Wolstenholme Square has been the focus of Liverpool’s residents for most of it’s existence. In the days of philanthropist Joseph Williamson it was a place of industry and the place that made him – he had his first job here. In the days of our parents it was a place to be young and free, with the Continental club, Tuxedo Junction and more. Translate that into the modern day and the launch of superclub Cream at Nation, Wolstenholme Creative Space, Mello Mello, and the era-defining Kazimier ran by a troupe of artists, dancers, musicians and theatre producers.
The indication that Liverpool city council wanted this area to evolve came with Liverpool Biennial commissioning Jorge Pardo to create a new sculpture work for 2002’s edition of the UK’s biggest festival of contemporary art. The work, Penelope – a weaving of steel and light, took inspiration from Homer’s Odyssey and his wife Penelope who was waiting for him to come back from the Trojan wars. She would weave intricate tapestries of his conquests, only to unravel them again at the end of the day and start again.
Perhaps the square is itself a tapestry waiting to be unraveled. Jorge also paid homage to the former RopeWalks of area which made rope for the many vessels in our once busy port. The work was supposedly for the clubbers of cream, but in my mind there was a bigger picture.
Now the time is here to refresh again. Elliot group and TJ Thomas estates are seizing on the popularity of the square to install a permanent base of residents. Architects FCH have come up with a residential/retail mix which aims to give life to the square in the daytime and the night, something not possible with clubs and their nighttime only economy. Visitors to the Kazimier would disagree with that statement – the venue often had events during the daytime, but that was mostly in the adjoining garden space they created. The garden is to be retained in the new plans.
Cream/Nation have been promised a brand new subterranean venue, which we are keen to see. Elliot group were in discussions with Kazimier to provide them a new space to operate in, but as the club closed at New Year 2016 it was announced that they would move operations to the north Liverpool waterfront where they would have space for expansion and even bigger events.
Penelope will be refreshed and renewed with the redevelopment of the square. The artist will come back having signed a contract with the developer. Street furniture by the Jorge Pardo has also been commissioned.
The cycle starts again.
STATUS: Approved by planning at LCC. Demolition of existing warehouses underway.
25th January 2016 by