Style Designed to Complement Its Surroundings
Byline: PETER ELSON
HAVING encouraged readers a few weeks ago through this column to try to make their voice heard if they really cared about their Merseyside heritage, I was heartened to hear from David Swift, of Litherland. David returned to his Merseyside home after years of exile in Rochdale, with a mixture of excitement and despair that must reflect the feelings of many people who care about Liverpool.
"I was thrilled when we got the Unesco award of World Heritage Site status. What an accolade for any city to achieve," says David, 56, now retired from his job as an industrial chemist.
"Then I saw the plans for Mann Island with the new Museum of Liverpool and, in particular, the three new wedge-shaped buildings that were going to destroy this very special environment around the south end of the Pier Head.
"What also caught my attention was the proposal to knock down the Voss Motors building, most recently the Road Range car
showrooms, where I bought my first car, a Mercedes, 17 years ago. Many people do not realise that in this building we have an important legacy from one of the masters of the early 20th century Liverpool School of Architecture, Herbert Rowse, which is in danger of being sacrificed to erect ugly, obstructive black office blocks.
"The elegant Voss Motors showroom would actually make a wonderful museum or art gallery, the upper storey being fitted out for exactly this purpose by Road Range, where I attended some of the many exhibitions and functions were held during their tenure.
"I was so upset, I wrote to Unesco asking what the impact on World Heritage Site status was, but in the meantime the one thing I could do personally was to write to English Heritage asking for help.
"English Heritage's protection operation, Julian Fenner, told me that the case was being considered and I hope it will become grade II-listed as a building of historical and architectural importance.
"Voss Motors is a building with great character and enough history to warrant preservation.
I am not a student of architec-ture or anything like that, just a Liverpudlian born and bred who has picked up on some of the history of our wonderful buildings. …