I have a weak spot for cities that rise from the ashes. Strong, resilient, determined, sprinkled with a fair dose of dark humour on top. Liverpool is a prime example.
It was the most heavily bombed British city outside London during WWII, and its port has seen both the ebbs and flows of maritime trade. Now, the culture hub synonymous with two of the most successful brands in the history of football and music is once again making a name for itself. As a result, it has lately become the UK's most talked-about city on social media when ranked by population. If you want to know why then you have to experience it in person.
Royal Liver Building
The Royal Liver Building is a Grade I listed building on Liverpool's waterfront, right by the River Mersey. Together with accompanying Cunard and Port of Liverpool buildings by Pier Head, the Royal Liver Building is known as one of the "Three Graces" that define the skyline of Liverpool. Built in 1911, the building is famous for the two Liver birds adorning its clock towers, nicknamed Bella and Bertie. Bella looks out to sea to ensure the boats arrive safely into port, while Bertie watches over the city, protecting the citizens of Liverpool. In my illustration, the time on the clock tower is 10.19 because that is when I first rolled into Lime Street Station.
Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse
The world's largest brick warehouse is the Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse in Liverpool. Standing 125 feet / 38 metres high, the building was in 1901 the largest in the world, consisting of 27 million bricks and 30.000 panes of glass.
For my hand-drawn illustration, I decided to focus on the top part of the building, which took about 50 hours to recreate in graphite.
This Grade II listed building was originally used to store shipments of tobacco when trading in the Port of Liverpool was at its peak. After lying derelict for decades, the structure is now being transformed into luxury apartments. The building is also the filming location of Garrison Lane in the British crime drama series Peaky Blinders, just across from The Titanic Hotel Liverpool.
The architecture is one to behold. Liverpool has the highest number of listed buildings outside London, and the whole place is just gorgeous, with its redbrick houses, large green areas like Sefton and Calderstones Parks, and blue suburban skies (see what I did there). But what really sets this place apart is the Liverpudlians.
The moment I set foot on Lime Street Station, I got a feeling of community and a sense of belonging. Liverpudlians are welcoming, warm-hearted, and hilarious. If you go to the pub, you are sure to make a friend or two.
I still recall the wonderful old lady in Lord Street who turned around just to tell me I had a "LUVELY STYLE!". Or the young couple near Calderstones Park who came up to ask if they could help me with directions just in case I was lost. Or the cabby who asked me about the significance of St Peter's Church to the story of The Beatles as he drove me to Woolton Village. Or the cool-looking guy who, though he was rushing across Hope Street found the time to give me a compliment in proper Scouse. I could go on and on.
Nestled between Sefton Park and Aigburth Road in South Liverpool, Lark Lane with its bohemian indie vibe is the oldest street in the area, dating from c.1800. Now, this Liverpool street is full of independent shops, pubs, and restaurants.
Today, a place is defined by what people say about it, not what it says about itself. So, from a Scandinavian who has fallen head over heels in love with Liverpool: It is a city of dreamers, straight talkers, and risk-takers. It stands up for what it believes in, and it can tell truth from bullshit from miles away. All of which sounds pretty relatable.
That is why I have begun illustrating a series of Liverpool fine art prints. To capture its spirit, beauty, and history. I hope that you will fall in love too. The Liverpool Collection is available in my SHOP.