Miniatur Wunderland is the largest model railway in the world! But it’s more than ‘just’ a model railway. It’s a scaled-down version of the world. It is located in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt, not far from the Elbphilharmonie and was founded in 2001 by twin brothers Frederik and Gerrit Braun.
Here are some statistics: there are 1040 locomotives, 280 moving cars, 390,000 lights, 263,000 miniature figures and 15,400 metres of track. The layout has an area of more than 1,499 square metres and is controlled by 50 computers.
The model world is populated by thousands of miniature figures. They are called ‘Preiserlein’ after the company that makes them, Paul M. Preiser GmbH. There are different areas: Hamburg, Scandinavia, America, Austria, Switzerland, Central Germany, Italy, Venice and the airport.
Every 15 minutes it goes dark and thousands of LEDs are switched on. The effect is beautiful. There’s no Berlin but Hamburg is proudly represented. The Elbe, the Landungsbrücken, the Hochbahn, the S-Bahn,the Hauptbahnhof, the TV tower and the Elbphilharmonie are all therre. We see the port, the ships and the Köhlbrand bridge by daylight and at night.
All models are designed to be as lifelike as possible. As in the real Sweden, the trains run on the left. In America we start in Key West and right next to it is Las Vegas. At dusk, the city looks fantastic We continue to the Grand Canyon, but there is no Chicago or New York.
The small trains come from all directions. We don’t know where they are coming from or where they are going. A few metres further and we’re in hilly Mitteldeutschland. The ICE crosses a modern railway bridge. At night, a UFO flies down from the sky. An alien hunter is waiting. Famous conspiracy theories are represented humorously. In an underground studio, for example, the moon landings are filmed.
The airport is probably the smallest commercial airport in the world. More than 40 miniature planes take off and land just like real planes. I don’t know exactly how it works. Every now and then a Star Wars spaceship or a big bee flies along the runway. The model of Venice was completed in 2018. There is also Rome, Vatican City and other regions in Italy here.
The layout is constantly being expanded. Coming soon is Provence and a working Monaco Grand Prix. Britain was due to arrive in 2020, but it seems to have gone off the radar. You can look at the workshops and take a behind-the-scenes tour.
The attraction is open 365 days a year. Millions of people have visited Miniatur Wunderland. The model world so detailed, so impressive and so realistic that you look at the real world with completely new eyes. At Miniatur Wunderland, the keyword is wonder. Here you can really learn to… bewundern – to look in wonder at our world. Soon the real world starts to look like a model, as here, the Alexanderplatz seen from the Berlin TV Tower.
Miniatur Wunderland is an expression of the European idea as not only Germany is presented, but also several European countries as well as regions on other continents.
Soon visitors will be able to walk on a new footbridge over the water into the neighbouring warehouse to see South America. The future at Miniatur Wunderland looks exciting.
More info about the video and this article
This is a new version of an older video, now in German with English subtitles.
I’m attracted to Miniatur Wunderland because I love all types of models and I love trains and all forms of transport. It fits into the AVZINE channel’s theme of cities and journeys, as a number of cities are represented in miniature size – Hamburg, Rome, Venice, Las Vegas and others, but not Berlin, New York or Chicago.
It’s also about journeys as the trains run on thousands of journeys each day. There are also ships, planes, buses, cars, vans, a UFO and a strange bee-like creature.
The music is by the amazing Bad Snacks – the Los Angeles based musician, a genius with synthesizers and the violin, which she has played since she was a child. Thanks to her as always for making her music available via the YouTube Audio Library.
There is a students’ PDF for this video with script, side by side translation and questions. It’s available to my students, or just contact me and I’ll send you a copy.
In this feature, we go on a tour of 47 Beatles locations in Liverpool and Wirral. In 2018 I created a video featuring 38 locations, with English and Japanese subtitles and no voiceover. I decided to make a new version of the video using the format of my AVZINE channel, launched in September 2020.
I was inspired by the Beatles in my childhood and loved Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields. Through my research, I’ve learned a lot about the Beatles and the places they are associated with. I intend to do a feature about the Beatles in Hamburg. I’ve also created an audio-only podcast version of the feature in German, with original Beatles songs. It’s available exclusively to my students.
I have included a few of the photos in this article but to see all the pictures, please watch the video. As I always request, please click the ‘like’ button, subscribe to the channel and click the ‘bell’ button for notifications.
A tour of 47 Beatles locations in Liverpool and Wirral
The familiar double decker open top tour buses will take you around most of the important sights in Liverpool.
The Magical Mystery Tour is a specialised two hour Beatles tour.
And for a personalised Beatles tour you can take one of the Fab Four Taxis. The driver will share lots of knowledge and there’s a recorded commentary in several different languages.
Our tour begins at the airport, 7.5 miles or 12 kilometres south of the city centre. In 2001 it was named Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
1. John Lennon Statue, Liverpool John Lennon Airport terminal
The new terminal opened in 2002. Inside the terminal, there’s a statue of John Lennon by Tom Murphy. The nearby plaque reminds us EU funding helped to finance the terminal and the nearby business park.
2. The Yellow Submarine
The Yellow Submarine stands in front of the terminal. It used to be on the waterfront and was originally constructed by shipbuilding apprentices from Cammell Laird for the International Garden Festival that was held in 1984. The song ‘Yellow Submarine’ was released in 1966, the film came out in 1968.
3. The old airport terminal
The old airport terminal was opened in 1938. In 1964 thousands of fans welcomed the Beatles after their US tour. Today, you can stay here, as it’s the Crowne Plaza Liverpool John Lennon Airport Hotel.
4. The 85 bus
We are now at Liverpool South Parkway station. The 86 is a local bus operated by private company Stagecoach. In the 1950s Liverpool had its own municipal buses. They were painted in a distinctive green livery that was part of the character of the city. The 86 passes close to Paul’s house. He took the 86 to school every day. It’s said that riding on the bus influenced his songwriting.
There were adverts on buses for the ‘Double Fantasy’ exhibition which was on at the Museum of Liverpool during 2018 and19. We’ll take the 86 along Mather Avenue. Paul’s house is to the left. We’ll go there later.
5. The Sergeant Pepper Bistro
We get off near the Sergeant Pepper Bistro. This building was the ‘shelter in the middle of the roundabout’ in the song ‘Penny Lane’. An extra floor was added when it became the Bistro. Unfortunately, it’s been closed for a few years. Paul, John and George often met at this former bus shelter.
6. Penny Lane
‘Penny Lane’ was released in February 1967 as a double A-side single with ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. There was controversy in 2020 when the sign was spray painted and the word ‘racist’ was written above it. The graffiti artist should have checked his facts. The name has no connection with slave-ship owner James Penny. A muddy lane out in the countryside would in any case not be named after a prominent trader in the city.
The song was written as a tribute to Penny Lane, but now Penny Lane is famous because of the song, which captivated me as a child.
In June 2018, Paul returned to Penny Lane for the Late Late Show with James Corden and wrote his autograph on the sign painted on the wall further down Penny Lane.
7. Strawberry Field gates
We’ll stop at the Strawberry Field gates, on Beaconsfield Road, not far from the house where John Lennon lived with his aunt Mimi. Fans from all over the world visit the gates and write messages. The gates are actually replica of the real ones. In the song, John remembers his childhood and this song too inspired me very much as a child.
Since 2020 it’s possible to step through the red gates and into the famous site. The visitors centre has an exhibition and many other attractions. It’s owned and run by the Salvation Army.
8. Calderstones Park
Not many people know that in Calderstones Park, there is a Japanese garden. Calderstones Park has many associations with the Beatles in their early years. I wonder if John ever imagined that one day he would marry a woman from Japan.
9. The Eleanor Rigby gravestone
We continue to St Peter’s Church the village of Woolton. Here we find the famous gravestone inscribed with the name ‘Eleanor Rigby’. The name may have inspired the famous song. Paul McCartney explains more in an interesting and spooky story. Try Googling it.
10. St Peter’s Church, Woolton.
In 1957, John and Paul met for the first time at a village fête behind St Peter’s Church.
11. Number 9 Madryn Street
We’ll head into the city centre and on the way, we’ll visit the Welsh Streets area. Ringo Starr was born at 9 Madryn Street. The house, as well as most of the Welsh Streets district, was to have been demolished. Beatles fans came here and wrote messages on the façade. But there was a change of plan. The Welsh Streets district was renovated and today the house looks almost new.
12. Number 10 Admiral Grove
Ringo Starr’s family moved to number 10 Admiral Grove, just a short distance from 9 Madryn Street. Ringo lived here until he became famous in 1963.
13. Number 12 Arnold Grove
In 1943, George Harrison was born at 12 Arnold Grove, a small terraced house in Wavertree. His family later moved to a house in Speke.
14. Liverpool town hall
Next, we return to the city centre. In 1964, the Beatles stood on the balcony of the town hall in front of thousands of screaming fans. 20 years later they were awarded the Freedom of the City. Inside the lobby, you’ll find a plaque bearing the names of the Fab Four. Sadly John wasn’t there to experience the honour.
Now we’ll walk up through Liverpool’s Creative Quarter not far from the University.
15. Number 3 Gambier Terrace
John Lennon lived at 3 Gambier Terrace in 1960 with former Beatles bassist Stuart Sutcliffe and others including artist Margaret Chapman. They were all students at the nearby Liverpool College of Art.
16. Falkner Street
Historic Falkner Street was built in the early to mid 19th century and it often features in historical dramas. Beatles manager Brian Epstein lived on Falkner Street and he owned the ground floor flat at 36 Falkner Street. He offered it to John Lennon and his first wife Cynthia. They lived here from 1962 to 1963.
17. The Liverpool Institute
A short distance away is Mount Street where we come across a distinctive Roman-style portico. On it are the words ‘Liverpool Institute and School of Art 1825’. Paul McCartney and George Harrison went to the Liverpool Institute when it was a boys’ grammar school. Today it’s the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, co-founded by Paul McCartney and Mark Featherstone-Witty. Initial funding for the Institute was provided through Liverpool City Challenge, The European Union and the private sector.
18. The Cracke Pub
The Beatles often visited Ye Cracke pub on Rice Street. It’s filled with Beatles memorabilia and has a quaint, homely atmosphere inside.
19. The Philharmonic Dining Rooms
The Philharmonic Hall is on Hope Street. Diagonally opposite is the Philharmonic pub and it’s one of the biggest and most magnificent pubs in the city. In June 2018 Paul gave a surprise concert inside the pub for the Late Late Show with James Corden. I wish I’d been there!
20. Former Liverpool Maternity Hospital
John Lennon was born on the 9th of October 1940 in the former Liverpool Maternity Hospital. There’s an interesting plaque next to the entrance. It’s now a university residence.
21. 4 Rodney Street
Brian Epstein was born at 4 Rodney Street. A beautifully designed plaque provides information about his life and tragic death at the age of 32.
22. The Blue Angel Night Club
In the 1960s the Beatles and other famous bands played at the Blue Angel Night Club. It’s on Seel Street in Chinatown.
23. The Jacaranda
The Jacaranda is a legendary music venue closely associated with the rise of Merseybeat in the 1960s. It was opened by The Beatles’ first manager Allan Williams in 1958. The Jacaranda Twitter profile says that it’s “A re-imagining of the first place The Beatles ever played. Gig venue, Bar, Club and Vinyl Record store.”
From here, we’ll walk down to the Pier Head. It should take about 15 minutes.
24. The Museum of Liverpool
In the Museum of Liverpool, you can learn about the city where the Beatles grew up. The Double Fantasy exhibition was on here from 2018 to 2019. The Museum of Liverpool tells the story of Liverpool and it’s a major attraction in the city. It received funding from various sources, including the EU’s European Regional Development Fund and opened in 2011.
25. The British Music Experience
At the British Music Experience, you can find out all about British pop music including many other famous Liverpool bands who are perhaps overshadowed by the omnipresent Beatles.
26. The Beatles Statue
The Beatles Statue was designed by Andrew Edwards and is probably Liverpool’s number one selfie opportunity. The four larger than life figures were unveiled in December 2015, fifty years after the Beatles’ final show in the city
27. The site of The Tower Ballroom
On the other side of the Mersey in New Brighton, we visit the site of the Tower Ballroom. On top of the building once stood the tallest tower in Britain. It was taken down around 1919 and in 1969, the building was damaged by fire and pulled down. The Beatles played here 27 times between 1961 and 1963.
28. New Brighton Pier
The Beatles gave just one concert on New Brighton Pier, which was built in the mid-19th century and sadly demolished in the early 1970s.
29. The MV Royal Iris
The MV Royal Iris was built in 1950 and served as one of the Mersey ferries. In the 1960s, the Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers played on Cavern cruises on the Mersey. Plans to turn it into a floating night club came to nothing and in 2019 she lay by the Thames in Woolwich, London, taking in water.
30. The Grosvenor Ballroom
The Beatles played at many venues on the Wirral, including the Grosvenor Ballroom in Liscard, not far from New Brighton. The hall looks the same as it did in the early sixties. It’s used for dances and community events.
31. The Apollo Roller Rink
The Beatles made one appearance at the Apollo Roller Rink in Moreton, not far from the sea. It was in 1962 and promoted by the Beatles’ poster artist Tony Booth. It’s now a dancing school.
32. The Majestic Ballroom
The Majestic Ballroom, Birkenhead played an important role in the Merseyside music scene during the 1960s. The Beatles played here on 17 occasions between 1961 and 1963. The building was later used as a Chinese restaurant.
33. The Victoria Hall
Paul often came to the area near The Victoria Hall, Higher Bebington visiting relatives.The Beatles played here on the 4th of August 1962.
34. Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight
Many tourists come to the model village of Port Sunlight for its art gallery and beautiful houses. Port Sunlight was built in the late 19th century by the wealthy soap manufacturer Lord Leverhulme for his employees. In Hulme Hall on the 18th of August 1962, the Beatles played their first concert with Ringo Starr as drummer.
We’ll take the train back to Liverpool city centre and we’ll go to the Cavern Quarter.
35. The Eleanor Rigby Statue
The Eleanor Rigby statue is in Stanley Street not far from Mathew Street. It was created by singer and artist Tommy Steele and presented to Liverpool in 1982.
36. Mathew Street
Mathew Street is dedicated to the Beatles, as well as other famous Liverpool stars including Cilla Black. In the evening and at weekends the street is full of people.
37. The Hard Day’s Night Hotel
The Hard Days Night Hotel is a Beatles theme hotel. The £8 million project was awarded an EU grant of £2.3 million and opened in 2004. High up on the façade, there are some slightly comical statues of the Beatles. The John Lennon statue is the best one.
38. The John Lennon Statue, Mathew Street
The statue of John Lennon on Mathew Street portrays him as a young man wearing a leather jacket. Many people from all over the world stop to have their photo taken next to John.
39. The Cavern Club
Between 1961 and 1963, the Beatles played in the Cavern Club 292 times. This isn’t the original Cavern Club. The building it was in was unfortunately demolished. This new Cavern Club is a very good reproduction of the original.
40. The Grapes Pub, Mathew Street
Before they went on stage, the Beatles often went to the Grapes Pub further down Mathew Street.
41. Four Lads Who Shook the World’
Mounted high on a wall on Mathew Street is the artwork named ‘Four Lads Who Shook the World’. It was created by Arthur Dooley. John Lennon is represented as a baby.
42. The Magical History Museum
The Magical History Museum contains a gigantic collection of Beatles memorabilia on three floors. It commemorates not just the Fab Four but drummer Pete Best who was replaced by Ringo Starr and bass guitarist Stuart Sutcliffe who died in Hamburg at the age of 21.
43. The Casbah Coffee Club
Now we’ll travel three and a half miles or five and a half kilometres from the city centre to the suburb of West Derby. In the cellar of a large house on the road named Haymans Green is the Casbah Coffee Club. Here, Paul, John, George and Pete Best played their first concerts. It’s full of fascinating photographs and memorabilia that transport you back to the late 1950s and early 1960s.The Casbah Coffee Club was owned and run by Pete Best’s mother Mona. It’s back to the city centre now for the final section of the tour.
44. The Beatles Story
The Beatles Story in the Albert Dock is about the remarkable success story of the Fab Four and it’s an award-winning attraction. The White Room is striking and memorable.
45. The European Peace Monument or The John Lennon Peace Monument
The European Peace Monument or The John Lennon Peace Monument was given to the people of Europe on the occasion of John Lennon’s 70th birthday. It was commissioned by the Global Peace Initiative and designed by artist Lauren Voiers when she was only 19. It was unveiled in Chevasse Park near the Hilton Hotel on the 9th of October 2010. Later it was moved to its present site in front of Jury’s Inn Hotel.
We’re going to take the National Trust minibus to visit the Beatles’ childhood homes. To get your ticket to ride, you’ll need to book in advance.
46. Number 20 Forthlin Road
Paul McCartney lived with his family at 20 Forthlin Road, Allerton from 1955 till 1964. The interior of the small terraced house is decorated with furniture and memorabilia from the 1950s. It’s easy to imagine Paul and his family sitting in the front room having a sing-song. Photos of the interior are not allowed.
47. Number 251 Menlove Avenue
We continue to the last Beatles location on the tour, number 251 Menlove Avenue, Woolton, where John Lennon lived with his Aunt Mimi. It’s quite a large semi-detached house with gardens front and rear. The house is a time capsule of the early 1960s and please note photography is not permitted.
On our long and winding tour of 47 Beatles locations in Liverpool and Wirral, we’ve coincidentally covered a distance of around 47 miles as the crow flies. and that’s about or 75 kilometres,
If you’re interested in a shorter tour, you can come on one of my Liverpool Photo Walks.
