Liverpool’s Musical Landscapes

New book from Historic England covers Liverpool's musical heritage.

Liverpool's Musical Landscapes

Published 15 June 2018

Explores the richness of Liverpool's musical life by examining the history of the places where music has been performed, and their role and significance.

Historic England has published a new book Liverpool's Musical Landscapes.

Written by Sara Cohen (Professor of Music at the University of Liverpool) and Robert Kroneburg (Roscoe Chair of Architecture, University of Liverpool), it's the first book to examine the whole of Liverpool's popular music heritage by focusing on buildings and outdoor spaces as well as musicians and music.

Buy the book from our bookshop

It was launched recently at the fabulous British Music Experience at the Cunard Building in Liverpool.

Exterior of Cunard Buiilding with a statue on a column at the front and banner for the British Music Experience above it
The British Music Experience can be found at the Cunard Building at the Pierhead, Liverpool

A UNESCO city of Music

The history of live music in Liverpool is closely connected to the history of the city. Liverpool's status as a port city has brought a constant exchange of visitors and returning natives with knowledge and experience of the rest of the world. This has influenced the way the city has grown in both its physical form and its cultural identity. Music has formed a large and important part of that cultural identity - most recently recognised in its designation as a UNESCO City of Music. Music has always been a key element in the creation of Liverpool's architectural and urban character; and in turn the city and its physical architectural character have shaped its musical life.

People gathered outside The Royal Court, Liverpool in 1947
The Royal Court, Liverpool in 1947

The authors of this new book show how music is bound up with changes in the social and economic life of the city and with shifting patterns of leisure and entertainment. They highlight the social and cultural significance of places that enable people to come together and collectively participate in music events: places where they can perform and experience music, develop music skills and careers, hear new musical sounds, meet other like-minded people and connect with musicians and audiences.

Poster showing a photo of people in a jazz band advertising Liverpool Jazz Festival at the Cavern in January 1960
Liverpool’s first Jazz Festival at the Cavern Club in 1960

Anecdotes on famous places and artists

By touching on groups and artists involved with many diverse musical styles the authors reveal new and fascinating information on well-known historic venues such as the Cavern Club and the Blue Angel, as well as new ones such as the Echo Arena. With a glossary of artists and venues, previously unpublished photographs, illustrations and music maps, Liverpool's musical landscapes are investigated in unprecedented detail and depth.

This is a story of music sites, sounds and scenes that are in a state of continual flux. The book uncovers an understanding of how popular music, the people who are engaged in its making and appreciation, and the built environment in which they live, work and play, come together to create a unique musical identity.

People attending an outdoor concert at Liverpool's docklands
Liverpool’s docklands provide new temporary space for outdoor concerts and events

Most of all - it's a great read and well worth buying!

Buy the book from our bookshop

Was this page helpful?