and possibilities, have been omitted from the original post, because I always assume the worst of people, thinking they must be like me. Here my repentant self redresses the balance:

“In the World Heritage Site. This piece of, Liverpool Georgiana has laid empty for decades falling down slowly. It is right in front of Municipal Buildings where all the councillors go in and out of. Where Colin "Cover Up" Hilton works. Ignored by many . It has recently been listed, by the city council with the full weight of Mastermind, Bernie Turner the joke of a Historic Buildings Champion for English Heretics who replaced Doreen Jones, yes you heard it right, the Dame of Disaster. For what reason you may ask was it listed? Maybe this was to divert attention in 2008 from the impending doom that was awaiting its fate, to pull the wool over the eyes of Unesco and the huge publicity that was attacking Liverpools lack of respect for its culture”

No, actually, it was listed by central government on the advice of English Heritage after Liverpool City Council (not, you may note, the Liverpool Preservation Trust, whose “Chairman" had been practically on site for five years at least, during the “decades that it has been falling down slowly” and done precisely nothing) put it forward, perhaps with a hope that, being listed, they might be able to bring its status to bear in discussions about its future.

And the reasons for listing are very clearly given in the list description (which I’ve obviously read, as I quote from it in the other blog), nothing about pulling the wool over UNESCO’s eyes:

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION: Nos.87-95 Dale Street/2 Cheapside are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* The terrace is an unusual survival of the shop house, a building type that is nationally rare, especially outside of London, and shows the development of new forms of retail premises in late Georgian England
* The original floor plans of the properties remain intact with some internal features, and are unusual for the location of stairs and the size of shop space
* As pre-1840 survivals the buildings possess intrinsic interest as examples of Georgian terraced houses, with the added interest of their plan form
* The terrace has group value with other nearby listed buildings in the Dale Street/Cheapside area, such as the Bridewell and Municipal Offices. Together these buildings epitomise the changes in the physical fabric of the city during the C18 and C19, and represent the city's changing wealth and development as an international port city.

“The property, directly across from the council’s municipal buildings, is Grade II-listed.After several plans to bring the building back into use failed, the building was left empty and concealed in part with colourful hoardings.
But engineers have now found the building to have rapidly deteriorated.
They will now remove the roof of the building in the hope of relieving the strain and preventing collapse.
A city council spokesman said: “A number of options are being considered about the future of the building, including discussing with prospective partners to find a long term solution.””

Oh, whatever next? Don’t discuss future uses, just save it now. Needless to say, I have no ideas how to do that, but I’ll just have a rant instead.

“The Georgian building, from 1819, was included in the Castle Street Conservation Area in 1976. It was listed in February 2008.
Since it became vacant the council and a developer planned to renovate it as part of a scheme which would include the magistrates’ court and the bridewell jail behind it.
But delays in relocating the courts, coupled with the impact of the recession, put paid to the plans.
So it is going the same way that Jamaica House went and to become a hole in the facade of a WHS. , another Georgian Terrace destroyed by stealth.”

No, destroyed – if indeed it has been - by the Court Service's inaction (look at what happened in Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield), the fact of global recession and its late-in-the-day listing, only two years ago, when it was already very, very derelict. If only I’d been concerned about it enough, a few years ago, to write polite letters to those who, unlike the LPT, might have done something before it was too late. But no, as usual I was massaging my ego instead.

If the LPT was a real Building Preservation Trust of the sort Quentin Hughes envisaged, we might even have taken it on to restore and sell on. But I’m too busy ranting to do that.

Meanwhile, I recommend HeritageWorks, who are going about it the hard way, and getting results: