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Letter from a correspondent at Liverpool and Port Sunlight

Howard Maunders of Beautiful Britain writes -

We have just returned from a few days in Liverpool. I remember that I sent you a picture some time ago of on-going development at the Albert Dock, which is a World Heritage Site. I thought that as work developed the project might start to look better, but no. . .it doesn’t.

It’s hard to understand how Liverpool Council could ever have granted planning permission for the monstrous development of the black boxes that virtually obscure the historic Liver Building in the background.

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The developer says that the buildings are “already adding to the quality and diversity of the waterfront’s architecture." No, I don’t think so, but when I checked out various web forums, some Liverpudlians seem to like them. Each to his own, I suppose.

[So the old gives way to the new. In Howard's image, the building to the left looks like a ship about to slide into the water. -Cat]

The Liverpool Maritime Museum had a magnificent exhibition from Shackleton’s Antarctic voyages. The black and white photographs were excellent, a testament to the ship’s photographe, Frank Hurley.

The Slavery Museum outlined a darker side to Liverpool’s past.

We also visited Liverpool’s two cathedrals. We last visited the Roman Catholic cathedral in the late 1960s, shortly after it opened. As a building, I love it, just as I enjoy Coventry Cathedral, so it’s not that I have an aversion to all new architecture! The Roman Catholic Cathedral is welcoming and intimate, whereas the Anglican Cathedral is rather austere and is a traditional cathedral. It was completed in 1978 but looks hundreds of years old.

Photography was allowed in the Roman Catholic Cathedral, but I switched off the flash so as not to destroy the ambience. No photography is permitted in the Anglican Cathedral but that did not discourage the visitors from overseas and no-one challenged them, or asked them to switch off the flash feature, so I sneaked a couple of (non-flash) photos of the live size Nativity figures in readiness for Picture of the Moment - Christmas 2011. As Baden-Powell said, ‘Be Prepared'.

The crème de la crème was a return visit to Port Sunlight, a ‘garden village’ created by the ‘Soap King’, William Hesketh Lever for his workers. It has over 900 Grade II listed buildings and the 2nd largest war memorial, after the Cenotaph at Whitehall. The Lady Lever Art Gallery was truly impressive. Apparently Lord Lever commissioned 30 architects to build his village. Maybe Liverpool should have done the same when they decided to ‘improve’ the waterside development?

Temperatures are currently much warmer now than just before Christmas. It’s 10 degrees C today in Whitworth, whereas in mid-December it was minus 16.5 degrees Centigrade (which converts to 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit). Brrr, that is very cold, even for Lancashire.

You may remember that we bought a copy of ‘Share the Inheritance’. We gave it to a relative as a Christmas present. He read it from cover to cover and enjoyed it so much that he vowed to buy one for a friend.

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[We used this stunning photograph by Howard in our book. The Langdales in the Lake District look as they probably did 10,000 years ago. - Cat]

We may have to curtail our roaming holidays if fuel costs continue to escalate, but we get 60 mpg on long journeys, which is much more than on short runs. If I was a politician I could argue that it’s more cost effective to travel even greater distances as my mpg is so much higher. As Disraeli reputedly said - 'There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.'

[We are all recently familiar with the truth of that remark. According to Wikipedia, "The term was popularised in the United States by Mark Twain (among others), who attributed it to the 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881). . . However, the phrase is not found in any of Disraeli's works and the earliest known appearances were years after his death. Other coiners have therefore been proposed. The most plausible, given current evidence, is Englishman Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke (1843–1911)."]

Thank you, Howard. Hope we see those cathedral pictures sometime.

For more on Antarctic journeys in this website, see Extreme Journeys & the Men Who Made Them.

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You can purchase Share the Inheritance at AMAZON UK
Or  AMAZON USA.

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