Welcome again to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Merseyside streets, landmarks and buildings from bygone days with how they look today.
Our main image this week shows the majestic St George’s Hall rising above a heap of collapsed scaffolding in Lime Street in July 1964.
Spectators have gathered to get a closer look at the debris and scaffolding poles strewn across the road, while buses are parked up at the hall’s portico.
Although blackened by soot and pre-restoration pollution, St George’s Hall exhibits its full neo-classical grandeur. It remains, to this day, one of the biggest public buildings in the country.
Plans for the hall were drawn up in the early 19th century when the expanding city of Liverpool desperately needed an imposing civic setting for festivals, meetings and concerts.
Designs were submitted by architect Harvey Lonsdale Elmes before it was decided to include the assize courts in the same building.
So Elmes went back to the drawing board and the foundation stone for the grand project was laid in 1838 to commemorate the coronation of Queen Victoria a year earlier.
Elmes supervised the building work until 1847 when he left England for Jamaica where he died of consumption. The baton then passed to Corporation Surveyor John Weightman and structural engineer Robert Rawlinson.
Designer Charles Cockerell took charge in 1851 and laid out most of the building’s impressive interiors. The hall was officially opened in 1854.
As imposing now as it was 160 years ago, St George’s Hall has rightly been described by architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner as one of the finest neo-Grecian buildings in the world.
*Many more images from Then and Now will feature in a brilliant new book from publishers iNostalgia. Watch out for more details soon.