Please watch the video, click the ‘like’ button, post a comment and subscribe to my AVZINE channel for more on the subject of cities and journeys, including a feature on the Beatles in Hamburg.
So it’s Auf Wiedersehen from me and I’ll leave you with these words by an unnamed writer on the John Lennon Peace Movement website:
“John Lennon taught us to stand up for what we believe in and dream big. He protested for peace, and many people listened. This is why John Lennon will be remembered as a peace activist. His legendary ideas will be remembered forever as long as we all shall live.”
Art defines cities. The Impressionists painted Paris and captured the Zeitgeist – the spirit of the age, the Expressionists did the same in Berlin.
Art can be big business. Paintings by LS Lowry sell for huge amounts. And yet the true value of art is in its vision.
I’ve chosen these artists because I know them personally and in fact one of them used my photo of the Hacienda as source material, with my permission of course. That’s how I got to know her.
A quick word about the text on screen. I’m a photographer and writer. I’m interested in words and images and I like to see them side by side on screen. It’s also useful for people with a disability, for language learners and also for anyone who for any reason has to have the sound down.
Okay, so let’s go to the exhibition area and take a look…
Caroline Johnson, fine artist and printmaker studied Fine Art and lived in France for 20 years. For her illustration of the Haçienda night club, I’m glad to say she used my photo as source material. With an analytical eye, she depicts the curved façade of the now-demolished building with its salmon-coloured bricks. Magazine cuttings add to the mystery.
St Peters Square is one of many locations she has recorded. This is St Peters Square prior to the renovation, looking towards the Bridgewater Hall. There are modern buildings on the left and on the right the ornate brown-tiled Midland Hotel, with the tram stop in its former location in front of the Central Library. There are strong verticals and the people are dressed for a Manchester winter.
Using relaxed lines she draws the old Cornerhouse arts centre, filled with solid blocks of colour, photo collage and other mixed media. In 2015, HOME became Manchester’s main arts centre.
Her depiction of the Deaf Institute music venue is beautifully detailed. Parked cars and barriers are part of the composition. Empty spaces in the drawing are filled using magazine cutouts with typography.
The curved red brick façade of the Black Lion pub on Chapel Street Salford is rendered in a piercing reddish-brown hue. Outer sections of the drawing are left uncoloured.
I love to photograph the shadowy grey Castlefield railway viaducts, but Caroline has drawn them in an eerie luminous green. The lines are slightly off the vertical, giving a feeling of dizziness as we gaze in awe at these structures.
And now we are looking through the eyes of Karen McBride, the celebrated Manchester music photographer. She started out as an artist, achieved fame and later returned to painting.
Now we see a different vision of Castlefield. At the top, a riot of gold paint and darker shades, and as we look more closely, the familiar shapes of the viaduct emerge, reflected in the murky water. Karen paints in an Expressionist style that’s rooted in memory and emotion.
The Old Town Hall Portico in Heaton Park is engulfed in an angry, warlike red, the paint spilling over and down the pillars, giving a sense of turmoil. Expressionism is defined as ‘using a subjective perspective and distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas’. That definition from Wikipedia fits Karen’s work perfectly.
In Karen’s painting, the tower of the former Refuge Assurance, now a hotel, stands defiant, with sections of the building arranged below it, like protagonists in a play.
Precise sections of window dissolve into a blizzard of brown and grey. The bridge over the Medlock tries to bind the elements together, but is dominated by them.
Karen was born and grew up in Harpurhey, north Manchester. From the bus on Rochdale Road, she often saw a brown, tiled building on a triangular site. Her depiction of the end façade is a curious combination of architectural precision and the chaos of graffiti.
Gary Taylor is from east Manchester. His paintings recreate the old industrial city. His style is simple and direct but the effects are sophisticated and full of atmosphere. Moonlight is reflected on a wet street. Smoke and steam emanate from the power station, as an old-style red Manchester double-decker 53 bus makes its way along Hulme Hall Lane.
According to Wikipedia, ‘Impressionism is characterised by small, thin, yet visible brush strokes, open composition, with an emphasis on accurate depiction of light in its changing qualities’. That description fits Gary Taylor’s work quite well.
With simple strokes and a few dots of paint on the canvas, Gary recreates a lost world. Above the trees, we can see the art deco façade of the former Rylands, later Debenhams. Vivid green is punctuated by red flowers, with a blue sky above. The red lettering on the Arndale Tower and the windows below are rendered in just a few casual brush strokes.
In monochrome, Gary Taylor paints a street leading to a humpback bridge over a canal, with houses, warehouses and chimneys beyond. A woman in a white 1950s-style dress crosses the street and man waits on the corner. Scribbled advertising hoardings bear silent witness to this mysterious scene.
In east Manchester, there were countless, streets, factories and smoking chimney pots. Boy met girl at bus stops, rode the old red and ochre 53 bus and went to the pub. Gary’s painting could be the inspiration for a 1960s kitchen sink drama.
In shades of grey, Gary Taylor conjures up the Manchester Docks. An old sailor leans on the railing, smoking a pipe. He looks out over the dark, oily canal water at the ships, masts, funnels and smoke. What’s in his mind’s eye is what’s there in front of us. The wooden cross, like a grim signpost, adds an ominous element.
It’s easy to idealise the past, but in Gary Taylor’s cityscape of Gorton, we see a monochrome landscape with a modern white block on the left, blackened terraced houses on the right and in the distance under a smoky, grey sky, the outline of Gorton Monastery.
Len Grant is from south Manchester and went to the same school as me, Xaverian College, when it was a boys’ grammar school. After a career change into photography and many years of success, he turned to sketching. As we see in his sketch of the Albert Memorial, his linework is playful and confident. He uses a fountain pen filled with permanent black ink. Then he applies watercolours.
The Bridgewater Hall and its surroundings are unmistakable in a drawing that’s arranged like a triptych using sketchy linework and casually daubed watercolour.
Like Caroline Johnson, Len has depicted the Cornerhouse on Oxford Road, its familiar narrow façade framed between architectural elements that are not that close together in real life. He is able to bend reality in a way that’s impossible in photography.
Len Grant doesn’t just draw pictures. He engages in community-based projects, mingling with people, drawing them and their familiar locations. The results are published in miniature books.
Eamonn Murphy was born in Chester and lives in Stockport. He has worked in advertising and graphic design. His post-minimalist illustrations have the precision of architectural drawings but the homely appeal of brightly coloured railway posters. Through Eamonn Murphy’s eyes, HOME arts centre looks as shiny and pristine as on the day it opened.
Using digital illustration, he is able to reduce complex architecture down to its simplest forms, revealing its essential character. It works for modern styles of architecture and traditional ones too, like the Central Library.
He can bring out the best in modern buildings, which some people might consider as not so attractive. The Beetham tower is an abstract pattern of lines and parallelograms in pastel shades. The beam of light from above looks like a straightened, colourless rainbow.
The church-like windows of the John Rylands Library, its pinnacles, battlements and brown sandstone walls are reduced to a simple set of shapes, revealing things you might not have noticed, for instance that the windows on the front are not symmetrical.
Manchester Central, the former Central Station, is perhaps the ideal subject matter for Eamonn Murphy, an exercise in geometric forms, rectangles, triangles and curves, with the asymmetrical modern entrance at the front. The old fashioned clock has incredible detail. A combination of modern and traditional, sometimes harmonious, sometimes not, that’s Manchester.
Five artists, each one with their own vision, one city, actually two, Manchester and Salford.
To see local scenes depicted in art I recommend going to Manchester Art Gallery or the Lowry Salford Quays. You can also browse the windows of the private galleries in Manchester city centre or go to Manchester Central Library.
More details in the description below and of course, don’t forget to like this video, subscribe to the channel and click the ‘bell’ button for notifications. And tell other people about these artists.
That’s all from me so it’s auf Wiedersehen, see you soon!
So if you watch the video above and read the article below, you will learn a lot about this amazing building.
But there are still some questions that are unanswered, which I list at the bottom of the page. If you have any answers please leave a message. In honour of Carl Bernard Bartels, I have also produced a German-language version of the video. Many thanks for watching and please subscribe to my AVZINE channel.
The Royal Liver Building is the most famous building in Liverpool and it is admired and loved by both local people and visitors. It’s located on the Pier Head, overlooking the River Mersey. Its two clock towers, and the two iconic Liver birds standing on top of them, can be seen from all over the city. It was constructed between 1908 and 1911 and is one of the so-called Three Graces. The other two are the Cunard Building, built 1914-1917, and the Port of Liverpool building, 1904-1907.
The Liver Building is one of the most familiar sights in Liverpool and you’ll find plenty of information about it in tourist guides and on websites. But certain facts about the Liver Building are shrouded in mystery, and there are some questions to which I’ve not found any clear answers. I will list them at the end.
