Liverpool is the home of the modern building - and the skyscraper. The world's first steel framed glass curtain walled building is Oriel Chambers - 1864. (I think Ged took this pic)
The city was very advanced over 100 years ago and didn't care about the past too much. Take the towers off the Liver Buildings and it is a building that is seen in NY and Chicago at the time. The tall skyscrapers in New York were based on its construction method. The later glass towers on Oriel Chambers.
There is around 12km of granite quayed docks and these were built into the river - all reclaimed from the water. They have been compared with the building of the pyramids - and that is about right.
The city cannot stand still. We have a fantastic legacy of redundant dock waters to be developed, that other cities would drool over. Yet the city sees fit to fill these water spaces to build uninspiring buildings on them. See my link in my sig. The city can become an Amsterdam, and quite quickly too. It must be done right and the centre must move towards the docks water spaces. Some ideas of what may happen in Central Docks:
The idea is to get people into the centre and add vibrancy. That can be done by high rise apartments. So far it has worked and needs to get more dense.
Then we have an old underground rail system that needs extending - the city is full of disused stations under it ready for re-use - some are amongst the oldest rail tunnels in the world. High density requires a rapid transit rail system.
Ian Nairn (architectural writer and BBC broadcaster), Britain's Changing Towns, 1967:
"The scale and resilience of the buildings and people [of Liverpool] is amazing - it is a world city, far more so than London or Manchester. It doesn't feel like anywhere else in Lancashire: comparisons always end up overseas - Dublin, or Boston, or Hamburg. The city is tremendous, and so, right up to the First World War, were the abilities of the architects who built over it - the less said about the last forty years the better.. The centre is humane and convenient to walk around in, but never loses its scale. And, in spite of the [Luftwaffe] bombings and the carelessness, it is still full of superb buildings. Fifty years ago it must have outdone anything in England."
London Illustrated News - 1886:
'Liverpool, thanks to modern science & commercial enterprise, to the spirit & intelligence of the townsmen, & to the administration of the Mersey docks & harbour board, has become a wonder of the world. It is the New York of Europe, a world city rather than merely British provincial'.
US author, Herman Melville, who wrote Moby Dick, compared the vast construction to that of the pyramids - he was not far off in the magnitude of the constructions. 'Redburn, His First Voyage' by Herman Melville 1849...
"Previous to this, having only seen the miserable wooden wharves and shambling piers of New York... in Liverpool I beheld long China walls of masonry; vast piers of stone; and a succession of granite-rimmed docks, completely enclosed. The extent and solidity of these structures seemed equal to what I had read of the old pyramids of Egypt. In magnitude, cost and durability the docks of Liverpool surpass all others in the world... for miles you may walk along that riverside, passing dock after dock, like a chain of immense fortresses.
Prince's Dock, of comparatively recent construction, is perhaps the largest of all and is well known to American sailors from the fact that it is mostly frequented by the American shipping. Here lie the noble New York packets, which at home are found at the foot of Wall-Street; and here also lie the Mobile and Savannah cotton ships and traders."
UNESCO stated that Liverpool played a major part in the largest migration of people in history. More people left for America via Liverpool than any other port. Scandinavians and Germans had to get to Liverpool to get to America. Many stayed. The old docks are of world importance.
But we can't stand still Nothing happened in the past 30 years, losing half of the population. The city desperately needs to move on.