LIVERPOOL LYVER BIRD,Liver Bird,Liver Building,facts,pictures,projects.

A THIRD LYVER BIRD for Liverpool
Contact us How did it start full explanation my Home Page & Index.

What is the Third Lyver Bird Project?
- to have a Liver Building Bird constructed, at ground level, standing on a Liver Clock dial

as a Tourist Attraction, at which every tourist will have themselves photographed.
as Public Art; a unique subject - everyone likes it!
for Capital City of Culture; a major item celebrating our status.
for Civic Pride; a sign of our present confidence.
as a Memorial for 2007;marking and celebrating our city's 800th Centenary.
and we would at last be making the most of this unique resource, the true icon of Liverpool.

Some more pages within this Project;
some Lyver Bird facts and history.
a page of Lyver Bird pictures....
The creator of the Liver Building Birds.
Funding the Third Lyver Bird.
For other links of interest,see foot of page.

How did it all start?
This project started in March 2000, with this letter of mine to the "Liverpool Echo," copied to David Henshaw, the relatively new Chief Executive of the city.

"Dear Sir; While there are plans afoot to position the Yellow Submarine, the Blue Peter Ship and the other thing, has nobody thought of the ultimate Liverpool work of art? Something we would all love to see first hand, a third LYVER BIRD! Yes, another copy of the real thing, life size, and at ground level, where we could really appreciate the size and scale of the originals. This would be one subject that absolutely everyone in Merseyside could agree on as being worthy of a prime location. And what a tourist draw it would be. Surely it would attract so much sponsorship that no civic funding would not be needed.
To gild the lily, it could be set on a low round base, similar to the "oil-rig" platform in Church St, except that this one could be a life-wise replica of the face of a Liver Clock - the one all the councillors sat round before it was erected.
Come on, folks, ; let's think BIG!" Gerry Jones.

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Just about the only way to really get to grips with the awesome scale of a Liver Bird is to become a Sparrowhall Scaffolder, as these three brave lads showed in 1979. Bobby Menagh, Peter Savage and Hughie Watson were working on the Liver Building, and popped up in their lunch hour. Wouldn't it be fantastic to have them at an Opening Ceremony! Sadly, Bobby Menagh died in 2005, but many of his large family would love to represent him. Back to the Top of the page.

To explain things in much more detail, here is a draft we made in early discussions, of a speech that might later be called for, to those who can make a final decision. It is given here as a handy way of introducing this project and the thinking behind it, though the benefits can be summarised briefly as follows;
Tourism; another attraction, a focus, meeting place, and symbol.
Public Art; a unique subject; another gap filled.
City of Culture; a major item supporting our Bid.
Civic Pride; a sign of our present confidence.
a Memorial; an ideal marker and celebration of the 800th Centenary of Liverpool City.
and we would at last be making the most of this unique resource.

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FOCUS ON THE LYVER BIRD. "Many great cities have a symbol that identifies them throughout the world; Sydney has its Opera House, Brussels has its Manneken Pis, Paris the Eiffel Tower, Venice its gondolas, Copenhagen the Little Mermaid. London has Tower Bridge. Many others wish they could have such an image; what is the symbol of Birmingham? Of Manchester? Of Leeds? Of Glasgow? Tokyo? Glasgow? Cardiff?

"LIVERPOOL has the Liver Birds; we see images of them everywhere, on council vans and waste-bins, on letterheads and bollards. There are three in our City coat of arms, and three in the University crest. LFC has one in its badge, JMU has a very modern version; Harrison Lines have a white one on Mersey Chambers overlooking St Nicholas Church, Liver Launderettes and Liverpool RSCDS make use of it. BUT, having said that, THESE ARE ONLY COPIES AND VARIANTS OF THE GENUINE ARTICLES, which very few of us can see from less than three hundred feet away, high up on their domes on the Liver Building. Even if you tour the Building, all you can see is the back of the East Bird, some 60 feet away.

This raises three linked questions. If Cities were people, then most of them would KILL to have such an icon, such a symbol. But what do we do in Liverpool ? We settle for copies, for images, for pictures, for versions, for fakes. WE UNDER-USE THIS MIGHTY RESOURCE. HOW can we make the REAL THING AVAILABLE?

