Last week I posted a photograph of Pierhead in the 1880s and commented on how the Liverpool waterfront had changed over the last 150+ years. The change in the twentieth century has been dramatic, starting with the filling in of George’s Dock to create the modern Pierhead through to the addition of skyscrapers, the redevelopment of Princes Dock and the dramatic changes to the immediate hinterland. Today’s photograph shows the city in the early 1960s. The Cotton Exchange is still there but the Overhead Railway has been dismantled. Key 1960s buildings including the John Moores Centre on Old Hall Street have not been started and the White Star Building on James Street is still standing in isolation. An Empress liner is berthed at Princes Dock – in the final days before the liner trade switched to Southampton and elsewhere.
Fifty years on and today’s waterfront is, again, significantly different, with the new Museum of Liverpool, Liverpool One and all the other recent developments significantly changing both the landscape and the height line. Originally, the JM Centre was planned to have several extra storeys but had to restrict its height so as to be in keeping with its surroundings. Clearly the rule no longer applies except in the thinking of the inspectors for Unesco in their threats over World Heritage Site status. What will the outcome be? One thing is certain – in 50 years time, the waterfront will be significantly different from today.