Liverpool 2018: The stories we were all talking about
Giants, ancient armies, round the world adventurers, global musicians, film directors and more all made Liverpool their home in 2018.
10 years since capital of culture and you could be forgiven for thinking we heard the announcement for the first time in January 2018 as Culture Liverpool unveiled it’s ambitious and exciting plans for the year ahead. So much has changed in those ten years yet our unquenchable thirst to achieve bigger and better remains the same. All eyes were on Liverpool and we didn’t disappoint.
The Guide Liverpool team has had the pleasure and the privilege of being at the forefront of the city’s cultural, musical, artistic and business offering to bring you all the news, images, video footage and interviews as the year unfolded.
We’d like to say thank you to each and every person who has supported us throughout the year. From likes, RT’s and shares to emails, awards, interviews and joining us for a well earned pint. It’s been absolutely incredible.
These were the stories we were all talking about in Liverpool 2018….
We say goodbye to a Liverpool legend. Sir Ken Dodd died at the age of 90. Following a brief spell at Liverpool’s Cardiothoracic Centre, the comedy genius and lifelong Knotty Ash resident passed away peacefully at home with his wife Lady Anne. Tributes poured in from across the country and people lined the city streets to pay their respects as his funeral cortege passed by. There is now a beautiful sculpture of Sir Ken at the Picton Reading Rooms, Central Library, a place he loved.
In January Denis Fergus, mum of murdered toddler, James Bulger released her autobiography ‘I Let Him Go’. The book, which was 5 years in the making, gave Denise the chance to write about James as the happy, smiling little boy she remembers and it gave strength to many who’ve faced the unimaginable pain of losing a child.
A Giant Spectacle took place on our city streets and the world tuned in to watch. The final instalment of the Royale Du Luxe Giants Dream captured the hearts and imaginations of a city as a record 1.3 million people swarmed the streets, roads and highways to see four magnificent Giants cast a dream like spell, for the first time on both sides of the River Mersey. For four days, we went about our daily lives while Giants roamed, bathed, ate and played in our backyards, and we will never forget it.
The £335m Royal Hospital build was halted unexpectedly in January as developer Carillion went bust. After almost 12 months of stalemate new Royal Liverpool University Hospital development will be finished by the Government using public funds and is set to open in 2020.
It’s been an interesting year for LFC. Finishing 2018 at the top of the Premier League table, 9 points clear of second place Spurs, the reds have played a blinder. Not so much when it comes to art as Mo Salah discovered when ‘that sculpture’ was unveiled in his home country of Egypt. However, as usual it was left to Klopp to bring it round and the Baltic Triangle based mural of the reds gaffer which states ‘We are Liverpool. This means more’ has become an instant hit with fans.
Knife crime was on everyone’s lips in 2018. The shocking story of Sam Cook, who was celebrating his 21st birthday in the city when he was fatally stabbed, was still fresh in our minds as his killer was found guilty and jailed in June 2018. More people than ever before got behind the No More Knives campaign. Merseyside Police used metal detectors on the city streets, backed by families who’ve lost loved ones in senseless and avoidable killings.
Liverpool A&E nurse clinician, Rob Jackson, who is responsible for informing families of fatalities of knife crime, created the Knife Angel. It stands tall at Liverpool Cathedral, made from knives confiscated by the police, a stark reminder to us all that carrying a knife can and will cost a life.
Channel 4 looked set to make Liverpool it’s brand new HQ. They came, they saw, they moaned about the traffic and went elsewhere. Ah well.
In other news, 2018 was a record breaker for Liverpool Film Office as more film, tv and advert projects were carried out across the region than ever before. 2019 looks set to follow suit as the likes of Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis lap up our phenomenal architecture and warmth.
The city and in fact the world was rocked by the tragic, heartbreaking story of a very poorly little boy. 23 month old Alfie Evans had spent more than a year in hospital suffering from a degenerative neurological condition. Alfie’s parents and clinicians at Alder Hey Children’s hospital clashed over what should happen to him, after his mum and dad wanted to take him to Rome. The on-going battle and actions of Alfie’s Army attracted wide-spread media attention for weeks. Alfie’s life support was eventually switched off and he sadly died on 28th April 2018.