RESUME of how the project started.
"A few months ago, the City asked people to suggest permanent locations for the Yellow Submarine, the Blue Peter Ship, and the Superlamb Banana. This led to thoughts about the small number of major public works of art in the city centre; how many can any one of us name produced in the 20th century? The Moores Brothers striding down Church St. John Lennon in Clayton Square corridor. Eleanor Rigby. Dooley's Donkey. Johnny Walker and the Merchant Navy memorial. Not a lot, is it? There are plans for a monument to the era of horse-drawn transport. What else? We do want to be City of Culture don't we? And still the Liver Birds watch over us, unapproachable and distant. HOW can we increase the amount of public art in our City? (the second question).

A BIT OF HISTORY; "Nearly 800 years ago, our City received its Charter; on 2007 we will be celebrating our "800th", looking back over our history and growth. The original Seal was the Eagle of St. John, which was at one stage lost, and replaced by one in which the eagle looked much more like a Cormorant with sea-weed, or "laver" in its beak. This was transformed by myth and legend into the Liver Bird. We must also look FORWARD, as our city is buzzing with regeneration, Albert Dock, Objective One improvements, Liverpool Vision, Haymarket, Queen Square, new hotels, Rope-walks Project, Bluecoat Triangle, and ever increasing tide of (very welcome) tourists, students and day-trippers.
So, (third question) HOW CAN WE IMPROVE OUR PRODUCT?

RATIONALE of the project; aims and objectives. "To summarise these three questions; We are short of public works of art, yet aiming to be City Of Culture. We want to celebrate our 800 years of history, and to symbolise our lively present day, with its growing inward investment and tourism. And still we are under-using one of the best images in the world; the Liver Birds." THESE PROBLEMS CAN ALL BE SOLVED, BY ONE EXCITING PROJECT."

OUTLINE OF THE PROJECT. "Let us bring the Liver Birds to the people, by constructing a THIRD LYVER BIRD, a full-size replica, the real thing, at ground level, in the centre of our city.
"Let it be seen, by all the shoppers, all the students, all the theatre-goers, all the clubbers, all the tourists. Let them see it in detail, walk under it and be awed by the sheer magnitude and scale of it, take photos of each other under its wings, and send these images of our city to every country under the sun. Let them enjoy another true work of art, and appreciate it as such.
"And let us make proper use of our unique symbol as a unifying source of civic pride for all our disparate peoples, of whatever country, occupation, religious or sporting affiliation, and celebrate our long past and our burgeoning present, and make a statement that we as a city have now regained the self-assured confidence of our Victorian fore-bears, who thought BIG and built BIG and built to LAST. Let us use it to show that we are worthy to be City of Culture."

TECHNICAL NOTES; "Each Bird itself stands 18 feet high - it would take three tall acrobats standing on each others shoulders to reach its beak - and its wingspan is nearly 25 feet. There is a large "rod of iron" going right though it from inside the dome it stands on. It is clad in sheets of weathered copper, using techniques which owe as much to shipbuilding as to fine art. It is braced against a century of Atlantic gales by strong hawsers from wing to floor, with other bracing struts behind its neck, to secure its outspread wings.

"Next, we need criteria for a suitable location;
it must be located in the city centre, as the Bird is to be a celebratory focus for the Whole City,.
The site must be big enough for a 25-feet circle, accessible (e.g. NOT on a traffic island), and available (no plans to build on it).
There should also be some way of viewing the bird from above as well as at ground level; a spot with steps or stairs nearby would serve.
Ideally, it should also be possible to see The Real Liver Birds from the site."

The best site we have found so far, which meets all these criteria perfectly, is Roe Street/Queen Square, on the pavement area between the Queen Square Tourist Office, St John's Precinct, and the Royal Court. Just round the corner from Lime Street Station, the Bird could face and greet all the shoppers and workers pouring off the buses, all the theatre-goers attending the Royal Court or the Playhouse, and all the tourists using the Tourist Office.
"Every statue has its plinth, and the Bird has got to stand on something. This gives us an ideal opportunity to celebrate another local landmark - the Liver Clock, which is coming up for its own centenary in 2011. It is 25-feet in diameter, - 2'6" wider than Big Ben - and that makes it the ideal size to act as a plinth for a bird with 25-feet wingspan. Again, it has to be life-size to give viewers the full impact of the scale;before it was installed, forty people sat round it for a dinner.

