Skyscraper City Forum banner
1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,412 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had some thoughts about better ways of using the remains of St Luke's church on Berry Street (the "bombed out church") and St Andrew's on Rodney Street, together with their lands.

Before I post the ideas up though, can I ask what people think about St Luke's in particular in its role as a war memorial?

Personally I don't think it's been a successful war memorial, lacking the dignity and significance to speak to the city of the horrors of World War Two and saying nothing about the courage of those who defended the city and the country. A bombed out church is a bit too much like a church no-one quite knows what to do with, and, lacking the money to do anything else, gets dedicated as a memorial. Also, there comes a time when you need to move on. Liverpool knows what it lost, only too well, without needing a bombed out church to remind it. More so than many cities, Liverpool is still dealing with the results of an enemy that sought to destroy it, and a national Government that not only failed to properly defend it but was too mean to rebuild it. For example, the Customs House would have been rebuilt had it been a building of note in London, I have no doubt at all about that.

Increasingly those who suffered directly as a consequence of the Second World War are now dead. Not all, but very many. So I think it's time to look again at this.

The public space around it doesn't work, and over many years has not succeeded as a public space - it is too enclosed and attracts ne'erdowells with their drug and drink problems.

So I have come up with a couple of ideas for it, and also St Andrew's in Rodney Street. I'll post more, but just thought I would find out about feelings on this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
909 Posts
I have had some thoughts about better ways of using the remains of St Luke's church on Berry Street (the "bombed out church") and St Andrew's on Rodney Street, together with their lands.

Before I post the ideas up though, can I ask what people think about St Luke's in particular in its role as a war memorial?

Personally I don't think it's been a successful war memorial, lacking the dignity and significance to speak to the city of the horrors of World War Two and saying nothing about the courage of those who defended the city and the country. A bombed out church is a bit too much like a church no-one quite knows what to do with, and, lacking the money to do anything else, gets dedicated as a memorial. Also, there comes a time when you need to move on. Liverpool knows what it lost, only too well, without needing a bombed out church to remind it. More so than many cities, Liverpool is still dealing with the results of an enemy that sought to destroy it, and a national Government that not only failed to properly defend it but was too mean to rebuild it. For example, the Customs House would have been rebuilt had it been a building of note in London, I have no doubt at all about that.

Increasingly those who suffered directly as a consequence of the Second World War are now dead. Not all, but very many. So I think it's time to look again at this.

The public space around it doesn't work, and over many years has not succeeded as a public space - it is too enclosed and attracts ne'erdowells with their drug and drink problems.

So I have come up with a couple of ideas for it, and also St Andrew's in Rodney Street. I'll post more, but just thought I would find out about feelings on this.

Excellent thread Liverpolitan. I look forward to hearing your ideas. I have often wondered whether St Lukes wouldn't benefit from being renovated and reused, perhaps as an art gallery or posh restaurant/bar. I certainly wouldn't see it demolished as it is a handsome structure, and looks fantastic at the top of Bold St.

Here's a few pics I took at the weekend. They have black and white images posted along the railings shopwing bomb damage from the war. I think it is nice that the church has been kept as a memorial, but agree it could benefit from some reuse. The gardens are lovely as well, but as you point out, attracts a lot of low lifes.







 

·
Banned
Joined
·
15,506 Posts
I think that St Luke's has never been considered as a war memorial officially. Isn't the only memorial there the fairly recent Irish Famine memorial?

It has only been in recent years that the gates have been left open, I think. I don't remember this happening until the Famine memorial was installed. This is a great sculpture, btw.

Remembrance Day parades don't visit it, people don't leave poppy wreathes there.

I'd favour 1. the actual erection of some kind of memorial to the Blitz at that site for the first time, but also 2. bringing the building back into use somehow.

I suspect that the church has been left unrepaired only as a result the city's difficult economic circumstances in the post war era. The idea that the roof has been left off as a deliberate memorial to the wartime bombing is something of an urban myth I think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,412 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Business idea is for a private members club in Liverpool to serve the needs of the growing professional, business and creative class. A 21C equivalent of the 19thC Gentlemen’s clubs that were founded in Liverpool and London.

Whereas a 19th Century club needed a formal dining room, and a grand library, a 21th Century club needs a wider range of facilities. But, as it’s heart, it needs to be a private club where people are vetted before joining, and can then hang out, relax, meet others if they wish to, take people to, and belong to.

Idea for St Luke’s private members club is that it would provide a striking and glamorous and quite open club – not sealed away and hidden the way the Victorian clubs are. A steel box would be inserted inside the walls of St Luke’s Church, and glazed. It would revere and reveal the church rather than leave it as a decaying shell.

