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Forgotten futures of the recent past really float my boat - here are some pictures of unusual ships on the Mersey. The British R100 Airship is shown over Queen Square and Lime Street's North Western Hotel c.1930, while the vessel above the river is the German Graf Zeppelin LZ127, on a visit to Liverpool on July 3rd 1932. My Nanna worked in the upper floors of the Royal Liver Buildings, and well remembered such visits - the engines would shake the windows of the giant office blocks.
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5/19/16
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The copper green 'Dome of Home' sits at the mouth of the Mersey looking out to sea over New Brighton, on the opposite bank to Liverpool. It graces the brick basilica of Ss. Peter, Paul and St. Philomena, closed in 2008 but now in joyful re-use as an active Roman Catholic shrine following a passionate local campaign, won when the Vatican over ruled the Shrewsbury Diocese.

Its nickname is said to come from merchant sailors returning on the perilous wartime convoys, for whom sight of the dome meant respite from the danger of torpedo attack by U-boat submarines.

The church dates from 1935, and can be seen as a scaled down version of the Lutyens cathedral then being built over the water in Liverpool. It contains marble statuary and art work from Italy and Portugal, and conducts services in Latin, bringing a touch of southern European exoticism to this breezy English seaside suburb.

An excellent website DomeofHome.org gives information on the restoration and service times, and even includes a roof top webcam with views of the river.

Details of the architecture by E. Bower Norris can be found here:

http://www.c20society.org.uk/botm/saint-peter-and-saint-pauls-church-new-brighton/
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4/18/16
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A humble but interesting little dome, Liverpool's Kensington Picture Drome of 1910 marks one of Britain's oldest purpose-built cinemas.

The facade is said to be one of only about four from the first year of newly licensed cinemas to survive in its original condition - the Cinematograph Act of 1910 demanded fireproof projection rooms, for obvious reasons!

With the demolition of Walton's equally historic Bedford Hall Cinema after English Heritage turned down listing, this is almost certainly Liverpool's oldest proper movie house.

Designed by Southport architects Cambell and Fairhurst, Philip Mayer has a good write up of its history here:

http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/34634


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4/15/16
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The greatest building never built was Liverpool's Roman Catholic Cathedral by Edwin Lutyens, architect of India's capital New Delhi.

Liverpool intended it to have the world's largest dome, 168 feet across (51m), larger than St. Peter's in Rome (138 feet, 42m).

The crypt was completed, but World War 2 put paid to this great Basilica. A sense of its sublime grandeur can be appreciated in the barrel vaulted chapels of the undercroft, and in the architect's original model, large enough to stand up in, now wonderfully restored by Liverpool Museum.
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4/8/16
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T. J. Hughes is 'the best and most beloved bargain store in town', and still trades from Audley House on London Road.

Cheap and cheerful decor can't quite hide a proper, purpose-built Edwardian department store that sprawls across two entire city blocks, and includes this superb 'winter garden' roof over its still functioning restaurant.

The building was built c.1910 and is thought to be by Walter Thomas, architect of the Philharmonic Dining Rooms and Vines Hotel.

Observer journalist Ed Vulliamy is son of children's author Shirley Hughes, who was T. J. Hughes's daughter - he wrote about the store in 2011 when it was under threat:

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2011/jul/03/tjhughes-liverpool-retail-administration

Pics (c) SharetheCity.org and Stephen Richards

Historic 1920s drawing from LiverpoolPictureBook.com
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3/27/16
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Designed in 1904, Liverpool's 'Dock Office' almost missed out on its full-height octagonal atrium and dome. Some Mersey Docks and Harbour Board members felt it was not their job to beautify the town!

Generosity and pride prevailed to show off the best the world's biggest port could buy and supply - copper, marble, mahogany, oak, stone and bronze, wrapped round a concrete frame tough enough to survive a WWII direct hit.

Pics (c) SharetheCity.org
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3/26/16
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As well as all the fine old domes in the city, there is a beautifully created new dome at the top of Liverpool's Central Library.

You can go up on the roof and see it, alongside the restored dome of the Victorian Picton Reading Room.

Pics (c) SharetheCity.org
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3/26/16
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The dome of the sculpture gallery at the Lady Lever in Port Sunlight, Birkenhead, Liverpool. The galleries re-open today, Good Friday 2016, after a major refurbishment and we can't wait to visit!

Free entry - here is their website: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/ladylever/

For tours of the vibrant cultural cities of Liverpool and Manchester and their surrounding national parks contact us at SharetheCity.org

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The mother of our Liverpool domes is on the Town Hall, added in 1795 by James Wyatt of Bath when fire partially destroyed the building of 1749. This Georgian masterpiece is considered by Pevsner's 'Buildings of England' architectural guides to have 'probably...the grandest suite of civic rooms in the country'.

The Beatles famously appeared on the balcony to cheering crowds on their triumphant homecoming on July 10th 1964 (pic Liverpool Echo).

Around the dome is written Liverpool's latin motto 'Deus Nobis Haec Otia Fecit', a quote from Virgil meaning 'God gave us this leisure', as shown in the final picture from Vasa1628 (all other pictures (c) SharetheCity).

For Liverpool tours contact us on ShareTheCityTours.com
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3/12/16
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A modest white exterior hides this exquisite secret - a spiral staircase straight from Hitchcock's Vertigo, topped by an elaborate dome of fish-scale glass that hints at the Tiffany Favrile jewel of Chicago's Cultural Centre.

Liverpool's 1930s Blackburn Assurance Building on Dale Street hides another incredible secret - its site was the birthplace in 1734 of leading Founding Father of the United States of America, Robert Morris, George Washington's financier and signatory of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the US Constitution.

For Liverpool tours feel free to contact us at SharetheCityTours.com

Pics (c) SharetheCity
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3/10/16
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