At first glance you wouldn’t think that there was something special going on if you were to wander the streets of the Baltic Triangle. But like anything, if you scratch beneath the surface a whole different world shall reveal itself.
Nordic flags blow in the wind on Liverpool’s Swedish church, the Gustaf Adolfs Kyrka – a remaining link to our history with the old baltic states. The nordic sailors would have taken rest here as their imported timber was loaded into the warehouses that surround the church. It is this connection that the land within the borders of Upper Parliament Street-St James Street-Charloner Street has been named “The Baltic Triangle” to reflect the history of the area. Just walking the length of Jamaica Street gives you a taste of the diversity of the area: you’ll walk past abandoned warehouses, regenerated warehouses, mechanics, a skate park, coffee shops and creative/tech businesses. It is this diversity of talent has made it the most exciting areas in Liverpool for independent business and culture.
Only until a few years ago has this dichotomy between degeneration and regeneration existed. As the Baltic Triangle Manifesto points out, in order for this barren land to become regenerated and in a sense gentrified, we have to “fill the area with creative, industrious and pioneering people and the rest will follow”. The area has too attracted these kinds of people, mainly due to the fact that space here is around 20% cheaper than in the heart of the city centre, but also, the types of space available are very unique and more suited for creative businesses. The likes of the 200 year old Grade II listed warehouse (home to Elevator Studios), and the converted warehouse of The Baltic Creative which uses wooden sheds instead of offices, is brimming with (just to name a few typed of business) app developers, musicians, entrepreneurs. This on-going process of attracting these kinds of people has meant that it is succeeding in being the heartbeat of our creative and technological sector and is quickly becoming a private sector community that is helping Liverpool to preserve its unique identity and to become a leader in creative business in Europe.
Jack Nicholson reminds us that “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, so it only makes sense that the area is filled with watering holes and night time venues for people who work in the area (and of course, for those who do not). Many of those places have featured on our website before, for example: Baltic Bakehouse, Siren, The Baltic Social, Unit 51 and Camp and Furnace. The latter has recently been included in the “20 Coolest Restaurants” in their food section: rightly so as it is pushing the boat with food and drink, something which is evident at their ‘Food Slam’ events. This web of exciting venues is driving more footfall into the area and in turn generating more money which will help it prosper. The fact that the warehouses make interesting venues and it is cheaper, doesn’t take a genius to work out that this is only the start of the web and we can expect a lot of exciting things and will only help bolster the bohemian ethos of the neighborhood.
All this being said, the Baltic Triangle is still a work in progress. Brand new apartment developments stand next door to abandoned warehouses which are screaming out for love. If we can attract the right level of investment and if the project is handled properly we can restore these warehouses that helped the city make its fortunes. If this is done successfuly we can preserve our heritage and with the right people we can create our own history. It is great that regeneration is taking place and the area is becoming more gentrified as it is helping rebuild the area, but what I am concerned about is that the network of mechanics, welders and other tradesmen are protected and continue to thrive in this unique environment – as they too are independents and by using the dockland have also helped to keep the spirit of the neighborhood alive.
We ourselves will soon be moving into the area, and we can only hope that we can contribute our energy and creativity to the community and help to transform it. We are attracted to the area because it’s the real Liverpool. It reflects its industrial roots and shows off its dockside manner. It has not been shackled by the Chains and it is far from any manifestations of what corporations think we want. The genuinity of the area shines through and it doesn’t hide behind a veil. Next time you in town, take a walk around the corner of your eye and explore everything it has to offer. There is a movement happening here.
Here’s to the future of The Baltic Triangle.
Written by Oliver Press