It would feature a public access but high quality restaurant – a major and grown-up restaurant for Liverpool, with a good chef and kitchens, together with public bar and bistro. This would be on ground floor, with a roof terrace (where the turrets are) open to the elements in summer.

However, there would also be, via a separate entrance, a private members club, including a members private downing room, bar, library, lounge, tv room, games room and roof terrace complete with hammocks. In the basement, extending into the grounds, would be a private swimming pool and gym, with glazed roof that retracts to become an open-air pool in summer - with decking area around it.

Membership would be by application, not requiring sponsorship or support from other members, and people would need to meet the criteria – being professional, in business, creative or otherwise meretricious.

Why is such a club necessary?

1. Liverpool has a growing professional, business and professional population, and the city centre population is growing fast. City centre residents would be able to walk to their club, with its own garden, terrace, lounge, library, swimming pool, dining room etc., and it would make the experience of living in a flat a lot less claustrophobic.

2. There is a growing population of people who are self-employed, or in small businesses and partnerships, who need to network. A club where they meet others would be useful to them in a professional and business sense. Working alone can be quite lonely, people like to mix with others who are in the same situation.

3. A lot more people live alone. That is simply a fact. However, people are still sociable. A club provides a relaxed way of socialising. Being exclusive, it offers a quality and civilised place to hang-out, have a drink, surf the net a bit, play pool or whatever. It provides a nice place to take friends and business contacts for a meal or a drink, in the way the old clubs such as the Athenaeum still do I suppose.

4. People increasingly work funny hours and in funny places. Whilst it should not become a “working from home” place of people tapping away on laptops, it could be a place where people could spend a couple of hours working. That element would need managing, and it might be that a bank of glazed workstations would need to be hidden away for those who want to concentrate for a bit.

5. Liverpool also has a lot of regular and sometimes long-term visitors, and instead of being stuck in a hotel or rental flat they could buy daily, weekly or monthly membership of this place. Large companies might pay for this, for their senior staff.

So why doesn’t it exist?

That is chicken and egg. Such an institution would – if successfully managed – be a major asset to the city, helping to attract the very people to the city who we want. It would make city centre living more attractive. It would appeal to all ages, but definitely to younger professionals who would not be interested in one of the old clubs. It would be a modern Liverpool institution, a part of the city.

But it would be very very expensive to build. Liverpool doesn’t have a huge number of such people, it’s not like London, so I think it would be optimistic to persuade 500 people to part with say £100 a month in basic club subscription. That would provide £0.5m a year towards running costs. However, you could sell day membership – at least for under-used facilities on quiet days or times, for example the Hope Street Hotel could buy day passes for its residents for say £20 a head. A top-class restaurant would be a money earner, perhaps a big Conran-style eaterie. So whilst I imagine it could pay its way, could it also pay for its capital and start-up costs?

I imagine it would cost a lot - £10m? £15m? to do justice to the building, the grounds, and to sensitively insert a lift (in the tower) and to build two / three stories of space around the basement and filling the interior. I see it all as having to be first class, of the same quality as expensive designer hotels. Using glass for floors and walls is probably horrendously expensive, but it would be important to respect the building.

So I think it should have pubic subsidy. This would be an asset to building the business base of the city, providing an essential aid for city centre business and city centre living that the market alone is unlikely to provide. Yes its subsidising people who are not poor – but its considered normal to subsidise all sorts of community groups, based on either geographic or demographic/social communities of interest. This would be I suppose a middle class community centre, for those who want to attack the idea – but I believe it’s needed and justified.

The NWDA and structural funds would need to pay for the purchase, construction and fitting out of the site. A limited company – with the first 500 fee-paying members being allowed to buy additional shares – would own and run it as a private concern.

To ensure that there is competition, I wonder if St Andrew’s in Rodney Street could be similarly converted. I like the idea that one of the clubs would be younger/more artistic/gayer/permissive and one would be older/more business-corporate/more conservative etc in ambience and membership. In that way, people would have a choice and it would then be more a case of which club to join, rather than whether or not to join “the” club.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
909 Posts
My images have loaded up now. I think my idea of restaurant/bar (Alma De Cuba style) and/or art gallery is best. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,870 Posts
NO! I'm not exactly left wing but I'd campaign ferociously against turning something that I've always taken as a symbol of the second world war into a fooking gentlemans club.

I think almost all of Liverpool would be up in arms.

It's a hilarious idea. Public subsidy indeed!!!!!!!

