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Metal opens

Everybody gets off at Edge Hill for big new arts place

Published on October 27th 2009.


Metal opens

IT'S said to be the oldest passenger station in the world, and now it has opened as an arts centre, prompting everyone to “Get off at Edge Hill!”.

The Times of London, in its plummiest Brian Sewell voice, thus explained the title of this inaugural event to its readers: “The phrase is familiar to Liverpudlians meaning interrupted sex. Edge Hill was the last stop before Liverpool Lime Street, hence getting off at Edge Hill meant that you were promising not to go “all the way”.

How unlike the home life of our own dear Queen.

The last big party on this line saw the prominent statesman and MP, William Huskisson, also get off - in the mortal sense - after an altercation with Stephenson's Rocket.

For Edge Hill station was the site in 1830 of the first passenger railway journey to Manchester, with the Prime Minister among VIP guests. It was quicker in those days.

Last Thursday saw lots of cultural VIPs pile into the sandstone buildings in the Tunnel Road cuttings to see what Metal, big project of a native lass, Jude Kelly, was all about.

Many faces one spots on the private view circuit had disembarked, one stop out of Lime Street, from the usual city centre buffet zone. There were plenty more who don't usually bother, as well as councillors and railway controllers. This, only a fortnight after hiking it up to the relaunch of the Novas centre, in the newly pronounced cultural quarter, so it must have been serious.

The 173-year-old Grade II-listed sandstone and brick engine room and boiler house remained disused for years before the refurbishment inspired by Metal.

Buildings on platforms one and two have been transformed into spaces for artistic development, discussion and debate. Culturepool are now based in there, and Metal also includes an exhibition area and studio space for artists.

The buildings were officially opened with an exhibition entitled, well you know already, exploring how new

technology and the Industrial Revolution led to a freer expression about sex and the body. “Get off at Edge Hill” features work by the city's favourite American artists in residence, Al and Al, Man Ray, Kenneth Anger, the Hollywood Babylon author, and Marcel Duchamp.

Nabbed at the door, engine driver Jude Kelly - artistic director of the Southbank Centre, OBE and chairman of the arts, education and culture committee for the 2012 London Olympics - was full of enthusiasm and praise for the two people who had put this baby together in the last few years.

Ian Brownhill, Metal director, added: “Edge Hill station is a new and exciting creative hub for Liverpool. We want to encourage ideas and thinking here that can impact and make a difference locally, across the UK and beyond.”

The project is being funded in part by Kensington Regeneration, Merseytravel, Northern Rail, Network Rail and the Railway Heritage Trust.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Greenburg, of Sotheby’s in New York, was quoted elsewhere: “I do not know why this is not a Grade A world cultural heritage building. This little station building stands at the beginning of modern industrial history, the embarkment place of the first mechanised mass land transit system in the world, an entirely new category of building for a new function.”

Quite.

Here are some pictures. The BNP were on Question Time on the telly later that night, so most guests withdrew early.

Angie Sammons

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Bog watcherOctober 26th 2009.

Happy to see there are no cases of bog eye on here.

Derek TOctober 26th 2009.

Top right of the main column (i.e. not the 2 ladies at the very top) is my friend Jeff Berman - I think he might like the Jack Palance reference ;-)

Er yehOctober 26th 2009.

It does

Gossip CalumOctober 26th 2009.

There's Jack Palance up there top-right! I do wish Liverpool Confidential could put informative captions under the pictures on here so we know who we are looking at. Even 'By Invitation Only' manages that much...

Derek TOctober 26th 2009.

The present Edge Hill station dates from 1836 when the route was altered to accommodate the branch line to Lime st. The original station building was south west of the present one. The oldest surviving station is at the other end of the same line - Liverpool road station in Manchester (1830), now part of the Museum of science and industry.

GLADOctober 26th 2009.

ALANDAL are the brilliant curators of the most wonderful transformation of edge hill station

MinksterOctober 26th 2009.

And I always thought Getting off at Edge Hill meant coitus interruptus, hmm?

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