On Monday 1 February I had to address a group of students in a Merseyside college, and I decided to travel to Liverpool the day before and spend a night in a hotel near Lime Street Station.
I arrived at Lime Street Station at 15.20, walked to the hotel, checked in, brought my luggage to my room and was out on the streets of Liverpool by about 15.45.
I first went to visit the two Cathedrals of Liverpool, the ultra modern Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, and the more traditional Anglican Cathedral, which was also built in the 20th century.
From the hotel I walked up Brownlow Hill, where very few old buildings are left, to the RC Cathedral. The Cathedral is nick-named Paddy’s Wigwam, Paddy (Patrick) because so many of the Liverpool Roman Catholics are Irish and Wigwam because the building does indeed look a bit like a traditional American Indian Teepee.
Many people think that it is too modern, that it is ugly, but I rather like it. The cathedral is called Christ the King and the shape of the building reminds me of a crown. Inside the cathedral is beautiful, and I was very lucky because when I entered I heard some beautiful singing, and was able to listen to the last 15 minutes of a service.
From the RC Cathedral I walked down Hope Street and past one of the most famous English pubs (the Philharmonic) to the Anglican Cathedral.
This Cathedral is huge and it is like an enormous rock sitting in a little park next to Hope Street. Westminster Cathedral and for instance the Notre Dame in Paris are also big churches, but they seem to be ‘lighter’, more elegant and not as solid as this Cathedral in Liverpool.
When I went inside I found an exhibition of modern art, not just on the walls but also in the main body of the church, which made it look like an art gallery instead of a place of worship. That did not stop me from noticing that the cathedral’s interior is more beautiful than the exterior.
From here I walked via Duke Street to the new local bus station and the Strand to have a look at the Mersey and the Liver Birds. Duke Street has changed less than the central part of Brownlow Hill, but there are a good few boarded up building that look as if they are badly maintained but structurally sound, but are probably up for development (=demolition).
I went along Salthouse Dock and Canning Dock to Canada Boulevard. The Mersey is a modest little river for most of its course, but Liverpool is on its very wide estuary, wider than the Sutlej after joining with the Beas near Harike.
The day of my walk was the 31st of January, and although it was a sunny day it was not very bright at around 5 pm. The water was a greyish-brown and there was a ‘bit of wind’ that blew right through my pajamas and long johns. But I did enjoy my ten minutes on the banks of the Mersey.
On Canada Boulevard is the Liver Building, with two huge metal birds on top. I think that the Liver Building was, and maybe still is, something to do with insurance. The interesting items are the two big metal ‘Liver Birds’ on top of the building.
The Liver Bird is the symbol of the City of Liverpool. The two on the Liver Building are 18 feet in height, and are supposed to represent eagles, although others think they are cormorants. I think they are Liver Birds and that they look like Liver Birds, big and not very beautiful and certainly not elegant. But whenever I am in Liverpool I go to have a look at them and to do a bit of gazing across the Mersey.
Central Liverpool has a small underground system. The Wirral line from Chester, Ellesmore Port, West Kirby and New Brighton crosses the Mersey in a tunnel and then continues underground via James Street, Moorfields, Lime Street and Central back to James Street and the Wirral.
The Northern Line from Hunts Cross and Liverpool Airport goes underground from Central to Moorfields and comes back to the surface after Leeds Street and continuous to Southport and Ormskirk.
Both lines are part of the Merseyrail regional transport system.
Liverpool is of course know worldwide (apart from in the sub-continent) because of the Mersey Beat, with the Beatles as the main representatives. And the Beatles used to play in the Cavern. The original Cavern does not exist anymore but in the area around Mathew Street there are various places that claim to be the Cavern or to have connections with John, Paul, George and Ringo.
And as I am a baby-boomer who grew up in the sixties I had to walk through the area on my way back to the Hotel. My advise it not to go there, unless you have some sentimental connections to the area like I have.
I took a bad picture of the hotel I stayed in, but it does show the wonderful old fashioned style of the place, and several wonderful pictures of Lime Street station which is being made more beautiful.
As there are not enough Sikhs in Liverpool and as Liverpool is a nice place, although rather windy and wet, I would encourage more Sikhs to settle there !