28 July 2017

Ion reveals Lime Street facade

Artist Anthony Brown’s graphic artwork paints the picture of the iconic street’s history.

Leading Liverpool property developer, Ion, has revealed the artwork created by Anthony Brown which will decorate the Lime Street development. The regeneration experts are in the process of transforming Lime Street as a key gateway area, with a hotel, student accommodation and retail units – creating a new vision for an area in a City that needed investment. Anthony Brown has shaped that vision by creating a large-scale graphic art work that will act as an impressive welcome to visitors that arrive in the city and serve to remind those that live in Liverpool of the neighbourhood’s rich heritage and stories.

Anthony explained his inspiration for the graphic art that will feature on the Lime Street development: ‘With this work, our intention is to capture and reflect the history while commemorating the development of a truly unique street –  and one of the most important areas in the city of Liverpool.’

He added: ‘We have created an accessible ‘Quantum Timeline’ using illustrative graphic images and archived text to immortalise the development, buildings, business, people and heritage of Lime Street which was formally known as Limekiln Lane. It will serve to forever mark & display “what was” as we celebrate “what comes next”’

Anthony was born in Merseyside, graduating from Wirral Metropolitan School of Art and the Liverpool School of Printing. His work moves freely between contemporary art and abstract art amongst many mediums and he will use his trademark illustrative style on Lime Street. Anthony has previously created iconic pieces of public art in the city and is famed for his ‘100 heads Thinking As One’ exhibitions which celebrated Liverpool’s 800 Year Charter through 100 portraits of people who were chosen for their contribution to Liverpool life.

Steve Parry, managing director of Ion, commented: ‘Lime Street has seen many transformations in its history yet it has always reflected Liverpool life. As one of the most important gateways to the city, we have an opportunity to reflect the vibrancy and history of the street on the elevations of the building.’

He added: ‘Anthony’s artwork will be able to immortalise the heritage of the street, narrating the history – almost literally – to every passer-by.’

THE PANELS –  the stories they tell from Lime Street’s past



An image of the artist’s interpretation of William Harvey. An astute businessman, Harvey used the land that is now Lime Street for lime kilns. Named after the lime kilns, Lime Street was officially created in 1790 and originally sat outside the city limits. By 1804, doctors from a nearby hospital were complaining of the smell and the kilns were moved to Limekiln Lane, near Scotland Road. As the city limits spread, Lime Street became a key street for the city.



The depiction of the Forum which was one of the finest super cinemas of the early 1930s. Luxuriously built with a dramatic 100 ft. bronze canopy, an austere white marble stairway and café. Thousands of Merseysiders went to “the pictures” at the Forum until the early 80s, when it was converted to a triple screen venue. The Forum didn’t close its doors until 28th January 1998.



This panel depicts Maggie May, the heroine of a Liverpool folk song about a working girl on Lime Street. She meets a seaman, robs him and is sentenced and transported to Botany Bay. The most famous line of the chorus is ‘she’ll never walk down Lime Street anymore.’ The Beatles immortalised the song on their much-lauded  ‘Let it be’ album.

The artist’s depiction of Maggie is that of a mythical figure. There are countless poetic tales and folklore from around the world which involves a prostitute who, when down on their luck, stole and paid the price with their freedom or their life. The artist imagines Maggie as this literary figure, symbolic of lost luck and survival.



The Irish American or ‘The Yankee Bar’ was a popular American inspired bar. Liverpool always enjoyed a special relationship with America – and it is an important part of the city’s history. The first US consulate was set up in Liverpool in 1790 and the city acted as a port for more than 9 million travellers. The American Civil War began on 12 April 1861 and ended in Liverpool on 6 November 1865, when the last Confederate warship ‘CSS Shenandoah’ surrendered in the Mersey. Thus it was won in Liverpool.



Known to those that remember it as ‘the Guinness Clock’ or ‘the G clock’, it is one of the cities most remembered iconic buildings which sat near the very end of Lime Street,

The G clock was demolished in the 1970’s to make way for a multi -story car park. Characterised by neon lights and advertising, it is remembered as cutting-edge, making the Liverpudlians feel pride in their city as truly metropolitan; akin to something you might see in London. Others remember the Guinness clock, as what you looked to, as you got off the bus on the way to work to check you weren’t late.