And besides, such a club should be the other side of town. Near where the existing racquets club is..
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
15,506 Posts
The 3345 already tries to do what your St Andrew's club might.

It basically boils down to a cafe bar and a meeting room though. Although, you can guarantee a pleasant, hassle free drink in there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,412 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My images have loaded up now. I think my idea of restaurant/bar (Alma De Cuba style) and/or art gallery is best. :)
Beautiful pictures! There is no market for yet another art gallery, the city is in danger of becoming saturated with such facilities, and they cost a lot to keep open, in a decent state of decoration and repair etc.

It is far too big and imprtant to be a simple restaurant, so needs more.

I think Cityofgold fails to appreciate that this is about the modern engines of economic growth. The people who such a facility would help attract to the city are the people the city needs. Sorry if they are not poor and not useless, but they are the people who are needed. They create the wealth, but you have to invest a bit to get such networks and clusters of businesses established.

The public subsidy goes on business development anyway, I'm just suggesting this as a far more practical idea than yet another centre to provide walk-in business support (yawn) or the other wasteful schemes that have sucked in hundreds of millions of Euros, such as digging a ditch through the Pier Head. That scheme has cost a bigger public subsidy that this one, and attracts some boat holiday people. This would help attract hundreds of wealth-creators to live in the city. A vast difference.

Open your mind, cityofgold, your reaction is so typical of the "old" Liverpool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,412 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The 3345 already tries to do what your St Andrew's club might.

It basically boils down to a cafe bar and a meeting room though. Although, you can guarantee a pleasant, hassle free drink in there.

I don't know it, but I'm talking about something quite big - with real lounges, library, a place to move around in, hang-out, not just a private dining club or bar. Somewhere relaxed and spacious during the day and evening. Critically, a large roof terrace/garden and garden with swimming pool - people need a bit of exclusive out-door life in summer. The city has spent a small fortune providing private gardens in the social housing bungalows in and around the centre, so I don't think it's asking a lot that the middle class flat dwellers of the centre can have just a few square feet - shared not private - to use. I'm not saying there aren't some services already available, but I think a really high quality one in a landmark building would be simply stunning, and help the city establish a profile as a place for young entreprenuers, creatives and business people to move to. The location is superb - top of Ropewalks, and at start of the Canning area. People stuck in airless flats in Princes Dock could be up there having fun on a Monday evening after work and walk home in half an hour.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
909 Posts
Beautiful pictures! There is no market for yet another art gallery, the city is in danger of becoming saturated with such facilities, and they cost a lot to keep open, in a decent state of decoration and repair etc.

It is far too big and imprtant to be a simple restaurant, so needs more.

I think Cityofgold fails to appreciate that this is about the modern engines of economic growth. The people who such a facility would help attract to the city are the people the city needs. Sorry if they are not poor and not useless, but they are the people who are needed. They create the wealth, but you have to invest a bit to get such networks and clusters of businesses established.

The public subsidy goes on business development anyway, I'm just suggesting this as a far more practical idea than yet another centre to provide walk-in business support (yawn) or the other wasteful schemes that have sucked in hundreds of millions of Euros, such as digging a ditch through the Pier Head. That scheme has cost a bigger public subsidy that this one, and attracts some boat holiday people. This would help attract hundreds of wealth-creators to live in the city. A vast difference.

Open your mind, cityofgold, your reaction is so typical of the "old" Liverpool.
Yes, I am familiar with schemes over in Yorkshire known as "business incubators" (often developed in renovated mills), in which entrepreneurs are welcomed and given space for free to develop their business over a few years. After a year they start paying some rates, and eventually they have to move on, hopefully in to appropriate accommodation the city has waiting for them.

It is all about economic development. We mustn't forget that this building is not only beautiful and attractive, but is also in a brilliant location. Bold St is truly vibrant, in a way most big provincial cities cannot match. It is packed with variety and range. Once Central Stn development happens and there is better link up with Renshaw St and the new Quiggins, the general area is going to be a big dynamo, an electic counterbalance to Liverpool 1.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,412 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yes, I am familiar with schemes over in Yorkshire known as "business incubators" (often developed in renovated mills), in which entrepreneurs are welcomed and given space for free to develop their business over a few years. After a year they start paying some rates, and eventually they have to move on, hopefully in to appropriate accommodation the city has waiting for them.

It is all about economic development. We mustn't forget that this building is not only beautiful and attractive, but is also in a brilliant location. Bold St is truly vibrant, in a way most big provincial cities cannot match. It is packed with variety and range. Once Central Stn development happens and there is better link up with Renshaw St and the new Quiggins, the general area is going to be a big dynamo, an electic counterbalance to Liverpool 1.
This would be social rather than work though - a club rather than work facilitiy - so the line would need to be drawn carefully. A library or workspace is not a great place to relax in, and a club is primarily for enjoyment and conviality rather than working.

