Liverpool: In England, But Not Of It?

 Gateway to the World   In England, but not of it Much of the outside of Liverpool Lime Street train station is clad with art work celebrating the UK’s choice of the city as European Capital of Culture 2008. So what should we make of the cladding’s message, that Liverpool is ‘In England, but not of it?’
The idea of covering ugly and unused buildings with celebratory artwork is excellent.
Lime Street, as Liverpool’s railway terminus, epitomises our ‘Gateway to the World city‘ (as Liverpool’s ports did and, commercially, still do). It is therefore fitting that visitors in 2008, our year as European Capital of Culture, be greeted on arrival with vibrant images reflecting Liverpool’s arts and cultural offer – an offer which draws on the traditions and experience of centuries of migration to Liverpool, with people arriving from across the globe:
Liverpool Capital of Culture 08 hoarding by Lime St Station, view from St George's Hall
But what are we to make of the claim, as part of this greeting, that Liverpool, whilst still ‘Gateway to the World’, is also ‘In England, but not of it’?
Liverpool  Gateway to the World ... In England, but not of it
How can we, the people of this historic port, expect to progress and prosper, if we choose consistently not just to be ‘on the edge’ of Britain, but so it seems actually over that edge, in another place altogether?
What sort of civic identity and message does that give to our own fellow citizens?
And, critically, what does it say to those in the rest of the country with whom we must do business and confer on many issues, if Liverpool is to move forward successfully in the twenty-first century?

Read more articles on Strategic Liverpool
and on Liverpool, European Capital of Culture 2008.

More photographs: Camera & Calendar

Posted on June 15, 2008, in Liverpool And Merseyside, Photographs And Images. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. The building shown has now had the covers taken down, the asbestos has been removed from the building and they are in the process of demolishing it.
    Across the way at St Johns is that monstrous thing, supposedly a drum with large screen on it, also proclaiming to be “In England but not of it” statement, and the large screen has been switched on sine Monday and Tuesday morning driving past its “broken” only half it the screen at the bottom lighting up and projecting the advertisements.
    Not a good start.

  2. Catherine Hawkes

    I have not really seen any old buildings covered with artwork yet – just truly awful posters.

  3. Some truth to it. It is often said we have our backs to the rest of the country. Indeed, what other English city ever elected an Irish Nationalist MP? And any football supporter will have seen the banners proclaiming “We’re Not English, We Are Scouse” or flags borrowed from the Basques emblazoned “Scouse Separatists”. But is it not partly this identity of ours that led us to become European Capital of Culture 2008?

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