We remembered the Manchester attack a year on. For a city on the periphery of such a horrifying event, we did what was right and we reached out. The anniversary memorial service in Manchester was screened live at the Cathedral, for families affected by the bombing and we all joined in the national minutes silence to remember those lost on 22nd May 2017.
2018 was the year of the woman, marking 100 years since women were able to legally vote. Liverpool continues to make waves with more initiatives for women and girls to get into STEM and sport, than ever before. We celebrated 25 of the city’s most influential women on International Women’s Day with our own rundown, while Liverpool Town Hall welcomed a brand new female Lord Mayor in Councillor Christine Banks.
Wirral-based Sisterhood Gin went on sale and for the first time, a female captain led her crew to victory in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race which ended safely back on the Mersey in August.
The accolades didn’t stop there. The Queen’s New Year’s Honours list 2018 included Mowgli Founder Nisha Katona, former assistant Chief Constable Nikki Holland, Tate Liverpool’s Andrea Nixon and Chair of Port of Liverpool’s RNLI, Sue Webster, plus many more. Anfield legend, Kenny Dalglish also became a Sir. To top it all off, our beloved, world famous dock officially became The Royal Albert Dock.
New Years Eve 2017/18 took a frightening turn when the King’s Dock car park burnt long into the night. Around 1200 cars were incinerated with Merseyside Fire and Rescue reporting temperatures that hit 1000-centigrade. The building is currently being demolished and a temporary car park has been opened.
Edge Lane’s Littlewoods building was also ablaze in September. Despite the scale of the incident and thanks to the efforts once again from the emergency services, no one was hurt and Liverpool Film Studios is still set to make the iconic building its new home in 2020.
Sticking with heat, but in a positive way! Liverpool’s summer was an absolute scorcher! The mercury reached 30 degrees with week upon week of sunshine. It was amazing.
We whiled away our summer days with more culture than ever before. We welcomed an ancient Chinese army of Terracotta Warriors and with it more than 2,000 years worth of history and education that benefitted our local children and the economy.
Speaking of the economy, Cruise Liverpool also reported a record breaking year. Bringing £7million to the local economy, the cruise terminal welcomed 57 cruise vessels, which amounts to approximately 3million GT (gross tonnage) of shipping traffic to the River Mersey. The team at Cruise Liverpool has also operated 24 turnaround calls and 33 transit calls throughout the season. Incredible stuff. We can’t wait to see what the new terminal and 2019 brings.
The city’s media were honoured in a number of ways during 2018. Both Radio City and BBC Radio Merseyside were awarded Freedom of the City. The voice of local radio and the man responsible for giving thousands of bands their start in the industry, Billy Butler MBE hung up his headphones after a 47 year long, incredible career. The Liverpool Echo continued to report on some of the most hard-hitting, breaking news stories from across the region.
KFC ran out of chicken. The longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century also occurred. Not on the same day.
St George’s Hall was the focal point of many events and celebrations throughout 2018. A Giant boy rested his head in the Great Hall while modern Chinese Art adorned the lower gallery next to the ghosts of the gallows. The Luna Cinema brought families and couples together to celebrate Christmas while poppy petals fell to the plateau outside in remembrance and the Centenary of Armistice.
Perhaps Liverpool’s most famous son came home, three times in 2018. Sir Paul McCartney filmed Car Pool Karaoke in his home town, which went on to be the most popular YouTube video of the year. He also performed a secret gig at The Cavern and rocked the Echo Arena with a tribute to John.
The Echo Arena celebrated its 10th anniversary and attracted some of the biggest names in music throughout the year, with added dates due to popularity, becoming the norm. We saw Kylie, The Prodigy, Stereophonics, National Gymnastics championships, the City of Liverpool Tattoo, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s throwback concerts, the Liverpool International Horse Show and so much more. 2019 looks even better.