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30 April 2009

Art or Heritage?

We open the Newsletter this month with a huge challenge and a request – but first a few words of explanation….‘Art’ per se has an automatic element of support across a very wide public, be it an exhibition of paintings, the opening of a sculptor’s gallery or a concert of classical music. ‘Heritage’, that 21st century buzzword, has many of us weary at its over-use. What exactly is heritage? Interpreted by some as covering their (and probably your) particular baby, heritage can raise enormous interest, engender huge spending or simply raise a yawn.  Will those who are interested in being friends of the Philharmonic be at all interested in Fountains? Will a Wirral Village Conservation group want to follow the fortunes of a Great Crosby or Hale Village Library User’s group? The answers may be ‘No’.


On the other hand, the large number of people reached by Liverpool Heritage Forum (some 80 heritage and cultural groups and over 2,000 individuals interested in a wide range of heritage and cultural activities receive this newsletter) may feel that by contributing to the Forum, they may well find that their group shares in a very powerful voice regarding the use of public finance and the determination of City Council policies on heritage.


In the follow up to our city’s year as European Capital of Culture, Liverpool Heritage Forum wants you to be able to enjoy a continuation of last year’s success. We want the City Council and other public bodies to listen to LHF’s voice, which helped to make 08’s success.


The Challenge

Where do you stand? We ask you to answer the questionnaire overleaf as fully as possible and email it back to us. Do you want the LHF to continue? Should it be formalised – in other words, have agendas and minutes, a committee, a chairman, a treasurer, a secretary and a constitution? Should we be seeking funding to further the myriad of interests and interest groups across Merseyside? Should we be producing a regular Newsletter (as we do) or should we produce a mini magazine for distribution across the area? Such material is something for everyone to enjoy. At present it is provided free and even in expanded form could be virtually free of cost to contributing groups. Should ‘Heritage’ have the same powerful lobbying voice as ‘Art’? Please answer the questionnaire and email us your views.


We ask for your group’s name and membership figures only to empower us when telling the Council exactly how many groups and ultimately how many people we represent!  We have designed these questions for a rapid response so please just click the reply box. The quickest way to get your answers to us is by clicking the ‘Reply’ box which automatically sets up the form. Answer the questions and ‘Send’. 


QUESTIONNAIRE                                                                 May 2009



Name of Your Group:


Your number of members:


Annual Membership fee:       £


[A simple ‘Y’ or ‘ N’ will suffice to most questions.]


Do you support the idea of formalising the Liverpool Heritage Forum?


Should the Heritage forum be allowed to die a natural death?


Should we be running a website open to the universe?


Should the Forum be more comprehensively renamed ‘Merseyside’?


Would you be prepared to have representative/s on a new formalised 2009?


Have you personnel qualified and willing – to volunteer their services?

                        As:       Treasurer?


                                    Membership Secretary?

                                    Publicity Officer?

                                    Advertising/Marketing Officer?

                                    Website Mandarin


Should a new Heritage Forum meet in the afternoons or evenings?


If you have held a public event recently,

                                    How many attended?

For how many days or evenings?

                                    What distances did the average person attending travel?



What would be an acceptable fee for each Interest Group?

                                                £5 to £10 per annum

£10 to £20

 Should the cost depend on the number of members a society has?





Please send by email to Liverpool Heritage Forum at 






{{{ Christ Church URC at Port Sunlight has an organ recital by David Butterworth on Saturday 8 May at 7.30 p.m. Tickets £5 at the door or by sending a stamped addressed envelope to Chris Maple, 2 The Pines, Bebington CH63 9FH (cheques payable to Christ Church Port Sunlight).

{{{ Senior members of the Everyman and Playhouse Youth Theatre present “The Love of the Nightingale” by Timberlake Wertenbaker at the Everyman Theatre in Hope Street on May 1and 2. Tickets £3. Ring 0151 709 4776 or visit www.everyman

{{{ Wirral History & Heritage Association has a program of lectures in Wirral Museum, Hamilton Square, Birkenhead at 7.30pm. On Wednesday 20th May 2009 Elizabeth Davey will speak on “The Life and work of Edward Kemp, 1817-1891, Birkenhead Park Superintendent”. On Tuesday 22nd September 09 Paul Booth will speak on “The Forest of Wirral”.  Wirral History and Heritage Association has a website:

{{{ Liverpool’s youthful and exhilarating post-punk era feature in a new exhibition, by photographer Francesco Mellina, at the National Conservation Centre in Whitechapel from Friday, May 1 to 31 August. A total of 60 images, from 1978-82, includes unseen shots of iconic Liverpool bands and key gigs as well as artists such as U2 who were opening support acts at the time.

