Liverpool, the United States and
the Beaux Arts Vision
FREDERICK Simpson's interest in the architectural education initiatives of the United States of America was not the only interest in the USA in Liverpool at the time of the inauguration of the Liverpool School. William Lever, who was such an important figure in both reflecting and moulding architectural attitudes in Merseyside, became interested in the new American architectural styles, and there is evidence of considerable traffic by the Liverpudlian architectural community between the city and the USA. Economic contacts between the port and the United States of America were of course fundamental to its survival, and along with trade connections there were also those of travel. It was possible to get to New York in a week, and to travel at a variety of levels of comfort and expense. 1 The passenger traffic to the USA was considerable and it would be surprising if there had not been any contact between the two cultures. There was a familiarity with American life in Liverpool at all social levels, from sailors to merchants. American news was regularly reported in the local papers, The Courier and The Daily Post – a necessity as there was a constant flow of visitors to and from the United States of America. Economically, New York was more important to Liverpool than London, 2 and lavish municipal entertainment for visiting American professionals was commonplace. 3
General anecdotal awareness of the architectural wonders of the United States of America was high. On his world tour during 1892, Lever wrote a regular series of travel articles for the Birkenhead News.