Excerpts from a 1,400 word article ending with "If You Go" information


By Pam Hobbs

I really wasn't prepared for Liverpool's majesty, its great cathedrals, art galleries and museums, and the opulence of its waterfront restoration that has garnered so many awards for this city on the Mersey. But here it is, shed of the riverside squalor described in Helen Forrester's books set in the 1930s, and the frenzy of Beatlemania to hit 30 years later.

A modern city now, Liverpool is still dominated by its larger-than-life maritime past through former warehouses converted for cultural and leisure pursuits. It has efficient public transport, excellent shopping opportunities, centrally located restaurants and hotels, theatres that have spawned some of Britain's finest entertainers, and river cruises. Add to this the warmth and humour for which Merseysiders are world famous, and you have a deservedly popular tourist centre on the north west coast.

Looking towards the waterfront now, first-time visitors have to be in awe of the city's maritime greatness so splendidly laid out before them. Most photographed is the ponderous Liver Building recognized by its Liver birds poised for flight on each of two towers. Beside it is the Cunard building of Nova Scotia-born Samuel Cunard who came here to start a transatlantic liner service between Liverpool, Halifax and Boston. Then there's the Port of Liverpool Building, still the central office for port administration. The city's showplace is Albert Dock Village, where the largest of Liverpool's docks opened in 1845 and closed in the early 1970s. Haunted by ghosts of slave traders, privateers and press gangs, the village is now a residential and pleasure complex, its walkways lined with specialty shops, restaurants and wine bars.

I think it is safe to say that most visitors come to Liverpool not with its maritime history on their minds, but to explore The Beatles' haunts. If so, the waterfront is as good a place as any to start since their families earned a living from the port. George Harrison's father was a steward with the White Star Lines, John's Dad was with transatlantic lines and Paul's father sold cotton which at the time was a main import. Ringo himself tended bar on the river ferries for a while. More importantly, it was Liverpool sailors who introduced rock n'roll music to Britain when they brought recordings home from North America.