1. The Liver Building is made out of reinforced concrete with a granite façade.
You’ll read that the Liver Building is made out of reinforced concrete. Its use of reinforced concrete for the structure of the building was ground-breaking at the time it was built. But it’s also important to know that the exterior is clad – or covered – in granite. The granite has a pale shade of brown, unlike the white Portland stone used on the Cunard and Port of Liverpool buildings. I’ve heard people say this colour is not very attractive but I don’t find that. It’s part of its unique character.
2. The Liver Building is built on one-third of a filled-in dock.
I used to wonder, why is it that on Liverpool’s Pier Head, there are three magnificent buildings, rectangular in floor plan, standing side by side? And then I discovered that all three were constructed on what used to be St George’s Dock. It was drained and the site was prepared for new buildings.
Water Street and Brunswick Street were extended across the former dock, dividing it into three. Three buildings then appeared where ships used to moor. And here’s another hidden fact: if you turned the clock back a few centuries, and looked from St Nicholas church, the Three Graces would be out in the river. The entire Pier Head and dock system is built on reclaimed land.
3. The inner courtyard walls have been covered with a modern glass façade.
In 2011, I visited the Liver Building to take photographs for the book ‘Liverpool Then and Now’, and I was shocked to discover that the interior facade has been covered in a glass skin similar to a 1960s office block. I didn’t take a photograph of it, as I didn’t want to spoil the image I had in my mind. Since its completion in 1911 the Liver Building, like most commercial buildings, has been altered and renovated, but I’m not sure when the glass wall was added. That’s another one of my questions at the end.
4. The riverside clock tower has three faces, the landside tower has only one.
I’ve been looking at the Liver Building for many years but had never quite fully noticed that the four clock faces are split between the two clock towers. On the west tower, there are three clock faces looking north, west and south, respectively.
On the east tower, there is only one clock face, looking east over the city centre. And here’s another hidden fact: all four clocks are controlled by the same mechanism. I don’t quite understand how that works, so that’s another question, which I’ve added to the list at the end.
5. The clock faces are bigger than those on the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster in London.
The clock faces of the Liver Building are bigger than the ones on the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament, completed in 1859. These are 23 feet or seven metres wide but the Liver Building clock faces are 25 feet wide or 7.6 m.
One information source stated that the clock on the front of Shell Mex House, further down the Thames, is bigger. But it’s not a proper clock face, just a section of the façade onto which clock hands and hour markers have been fixed. The Liver Building clock faces are proper clock faces made of metal and opaque glass, and they are recognised as the biggest in the UK.
6. It looks similar to some early skyscrapers in the United States.
The Liver Building is said to closely resemble the Allegheny Court House in Pittsburgh, built in 1884 and Adler & Sullivan’s Schiller Theatre in Chicago, built in 1891 and demolished in 1961.
I think it looks very similar to the Wrigley Building in Chicago, but that building dates from 1924. Could the Liver Building have influenced architecture on the other side of the Atlantic, just as Birkenhead Park influenced Central Park in New York?
7. The clock faces are the largest electronically driven clocks in the UK.
The Liver Building clocks are the biggest electronically driven clocks in the UK and this is a reminder that the building brings together both traditional and modern elements. The ornamented clock tower conforms to classic architectural principles you’ll see in world architecture, including Islamic architecture, but the mechanism of the clock is pure 20th century.
8. There are no bells inside the towers of the Liver Building.
There are bell towers on town halls and cathedrals including Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, and you can often hear them ringing. But inside the clock towers of the Liver Building, there are no bells. It made no sound at all until 1953 when a chiming mechanism was installed in memory of Royal Liver staff killed during two world wars.
The chimes were made using piano wires hit by hammers and the sound was amplified using a microphone, amplifier and speaker. This device gradually deteriorated and was out of operation for around four years. But in 2016, the chimes returned, thanks to the Cumbrian Clock Company, who are responsible for the maintenance of the clocks. They recorded the old chimes and saved the audio onto a hard drive. This sound is played throughout the day and the evening through a large speaker located under the cupola of the west tower.
It doesn’t sound quite like a real bell, but it’s better than no bell at all. I was intrigued to discover that when the building was under construction, there had been plans to put real bells in the tower and some space was set aside to accommodate them. But in the end, no bells were installed for fear that they would be too heavy for the new style of construction using reinforced concrete.
9. The Liver Birds were designed by a German.
This fact was remained hidden from many many years. It was only in recent years that the identity of the person who created the metal cormorant-like birds was revealed. He was Carl Bernard Bartels, a German emigré artist born in Stuttgart. He came to live in England in 1887 after falling in love with the country. A competition was held to design and build the two birds that would be placed on the roof of the Liver Building, and he won.
A few years after the Liver Building was completed, the First World War began and there was a strong anti-German feeling. Carl Bernard Bartels was interned on the Isle of Man as an enemy alien and deported in 1918. He returned to England in the mid-twenties and spent the rest of his life there. Carl Bernard Bartels created Liverpool’s most famous pair of icons, but this fact was kept hidden until the late 20th century because he was German. Inside the Liver Building, there is now a plaque in his honour.
So, those are what I believe to be the surprising facts – at least, they surprised me when I first found out about them. Let’s continue with more generally known facts.
10. The Liver Building was designed by local architect Walter Aubrey Thomas
The Royal Liver Building was designed by Walter Aubrey Thomas, a Liverpool-based architect who was born in New Brighton, Cheshire in 1864. He designed many buildings in Liverpool city centre. I was interested to discover he designed a listed building on Lord Street which has distinctive stripes and an arch.
I took a picture of the Liver Building from the corner of Water Street, zooming in on the clock tower. There’s another building to the right, a white building. That other building is the Tower Building, which pre-dates the Liver Building by several years. You can see it in old photos. It’s quite similar, with arches and those ‘curled’ motifs. In fact, the Tower Building was also designed by Walter Aubrey Thomas, something that is rarely mentioned, even though it stands directly opposite the Liver Building and could be seen as its precursor.
11. The Liver Building is a listed building, part of the UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Liver Building is a Grade 1 listed building (not Grade 1*, as one person mentioned. There is only Grade II*). A Grade 1 listed building is recognised as being of outstanding architectural merit and of national significance. That’s certainly true of the Liver Building.
It is also recognised as an important part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City. That puts the area on a par with the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids and Angkor Wat. But on the UNESCO list, it’s marked in red, because its quality and uniqueness are under threat due to proposed construction projects nearby.
12. The clock faces have no numerals.
This may seem of little importance at first sight, but if we look at other historic clock towers, maybe ones that are slightly older, we find that most have numerals, either Arabic or Roman style, like the town halls of Birkenhead, Bradford, Rochdale and the Tower of Westminster (‘Big Ben’). With its plain clock faces, the Liver Building clocks look towards a more modern style.
13. The Liver Building clocks are called the George Clocks.
They’re called the George clocks because they were set in motion at 1.40 pm on Thursday, 22 June 1911, when George Frederick Ernest Albert Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the Prince of Wales, officially became King George V. The clocks were made by Gent & Co of Leicester.
14. One of the clock faces was once used as a dinner table.
There is a photograph of one of the clock faces, which was turned into a huge banqueting table during the construction of the Liver Building. Sitting at the table are senior people from the Liver Assurance Group and Liverpool Corporation. The clock faces were later hauled up to the top of the building.
15. For many years it was the tallest building in Britain.
The Liver Building is said to be the UK’s first skyscraper, though at just 13 storeys, it doesn’t seem like much of a skyscraper. Already buildings in the United States were reaching much greater heights. But it remained the tallest building in Britain for many years. It’s 322 feet or 98.2 m to the top of the spires. It remains one of the tallest buildings in north-west England.
16. Each of the two Liver Birds holds something in its beak, but what is it?
The birds on the Liver Building have a wingspan of 24 feet or 7.3 metres and are 18 feet 5.5 metres high. If you look closely or zoom in with a camera, you will see that each Liver Bird is carrying something in its beak. It looks like a small twig or branch of a tree. It’s got four leaves. In most descriptions, this is identified as a piece of laver, or seaweed. The name ‘laver’ is a pun on the name ‘Liverpool’.
However, I’ve also read that it’s an olive branch. And the French language Wikipedia page states that the Liver bird holds in its beak a branch of genêt, the French word for broom, a type of bush with a yellow flower that appears in spring. Genêt is said to be a reference to the Plantagenet dynasty, who ruled England in the middle ages. Is this true? That’s another question to add to my list at the end! The Liver bird is a mythical bird, said to date back to 1207, when King John founded the borough of Liverpool by royal charter and used a bird on the seal.
17. It is named after the Royal Liver Assurance Company, but they are no longer in the building.
The building is named after the Royal Liver Assurance Company which was a friendly society. Around the turn of the 20th century they decided to construct a new building for their 6000 staff. It remained the headquarters until Royal Liver Assurance merged with the Royal London Group in 2011. The group subsequently moved out of the building. In 2019 it’s reported to accommodate around 2000 staff working in a range of companies.