The Palais De Luxe has the longest history for entertainment in the city –  dating back to 1847. It became the Theatre Variete, St James Hall and Operetta House, the Tivoli Palace of Varieties and then the new Tivoli of Varieties in December 1906. Pictures and vaudeville formed the entertainment until 1911 when the renamed Palais De Luxe showed ‘The World’s greatest pictures’ with musical accompaniment. In November 1912, the Palais secured the exclusive rights to show the film record of the sinking of the Titanic. The cinema closed because of bombing in the war and then a serious fire caused massive damage in 1951. After 51 years of entertainment the Palais De Luxe finally closed its door in October 1959.

The sculpture depicted in the panel was the largest aluminium sculpture in the country – designed by WL Stephenson – and titled ‘Technical Achievement- it sat on the façade of the Palais de Luxe. It is not known where the sculpture is now. Last seen at Riversdale Technical College when it was rescued from the scrapyard by the architects of the Palais de Luxe, it will now can live on, by another medium, in this artwork.



The artist depicts Marks and Spencer. It is a little- known fact that the entrepreneurial duo had a shop, albeit for a short time, on Lime Street. Michael Marks had also previously had stalls at Birkenhead market under the name ‘penny bazaar’. Marks was a Polish Jewish refugee whilst Spencer was a Yorkshire lad. Together they built a retail brand that signifies Britishness like no other. M & S or Marks and Sparks is one of the country’s great institutions and Lime Street was an important stepping-stone in the journey of this great British brand.



The National Milk Bar sat adjacent to the Futurist. The mention of the milk bar will spur in many a memory –  as it was the place young men and women of a respectable nature met up for milkshakes, coffees and courting. It will often be heard in reminiscing’s ‘the place I met your mother’. With signature black and white chequered floors, juke boxes and polished chrome, National Milk Bar was started by a Welsh dairy farmer in a bid to sell his produce on directly to the public. The original ‘farm-to-table’.



The Futurist – one of the city’s most popular building facades is immortalised in this important panel within the artist’s work. Originally, The ‘Lime Street Picture House’, it opened on 16 September 1912 as a very upmarket city centre cinema, with a Georgian styled facade & a French Renaissance interior. The grand entrance foyer had a black & white square tiled floor and the walls were of Sicilian marble. It housed a luxurious cafe on the 1st floor and the auditorium was designed to have the effect of a live theatre dramatic architectural features and plaster mouldings. It also boasted a full orchestra to accompany the silent films.

On 14 August 1916, the cinema changed its name to ‘City Picture House’ due to another cinema opening in Clayton Square which was called ‘Liverpool Picture House’. And in October 1920 a new company was formed ‘Futurist’ to purchase the cinema and the two shops adjacent.



Barker & Dobson, a sweet manufacturer, perhaps most famous for Everton Mints, became one of the largest confectioners in England and started its life in Liverpool. Started by Joseph Dobson, who adopted the maiden name of his wife ‘Barker’, the brand still lives on although the business has been sold many times since its inception. The Lime Street shop was in a perfect position for customers to drop in to buy sweets before a visit to one of the street’s countless theatres.



The Scala Super Cinema. A stately picture house. This had the distinction of being the first in Liverpool to be advertised as a super cinema due to its artistic design and luxurious Egyptian style interior. The first licensee and general manager of the then named Lime Street Picture House was Vivian van Damm, who became associated with the famed Windmill Theatre in London famed for its pioneering tableaux vivants of motionless female nudity, and for its reputation of having ‘never closed’ during the Blitz. In the 20s, The Scala boasted Jules Gaillard, violin virtuoso and his orchestra. After many years of good attendance, the Scala became Merseyside’s Continental Cinema in l960, showing foreign “X” certificate films until l967, when it was taken over by ABC. The Scala eventually closed to Clint Eastwood’s Firefox in August l982, and was replaced by a nightclub – The Hippodrome.

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