Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City - Inscription


Having received the nomination for the area in January 2003, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) travelled to Liverpool in September of that year to carry out an evaluation on behalf of UNESCO. The ICOMOS evaluation analysed the city in relation to its nomination document, looking at four key areas: conservation, authenticity and integrity, comparative evaluation and outstanding universal value.

  • Conservation - In terms of conservation status ICOMOS were happy that a wide range of buildings from the 18th through to 20th century were preserved within the city, despite two world wars and significant decline during the 1970s. However, they keenly stressed the importance of continued preservation suggesting that all future developments within the nominated areas are stringently monitored.
  • Authenticity and integrity - ICOMOS were pleased with manner in which the nominated areas had maintained the majority of their historical integrity, despite some major regeneration and development projects since the Second World War. The urban fabric of the six sites ranged from the 18th to 20th century and the committee were happy that the city's street pattern provided a readable representation of different periods in Liverpool's history.
  • Comparative evaluation - As part of their evaluation ICOMOS compared Liverpool's maritime history with that of other major ports throughout both the UK and wider world. They felt that Liverpool had values and qualities that set it apart from many other port cities both in terms of its maritime function and architectural and cultural significance.
  • Outstanding universal value - In analysing Liverpool's Maritime Mercantile City in terms of its universal value, ICOMOS concured with the local council that Liverpool was the 'supreme example of a commercial port at the time of Britain's greatest global influence'. In particular they noted the role the city played in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the development of docking technology and railway transportation, and the attention given to cultural activities and architecture.

Upon completion of their evaluation, ICOMOS returned to UNESCO with the recommendation that the area be inscribed as a world heritage site. At the same time they made several recommendations regarding future preservation and development within the areas and their buffer zones. As a result the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City was inscribed as a world heritage site at the 28th session of the World Heritage Committee in 2004, under the cultural criteria ii, iii and iv:

  • Criterion (ii): "Liverpool was a major centre generating innovative technologies and methods in dock construction and port management in the 18th and 19th centuries. It thus contributed to the building up of the international mercantile systems throughout the British Commonwealth."
  • Criterion (iii): "The city and the port of Liverpool are an exceptional testimony to the development of maritime mercantile culture in the 18th and 19th centuries, contributing to the building up of the British Empire. It was a centre for the slave trade, until its abolition in 1807, and for emigration from northern Europe to America."
  • Criterion (iv): "Liverpool is an outstanding example of a world mercantile port city, which represents the early development of global trading and cultural connections throughout the British Empire."

Read more about this topic:  Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City

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