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Liverpool Sounding (1967)

Courtesy of North West Film Archive

Main image of Liverpool Sounding (1967)
16mm, colour, 20 mins
DirectorKen Pople
Production CompanyWest of England Film Studios
SponsorLiverpool City Corporation
ProducerStanley Jones-Frank
PhotographyDavid Bowerman
CommentatorGordon Henry Davies

Liverpool's more serious cultural side (the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, its museums and libraries) is contrasted with its popular image.

Show full synopsis

Liverpool Sounding is one of a trilogy of films commissioned by the City of Liverpool's Public Relations Office in 1966. The three films - Turn of the Tide, Liverpool Sounding and Rates for the Job - were intended to promote Liverpool as a vibrant, energetic and forward-thinking city in order to encourage investment as well as to inform Liverpool's citizens exactly what they received in exchange for their rates. Turn of the Tide looked at the city's industry and commerce, Liverpool Sounding focused on art, culture and leisure, and Rates for the Job examined public services. All three films were made by 'outsiders,' as the council felt that this would bring a fresh perspective on life in the city.

During the 1960s, The Beatles and other bands had made Liverpool world-famous for its music scene, and indeed, this film begins with a local group playing in the Anglican Cathedral. However, the filmmakers quickly leave behind this stereotype, and move on to promote the wider cultural life of the city - including classical music, dance and fine art.

The film also looks at how the city's current creative culture is due in no small part to the legacy left by some of the wealthy merchants and civic leaders of the past. Buildings such as St George's Hall, the museum, the Picton Library, the Walker Art Gallery and many of the city's parks and gardens are cited as good examples of this legacy, and are credited with inspiring, educating and enhancing the lives of generations of Liverpool people.

At the time this film was made, Liverpool was experiencing a period of growth and great prosperity. Numerous manufacturing, pharmaceutical and engineering companies had all moved into areas such as Speke and Aintree and by the mid-1960s unemployment had fallen to around 5%. Liverpool Corporation were naturally keen to further growth in the city, and whereas Turn of the Tide is clearly aimed at industry, this film seems targeted more towards potential employees of the new companies, promoting Liverpool as all things for all people.

Unfortunately following the making of the trilogy, Liverpool's fortunes fell into rapid decline during the 1970s and 80s and by the end of the decade, Liverpool was one of the most deprived cities in Europe.

Nick Gladden

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
Complete film (18:45)
Rates For The Job (1967)
Turn of the Tide (1967)
Liverpool: Sounds of the City