Britain World Heritage Liverpool
The Beatles statues and Royal Liver Building, centre, on the waterfront area of Liverpool, which has been removed from the World Heritage List Wednesday July 21, 2021. The UN World Heritage committee found developments including the new Everton soccer stadium threatened the value of the city's waterfront. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)
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Fury cross the Mersey: Liverpool loses world heritage status

29 Comments

Civic leaders in Liverpool expressed outrage Wednesday after the English port city was stripped of its World Heritage status by the United Nations’ culture organization.

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee voted to remove the designation because of developments in the city center and on its historic River Mersey waterfront. The committee said the projects, including a planned new stadium for soccer team Everton, were “detrimental to the site’s authenticity and integrity” and had caused "irreversible loss of attributes conveying the outstanding universal value of the property."

Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson called the decision “incomprehensible.”

“I’m hugely disappointed and concerned by this decision to delete Liverpool’s World Heritage status, which comes a decade after UNESCO last visited the city to see it with their own eyes,” she said.

Anderson said the city would explore whether it could appeal, “but, whatever happens, Liverpool will always be a World Heritage city. We have a stunning waterfront and incredible built heritage that is the envy of other cities.”

Steve Rotheram, mayor of the wider Liverpool region, said the decision was “a retrograde step that does not reflect the reality of what is happening on the ground.”

The city that gave birth to The Beatles was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2004, joining sites including India’s Taj Mahal, Egypt’s pyramids and the Tower of London.

But it was placed on the organization’s heritage in danger list in 2012 after concerns modern development was marring the docklands’ historic character.

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29 Comments
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Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson called the decision “incomprehensible.”

Agreed.

Who makes these decision?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I’m surprised it was on the list in the first place.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It surprises me more that it had been on that list before.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

A stadium does not warrant wasting waterfront views - In the stadium you see the stadium. Also, parking and truck access. As for those hideous modernist blocks and portacabin wharves. Yes, well deserved removal.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There are many iconic buildings. But the waterfront needed development including a new stadium for Everton. It will be built retaining much of the present structures like the dock wall.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It surprises me more that it had been on that list before.

Have you been there, sport? One of the finest cities in the UK. Glasgow and Newcastle would be others. London has more of a feeling of a country in itself rather than a city in the UK. As with most places in the south, London also has the unfriendliness and snobbery.

Poor choices of photos in this article.

I’d say Everton’s stadium will add to the attractiveness of the waterfront. Not that I’m biased or anything...

4 ( +6 / -2 )

A fine city with some of the best museums I've ever visited.

This decision seems like a punishment for the way Liverpool has redeveloped itself since the 1980s when it was in a terrible state. It's a maritime city in northern Europe and many of the newer waterfront buildings have a distinct Scandinavian feel, which didn't seem out of place at all, certainly not on the bitterly cold day I last visited, when the gale-force winds nearly blew me into Albert Dock.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It will be built retaining much of the present structures like the dock wall.

I was glad to hear they’d pay respects to the surrounding area. Some glitzy, corporate heap on the Dock Road would have been horrible. The blueprints and CG images of the stadium look good. The winds down by the river are bitter in winter though.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

When I was a very young boy my father would take me to the museums on the weekends. We especially liked the Walker Art Gallery.

https://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker-art-gallery

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Liverpool doesn't need the imprimatur of UNESCO to develop and modernize. The magnificent restoration of the river front dock complex reminds us of times gone by while the new structures on the waterfront are proof that time does not stand still. As Liverpudlians might say: "Wur's yer white stick, UNESCO?"

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I like Liverpool, it's a great city, and I'm sure it will survive this.

The situation with the docks is complex. While the old buildings may look nice, it should not be forgotten that the vast majority of the money that developed the area came from the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Liverpool even had major slave owners as its mayor and MP. Penny Lane, famous in the Beatles' song, is named after a slave trader and arch anti-abolitionist. The slave trade is up there with the greatest crimes in human history and is certainly the biggest one the UK took part in. No-one would knowingly celebrate nice buildings financed by the Jewish Holocaust, so you have to question why its okay to do so for the slave trade. Many country houses in the UK were similarly financed, but the main ports were Liverpool and then Bristol.

Liverpool the city thriving and progressing without such tainted money is worthy of celebration, and a football stadium should be welcomed regardless of whether its architecture reflects what was trendy in the 1700s.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

kohakuebisuToday  10:53 am JST

While the old buildings may look nice, it should not be forgotten that the vast majority of the money that developed the area came from the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Liverpool even had major slave owners as its mayor and MP. Penny Lane, famous in the Beatles' song, is named after a slave trader and arch anti-abolitionist. The slave trade is up there with the greatest crimes in human history and is certainly the biggest one the UK took part in. No-one would knowingly celebrate nice buildings financed by the Jewish Holocaust, so you have to question why its okay to do so for the slave trade. Many country houses in the UK were similarly financed, but the main ports were Liverpool and then Bristol.

