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Saturday, 14 April 2018


We didn't have long to acclimatise at our new berth as we were off to the Phil. We did stop for a Pizza before hand though.

This hall is not the original one. That one was completed in 1849 but burned down in 1933 after a fire broke out in the roof. A new building was quickly planned but the Liverpool Council wanted to have it available for other events, rather than just a concert hall. A compromise was sorted and in the end the new hall was opened  in 1939. It is in a style that is like modern Art Deco called Streamline Moderne. The exterior is quite plain and of brick. Where as internally it has 'sensuous curves'. I expect that this is also an aid to the accoustics. You can just see some pierced images of female figures representing 'musical moods', in a more Art Deco style.  The building is now Grade II*. The stage looks large. We were in the upper circle but had a very good view. Helen had booked us on the end of a row so I could stretch my legs out in the steps as other wise there was not much leg room for me.

We were here to see a concert by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. It was founded in 1840 ans is the longest continuously running professional symphony orchestra. We were to listen to a concert called 'The Power of Love' with music by Verdi, Dvorak, Wagner and Brahms. We hadn't heard any of the pieces before and really enjoyed it. The violin soloist was also the Joint Leader of the Orchestra and she was very good. The conductor was Nathalie Stutzman who was great to watch. The music was lovely and the acoustics were such that we could hear clearly right at the back. It was a great evening and is a product of Hull's City of Culture as we love Orchestral pieces these days.

On Sunday it was raining all  morning so I got on with some computer tasks that I had to do. When the rain eased off I pushed the boat over to the next pontoon so that we had easier access to the water tap as I needed to fill up. After that we had a bite of lunch and then went off for a guided walk by RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects). The walk we went on was around the Ropewalks area. This is an area that was the original port area when the only dock was where Liverpool 1 centre is now. In the mid 1700's the place was a maze of ropewalks, chandlers, warehouses, merchants houses etc. In the photo above you can see the classic warehouse building with the hoists to get material to upper floors, small windows and protection to the corners around the cargo handling areas.

One of the survivors of the mid 1800's is the Argyle Street Bridewell. This was a police station with cells. It has a definite Italian style to it. Charles Dickens came here to carry out research for his book 'The  Uncommercial Traveller'. After it closed as a police station it became a recording studio and 'Frankie Goes to Hollywood used it's facilities among others. It is a now a bar.

Many of the old warehouses have been restored and have apartments now. The Ropewalks area became a development zone in the 1990's and is just starting to take off. In some cases just the facades of buildings have been retained and all modern interiors have been added.

These are the old Union Newsroom built in 1800. It was here that local businessmen came to read the trade papers and do business. In the end a library was also installed and it eventually became the first public library in Liverpool in 1852. It also housed Lord Derby's Natural History collection.

Further up Duke Street are the only literally back to back houses is Dukes Terrace. There was an identical row of doors behind these houses. The houses were three floors and a basement but each were only one room deep. identical with those on the other side of the party wall. Now this terrace has been altered to 18 flats I think, with all their rooms on one level. There is a nice quiet area around now, but originally the area would have been very different.

This was the mansion for a Mr. Thomas Parr. The centre part was the dwelling. The wing to the right was the stables and the left his counting house. He was quite boastful that he had the best house, the best horses and the best wife, in that order, in Liverpool. The portico was added when the building was purchased in 1814 for the Liverpool Royal Institution. It is now a Whiskey business and club. We were allowed in to see and there are many of the original features of this lovely building.

The Ropewalks area, so called as the street pattern owes something to the original ropewalks of the area, and was selected by poll when the development area was initiated, also has plenty of later Victorian factories. These have also been re-purposed.

Concert Street is now the heart of the night life of this thriving area of the Ropewalks near to Bold Street. This building was once another factory but now houses a pool club and bar.

Concert Street is named after the Music Hall that was built on this corner of Bold Street in 1786.

This was last Waterstones Book shop but before then was Cripp's emporium of ladies clothing. The company started out as selling ladies shawls and then went in to a full inventory of ladies clothing. This building was on of the first to use plate glass windows and was almost the first purpose built department store.

The Ropewalks is a very interesting part of the city and is now the centre of nightlife and hotels and hostels. There is a lot of work still to go on and it will develop further. Meanwhile if you are looking for restaurants head for this area as you could eat at a different national food places for day after day.

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