By Chris Hughes:
Lime Street is one of the best known street names in Liverpool, as it gives its name to the city’s main railway station, and recent developments to both the station and its surroundings have brought great changes to the street. The huge station hotel, built in French chateau style, is now student accommodation and retains the grandeur it shares with the St George’s Hall across the Lime Street plateau, with its art deco war memorial and massive stone lions. This all suggests a Lime Street both grand and beautiful, and yet walk on and the street changes in nature.
On one corner the Crown pub stands with its decorated exterior hiding its ornate plaster ceiling inside. Opposite, the beautiful art deco cinema is closed and abandoned, its own fantastic interior shut away in the dark. At the far end of the street stands another of the city’s great pubs, complete with fabulous tower and the best etched and originally cut windows in Liverpool. The Vines dates back to 1907, and along with the Crown stands in contrast with the dour and struggling parade of shops that separates them.
So this is the scene. And then suddenly almost everything is closed and borders up. Builders signs erected and pavements closed. There is no information, but surely the old picture house is not to be demolished. Surely it’s listed? The next time I walk by, it is gone, part of a masterplan of redevelopment for this stretch of one of Liverpool’s main streets:
City’s change and some places have their time. I hope the plans work, and that the full length of Lime Street can stand as proud as the station that bears its name. In the meantime I’ll keep walking and watching, documenting the progress as it goes...