Very valid and informing points. Liverpool, and the countries of the UK as a whole, have a longer slave trade history than any place in the Americas. The UK as whole needs to confront more aggressively the history of slavery spawned from its lands.

Interesting that Liverpool's best export, The Beatles, spoke out openly against racism in the US during the 60s. Paul McCartney should get more credit for his efforts.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The UK as whole needs to confront more aggressively the history of slavery spawned from its lands.

As do all countries involved.

Your posts remind me very much of another poster who was under the mistaken impression that only the US is criticized for its past with regards to slavery or looks for ways to atone for it. He/she kept repeating this point. He/she was absolutely annihilated by posters with even a passing knowledge. I’ll see if I can find those discussions if you like.

I know you are a huge fan of English football and have obviously read up on the UK.

I can only advise you to read up more about this issue. There is a lot to get through but it’s worthwhile. It’s not at the level of reading something like half of the books written on WW2, but there is plenty there.

Good luck!

Footy season nearly upon us, eh? What do you think of Liverpool and Everton’s chances this year? Do you think Rafa is the man to lead Everton forward?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Commodore PerryToday  06:54 am JST

Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson called the decision “incomprehensible.”

Agreed.

Who makes these decision?

This is dumb.

Interesting that Liverpool's best export, The Beatles, spoke out openly against racism in the US during the 60s. Paul McCartney should get more credit for his efforts.

Yes. The Beatles refused to play in segregated stadium shows. And they spoke out against South African apartheid long before Little Steven did his 'Sun City' project. The Beatles themselves got inspiration from those 50s rock'n'roll records foreign (esp. American) sailors brouught to them. That might not overshadow Liverpool's shameful slave trade past, but isn't the Beatles' influence good enough? Where would our culture be without that, just a bunch of milquetoast namby-pamby Pat Boone types? God forbid!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ kohakuebisu

All fair points, but capitalism was and is the name of the game and we can take it from the Romans that "Man is wolf to Man". The question today is what can mankind do to create a less brutal social order? Corruption and graft undoubtedly fueled the cosmetic surgery of the dockland, but Liverpool is aware of its shameful role in the slave trade and CRT is still an ongoing educational project. Btw the infelicitous choices made concerning the introduction of the new riverfront structures wouldn't be mine and don't reflect my taste in architecture, but dynamite and bulldozers will, when the time comes, easily be able to accommodate the changing tastes of the future citizenry of Liverpool.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

JimizoToday  02:23 pm JST

As do all countries involved. 

Your posts remind me very much of another poster who was under the mistaken impression that only the US is criticized for its past with regards to slavery or looks for ways to atone for it. He/she kept repeating this point. He/she was absolutely annihilated by posters with even a passing knowledge. I’ll see if I can find those discussions if you like. 

I know you are a huge fan of English football and have obviously read up on the UK. 

I can only advise you to read up more about this issue. There is a lot to get through but it’s worthwhile. It’s not at the level of reading something like half of the books written on WW2, but there is plenty there. 

Good luck! 

Footy season nearly upon us, eh? What do you think of Liverpool and Everton’s chances this year? Do you think Rafa is the man to lead Everton forward?

I'm only mentioning countries in the UK because this article is about a city there, not other countries. And many UK residents (chiZi) here post daily attacking the US and racism and other cultural wrongs in the society. As an American, I grew up admiring England, so no ill will against any Brits.

I have read a lot about the slavery issue in the UK--I did not know how extensive it was until recently actually. No knock against the UK--just saying I would like to see the issue receive more vigorous attention there, since racism is a problem with all countries involved in the trade slave.

And I just posted about how it is good that the bullying guy, and the guy making Holocaust jokes getting the boot from the Olympics here, and how the world can finally see those dark aspects of Japan society, because some of those behaviors affect people like you and me; so as you can see, I am not focusing on the UK, rather focusing on the ills of US society that affect other societies, but are a little more under the radars in those places.

Looking at Man City as the top team, but I think Liverpool is top 5 at least. Rafa has a long snd storied career in various countries--how does Everton feel about him regretting not going to Newcastle?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The city has done much to change its slavery history. It built the world's first museum devoted to African slavery. There are about 20 street names associated with the names of slave traders. Instead of removing them, there will be description plagues placed at the street names giving the history of the name and the slave trade.

The city can not remove the past but it's also not ignoring it. It's a shameful history. Liverpool was the European capital of the slave trade from the 1780s right up until slavery was abolished in Britain in 1807.

In 1999, Liverpool City Council passed a formal motion apologising for the city's part in the slave trade.

It was unanimously agreed that Liverpool acknowledges its responsibility for its involvement in three centuries of the slave trade.

The council made an unreserved apology for Liverpool's involvement and the continual effect of slavery on Liverpool's Black communities.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

just saying I would like to see the issue receive more vigorous attention there

What does vigorous attention mean? This is a bit wishy-washy. What do you want to see?

Are you thinking about reparations? Your politics seem to be more on the right, and the right tend to oppose this idea.

What do you think?

how does Everton feel about him regretting not going to Newcastle?

