29 JANUARY 1965, Page 20


LIVERPOOL is so very much itself; so very much a reflection of its people: haphazard, tough, humorous-natured, elegant, ugly and lovely. Quentin Hughes's volume, which is splendidlY laid out pictorially, exactly reflects almost everY facet of the city. But, even as a Liverpudlian, 1 was bored with the text and had neither the time nor the inclination to pursue it to the end. As far as I did get, I found it rather pretentious. I have never enjoyed reading or listening to people eulogise about colourful, beautiful Liverpool. There arc superb black-and-white photographs with somewhat ostentatious subtitles ('crumpled newsprint lies like a giant rose on city pavemena Superb photos perhaps, although not peculiar to Liverpool. Seaport is unquestionably a book for the shelves of all Liverpudlians living elsewhere. For us it must be infinitely personal. For others it will doubtless create a rash of would-be visitors, if not dwellers. I was happy there was nowhere pictured that I did not vividly recall. It was $ great feeling to know that one had dwelt so fondly among the jumble of architecture recorded here (personal like, you see). And it pleased me to see that even the talented photographers, Graham Smith and David Wrightsen, could not find a decent angle to portray the city's hoc (and it is beautiful) cathedral.

Many was the time I clicked my 'Brownie to take a picture of the cathedral tower, with the surrounding cheaply built houses- in the forr ground, always with an incongruously unsati lying and ineffective result. Unforgivable the title of a chapter, 'The Down Town Are Nevertheless, I will treasure this book.