The Conservation Team in Sefton Council’s Planning department are big fans of Southport’s architecture. It was tough, but we forced them each to choose a favourite building (though they reserve the right to change their minds!). Read on to find out which are their favourites – at least, right now.
My favourite building in Southport is 478-481 Lord St. This eclectic building with Italian renaissance details has always appealed to me. The pale blue glazed bricks stand out from the façade, providing colour and life to Lord Street. The mysterious female head stands proud on the culmination of the building, looking out for Southport. Hopefully this beautiful, partially vacant historic building will soon be back in permanent use.
Wayfarers Arcade caught my attention during my first visit to Southport. Opened in 1898, it was meant to extend from Lord Street to the Promenade. Nevertheless, what was built is of architectural splendour and is rightfully Grade II listed. The stained glass and mahogany shop fronts welcome you in, before it opens up into a vast, prestigious space. The domed glass ceiling and balconies have a grandeur that we fail to replicate in our shopping centres today. The Victorian elegance of the Arcade encapsulates Southport heritage – a true hidden gem amongst the hustle and bustle of Lord Street.
Historic Environment Intern and MSc Building Conservation & Adaptation student 2021-22
Lord Street has an incredible selection of architectural styles, with my favourite building – possibly – being 509-515 on the corner with Bold Street. Maybe I’ve chosen it for selfish reasons in that I’ve spent much time there recently with hard hat and hi-viz on! Check out the coloured leaded glass from the original building – splendidly repaired or replicated through the project grant. Historic fireplaces merge into 21st century reconstruction, and a lovely new timber shopfront will have features lifted from other traditional shops along Lord Street.
Southport Townscape Heritage Project Officer
My favourite building is actually a series of duplicate buildings positioned along the Promenade. These shelters were erected during the original construction phase of Kings Gardens in 1911-13, and as well as looking magnificent, they also provide a place of cover for less favourable weather. There are nine of them dotted around the Promenade, each benefiting from restoration works through the last Townscape Heritage Project back in 2008.
Planning (Conservation) Officer
My favourite is 23-35 Scarisbrick Avenue. It’s a late 19th to early 20th century building with art nouveau decoration at higher levels. The large scale of the building is imposing and impressive, including the delicate ornate detailing that breaks up the large mass of the building, such as its exceptional bays and oriel windows. The building was previously in very poor condition – vacant and derelict – but was transformed through a previous Townscape Heritage grant. Refurbishment makes the whole street more welcoming and vibrant.
Team Leader (Conservation & Heritage)
I learned to swim in Victoria Baths and even then I was intrigued by its history. All the dark wood and the tiles – and those mysterious Turkish Baths that we never went in. I still remember the thrill of the first time I swam without armbands and didn’t sink. That was in the Birdy – or ‘third class’ pool. It was much darker than the Premier, but I loved the individual wooden cubicles, and wringing my swimming cossie through the mangle to get the water out. And the fact that we were swimming in sea water! Later we went to Kirkby Baths and then Ormskirk – but my swimming heart will always be in Victoria Baths.
Heritage Learning and Skills Co-ordinator
Now you’ve read about our favourites, we’d love to hear about your favourite building and your reasons and memories for choosing it. Add a photo and a few words to the Your Townscape page.