German Adult Education Group Tour
WHEN a group of intelligent, educated and discerning Germans on a tailor made-tour constantly gasp in surprise and delight at the sights and sounds of Liverpool it is clear reassurance the city meets the highest visitor standards.
This was the resounding verdict of the Frankfurt am Main branch of the Arbeit Und Leben - the “Work and Life” trade-union and state linked adult education institute - after a special guided walking city tour by Brilliant Liverpool Tours.
The 20-strong group was on a study visit and seminar to Liverpool called Strawberry Fields Forever – Liverpool After Brexit, focussing on the city’s change from an industrial port to become a“tourist hot-spot city of leisure, art and pop”.
The Aloft Hotel, North John Street, where the group stayed was the perfect starting point as this superb Edwardian building began life as the Royal Insurance Company’s headquarters, but had lain empty for 30 years until its recent conversion into a smart four star New York ‘loft-living style’ property.
The rising tide of visitors from all over the world has rescued many such fine buildings from oblivion with new uses as hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues, with an expanding and energetic tourism industry which is lifting Liverpool into a far stronger position than many other rival northern cities.
When built in 1903 the Aloft Hotel’s magnificent general office had the world’s largest unsupported roof in a commercial building. Likewise, plenty of history is woven into other city centre buildings such as the pioneering metal-framed office blockNo 16 Cook Street, now the Editions art shop. In 1864 a young American student, John Wellborn Root watched its construction and later developed the idea into the modern skyscraper. At 30 James Street – Home of the Titanic, when it was the White Star Line HQ the names of crew members who survived the ill-fated RMS Titanic were announced from its balconies to the hundreds of anxious relatives waiting below. The German group was intrigued to learn White Star Line was initially bankrolled by the Hamburg financier Gustav Schwabe and the property resembles a great Hanseatic warehouse.
A rare public opening day of Liverpool’s exquisite Georgian Town Hall gave the visitors chance to experience Britain’s grandest civic suite, with the Main Ballroom’s infinity mirrors creating the effect of an endless room.
Helmut Landgraf,Arbeit Und Leben’sLiverpool tour organiser, said: “The name of this world famous port city attracts many variedmemories far beyond England, from dock strikes to the sound of the Beatles.
“It is fascinating how this industrial city now seeks a new economic, tourism and cultural position since becoming European Capital of Culture in 2008. We’re trying to find out what the impact of Britain leaving the EU has on these indispensable growth factors for Liverpool.
“Our Brilliant Liverpool Tours walk with its guide Peter Elson gave us much valuable information we didn’t have about the city’s history and present state. We’ve learnt so much.”