With 2015 lurking around the corner we’ve sat down and thought about our favourite things that happened in 2014.
Before your newsfeed becomes full of “new year, new me” statuses, we thought we’d level the playing field with the good to bad news ratio as negativity has already hit its quota. It is easy to become bogged down with the nature of the tabloids but let us appreciate the renaissance Liverpool has gone through and is still going through with just a snapshot of some of the things that happened in the last 365 days.
Independents Getting Recognition
It has been a good year for our independents, we’ve shown the rest of the UK the North isn’t all cold pies and warm beers. The Everyman won the prestigious RIBA sterling prize for architectural excellence and beat off buildings like The Shard for that very award. Delifonseca won “Best Independent Food Retailer” at the Observer monthly food awards. The Times declared Camp and Furnace as the second coolest venue in the whole of the UK. Lunya won the best restaurant out of the North West at the Good Food Guide awards and Neon Jamon entered the Michelin guide recommended book.
In complete contrast to our previous point of public places getting recognition, a campaign that forced us to remember Liverpool’s most iconic but empty buildings blew us away. They pushed us to debate and asked us to re-imagine and re-purpose the space that are full of memories but empty of use. They collated hundreds of people’s memories about these buildings and published their findings in one incredible book that can be rented from public libraries throughout Liverpool. We were lucky enough to sit down with the people behind the project and you can read that here. They have some exciting plans for 2015.
Rough Guides wrote an article on the top 10 cities to visit. Full of incredible imagery. a synopsis of the city as well as a quote for good measure, Liverpool was chosen as the third city as a must visit. This last year Liverpool has seen a remarkable increase in tourism and shows no sign of stopping. Make sure you read the article here.
Liverpool has always been renowned for its architecture but it is within those very buildings that holds the utmost importance. Matta’s celebrated a huge milestone; 30 years of business, as well as winning the highest achievement at the Merseyside Independent Business Awards. Below the generations of Matta’s are pictured, all bound together by one building, a matchless passion and unrivalled selection of Koka noodles. Rennies, just a few doors up, is close to 40 years, as is Cafe Tabac. The Jacaranda is also back after taking a two year sabbatical and although the jukebox has changed, it still feels like the old one. Head up North and you’ll see Townsend Bakery in Anfield which is in its third decade of trade. They’re still giving the uprise in places where lightbulbs dangle just a few metres from your head a run for their money.
2014 was a year for the risk takers. Entrepreneurial spirit seems to have swept over the streets and more and more people are opening up shop or starting their own thing. Bold Street has had more businesses open up in this year than any other. Smithdown Road and Penny Lane seems to be feeling the osmosis of the city centre and has had places like Little Italy, Rough Hand Made and Evil Eye Burrito open, all doing completely different things but all doing it well. Hope Street has also seen The Everyman and Philharmonic re-open and look swankier than ever as well as the new and exciting restaurant called Pen Factory open.
What do an abandoned warehouses, a Swedish church, regenerated warehouses, mechanics, a skate park, coffee shops and creative/tech businesses all have in common? They all call Baltic Triangle home. Up and coming places like Constellations, 24 Kitchen Street and Coffee & Fandisha are a stone’s throw away from Camp and Furnace, highlighting that the pace of gentrification is yet to halt. It has recently come out that The Baltic Creative alone contributes nearly £1.5 million pounds to the local economy, an incredible space populated by passionate people doing it for the right reasons. It is an exciting area for both business and culture and it shows no signs of stopping.
Granby Four Streets
Liverpool has always been a storytelling city but this one got to us especially. The Guardian highlighted the incredible story of the Granby four streets, please read it here. It is a touching and rather beautiful tale of how a community can revitalise their community and work together to improve their surroundings rather than being desperate to leave. Derelict buildings were shown love, empty buildings were repurposed and amid the post-apocalypse, a fight, oasis and community was born. Liverpool was once described as a “shifting outpost of defiance and determination” and never has it felt so true.
Photo by Lewis Jones/Assemble
Friends of the Flyover
After three good friends holidayed in Rotterdam for pleasure, little did they know the business they’d pursue on return. The flyover has been derelict for years now and the destruction of it would cost £3-4 million. Rather than destroy, the trio re-imagined its possibilities and it is safe to say their imagination has spread like wild fire. They were able to crowd fund over £40k to finance the consultancy of how hard it would be and how much it would cost to turn this inhabited wastelands into thriving promenades. It has attracted the attention of The Independent and the vision has been compared to the New York high line – rest assured they didn’t take a bite out of the big green apple, this metamorphosis came naturally. Next year will be an exciting year for them, keep up to date here.
Music is embodied within Liverpool’s very DNA and the music scene is alive. It is testament to the city that with such widespread cuts that culture and the arts still hold importance. Sefton Park hosted Liverpool International Music Festival and Africa Oye, two incredible and free music events that highlight Liverpool’s diversity. Threshold Festival took place around various venues in The Baltic Triangle and gave a stage to Liverpool’s home grown and up and coming. Sound City was also bigger and better this year and have just announced The Flaming Lips as the headliner for next year. These kind of festivals don’t just help you discover new, they inspire the next.
One notable shift in 2014 was the year of the micro-brewery. There’s a few micro-breweries struggling to keep up with demand but refusing to turn big. Liverpool Craft Beers, Liverpool Organic, Mad Hatter Brewery and Wapping Brewery have all seen a surge in their popularity and people are drinking them by the keg. The craft beer scene is infectious at the moment and with events such as the Liverpool Craft Beer Expo and Ship and Mitre hosting world beer events, there’s another alcohol to be merry all year round. It’s not just beers either, Liverpool Gin have had an incredible year as they’ve hosted some fantastic events in the Palm House. Look out for next year as we might be hosting a very special gin fuelled event alongside them.
They say the only time you should look back is to see how far you’ve come. Here is a picture of Albert Dock in the 80’s and below it is now. This transformation obviously didn’t just happen in 2014 but I think we can all agree it looks better than ever.
Photo by Al Disley
Well, all in all, we’d say that was a great year for the city. We say farewell to 2014 with fond memories and toast to 2015 with an excitement like no other. 2015 is a year for Liverpool to show off. We’d just like to say a personal thank you to each and every one of you for your support this past year and here’s to another great year.