Let’s return to the Playground. I need to do some work…


A fellow one day had inspiring ingredients for lunch and thus…

Recently I have been studying about babies. Now please understand just what I mean about that. Developmental psychology is the title of the module, and while we spent an age initially looking at how babies grow up in the womb, we eventually did come to learn some actual psychology.

And what we basically learnt was this: if a baby is to grow up well, into a responsible, capable, sociable adult, it needs a stimulating environment to grow up in, that is, it needs interesting toys, colourful furniture and someone to look closely at their face going “who’s a pretty baby.” And the idea is that this helps them have a balanced development, to learn to recognise what’s good, which will turn in to social skills.

And it seems that this doesn’t just apply to babies! The Bangor university library looks in parts like it has been made out of duplo and lipstick. Lots of chunky contemporary furniture in bright red, contrasting from a contemporary grey surrounding.

At one point I was not a large fan of all this fashionable art that we see all around us these days, what with brightly coloured tower blocks and abstract art filling city centres, and I’ve often approached anything with caution if it looks like the queen or James May wouldn’t approve of it, but it has dawned on me recently just how important it really is to keep a stimulated mind.

Just a short time ago, I went to Liverpool for the first time. A lot of the people who I told about the trip asked me if I was looking to find a way to get myself killed, and I’m sure if that had been my goal I could have managed it, but it wasn’t. We were there to explore, and boy did we! They have interesting looking buildings, classy docks, cultural displays, museums and super lamb banana’s (oh, and something about a few guys who called themselves the beetles… Anyone know anything about them? No? Ok…). I always used to think of Blackpool as Britons playground, and I guess it is if you want to spend all your money and hide from your morals, (and maybe even get killed), but slide south down to Liverpool, and you are in that amazing adventure playground you remember from when you were a kid.

 Have you ever noticed that when you’re with company, it may be hard to get quantities of work done, yet some of the best ideas come when discussing or chatting with others? Or that a bit of music and a pumped mind can go a long way, while at other times it may be distracting. Sigmund Freud took cocaine in order to work more avidly to develop psychological theories. Does not our body already produce some natural stimulating chemicals when given the right circumstances? And do we not note that such environments do not usually resemble hours in the study of Lord Henry Stewart Dimble of Winchester?

 It’s always good to take a rest, but what are you going to do for it? I think I’m going write my next blog post from the sandpit. 

The Royal Liver and the Salt Lake Temple

This week, the city of Liverpool are celebrating 100 years since the ‘Royal Liver’ building first opened its doors. The Royal Liver building is considered to be the first Sky scraper in Britain, and foundation stone thereof was laid on 11th May 1908.

The Royal Liver Building, Photo: Jonathan Rawle

The LDS Salt Lake Temple, Photo: ldschurchtemples.com

The Royal Liver building, Photo: Philip B Parker

The Salt Lake Temple 1898

When I first saw the building, it made me think that its design had a lot in common with the Salt Lake Temple, a recognised symbol of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Both buildings are of a traditional Victorian Gothic design, with towers at either end.

The Salt Lake Temple was designed during the 19th Century, by the architect Truman O. Angell, under the direction of the Church’s then President and Prophet Brigham Young. Truman Angell was sent to Europe to study the works of the architects and builders over previous centuries. The groundbreaking ceremony of the Salt Lake Temple took place on 14th February 1853, and it was completed on 6th April 1893.

The Royal Liver building was the purpose built home of the Royal Liver Assurance Group, an organisation set up to provide local people with in relation to losing a wage earning relative. Today it still stands proud, “the most potent symbol, that any city in the united kingdom has”[1]. The Royal Liver stands 13 stories tall, whereas the Salt Lake Temple is approximately half of that.

Another similarity between the two buildings is the sculptures that stand at the top of the towers. At the top of the Liver Royal, at either end sculptured are the Liver Birds, an image which has represented the city since the fourteenth century. On the east, and main spire of the Salt Lake Temple stands the statue of Moroni with a trumpet pressed to his lips. Moroni was an ancient prophet, who played a key role in the restoration of the LDS Church during the early 1800’s. The trumpet symbolises the restoration and the preaching to the world of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What I really like here is the similarity between the two buildings, in other words the architectural similarities that are present in both designs. While the Salt Lake Temple was designed first, and while it is every bit possible that it may have been a source of inspiration for the architects of the Royal Liver, I don’t for one minute think it was copied. Both buildings are patterned after a gothic style, and it shows a real ability in the architects to both come up with something new, and keep the tradional, much appreciated and loved styles that bring value and class to all city scapes. It has always been a part of a designers work to seek inspiration for new ideas from the fine masterpieces already present, to develop those designs in to even newer, more spectacular and more impressive constructions.

For the Church especially, it shows how well they have kept in line with fine Eurpoean achitectural principles, and how the construction of a religous building can both be kept symbolic, in-line with the beliefs which that organisation holds, and also a fine masterpiece that people can look at and enjoy being around.

Related Links

BBC News: Liver Building celebrates centenary

Why Mormons build Temples

[1] Historian John Hinchliff, broadcast on BBC News 19/07/11

Images used within this article are property of their respective copyright owners.