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21 May 2008
NEWSLETTER No 45 : 21 May 2008
Consultation - or no consultation?
We sent you a copy of the
The document is 25 pages long. Inevitably it contains some things you will agree with, some that you will disagree with and will omit some matters that you think it should contain. It has its share of consultant-speak. ("The aim is to ….promote the quality and sustainability of the cultural sector by building on its current strengths and realising opportunities for development and investment. – Hardly earthshaking stuff! This strategy recognizes culture as an international right and essential life force. Fine, but does the document say what should actually happen on the ground or is it mainly a matter of discussion between the 14 public sector bodies cited?) It is very important that the City Council gets this strategy right and therefore that you tell them what you think it should say. You can either comment on whatever paragraphs concern you or you can simply send in your view of what a cultural strategy should contain and let Council staff decide where to include your contribution.
We urge you to consider certain points including the following:
- Should the City Council devote time and public money to culture and heritage as a means of attracting tourists and their spending power to the city, to better educate our citizens, to provide fun for us locals….or what?
- What are the chief aspects of the city and its life which help to achieve whichever of the above objectives you think are in play?
- Do you include sport, pop music and nitelife in culture in this context or do you think that it is classical culture only that really matters?
- Are you concerned about the total experience which a visitor gets in Liverpool including the cleanliness of the streets, the welcome received in shops, bars and restaurants or only more narrowly with the attractions themselves?
- Do you think that a cultural strategy should have a specific place for voluntary organizations or should it only be about the "Big 8" (Empire, Playhouse, Phil NML etc) and public sector bodies like the Culture Company, Mersey Partnership, Liverpool Vision, the Development Agency etc?
- Have you been satisfied with the Culture Company's willingness to listen to your proposals, to explain its own plans and to show visible leadership?
These are just some of the areas you may wish to comment on. Say what you like but say it soon.
Our own comments will be made later. However, we will say at the outset that the way this so-called consultation has been handled bodes very badly for the future. Liverpool Council for Voluntary Services and it arts and culture network was chosen as the vehicle for consultation with the sector. None of the principal societies with whom we have spoken have heard anything about the exercise. The draft has been kept secret (apparently because it might have influenced the result of the local elections). We still do not know who has actually been consulted. We hope that the Council does not play the trick (by no means unknown in the public sector) of saying "Wait a bit, it's too soon to tell you what's going on" and then, in a flash, to say " Awfully sorry, it's too late for your comments to be taken into account". We do wish the consultants (abl cultural consulting) had cast their net a bit wider in seeking suggestions.
Town Hall woes
Last summer the Heritage Forum organized three public meetings in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall on heritage topics. Over 300 people attended and enjoyed them. We had negotiated with the Town Hall to have the room free of charge for the three sessions, up to a value of £1,000 of what the normal rent would have been. No money was to pass in any direction. There was no cost to the public purse. We tried to do organize lectures this year to coincide with the cruise ships arriving. However, the Town Hall will not discuss the matter with us because it is waiting of the Culture Company to pay them £1,000 for the use of the Chamber last year!. The first cruise ship has now arrived. No talks have been laid on for their passengers or anyone else.
Does the City Council support Capital of Culture Year or not?
We commented in an earlier edition that buses have been taking cruise ship passengers to
# Liverpool University Press (0151 794 2233) publishes a number of books on local history. One is the story, written by Arline Wilson, of William Roscoe, writer, poet, historian and anti-slave trade campaigner. Another, by Suzanne Schwarz, tells he story of James Irving, a
# English Heritage, the City Council, National Museums Liverpool and others have published a booklet of streets whose names are those of slave traders and slave owners such as John Ashton, John Blackburne, Bryan Blundell, John Gladstone and Thomas Parr. It is useful that the names of these people who indulged in an utterly repugnant activity should be suitably publicised. However, many people will wonder if this wish to make the city’s history better known will extend to streets named after former citizens who made positive achievements such as William Roscoe, who played a leading part in abolishing the slave trade, Thomas Steers, who built the world’s first enclosed dock and his fellow engineers and builders Henry Berry and John Hope……….What other city focuses mainly on the downside of its history?
# “2008” has brought the city a great deal of national publicity. One example was the National Trust magazine's spring feature on the city, including its own properties at
# You may have seen back in April that someone cut the head off a topiary portrayal of Ringo Starr following his negative comments about the city that brought him to fame - for once a piece of vandalism that many would approve of. This follows the wave of criticism about Jimmy Tarbuck’s remarks at the Royal Variety programme in the New Year about
# 5 April was Organ Day in
# There was a performance by a classical trio in
# A week or two ago the
# Our recent mention of the World War II U-Boat should have said that it is to be a tourist attraction at Woodside ferry terminal in Birkenhead, courtesy of Merseytravel, whom we congratulate on their initiative.
# Sat/Sun 29 and 30 July: There will be a festival to commemorate the sailing of the ‘Mimosa’ from
# John Edwards (0151 489 6116), a Blue Badge Tourist Guide for Merseyside will give the following illustrated talks amongst others with slides:-
The Buildings of
The Chinese in
Murder, mystery and oddities of bygone
Lord Leverhulme, His Life and Residences
Crime & Punishment
Around and about
# Wallington House in Northumberland is said to contain one of the best collections of pottery in National Trust properties. There among the
#Our recent mention of the World War II U-Boat should have said that it is to be a tourist attraction at Woodside ferry terminal in Birkenhead, courtesy of Merseytravel, whom we congratulate on their initiative.
# I watched a couple ordering scouse in one of the several restaurants that now offer the local delicacy. “We’ll both have scouse”, one of them said. He could have said “Two scouses, please”. But then, is the plural of scouse scouses as in houses, or is it scice, like the plural of mouse and louse (both meaty delicacies no doubt)? If the former, is it houzes like the plural of house and the verb rouse or is it howsses as in dowses? Callouses presents a further challenge. The revival of our local dish clearly presents new challenges for pronunciation experts!
# The old unmodernised
Andrew Pearce, Editor.