Liverpool’s heritage is not under threat

Gavin Davenport, the chair of Merseyside Civic Society, responds to Unesco’s decision to strip the city of its world heritage status


Re the disappointing decision by Unesco to strip Liverpool of world heritage status (21 July), the value of Liverpool as a world heritage city goes far beyond the narrow encapsulation of the original citation. Heritage is about the life and utility of a historic city’s environment and must serve its citizenry. Having lived in Liverpool since before world heritage status, I can say confidently that heritage in Liverpool is better preserved and accessible than at the time of Unesco’s original inscription.

This decision does not reflect what is actually happening in the city and is poorly timed, coming as it does at a critical moment, with a new city executive and against the background of a global pandemic.

The imminent development of a heritage-led 10-year project around the International Slavery Museum and Pier Head shows that heritage is taken seriously in the city. We would like to see Unesco return to Merseyside in the near future to gain a first-hand appreciation of the work that is being done to protect and unlock heritage assets for the population of the city region on both sides of the Mersey.
Gavin Davenport
Chair, Merseyside Civic Society