Lime St Station is probably the best known and most used building in Liverpool. People from the suburbs and beyond take the train to Lime Street and so do those travelling from further away, such as Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham and London.
There are two parts to Lime Street Station, the main line terminal at ground level and the underground station on the city centre loop line.
It’s not widely acknowledged that Liverpool Lime Street is one of the oldest stations in continous use anywhere in the world. When the Liverpool and Manchester railway opened in 1830, the terminus was at Crown Street to the east of the city centre. The site is now a green area. Lime Street Station opened for passengers in 1836. The present train sheds date from 1867 and 1879.
The view from the main entrance at the front of Lime Street is one of the most magnificent in any UK city, with St Georges Hall on the right.
This is the place where I meet the people who come on my photo walks, at the top of the steps outside the main entrance.
Inside the station near the front entrance there are two statues by Tom Murphy representing Liverpool personalities, the comedian Ken Dodd and the former councillor Bessie Braddock. They were unveiled in 2009.
The north train shed is fronted by an ornate former hotel. This was the North Western Hotel, designed by Alfred Waterhouse, architect of Manchester town hall. Now this building serves as as a residence for students at John Moores University.
Next to the former hotel is the impressive main facade of the station. For many years, this frontage was spoilt by a row of shops that stood in front of it. In the 1960s an office block – Concourse House – was built on the corner. It was typical of the 1960s that a modern office tower could be constructed within a few feet of a precious heritage building from the 19th century. It also cast a shadow on the front of the station for much of the day.
In the 2000s, the building was demolished, along with the row of shops and a new area at the front was created with steps and ramps. It is magnificent and allows us to admire the magnificence of the architecture. It looks particularly good at night, when floodlighting is switched on.
Whilst the exterior has been beautifully renovated, the interior has remained less attractive, but in 2016 a new renovation is set to go ahead. The station will be closed for a period during the works.
I look forward to seeing the newly renovated Lime Street Station and to continuing to arrive and depart from one of the oldest and most magnificent railway termini in the world.