Luxembourg-based investment group, Corestate Capital, bought the building for £48 million in February 2017 along with Everton F.C. majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri. So, Liverpool’s most potent and best-loved symbol is a privately-owned office building. That’s an interesting fact. There must be very few other commercial office buildings with such an exalted status. Perhaps it’s symbolic, because Liverpool is a mercantile city whose wealth is built on business and trade (including, sadly, the slave trade).
18. The Liver Building was renovated in 2019 and also in the past.
In 2019, the Liver Building was renovated to bring it up to the standards required by today’s companies. Looking on the royalliverbuilding.com website, I see many changes have been carried out. There’s a photo of empty floor space with those semi-circular windows. But the building has not been preserved in its original state. That’s the way it is with working buildings, they have to be adapted for changing times, though seen from the outside, it looks as it did when it was first built.
And now we move from facts to popular legends.
19. The birds are called Bella and Bertie and if they fly away, Liverpool will cease to exist.
I’ve read from many sources, that the birds are called Bella and Bertie, but who exactly called them that? We are told that if they break away from their shackles and fly away, that will be the end of Liverpool. This story sounds like it was inspired by the ravens of the Tower of London. It’s said that if they leave the tower, the kingdom and the Tower of London will fall.
The difference is that the ravens are real birds, whereas the Liver Birds are copper sculptures weighing several tons and they’re tied down with cables. The birds face in opposite directions. It’s said that if they were facing each other, they might mate and break their moorings, causing the downfall of the city. According to another account, Bella watches over the ships and their crews while Bertie watches over the city and its people.
A variant of this is that Bella is on the lookout for handsome sailors on the arriving ships, while Bertie is checking that the pubs are open. What must he have been thinking during the 2020 Coronavirus crisis! A typically Scouse piece of humour is that the Liver Birds flap their wings every time a virgin walks along the Pier Head.
20. The views from the top of the Liver Building are fantastic!
There is no doubt that the views from the roof of the Liver Building are fantastic. When I wrote the previous version of this article in 2015, it wasn’t possible for the general public to enter the building and go up to the tower. Now it is! Read my review below to find out what I thought of the Royal Liver 360 visitor experience and why I was a little bit disappointed.
Personal observations and reminiscences.
The Liver Building was begun in the same year my father was born, 1908. He was christened Bertie, presumably after the popular name of George, who became King in 1911.
I remember visiting the Pier Head with my mother in the 1960s and taking the ferry to Woodside. I was captivated by the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool building. They had just been cleaned and looked as if they were made out of icing sugar. They seemed to ‘sing’, I can’t quite explain it. At that time, all the buildings in Manchester were still covered in black soot from the factories. I can’t remember much about the Liver Building, except that there were rows of green Liverpool Corporation buses parked in front of it.
Another memory from the sixties is the opening credits of the Liver Birds tv series, starring Nerys Hughes and Polly James. The grimy Liver Building can be seen from the ferry. There is an iconic shot looking up at the glamorous Nerys Hughes standing on the back of a bus, with the tower of the Liver Building behind.
In recent years I’ve followed all the changes on the Pier Head, I’ve taken photos and video of many festivals, including the Giants, I took ‘now’ shot of the building for the book ‘Liverpool Then and Now’ and went inside to capture the view of where the Liverpool Overhead Railway used to be. That’s when I saw the glass interior wall for the first time.
I’ve done some drawings too, which I am featuring on this page.
I love the Liver Building, its design, its location, the Liver Birds that stand on top of it, and all the associations it has with the history of Liverpool. I will go on admiring it and taking photos of it, like every local person and every visitor to the city. I hope to find out even more hidden facts about the Liver Building, which I will add to this page.
- But I have some unanswered questions, some facts about the Liver Building that remain hidden, or at least not 100% clear. Can you provide any information?
- Who exactly named the Liver Birds Bella and Bertie?
- How are the four clocks, including one in a separate tower, controlled by one mechanism?
- Exactly what type of branch are the Liver Birds holding in their beaks?
- Which clock face was the one used as a dinner table?
- Since when clock tower had an amber coloured light? I seem to remember that in the past, the light was white. Was it?
- When was the earlier renovation carried out, during which the glass interior façade was added?
- In what year were the Three Graces first cleaned? Was it in 1968?
- What is the exact weight of each Liver Bird?
And here’s one extra fact: At around 11 pm on the evening of Friday 26 June, 2020, while crowds celebrated Liverpool FC’s Premier League win, someone threw a firework at the Liver Building and it started a fire on the front of the building. Mobile phone images show a blaze in front of the semi-circular window below the west tower. The fire was put out by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service. Comment: Setting fire to Liverpool’s most iconic building is not the best way to celebrate Liverpool FC’s win.
Why was the airport that was once the biggest in the world built in the middle of a wilderness? The answer is actually quite simple.
Gander International Airport is situated on the island of Newfoundland in the north-east of Canada
The airport was built in the 1930s north of Gander Lake around 60 km west of the coast which is often fog-bound. There was also a railway line there.
The range of the aircraft of that time was insufficient for direct flights between Europe and North America. They had to make an intermediate stop and refuel.
Gander and also the Irish airport Shannon became important springboards across the Atlantic. Both airports lie on the route between north-west Europe and north-east America, the shortest connection between the two continents.
Building work began in June 1936. At that time, Newfoundland was a self-governing British Dominion. The town of Gander was built to house the building workers and airport employees.
The first aircraft landed on the 11th of January 1938. In November of the same year operations began. Four paved runways were built, the longest named 03/21, with a length of 10,200 feet or 3109 metres.
After it opened, Gander quickly became biggest airport in the world. In the Second World War, the Gander station of the Royal Canadian Air Force was of great strategic importance.
On the 10th of November 1940 seven American military aircraft departed on a test flight from Gander to Belfast. All seven landed there safely.
After that, more than 20,000 fighter planes flew from the USA to Europe, with a refuelling stop in Gander. Supplies were brought to Britain and to the European front.
Approximately 20,000 people from the U.S. Air Force lived around the airbase.
After the war the local authorities regained responsibility for the airport and it wasn’t long until civilian aviation started.
At that time flying was risky. The strict safety standards of today did not exist.
Despite the risks, more and more people wanted to fly. Soon the big propeller airliners of BOAC, Pan Am and TWA were making the flight across the Atlantic.
At that time the journey from London to New York could take up to 18 hours.
Gander became the hub of commercial aviation ‘Crossroads of the World’ was the slogan.
In the 1950s, 13,000 aircraft carrying 25,000 passengers landed and took off every year at Gander airport.
The passengers at this time were often privileged people, such as film stars and leading politicians.
In the boom years, the rich and famous came into the improvised departure lounge, where they drank cocktails and were photographed. Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor and Winston Churchill were visitors to Gander.
On the 29th of June, 1959 a new terminal was opened by the Queen, but the boom years were to end soon. The DC4s, Stratocruisers and Constellations of the 40s and 50s soon became outmoded.
The Boeing 707 revolutionised transatlantic air travel.
This jet aircraft had a range of 8000 kilometres and could cross the Atlantic direct from London to New York in only eight hours.
And so traffic at Gander decreased rapidly during the 1960s, but the airport was still important for military purposes.
In 1964 Jack James became Airport General Manager. He didn’t just work here, he lived here. The airport was his life and he devoted himself to the commercial success of Gander.
In the late 60s, he targeted the Eastern Block countries. Their Tupolevs and Ilyushins used too much fuel for longer flights.
They flew regularly back and forth to Communist Cuba. Aircraft belonging to Aeroflot and the GDR airline Interflug became regular visitors to Gander.
Aeroflot came with around 60 flights per week. The crews were stationed at Gander. The Eastern Block airlines opened offices at the airport or in Gander.
Eastern Block heads of state such as Brezhnev and Honecker were personally welcomed by the airport director. Fidel Castro had his first ‘winter wonderland’ when as a guest of the airport management, he rode a toboggan in the snow.
Communist rulers were the new VIPs at the airport but their subjects saw an opportunity to escape.
After landing, the passengers always came into the terminal while the plane was being refuelled.
The waiting area did not officially belong to Canada, but if a passenger wanted to stay in Canada it was possible.
He or she could go to a member of the security staff and simply say the words ‘Save me’. That meant that the person was asking for political asylum.
From that moment on they were accepted by the Canadian authorities. The security police of the Communist country they had come from could do nothing.
In the documentary film ‘Gander, the airport in the middle of nowhere’ by Roland May, Wolfgang Jörn from Neubukow in the GDR describes how he and his girlfriend of that time flew from Berlin Schönefeld to Cuba.
They had however already decided that they would not be returning to their socialist fatherland.
He describes how, on the return flight, he got off the Interflug plane in Gander and came into the waiting hall. He had brought his bag with him from the aircraft.
