One of the first out-of-the-classroom lectures the Trio group had in Liverpool this last June, was a tour of the inner city, downtown area. We saw the town hall, trade buildings, a court house, churches, prominent houses, and several statues. Most of these were built mid-to-late 1700s. I’m doing my best to remember the dates here, but if I remember right, before approximately 1730s or so, Liverpool was more or less a little fishing town. The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade changed everything.
The town hall had ornate door handles of Poseidon riding the ocean waves, wall carvings of Neptune/Poseidon standing by two little black boys holding bags of money were on either side of the doorway. A stunning, intricately carved fireplace greets you in the first room. The lavish qualities of this building were built with the wealth that came from the slave trade.
The influence of the trade can be seen everyone, whether a person recognizes it as such. For example, many of the street names are after prominent men in the slave trade. But the slave trade ended, and Liverpool began its adjustments and decline; the city is all about the Beatles after all. Though it could be argued that the Beatles were a part of what helped saved Liverpool, what with tourism and all. More significantly, in 2008, Liverpool hosted “The Capitol of Culture”. Art was everywhere, it was everywhere before they were nominated for Capitol of Culture. Besides the Beatles museums and sites, there are an incredible amount of museums, theater everywhere.
After three weeks there, I decided that Liverpool was the best of two worlds-small town friendliness and big city diversity and access. Access to all of the arts, different kinds of foods to eat, awesome small local shops as well as the monster company shops, and fantastic public transportation. The Beatles may have put Liverpool back on the map for US citizens, but I don’t doubt it would have risen without their help.
I sincerely hope I’m able to return to Liverpool because I am very much aware of all the holes there are in my knowledge of the place; of what makes breathe and the soul of it, as perhaps this post illustrates to those who do know Liverpool. I wanted to note the price paid for the original blossoming of Liverpool-and I welcome any and all Scousers to correct and add to the information I have here. I should have written this when it was fresher on the brain.