But since it is just to serve as a plinth, it need not be made of a ton of opal glass - any durable paving material in black and white would serve,as it is to be set flush in the pavement for total access. A "scale model" of this idea already exists, in marble, in the Cafe and Fountain area of the Liver Building.
The project would offer best value when enhanced by such items as a 'Welcome to Liverpool' sign-board, round which visitors could cluster for photographs and make sure our city is named in each photograph, an information table or "Museum Box," giving historical notes, and samples of how the Bird is used by other local enterprises.
"Tactile pavement" technology, so that the clock face size and pattern may be discerned. People with special needs would be able to touch and feel parts of the bird, and so gain a feeling for the size and scale of the whole item. Floodlighting, through some of the "glass panels" Relaying the Chimes of the Liver clock.

"When we consider the financing of this project, there is much good news. The original birds and clock exist, so there will be no design costs; hopefully the original plans and drawings will be available.
A site which is entirely on city-owned land will save a large sum. Expertise exists within the city offices to provide fairly accurate costs for materials and construction, but our soundings indicate that a figure somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 would be expected.
The use of durable materials - intended to last at least a century - should mean very little in maintenance costs. Dolomite marble to use for the plinth would cost under 4,000, and would last forever.As it is flush with the pavement, it would be nor more costly to maintain the plinth as it would to maintain the paving it would be replacing.

"The first Source of finance to be considered must be The National Lottery, especially its Heritage funds; if this project is not HERITAGE writ large, then what is? The City has the expertise and experience to put in a competent and realistic Bid for at least half the cost.
European Money should be available in one form or another. Again, city staff know how to claim.
Sponsorship from local businesses should be forthcoming, especially from companies at or near the site; this should prove even more attractive to companies if they were then allowed to be mentioned in one of the white panels of the Clock Dial, in neat gold lettering, at their own expense.
The City surely has a budget in mind to fund items connected with the Celebration of the 800th, and this would be a valid claim on such resources.
Our Twinned Cities, and other people and places with connections and links with the City may well wish to be involved in this scheme - and involvement costs you!
Public Subscription could be invited, more as a means of allowing participation than as a major source of income.
In short; there are many possible sources of income, so that the City should be able to afford and support this scheme without having to sacrifice jobs or services."

"As regards a time-scale, we are looking forward from 2000 now, to the city's "800th" in 2007, and the Birds' Centenary in 2010. This would give us a few years to explore, plan, estimate, design, cost, raise finance, jump through hoops, do tendering, obtain materials, and actually construct the items, so it would seem logical to link this project to the "Octocentenary" plans. It could play a major part in the celebrations; we might even be able to stage a re-run of the Dinner Round the Dial that took place before installation.

"Then it would really deliver its benefits;
Tourism; we would have another attraction, a focus, meeting place, and symbol.
Public Art; a unique subject; another gap filled.
City of Culture; a major item supporting our Bid.
Civic Pride; a sign of our present confidence.
a memorial; an ideal marker and celebration of our 800th Centenary.
And we would at last be making the most of our unique resource.

"If the City, through its elected representatives, will take this project to heart, then all the remaining questions can and will be answered, and problems surmounted.
And when the time comes to celebrate our "800th", we will all be able, citizens and visitors alike, to see, touch and be awed, by a marvellous work of art to remind us of our past, to be a focus for our civic pride, and to lead us confidently into a proud future."
"Ladies & Gentlemen, I commend to you this project for a THIRD LYVER BIRD. Thank you."
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Lilian Hughes tells me (Nov 08) that her grandmother pointed to the Liver Birds when Lilian was a child, and told her that it was a relative who had gilded the birds. Lilian was also given a photocopy sheet in which the birds are described the birds as being constructed of "rolled copper, heavily gilt" She also has a picture of them from 1907 - rather clever since they were not designed till 1908 and not built until 1911.
Has anybody else heard anothing about this?

some Lyver Bird facts and history.
Funding the Third Lyver Bird.
a page of Lyver Bird pictures....
[...which may take a while to download. Sorry!]

OTHER PAGES AND SITES WHICH FEATURE THE LIVER BIRDS include giving the history, and over 100 images. Highly recommended.

MERSEYMOUTH a miscellany of stories, poetry, and anything to do with Liverpool and Merseyside.
a Third Lyver Bird page in "Timbo's Liverpool".

A psychedelic Liver Bird. from the Sixties introduces a site for artworks with a Beatles theme;

Here are the other pages of this site:

Liverpool branch of the RSCDS
Liverpool Country Dance Band
Liverpool CONTRA Folk-dance club
Country Dancing Clubs in Liverpool.
Mersey And Deeside folk dance clubs
Gerry Jones, the handy musician
Gerry Jones, Home Page and Index.

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