His girlfriend went to the security guard and said ‘Save me’.
Thankfully, he and his girlfriend were successful.
He still lives near Toronto and in 2018 he went back to his home town for the first time in thirty years.
When at the beginning of the 1990s, the end of Communism came the Eastern Block airlines had to close their offices. It was a sad time for colleagues on both sides.
The plane is the safest form of transport. We know that. The last major air crash near Gander happened in the 1980s.
On the 12th of December, 1985, a chartered Douglas DC-8 of the airline Arrow Air made a refuelling stop in Gander. It was bringing US solders who had been on a peacekeeping mission in the Sinai to Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
After take-off, the plane got into a stall and crashed. All 256 people on board were killed.
Presumed cause: Ice on the wings. Two other serious accidents took place near Gander: A Czechoslovak Ilyushin 18 in 1968 and a Sabena DC4 in 1946.
In the 1990s fewer and fewer International airlines came to Gander Airport. Its future seemed uncertain until in the north-east of the USA an unimaginable tragedy caused a crisis.
On the 11th of September 2001 after the terrorist attacks, 39 aircraft were diverted to Gander. 6122 passengers and 473 crew were stranded there and had to wait many hours in their aircraft.
Then the passengers were welcomed by the 10,000 inhabitants of the town of Gander. They were treated like members of the family. The guests and their hosts became close friends. When the time came to fly on, many parted with tears in their eyes.
In recognition of this, Lufthansa named its new Airbus 340 Gander/Halifax in 2002.
Nowadays not many aircraft land at Gander but at a height of 30,000 feet and above, around 1500 aircraft overfly Newfoundland on a normal day.
The control centre of the Canadian air traffic control for Canada and the North Atlantic, Nav Canada, is situated not far from the airport and is an important employer in the area.
Gander airport today is an airport for small passenger aircraft, private jets, regional airlines, freighters and military aircraft.
There’s an important flying school here: Gander Flight Training. It dates back to the year 1992, when its founder Patrick White bought a Cessna 150 and began as a flying instructor.
Today the school offers a wide range of flying courses. Students come from Canada and abroad to do their pilot training here.
With its long tradition in aviation, Gander is a place with a passion for flight. The people here are fascinated by planes and flying.
That makes Gander an ideal place for flight training. Newfoundland is a cold and often wet place with snow, ice and wind. Many people all over the world say, if you have learned to fly here, you can fly anywhere in the world.
But Gander like its sister airport Shannon, also has an important role as an emergency landing site for aircraft that get into difficulties over the Atlantic.
The coronavirus of 2020 brought new challenges for Gander and all other airports.
Gander International Airport has seen many highs and lows in the past.
Hopefully as the time moves on for this historic and remarkable airport, its future will remain secure.
Im Juli 2020 habe ich eine Dia-Show für ein Video des Sängers Zinney Sonnenberg gemacht. Das Video erschien am 04.07.2020 im Global-Liverpool-Facebook-Event. Der Song ‘Liverhearts – Where can I find me another river’ handelt von der Liebe des Künstlers zu seiner Wahlheimat Liverpool und den Schmerz, sie verlassen zu müssen. Hier präsentiere ich das Slide-Show-Video mit meinen Fotos sowie das Transkript des Interviews.
Geschrieben von Aidan O’Rourke | Sonntag den zwölften Juli 2020
ENGLISCHE VERSION | DEUTSCHE VERSION.
Für das Video habe ich ungefähr fünfzig meiner Fotos von Liverpool ausgewählt. Ich wollte mehr über Zinney Sonnenberg herausfinden, also habe ich mit ihm ein Interview per Zoom geführt. Das Audio und das Transkript erscheinen hier auf Deutsch sowie auf Englisch.
Guten Tag! Zuerst möchte ich fragen: Wie ist dein Name? Woher kommst du und wo wohnst du jetzt?
Mein Name ist Gerd Zinsmeister. Mein Künstlername ist Zinney Sonnenberg. Ich komme ursprünglich aus dem Saarland. Es ist an der Dreiländerecke Deutschland, Luxemburg und Frankreich. Seit einem Jahr wohne ich in Bayern, in Dachau, bekannt durch das Konzentrationslager in Dachau.
Okay, und was machst du von Beruf?
Ich bin Musiker von Beruf und arbeite in der Dachauer Musikschule als Musiklehrer und unterrichte Gitarre, Klavier und Gesang. Ansonsten nehme ich Platten auf und spiele live in Deutschland, England und Holland.
Was für Musik spielst du?
Meine Musik könnte man als Folk-Musik mit Einflüssen von Pop und Rock und Worldmusic beschreiben.
Und wie lange warst du in Liverpool?
Ich habe 21 Jahre in Liverpool gewohnt.
Wann und warum bist du nach Liverpool gezogen?
Ich bin am 10. August 1998 mit meiner Frau und meiner dreijährigen Tochter nach Liverpool gezogen, um einen Kurs an dem Liverpool Institut für Performing Arts zu machen.
Was waren deine frühen Eindrücke von Liverpool?
Ich hatte mich sofort in Liverpool verliebt, eine tolle Stadt mit netten, weltoffenen Menschen, ein ganz besonderes Licht, ein reges Nachtleben und ein ganz besonderer Dialekt, an den ich mich erst gewöhnen musste.
Wo habt ihr gewohnt?
In den ersten drei Jahren wohnten wir in Toxteth in der Pengwern Street, hinter der Saint-Silas-Schule in dem Walisischen Viertel. Unser Haus war das zweitletzte Hause am Ende der Straße mit Blick auf den Schulhof von der Saint-Silas-Schule. Später haben wir vierzehn Jahre lang in Aigburth gewohnt.
Warum bist du in Liverpool geblieben?
Nachdem mein Studium an der LIPA war beendet war, hatten wir uns gut akklimatisiert in Liverpool. Ich arbeitete als Krankenpfleger in einem Pflegeheim in der Mill Street in Toxteth.
Meine Frau machte einen Kurs am Arts College in der Myrtle Street. Unsere Tochter Zoe hatte an der Windsor School schon viele Freunde gemacht.
Wie ist Liverpool anders als andere Städte?
Als Hafenstadt beherbergt Liverpool Menschen aus vielen kulturellen Hintergründen. So waren in der Grundschulklasse meiner Tochter Kinder aus dreizehn verschiedenen Ländern.
Architektonisch ist die Innenstadt von Liverpool sehr kompakt. Der Fluss Mersey, der über Jahrzehnte die Lebensader von Liverpool war, prägt das Stadtbild.
Aber die herausragende Besonderheit ist die humorvolle, freundliche und weltoffene Mentalität der Scouser.
Was sind deine Top-10 Empfehlungen für Besucher?
Es gibt viele interessante Sehenswürdigkeiten in Liverpool und viele Dinge, die man tun kann.
Auf jeden Fall sollte man die Anthony-Gormley-Ausstellung ‘Another Place’ in Waterloo besuchen. Der Philharmonic ist der größte und prächtigste Pub in Liverpool. Außerdem sind die beiden Kathedralen, die von der Hope Street verbunden werden, sehr sehenswert.
Alle Museen in Liverpool sind kostenlos, und vor allem das Maritime Museum mit seiner Sklaverei-Abteilung, ist ein absolutes Muss für jeden Besucher. Das neue Museum an den Docks ist interaktiv und beschreibt die Geschichte von Liverpool. Im zweiten Stock hat man einen herrlichen Blick auf das Liver Building und die Flussmündung des Mersey.
Auf jeden Fall sollte man sich in das Nachtleben von Liverpool stürzen. Man sollte die verschiedenen Restaurants, Pubs, Clubs, Live-Music-Venues oder Comedy Clubs ein einfach mal besuchen.
Für Kunstinteressierte gibt es die Walker Art Gallery und die Tate am Albert Dock. Den Besuch des Palm Houses in Sefton Park kann man mit einem Glas Wein in der Lark Lane oder in der Penny Lane verbinden.
Für Fußballfans ist es ein absolutes Muss, einmal im Leben in Anfield You’ll Never Walk Alone zu hören.
Die Sonnenuntergänge in Liverpool sind einzigartig und so kann ich einen Spaziergang zwischen Aigburth und dem City Centre in Liverpool nur wärmstens empfehlen.
Was ist dein persönlicher Lieblingsort?
Mein Lieblingsort in Liverpool ist Otterspool Park. Der Spaziergang, der durch den Park führt und am Mersey endet ist ein wundervoller Spaziergang und ist deshalb sehr bedeutungsvoll für mich, weil ich da jeden Tag mit dem Hund spazieren war.
Kannst du deine Karriere auf der Musikszene in Liverpool beschreiben?
Ja, nach meinem Studium an der LIPA habe ich erst einmal gearbeitet, um mehr Aufnahmegeräte zu kaufen. So habe ich eine analoge Bandmaschine von den Christians gekauft und später einen Computer, mit dem ich aufnehmen konnte.
