Friday 3 October 2014

Liverpool sights

The Museum of Liverpool wasn't here last time we were, something over a decade ago. It's part of the docklands and Liverpool One developments.

We spent practically a day there, very impressed with its layout, facilities and attention to the right sort of detail. It was both informative and fun in its celebration of the city, with a gentle self-mockery at times.

I loved this quote from, of all places, the Communist Party Report.

When here last, we saw the original lambanana. Now there are well over 100 of them throughout the city, including this one finished in mosaic tiles. Less photo-friendly was the original stage on which John and Paul first played together.

From the windows there are some stunning views of the Mersey and the docks area – showing clearly the route by which the Liverpool Canal Link brings you into the heart of the city.

Some of the most poignant parts of the exhibitions were those depicting Liverpool's links with the slave trade (on which a lot of its wealth was built) and the appalling treatment of the settled Chinese population after the end of the 2nd World War, resulting in the splitting up of many families. There were also some graphic portrayals of the hardships endured by the working class populations over the last two centuries.

Today we went to visit both Liverpool cathedrals.

To me, the Anglican cathedral looks very fortress-like, solidly imposing and rather dark. It was certainly lighter inside, but a lot of artificial light was needed. I asked two of the guides why it had been designed to be so, but they were not really able to answer, not even the very helpful and informative Canon Michael Wolfe, who felt that it was probably the result of a desire at the start of the last century to have something that matched the stature of the city.

I was unable to get my own photo of the Roman Catholic Cathedral, so this one borrowed from the Wikipedia article will have to do.

It's very different in many ways from the other – amazing how you can have such vastly different responses to the challenge of creating a space for 3000 Christians to worship together.

But my favourite photo today was of the memorial to Bishop David Sheppard, whom I knew, as I grew, both as an England cricketer and as someone who presented a serious challenge to contemporary Christians about how they should tackle specific issues presented by the inner city.

I had thought I might find something about him, but this was unexpected and, in its abstract way, rather moving.


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