Liverpool is a city that is rich in history, particularly along a waterfront that played a vital role during the 18th and 19th centuries but has now lost its status as a UNESCO World Heritage city on the back of progress through Everton and its Bramley Moore Stadium project.
The city of Liverpool has lost its World Heritage status.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) July 21, 2021
The stadium development project gained unanimous approval from the UK government back in March, with the 500-million pound project given the go-ahead, and Everton slated to move into their new home for the 2024-25 Premier League season.
But the Bramley Moore docks, which played such a central role in the history of Liverpool – and the UK as a whole – will now be all but lost to the annals of history, though many say that is no bad thing at all.
Everton plans to help usher in progress in Liverpool
It was back in February of this year that city councilor Joe Hanson gave a passionate speech at the planning committee meeting in defence of the development project, that has been estimated to bring a 1-billion pound boost to Liverpool’s economy while providing 15,000 total jobs, 12,000 of which come by way of the construction phase of the new Everton ground and other associated local projects.
“Our heritage in Liverpool – and certainly to me from north Liverpool who had parents who shipped out on those docks for 10 or 12 months at a time, brothers who went away to sea, and friends and family who worked on that dock or serviced that dock – they’re historically important to us. But they shouldn’t be allowed to stand in the way of progress.
We’re actually talking about a dock that was, in effect, a coal yard. A very important coal yard of its time, but nevertheless a coal yard. I think Everton in terms of looking at the issues to preserve the heritage within that complex is commendable, and I’m absolutely delighted that they’re prepared to spend an awful lot of money to protect the heritage of north Liverpool dock.
There’s been great consternation from Historic England about the dock wall. It’s not the first time I’ve said it, but the dock wall was built for one reason and one reason only, to keep the people of north Liverpool out. People the other side of the wall were dying of starvation, they were dying of cholera, they were dying of typhoid. That dock wall kept them from getting access to anything that would help them survive. Part of that dock wall was built by Napoleonic prisoners of war, slave labour. Napoleonic prisoners of war died building that wall, everybody in Historic England is falling over themselves to protect something, or part of something, that was built by slave labour – who died during the process. Are we proud of that? Of course we’re not, but it’s part of our heritage.
The impact Everton will have bringing that stadium into Bramley-Moore will have a massive impact upon the people of north Liverpool and the wider regions of Liverpool and the north west. We’re talking, and Historic England are talking, about depriving or trying to deprive an area of employment – not only employment but good, quality employment.” Full quotes to be found here
— Liverpool City Council (@lpoolcouncil) July 21, 2021
Liverpool mayor Joanne Andersen mirrored similar sentiments in the aftermath of UNESCO’s ruling on Liverpool’s status, stating;
“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. Our World Heritage site has never been in better condition having benefitted from hundreds of millions of pounds of investment across dozens of listed buildings and the public realm.
We will be working with government to examine whether we can appeal but, whatever happens, Liverpool will always be a World Heritage city. I find it incomprehensible that UNESCO would rather Bramley Moore Dock remain a derelict wasteland, rather than making a positive contribution to the city’s future and that of its residents.”
History will remain an important tool to keep the past relevant and an incredibly useful tool to educate future generations, but in the case of Everton and Liverpool, progress should be what matters most.
More jobs, more money into the city’s coffers, increased tourism, and larger local spending power into city supply chains (an estimated 225-million pound increase) will help push Liverpool forward once more, and perhaps there is no better way to pay homage to the Bramley Moore docks than that.