I did suggest a public restaurant with roof terrace as part of this, so it's not as though the city is being denied a public place. I would also favour the OXO building bistro solution in London, where the public are allowed up for free to enjoy the views, without being required to buy a drink or spend any money. So I think that could be a part of it, in the public area - but obviously there would be a private area as well.

More people would use the space than currently do - you need to be quite brave to venture in there on a summer evening, but if it developed the way I propose, it would be brilliantly lit up, busy, a real beacon of life and prosperity and fun.
 

·
Liverpool, England.
Joined
·
12,682 Posts
I'm with City of Gold on this Poli, I'm afraid. I know St Lukes has had problems with drunks etc but I think to convert it in the way you suggest would be destroying the whole power of the building.

I remember as a seven year old kid being taken by my mother into the church on a Christmas Eve and feeling the power of this great building that had been destroyed as a result of the war. I've always seen the contrast between the gaunt burned out tower of St Lukes and the soaring graceful tower of the nearby Anglican Cathedral as showing the continuity of the city.

Don't forget we lost over 2000 people in the second world war and though it is quickly slipping from living memory, it was still the most profound event in our city's history. We don't really have much to remind us of those times -the sculpture in St Nicholas's churchyard maybe and the car parks on old bomb sites - that is all.

Some years ago, it was announced that St Lukes would be converted into a UN peace centre. Provided that was done properly, I think it would be an entirely appropriate use for the ruined church. Converting it into an exclusive social club would meet with a lot of criticism - especially in Liverpool.
 

·
800th birthday in 2007
Joined
·
4,192 Posts
There is an opportunity to do semething unique with St Lukes, i don't mean converting to apartments, or a Starbucks, but adding a roof of glass and building an internal structure, where you could go up the tower ant take in the views. Keep most of the inside looking bomb damaged, but properly open it up make it useable, hold small concerts it there, add lighting etc. St Andrews hopefully can be restored and used by the JMU, would make a great library, if they don't already have a good one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,412 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm with City of Gold on this Poli, I'm afraid. I know St Lukes has had problems with drunks etc but I think to convert it in the way you suggest would be destroying the whole power of the building.

I remember as a seven year old kid being taken by my mother into the church on a Christmas Eve and feeling the power of this great building that had been destroyed as a result of the war. I've always seen the contrast between the gaunt burned out tower of St Lukes and the soaring graceful tower of the nearby Anglican Cathedral as showing the continuity of the city.

Don't forget we lost over 2000 people in the second world war and though it is quickly slipping from living memory, it was still the most profound event in our city's history. We don't really have much to remind us of those times -the sculpture in St Nicholas's churchyard maybe and the car parks on old bomb sites - that is all.

Some years ago, it was announced that St Lukes would be converted into a UN peace centre. Provided that was done properly, I think it would be an entirely appropriate use for the ruined church. Converting it into an exclusive social club would meet with a lot of criticism - especially in Liverpool.
Perfectly reasonable stance to take, although Liverpool has to start looking forward rather than backwards, and welcome newcomers and wealth creators. A UN peace centre sounds good - is it a real possibility, and do you know what it would involve and how it would use the site? I'm mostly concerned that the building and its lands, as an asset, are better used. A quality conversion, that does it justice, would need money, and a relatively rich user I think, because if its a cheap conversion (the sort that sees old churches converted into flats) it would be better leaving it as it is. My idea of several interlinked glass cubes, in a steel frame, was in part to retain the dignity of the building, and its legibility as a former church.

The park is completely wasted (just removing the fences would help, it would make them seem less dangerous). But a big private members club could go elsewhere. Is the St Andrew's site in Rodney Street available? It's not as good a site I realise, but still suitable. Would there be complaints there? I definately think something outdoor is required in the city centre, not just indoors, given the type of summers we increasingly experience. You know I believed the city should itself establish one or properly sized public parks for a new city centre population, and outdoor facilities - obviously that's not going to happen, so I am suggesting a semi-private solution, just as the Georgians built "private" squares and gardens for the residents of new city centre flats.