I can’t speak for Everton as a whole - I’m just a supporter. Storm in a teacup for me. I see it as something trolls use to get a rise - a bit of banter. No big deal. I don’t know any Evertonians having hysterical meltdowns over it. They are usually made of sterner stuff.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

One of the finest cities in the UK. Glasgow and Newcastle would be others.

Interesting choices. They match my own, but that's probably based on my upbringing. (People from Cardiff may have a different view.)

I was surprised to learn that Liverpool had UNESCO status. Not that it doesn't deserve it, but it doesn't fit the usual pattern. Here in Scotland, the only city area with UNESCO status is Edinburgh's old and new towns. I don't imagine people in Glasgow give a toss about that. And I'm guessing most people in Liverpool don't give a toss about losing theirs. But correct me if I'm wrong about that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Liverpudlians take everything very personally.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Jimizo I spent some time in Liverpool. Great many areas were bombed to oblivion in WW2, the buildings that replaced them ugly 60s and 70s eyesores. What was left has been destroyed for ‘development’ including the docks and streets of terraced housing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One precious point about Liverpool is the enormous areas of sea, beaches and green parks and countryside. My childhood home was surrounded by farms and only a 20 minute bike ride to the beach. Vast tidal beaches with tides going really far out.

Liverpool and the surrounding area was heavily bombed but many iconic buildings survived.

I was born near the dock road which was fully working with trams and horse carts. My father a carpenter used one. Part of my family worked the docks. Containers changed all of that.

Thatcher almost destroyed has much of Liverpool has the German bombing. She had a fear and loathing for the people and the city. Tories and the Sun newspaper are two of the most hated.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

From the 1960s onwards the streets of terraced back-to-back house were demolished because they had no bathrooms and only an outside toilet at the bottom of the yard.

Same happened in other cities, like the Eastend of London.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

For some context, Liverpool is only the third UNESCO site ever to be stripped of its status. The first was an oryx sanctuary in Oman that was reduced by 90% so they could drill for oil and the second was a scenic nature area in Saxony that they build a bridge slap-bang in the middle of.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JimizoJuly 22  03:25 pm JST

just saying I would like to see the issue receive more vigorous attention there

What does vigorous attention mean? This is a bit wishy-washy. What do you want to see? 

Are you thinking about reparations? Your politics seem to be more on the right, and the right tend to oppose this idea. 

What do you think?

Vigorous is wishy washy? Isn't wishy washy wishy washy?

No reparations.

I see UK posters accusing the US of racism, pointing out its slave history, blaming police for shooting black people. I don't see UK posters, or others for that matter, pointing out the same plights of UK society, without the shootings of course. Read there post immediately after my previous post, by a Brit. It is detached, and speaks in the third person. Tries to move towards the good things the city is doing. That is not vigorous attention to the slavery/racist problem.

I mean, really, to hear someone from Britain going off about racist US leaders, or police or whatever--come on.

Not accusing Everton of anything---same thing happens in US sports where players/coaches choose one team over at the lats minute. Fans and media go nuts over it. Was just wondering how that news is taken over there.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The difference between Liverpool and many American cities is that today the levels of racism are less especially with incidents involving the police. But in Liverpool like many major cities, there is still much work to be done fighting racism.

One case is one too much. Liverpool is not free of racism. Detective Superintendent Dave McCaughrean acts as Merseyside Police's lead police officer for hate crime and oversees four dedicated hate crime teams within the force. People are jailed for racial hatred.

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/reality-racist-crime-merseyside-shows-18446258

The current citizens and government of Liverpool have acknowledged their connection to the slave trade but no one alive today is directly responsible for it.

The UK is not free of racism but we don't often see media reports of incidents like in the case of George Floyd. We could compare the numbers of racial hate between this city and America.

One recent UK case was the shameful Windrush incident.

In Liverpool, about 1.9% are Blacks and Asians about 3%. Compared with the national levels of 2.9% and 6%. In America, African-Americans are about 13% of the national population.

Reparations for America's slavery is opposite by conservative governments.

On this forum, there have been many posts about racism in America. There are very few about that in the UK. Recent racial abuse incidents in sports.

But the topic of this post is the loss of UNESCO’s World Heritage status not it's past with slavery.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

No knock against the UK--just saying I would like to see the issue receive more vigorous attention there, since racism is a problem with all countries involved in the trade slave.

The slave trade has received a lot of attention recently in the UK with campaigns to remove statues of those involved. However, I'm not so sure that the racism we see in the UK today is connected to the slave trade. While the UK was heavily involved in the trade, the slaves didn't come to the UK. Today's racism is probably more connected to immigration in the 1950s and 1960s. So slightly different from the situation in the US.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Vigorous is wishy washy? Isn't wishy washy wishy washy?

Your answer is wishy-washy. You say you want ‘vigorous attention’.

What do you want to see? Lay it out. I gave you a specific idea - reparations. You said no. So what do you think should be done?

Be specific. Otherwise you are just whining here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This whole "world heritage" labelling thing is ridiculous. At the pace we are going, why dont we label the entire planet a world heritage site.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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