Liverpool is a very vibrant city and this skyline shot across the Mersey picks up the interesting mix of architectures old and new.
Zooming in, you then see that they go and spoil it all by adding in the wind farms…
Many people are aware of the underground bunker used by Churchill in WW2, the War Room in London, but there is also another one in Liverpool from where all intelligence on the Battle of the Atlantic was processed. Apparently few Liverpudlians were aware of it at the time as it is housed in a very ordinary-looking office building in central Liverpool but hidden deep underground. It is now open to the public but has been preserved exactly as it was when it closed on 15th August 1945 (note to Hewitt: their intelligence can’t have been that good – they obviously didn’t know about the calamitous event that was to be unleashed on an unsuspecting world the very next day). To us, it is all very primitive, moving models of ships around a large table top with what looked like adapted broomsticks, the direct telephone link to London in a little soundproofed cupboard off the tea room, the gas masks and funny tin hats, the valve wireless equipment, but at the same time it was quite sobering to realise the scope of what had gone on here and its importance to the winning of the war.
Don’t you just love the multiple heads of Adolph Hitler listening outside the phone box?
Later we went to see Port Sunlight Village on the Wirral Peninsula. On the way, I said rather flippantly, was it anything to do with soap but back came the answer yes, it had everything to do with soap. Lord Lever, of Lever Brothers fame, had a large factory nearby and created Port Sunlight as a purpose-built village for his workers. He claimed it was in lieu of a monetary profit sharing scheme which “would not do you much good if you send it down your throats in the form of bottles of whisky” so the workers had to be content with houses instead.
Built between 1899 and 1914, it was literally a green fields development, with 30 architects employed to design 800 houses. While I’m sure they have been modernised inside, on the outside they are still pretty much as they were originally and the fascinating thing to me (as you can see from the photos!) was the many different styles that were used. They were inhabited solely by Unilever staff right up until the 1980s but I think that now most of them are privately owned. And although the weekend weather was generally quite bleak, Port Sunlight lived up to its name for us.