As regards subsidy, a lot of people can't afford a ticket at Anfield, and have no desire to go there - and yet that is getting a large public subsidy for its new stadium. It seems some things are okay for subsidy, but something that would be a real wealth creation engine, are not to everyones tastes (thinking more about cityofgolds response here, which is actually a rather depressingly typical Liverpool one to such ideas). Until the city starts to realise it has to invest in wealth creators it will stay poor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,870 Posts
As regards subsidy, a lot of people can't afford a ticket at Anfield, and have no desire to go there - and yet that is getting a large public subsidy for its new stadium. It seems some things are okay for subsidy, but something that would be a real wealth creation engine, are not to everyones tastes (thinking more about cityofgolds response here, which is actually a rather depressingly typical Liverpool one to such ideas). Until the city starts to realise it has to invest in wealth creators it will stay poor.
Vastly more people use Anfield than would use a gentlemans club. I'd say that's a good reason for Anfield to get a subsidy over your club.

I am not against a gentleman's club but just against using a highly visible bulding that for many is a quasi memorial to the second world war. And again, the location is not great. A gentleman’s club should be in or near the CBD and the best apartments? i.e. near the town hall. As the racquets club (the closest thing I can think of to a gentleman’s club in Liverpool) is.

I agree something should be done with St. Lukes, but as we are discovering it is difficult to think of something suitable. If push came to shove I've favour a bar. But then I like bars!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
15,506 Posts
The "UN" plan was a blue sky idea by some local UNA members, rather than the UN itself.

The UNA - United Nationals Assocation - is an entirely seperate body to the UN and is a charity consisting of a small central executive and number of local groups of, for the want of a better description, UN fans.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
846 Posts
Personally if the toffs wish for a 'gentlemen's club' then let them find other land. St. Luke's should remain as a war memorial; urban myth or not.

I hear that they have opened up St Luke's to the public so maybe I'll see you down there one of these days, young Poli.
 

·
Fiat Lux
Joined
·
7,596 Posts
:| You've gotta be kidding me with this proposal. It's clearly an attempt to send up an ex-pat's out-of-touch take on what modern day Liverpool needs. Either that are a late entry for this:

http://www.liverpoolcomedyfestival.co.uk/

Also, the idea that what in effect would be a gentleman's club would need funding from the public purse to be set up is so OLD Liverpool.

St Lukes's is currently open for a few hours each day and people are touched by how much it still retains a deeply spiritual charge after all this time. Going inside it also puts people in touch with the number of people the city lost in the 2nd World War and and the beautiful buildings that were destroyed.

If it is ever restored it would be in order to connect the modern city to this part of its history, and not as a club that kept people out of such a special building.

I'm not against such clubs but I strongly advocate that they should be paid for by their members.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,412 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
... And again, the location is not great. A gentleman’s club should be in or near the CBD and the best apartments? i.e. near the town hall. As the racquets club (the closest thing I can think of to a gentleman’s club in Liverpool) is...
I'm talking about professionals, creatives, business people - IT and web designers, music agents, architects, accountants, engineers, opera singers - these people don't all work in the old "CBD" at all..........in summer a lot of such people in my town, Brighton, work on the beach which has been wi-fie'd, and they take their apple laptops down there for a few hours. So a lot of the new wealth creators will live and work around ropewalks, and in the Baltic area, and in the Canning area..... as well as around the new residential area of the CBD. And they will not all be men, and won't all be white - so I'm really not thinking of this as a "gentlemens" club at all. Large numbers of people now work at home or in small offices, not in big office blocks, and the city centre needs to find a way of making itself attractive to those people.

It's time to stimulate wealth creation and to send the signal that Liverpool is open for business. The days of Militant squandering countless amounts to provide people with private gardens minutes away from the Pier Head are thankfully gone. This is more deserving of public funds than Anfield, without a doubt. Anyone could go into the public area of this development, including the public roof terrace - for free - so it would be more accessible to the public than it is now. Not everyone can just walk into Anfield. My plan is to increase public access by carefully separating out the public and private areas of the development, creating a win-win. My plan retains the dignity of the building.

I can't think of a site near the northern CBD fringe (Princes Dock, Beethams etc) that could host this club, because it needs a garden ideally for an open-air swimming pool. It's so bleak up there. I think the club should be relatively near the restaurants, theatres, bars and restaurants - somewhere people can pop in and out of, rather than away from all that.
 

·
★★★
Joined
·
12,611 Posts
Excellent thread Liverpolitan. I look forward to hearing your ideas. I have often wondered whether St Lukes wouldn't benefit from being renovated and reused, perhaps as an art gallery or posh restaurant/bar.
Bold Street looks like it'll become totally pedestrianised eventually, with a view to sticking loads of bars and restaurants in there. As an architectural 'foil' to Central Village my vote would go for trendy bar/club similar to Alma de Cuba... but maybe a bit more exclusive... in the way that Panacea in Manchester is... if you get me.
 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Top