Zwischendurch bin ich immer wieder zu Open-Mike-Events gegangen, um dort zwei bis drei Lieder zu spielen. 2004 habe ich Jeff Davis von Probe Plus Records in Berlin auf einer Musikmesse kennengelernt.
2007 haben wir dann mit meiner Band unter dem Namen Sonnenberg mein erstes Album ‘Fishing In The Pool’ unter dem Probe-Plus-Label veröffentlicht.
Dann haben wir noch zwei weitere Alben ‘The End of the Rain’ und ‘Into The Light’ veröffentlicht.
Zwischen 2004 und 2018 war ich mit meiner Band oder auch solo in Skandinavien, Großbritannien, Deutschland und Holland auf Tour und habe als Vorgruppe von Half Man Half Biscuit in vor allem größere Venues in Großbritannien gespielt, wie zum Beispiel, das Shepherds Bush Theatre in London oder auch die Liverpool Academy.
Warum hast du dich entschieden, Liverpool zu verlassen?
Der Grund, Liverpool zu verlassen, war eindeutig der Brexit. Wir wollten nicht außerhalb der EU leben und in Großbritannien Bürger zweiter Klasse ohne Wahlrecht sein.
Wann hast du Liverpool verlassen und wohin in Deutschland bist du gegangen?
Wir haben Liverpool am 19. Juli, 2019 verlassen. Dann sind wir nach Bayern, nach Dachau gezogen.
Wann und warum hast du den Song ‘Where can I find me another river?’ geschrieben?
Das Lied ‘Liverhearts Another River’ habe ich 2018 geschrieben. Er soll meine Liebe zu Liverpool reflektieren, sowie den Schmerz und die Trauer, seine Wahlheimat verlassen zu müssen, weil es gesellschaftliche oder politische Umstände erforderlich machen.
Generell versucht man als Liedermacher oder Musiker seine Gefühle auszudrücken oder sich Luft zu verschaffen. In diesem Fall war es die Frustration über die politische Wende 2016, die einige meiner Lieder zwischen 2016 und 2019 beeinflussten
Vielen Dank! Es tut mir leid wegen dem Brexit, aber ich hoffe, du kannst irgendwann zurück nach Liverpool kommen.
Das hoffe ich auch!
Hello and welcome to Manchester. In this video I present my Top 50 best and worst buildings in Manchester and district.
We’ll start with the worst ones
Number 50. The Arndale Centre by Hugh Wilson and Lewis Womersley 1972-1979. – Ugly and far too big, but as a shopping centre, very successful.
Number 49. Library Walk Link Building SimpsonHaugh – 2015 – ruins the effect of the two heritage buildings and blocks the beautiful passageway between them.
Number 48. Piccadilly pavilion Tadao Ando – 2002
Simply ugly and reminded me immediately of the Berlin Wall.
In 47th place, Number One Piccadilly Gardens von Allies and Morrison – 2003 – It was built on a greenspace and blocks the view of the historic facades.
46. Northenden flats 2014
This apartment building appeared the suburb of Northenden. The design is not bad but here in a village its too big and dominating. The building is bigger than in the original plans.
and now on to the better ones
45. Piccadilly Plaza Covell Mathews and Partners – 1965
Many hate it but I find it exciting and futuristic.
44. Bernard House, Piccadilly Plaza 1965 a building with a very interesting roof. Sadly it was demolished in 2003.
43. The Beetham/Hilton Tower Ian Simpson – 2007
42. The Trafford Centre Chapman Taylor & Leach Rhodes Walker – 1998 Architects cricitise but millions of visitors seem to like it!
41. The Mathematics Tower Scherrer and Hicks 1968 A nice building but no longer compatible with a modern university and demolished 2005, and replaced by…
40. University Place John McAslan + Partners – 2008 – At the university they call it ‘the tin can’.
and now on to the good ones…
39. Wythenshawe Park Tennis & Bowls Pavilion by City Architect LC Howitt – 1960 – A tiny masterpiece of modern architecture.
38. No 1 Deansgate Ian Simpson – 2002
A nice place to live, but not so good if you value your privacy.
37. Furness House fmr Manchester Liners Leach, Rhodes and Walker – 1969
In the former Manchester docks, it reminds me of Liberty Hall in Dublin.
36. The 1962 terminal at Manchester Airport by LC Howitt and Besant Roberts As a child I found it exciting and futuristic. Here’s a photo of mine from 1973.
35. Manchester Airport ATC Tower by CPM Architects 2013
Impressive and similar to other towers all over the world.
34. Pall Mall Court Brett & Pollen -1969
A nice sixties building.
33. – 55 King Street Casson, Conder & Partners 1966, 1969
Was a bank, now it’s a boutique.
32. City of Manchester Stadium Arup – 2002
31. Owens Park Tower Building Design Partnership – 1968
A student hall of residence with fantastic views.
30. Peter House Ansell and Bailey – 1958
Its facade curves outwards and opposite…
29. No1 St Peters Square Glenn Howells Architects – 2015
An elegant modern building its facade curves inwards.
28. Granada TV building Ralph Tubbs – 1956
A monument to the golden era of British TV.
27. The Lowry Hotel Consarc Design Architects – 2001
26. Contact Theatre Alan Short and Associates – 1999
A beautiful, interesting and rather crazy building.
25. Islington Wharf Broadway Malyan – 2000
Futuristic with great views
24. Oxford Rd Station William Robert Headley and Max Clendinning – 1960
It’s made out of wood and reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House
23. The Royal Exchange Theatre Levitt Bernstein – 1976
A building within a building. It looks like a lunar module.
22. The Bridgewater Hall Renton Howard Wood Levin – 1996
The new home of the Halle Orchestra founded in 1854 by the German-British musician Sir Charles Hallé.
21. Toast Rack Hollings Campus Leonard Cecil Howitt – 1960
Was a college for catering and so form represents function.
20. Manchester Cancer Research Centre Capita Symonds – 2015
19. National Graphene Institute Jestico + Whiles 2015
It has facets, like a jewel.
18. The Quay Bar Stephenson Bell- 1998 It won prizes but as a bar it wasn’t successful and it was demolished in 2007
17. MMU Business School and Student Hub FCB Studios – 2012
A very impressive building made out of glass.
16. Stockport Pyramid 1992
Now an icon of Stockport.
15. Manchester International Office Centre former Renold Chain – Cruikshank & Seward – 1955
Near the airport, a very early example of modern office architecture.
14. New Piccadilly Station BDP – 2002
in my opinion the best modern station building in the UK. I use it every day.
13. Gateway House Richard Seifert & Partners – 1969
Here in 1998 recently renovated, and today it looks great.
12. The Lowry Michael Wilford – 2000
With its metal façade and crazy shapes and colours, it’s unmistakable.
11. Maths and Social Sciences Building Cruikshank and Seward – 1968
For me as a child, this was a symbol of modernity.
10. Renold Building W.A.Gibbon of Cruikshank and Seward – 1962
A masterpiece of modern architecture.
09. Hexagon Tower Blackley Richard Seifert – 1973
This futuristic building looks astonishingly like the modern PC Tower.
08. Daily Express Building Sir Owen Williams – 1939
Visionary and progressive, unlike the paper which moved out years ago.
07 HOME by Mecanoo – 2015 a home for cinema, theatre and art. It looks great by day and by night.
06. Siemens Building Buttress Architects – 1989p
In south Manchester, influenced by the Bauhaus.
05. Imperial War Museum Daniel Libeskind – 2002
Represents a world shattered by war.
04. Civil Justice Centre by Denton Corker Marshall – 2008
Very big, very expensive but in my opinion a modern masterpiece.
03. Urbis Ian Simpson – 2001
A great building – exciting. My Manchester Megaphoto was displayed here. Since 2012 the National Football Museum.
02. One Angel Square by 3DReid – 2013
For many Manchester’s best modern building but my number one is…
01. The CIS Tower by Gordon Tait – 1962
Outside and inside superb, influenced by the Inland Steel Building, Chicago, by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. 1956. Since 2004, a huge solar project. I’ve taught in the CIS Tower.
So what’s your favourite building (in Manchester?) Please write it in the comments below.
And please like and subscribe.
Many thanks for watching and see you again in Manchester.
This video was showcased on the I Love Manchester website – many thanks to them for featuring my work.
With the money I saved, I bought my first SLR camera a Fujc STX-1 at a shop near Times Square. It cost $70 I was experimenting with the camera and decided to try out long shutter speeds.
This was my very first time exposure in the camera. I had a roll of Kodachrome 25. I propped the camera up on the window ledge of my tiny room and pointed it down at the street. I set the aperture to f-16 and the shutter to the bulb setting.
I tried different shutter speeds probably 2s, 10s and 30s. This one must have been 30 seconds. we can see the red light trails of cars heading downtown along 9th Avenue. There’s a blue police car parked on the left-hand side and further up, a yellow Caprice Classic taxi.
