Now All We Can Do Is Wait . . and Hope; the Capital of Culture Bid Judges Spent the Day in Liverpool Yesterday Touring Our Museums and Theatres

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Davis

IT may go down as one of the most momentous days in Liverpool's recent history.

Yesterday's visit by the Capital of Culture judges will go a considerable way towards deciding whether Liverpool lifts the coveted crown in 2008.

Despite the dismal weather, the grand tour went ahead, taking in museums, theatres and galleries amongst the city's other cultural jewels.

Headed by Sir Jeremy Issacs, founder of Channel 4, the judges insisted on remaining tight-lipped about Liverpool's chances.

However, the panel chairman said they had enjoyed the visit.

He said: ``We have had a tremendous day here in Liverpool.

``It was a quite brilliant presentation with a mixture of straightforward fact and opinion.

``We are looking for a city that recognises the importance of the arts and culture to people's lives and can use them as factors in economic and social regeneration.''

The linchpin of the visit was a pre-lunch presentation at the Picton library on William Brown Street.

More than 100 people from a cross-section of Liverpool society stood up on stage in support of the bid.

Chief executives mingled with religious leaders and cultural events organisers under the library's grand dome in their effort to drive home the campaign message.

The book-lined room buzzed with excitement as Coun Mike Storey, city council leader, welcomed the panel to Liverpool.

He said: ``For all the fine buildings we have, for all our fabulous music, our magnificent waterfront, our sporting champions, our museums and galleries, there is one thing that distinguishes us from any other city.

``That is our people - products of a rich culture that grew from the days when Liverpool was the European gateway to the New World.

``The world likes Liverpool. They like it so much they have settled here from all over the globe - truly the World in One City.''

The many business leaders who presented their testimonials of support to the judges demonstrated the depth of backing that industry has given to the bid.

Charlie Parker, Liverpool's executive director for regeneration, and Thomas O'Brien, Mersey Partnership chief executive, were among those who spoke about why they think the city should carry off the title.

Mr O'Brien told the judges: ``Our positioning as the World in One City is not a short-term bidding strategy, it articulates our widely shared long-term ambition to become a premier European city destination for visitors and investors.''

Representatives from the diverse ethnic backgrounds that make up our population attended the presentation in force to show that Liverpool lives up to the bid mantra - ``The World in One City''. …