Princes Avenue, Liverpool
Artwork Title: The Riot Revival
Client: Liverpool City Council
Designer(s): BCA Landscape
Contractors: North Midland Construction
Manufacturer: IP Surfaces Ltd
Supplier: Hardscape Products Ltd
In 2020, the historic boulevard at Princes Avenue in Toxteth underwent a dramatic transformation. The project, part of a redevelopment scheme; Sustainable Transport Enhancement Package (STEP), included the creation of a cycle lane through the centre of the Toxteth boulevard along a main route from the city into South Liverpool.
On behalf of Liverpool City Council and Toxteth Community, Hardscape worked collaboratively with BCA Landscape to design, develop and create a new look boulevard that includes public art with unique installations designed through community consultation and manufactured and produced at IP Surfaces. Each installation references key aspects of L8’s rich community and religious heritage and the legacy of Liverpool’s role as a major port city.
The creative elements include an etching of an 1800’s Toxteth map on an ‘L’ sculptured granite block to accompany an already existing ‘8’ sculpture; a ‘Princes Boulevard’ plinth with bronze strips and painted elements; bronze inlays with three separate Nelson Mandela quotes; artwork etched in to the paving which includes a ‘welcome mat’ with bronze insets. Also, at the start of the boulevard is an empty plinth, with a plaque explaining the city’s role in the slave trade, Huskisson’s support of slavery and why the statue was removed which once held a statue of William Huskisson. It was removed in the 1980’s by activists in L8 due to Huskisson’s links to the slave trade. Also, there is an art installation on the floor in front of a tree representing the South African Tree of Life.
Implementing a variety of IP Surfaces texturing techniques, Hardscape collaborated with the design team and contractor to maintain the itinerary and timeline of the construction programme. The main challenges came from redesigning two junctions which meant that the granite design and procurement had to be produced in stages, with overlapping areas that required acute management of materials and programme procurement.
The history of Toxteth is now celebrated and openly shared via the various artworks which were developed with residents, local groups and schools as a result of the public engagement process. What now remains is a galvanising location for outdoor activities and community events. The most positive impact has been the strong relationships developed between residents and Liverpool City Council. There is a now a new level of trust and respect for the Council from the local residents for recognising the benefits a scheme like this can provide for the community.