It really was like being in a movie. The façade is lit up by the intense red of the Market Diner neon signs. Both film and digital have difficulty with red and so there are very few details and the light seems very intense.
The diner and its surroundings have the look of an Edward Hopper painting and look how the tree branches are blurred because they’re blowing in the wind. On the right there’s a British Austin 1100.
In the upper left are the tracks and overhead cables from Penn Station. The sign says ‘park fast’ – typical New York. When the package from Kodak arrived in the post a couple of weeks later, I tore it open and looked at the slides.
This one was one of my favourites. Nothing can replace the excitement of your early experiments in photography, but I can’t help feeling at photography has lost something with the demise of Kodachrome.
My name is Aidan O’Rourke and I’m a photographer video maker and language coach. This video is bilingual 90% English 10% German to facilitate language learning, cross-cultural exchange and knowledge.
Please play the video to the end to hear an intriguing story from the dark final years of the Second World War that’s still relevant to us today.
1. In the single market – im Binnenmarkt – companies can trade with 500 million potential customers without restrictions.
2. Through free trade agreements – Freihandelsabkommen – they can enjoy free access to additional markets all over the world.
3. We have minimum rights in the workplace Mindestrechte am Arbeitsplatz.
4. We can use a stable currency across Europe, the euro – der Euro.
5. We can travel in the Schengen zone and there are no border checks keine Grenzkontrollen.
6. There’s an open border in Ireland – eine offene Grenze – in Irland.
7. We can find a job – einen Job finden – in our neighbouring countries with the minimum of formalities.
8. We can take pets across borders more easily using the pet passport or Heimtierausweis.
9. We can enjoy cheap flights – Billigflüge.
10. We can use our mobile phones outside the home network and there are no roaming charges keine Roaminggebühren.
11. We can buy a house or a flat – ein Haus oder eine Wohnung – in one of our neighbouring countries.
12. Disadvantaged regions can receive financial support – Fördermittel – through the ERDF.
13. Billions of euros are paid out through the Horizon 2020 program for science and research Wissenschaft und Forschung.
14. We can enjoy high food standards – hohe Lebensmittelstandards – higher than in the US.
15. We can buy products from Europe – Produkte aus Europa – at lower prices because there are no tariffs.
16. Car manufacturers can import and export parts without formalities for just-in-time delivery – Just-in-time-Lieferung.
17. It’s possible to drive in mainland Europe using your national driving license – mit dem nationalen Führerschein.
18. We can enjoy clean beaches – saubere Strände.
19. We can use credit cards without extra fees Kreditkarten ohne Extragebühren.
20. Whenever we are on the continent we can feel at home – Wir können uns zu Hause fühlen.
21. Employers can bring in the best workers – die besten Arbeiter.
22. Young people can do an Erasmus exchange – einen Erasmus-Austasuch – and improve their languages.
23. Europeans turning 18 can apply for a free Interrail ticket – ein kostenloses Interrail-Ticket.
24. We can all enjoy peace in Europe – Wir können alle in Europa den Frieden genießen – European cooperation makes it possible die europäische Zusammenarbeit macht es möglich.
And the cost to each UK citizen? Around 37 pence per day – zirka siebenunddreißig pence pro Tag.
I’ll finish with a story from history. This is Gedenkstätte Plötzensee – Plötzensee Memorial Berlin, a grim time capsule of the final years of the Second World War – der zweite Weltkrieg – where resistance fighters were executed by the Nazi regime.
Their crimes? They distributed leaflets criticising the regime, they saved the lives of Jewish people and they supported each other. They dreamed of a new Europe. They called themselves die Europäische Union – the European Union.
Thank you very much for watching, please like, comment and subscribe and I’ll see you in the next video. Auf Wiedersehen.
For more information do a search for Madeleina Kay’s excellent book 24 Reasons to Remain.
If you’re interested in learning German go to aidan.co.uk/german
This video is on the subject of Beatles locations in and around Liverpool and Wirral. The Beatles legacy is a huge reason for tourists to visit Liverpool. For me personally, I love visiting the locations connected with the Beatles as it helps me to discover more about Liverpool and I can relive the excitement and fascination of growing up with the music of the Beatles in the 1960s.
The video is narrated by me in English with German subtitles. I am using German because from 2019, the main focus of my main YouTube channel is German language. The subtitles will be of use to my students of German and those on my mailing list. I also hope to reach people in Germany who are interested in the Beatles, and who will find the German subtitles helpful and welcoming.
From 2019 all my videos will have a bilingual narration in English and German. I enjoy occasionally featuring other languages as well and in this Beatles video, I’m excited to be doing a Japanese version. A teaching colleague has helped with the translation into Japanese. I’ve given the video a Japanese look with Japan-influenced music by the talented young musician Bad Snacks, featured on the YouTube Audio Library.
To make the video I travelled all over the Liverpool region on various trips and photoshoots and I’ve been to nearly all the places connected with the Beatles where tourists like to go.
Of the many places I’ve listed so far, one of my favourites is the Casbah Coffee Club, which I visited for the first time in mid-2018. It’s an excellent place to visit as you can really experience what it was like to see John, Paul, George and Pete play in their early days.
I also love the Beatles’ childhood homes 20 Forthlin Road, home of the McCartney family,and Mendips, where John lived with his aunt Mimi. They’re fascinating to visit as they are both time capsules of the late fifties and early sixties. It’s not possible to take photos inside the houses, so I have only exterior photos.
Just before publishing the final version of the video in January 2019, I found out that there is going to be a new Beatles attraction on the grounds of Strawberry Field. The gates will finally open and fans will be able to find out about John and the other Beatles in a visitors centre. It looks great.
It was perhaps a controversial choice to include this Japanese-style background music in a video about a famous British band from the early sixties. However I wanted to highlight the Japanese perspective. The Beatles are very popular in Japan and many Japanese fans visit Liverpool. One of my goals is to build bridges and overcome barriers of language and culture. This is my way of doing it!
The background music is by an artist who calls herself ‘Bad Snacks’. Her work is available on the YouTube audio library and I think it is superb. I loved these two tracks when I first heard them. in fact some of the content of the video was inspired by this music.
The first track we hear is called Mizuki and has a bright, upbeat character with its Oriental style memory played using the sound of an Eastern instrument, perhaps a koto.
The second track is ‘Shibuya’ and it ‘interrupts’ the narrative in two places. The first time we jump to the little known Japanese garden in Calderstones Park. I wanted to emphasise aspects of Japanese culture in Liverpool. To be honest, there aren’t that many! When I first heard ‘Shibuya’ I immediately wanted to include images of the wonderful Japanese garden.
The second time we jump to ‘Shibuya’ we see the train to New Brighton. I got the idea of using an image of a train because in ‘Shibuya’ there is a hissing sound, perhaps from a train in Tokyo. That image and concept were taken directly from the track by the supremely talented artist Bad Snacks, or whatever her real name is. She is based in Los Angeles and I think she is destined for a very successful career as a musician. Try doing a search on YouTube to find her. She is a very talented young musician.
I hope this video will be seen and enjoyed by people in Germany and Japan as well as those living closer to home. It’s been great fun making this video, though it has taken a long time from its inception to final upload and publication on 8 January, 2018. Co-incidentally, 8 January 1947 is the birthday of David Bowie, another musician I am very keen on.
I love the Beatles music. I grew up with it as a child and two of my favourite songs or theirs are Penny Lane and Strawberry Field. They had a profound effect on me as a child and I’m glad I am able to pay tribute to them in this video.
On my Patreon page I plan to provide more background information and some interesting anecdotes that I don’t share with the wider public.
If you’d like to support what I’m doing, please visit www.patreon.com/aidanorourke
This is the first in a series of video slide show presentations on the theme of ‘Before & After’. From my archive, I have selected photographs of buildings and locations in Manchester and photographed how the same scene looked a few years later. The changes are the result of demolition, restoration, new construction.
Locations featured in this slide show include the Hacienda night club on Whitworth Street, the Rochdale Canal, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, Piccadilly Basin and the Whitworth Art gallery.
I’ve tried to match up the viewpoint as closely as I can, but it’s not always possible.
‘Then and now’ is one of my central themes as someone who is interested in the local area and how it is changing. I’ve done the ‘now’ photos for several ‘Then and Now’ books, including Manchester and Liverpool.
I have taken a large number of photographs since 1996 and what I find visually fascinating is how places change, often in unexpected ways. In some cases, locations become worse, not better. I have campaigned to save buildings under threat and prevent bad construction, with mixed success.
I have written subtitles in both English and German. This is because my main activity is now language trainer and I want to provide clear German language material for my students based locally, as well as English material for people in Germany and beyond. I often give local tours to people from other parts of Europe, including Germany.
Please comment via my @AidanEyewitness Twitter account.