By Radarsmum67 from Liverpool, UK. – A grey day on the Mersey., CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85872474
Liverpool with its back to the land has always been the departure point to the West. From the slave trade to the millions of Irish emigrants who left through the port to cross the Atlantic. The trade route saw people, goods, culture and politics also cross. One of the most obvious exchanges was music, as ‘Cunard Yanks’ merchant sailors on the Cunard Lines brought home blues, and rock n roll records, to the later export of The Beatles and the British invasion of the 60’s.
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This transatlantic trade had a direct impact on the development of the Beatles with the soundtrack of Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, Sam Cooke, and many more becoming a major influence on young musicians in the city. George Harrison bought his first guitar from a Cunard yank who had brought it back from New York. Before Gerry and The Pacemakers recorded their version of You’ll Never Walk Alone, a US import sung by Roy Hamilton was doing the rounds in the city, the song went on of course to become the anthem of The Kop at Anfield.
One of the lesser known exports from the UK comes from the Cazzy. There are two claims for the origin of the name the first from the rust residue left after ships were scrapped on the foreshore at Dingle. Many famous ships met their end here right up to the 1950s. The area was just beyond the last of the South Docks, the Herculaneum Dock. The Beach in that area turned red from the ferric oxide left in the sand, the riverfront today in that area is now part of the promenade that joins the Otterspool prom a little farther south.
By Murfas – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4997375
The second and more historic is another connection to Cast Iron -The Mersey Forge in Graften Street provided the iron for St Michael’s Church opened in 1815, which was known as the Cast Iron Church because of the extensive use of cast iron in its construction including the arches shown in the photo above.
This architectural use of cast iron was an innovation that possibly inspired world changing consequences. A few decades later architect Peter Ellis designed and built Oriel Chambers the world’s first building featuring a cast iron framed glass curtain wall in 1864, it is located on Water Street in Liverpool. Due to its outstanding importance, it has been grade 1 listed.
Knocking about Liverpool at the time, was a young American student John Wellborn Root. Ellis’s design caused quite a stir in the building and architectural community, with many of his peers rejecting the radical new design. However long rows of ‘oriels’ or bay windows became a feature of Burnham and Root’s American skyscrapers in the 1880’s, and John Root became an important figure in the Chicago School of Architecture famed for using steel framed construction increasing window size.
So maybe the lyrics of the The Beatles song had a bit more relevance than even they realised from the Cast Iron Shore to Glass Onion.
Standing on the cast iron shore, yeah
Lady Madonna trying to make ends meet, yeah
Looking through the glass onion
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