{{{ Liverpool’s Writing on the Wall festival will launch on Saturday, May 2 at Studio 2, Parr Street celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution and all things South American. The month-long festival will feature Billy Bragg, Anne Enright, Steve Bell, Matin Wallace and many more outstanding artists.

{{{ The Liverpool Comedy Festival is back to bring laughter to the city once again for 2009. With top names already secured The Comedy Trust are promising a Festival that is bigger and better than ever before. Andy Parsons, Rob Brydon, Al Murray, Ross Noble, Phil Nichol, Richard Herring, Reginald D Hunter and Jimmy Carr will all be performing from Sunday, May 3 -10.

{{{ A play is to tour Liverpool and the North West from Thursday May, 7 (until June 6) based on the bizarre true story of a Liverpool fan’s experiences when he found his way into the AC Milan Directors’ box during the 2005 Champions League final, and then almost had a fight with the Italian President Silvio Berlusconi. Beating Berlusconi features actor Paul Duckworth (Ringo in Backbeat).

{{{ As a contribution to Liverpool's Year of the Environment', the University of Liverpool is hosting a private showing of “The Age of Stupid in the Mountford Hall, Guild of Students, on Thursday 7 May starting at 17.30. After the film there will be a question-and-answer session involving with an invited panel to discuss the climate issues that the film raises.  Entry is free but those wishing to attend must register at: 


{{{ The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic is shortlisted in no less than three categories (Ensemble, Concert Series & Festivals and Education) of the 20th Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards for its work in the UK during European Capital of Culture year. The winners are to be announced at London's Dorchester Hotel on Tuesday, 12 May.  

{{{ Steve Reich's Double Sextet, co-commissioned by Liverpool Culture Company and performed in St. George's Concert Room as part of the Cornerstone Festival on the 21st November 2008, has been awarded the Pulitzer prize in music.

{{{ There will be an exhibition in due course at the new Museum of Liverpool at the Pier Head about the city’s carters. Information about the Liverpool & District Carters and Motormens Union badge and interesting photos is sought. See


{{{ The Civic Trust is heading to be placed in Administration, partly due to the loss of most of its contract for the Green Flag scheme for parks. It has received many emails supporting the continuing need for a national body to represent the movement.  The CT’s Trustees are exploring options for maintaining the support and membership services but it is possible that the Trust's existing IT systems could be closed down in the near future. So a new email address has been set up:   Please contact this to continue to be kept in touch with them.

{{{ This year marks the 90th anniversary of the Liverpool Personal Service Society (PSS) , the charity that many believe planted the seeds of modern-day social work. Established by social reformer Eleanor Rathbone in 1919, PSS has been at the forefront of some of the country’s most innovative developments in welfare and care, many of which have gone on to influence and shape national policy responses to social problems. The welfare state as we know it today had not arrived in her time and charity was largely linked to religion and employment. She could see the devastating effects the hardship was having on people’s welfare and health and so set about providing food, clothes and shelter to some of the city’s poorest denizens.

PSS created an after-care scheme for hospital patients (one of the country’s first home care services), supported the drafting of a Parliamentary Bill to “curb the evils of money lending”, formed the Old People’s Welfare Committee, a direct antecedent of Age Concern, was a key contributor to the formation of Liverpool Improved Houses (now the Riverside Housing Association), took on responsibility for another famous Liverpool charity, the Society for the Relief of Sick and Distressed Needlewomen, formed a service for placing disabled people in industry, one of the UK’s first sheltered employment schemes, launched the nation’s first ever Marriage Guidance Scheme, established the UK’s first Citizens’ Advice Bureau at 34 Stanley Street in Liverpool city centre and also launched a pioneering home help service, which during the course of World War Two helped a total of 453,232 people. In more recent times, it pioneered the creation of adult placement services (around 300 adults with mental health problems and learning disabilities are currently cared for), established one of the first support schemes for young carers, and in 2006 launched the Dementia Café, the first internet chat room for people with dementia and their families. Info:  see , call 0151 702 5559 or visit their Head Office at 18 Seel Street Liverpool L1 4BE. Tel: 0151 702 5555. A longer article about this appears on the Liverpool History Society’s website.

Andrew Pearce, Editor.


PS: Did you hear about the Health & Safety people saying that musicians should wear ear protectors if the music was louder than 80 decibels? Apparently one conductor played a major work at under this figure.  The result was not pleasing!