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The Laz Word from Larry Neild

This week: What sauce. The tale of Loyd Grossman and the £68 million waterfront museum that's losing its marble

Published on March 17th 2008.


The Laz Word from Larry Neild

Is the new Museum of Liverpool jinxed? Maybe Indiana Jones should be brought in to investigate whether the Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb is causing mayhem down at the waterfront site where the controversial new building is part way constructed.

I would have given anything to be peeking through the keyhole when the saucerer of the cuisine world spilled the beans about his exit to our very own keeper of a million hidden gems, Doctor David Fleming

First the world-renowned Danish architects 3XN were shown the door – the first time the celebrated practice has been “sacked” anywhere in the world in its 22-year history, and now Loyd Grossman has decided to stand down as chairman of National Museums Liverpool.

And to cap it all, NML has to go back to the city council planning committee in a move that could delay the whole project. They want to switch the agreed Travertine marble facade to Jura limestone. The original permission imposed a condition that it had to be the richly-coloured Travertine to give the building a quality look in its World Heritage site location down on Mann Island.

I would have given anything to be peeking through the keyhole when the saucerer of the cuisine world spilled the beans about his exit to our very own keeper of a million hidden gems, Doctor David Fleming.

The official communiqué from NML insisted that Boston jack-of-all-trades Grosman was going to make way for a new head. Word on the cobbled streets around the Albert Dock paint a slightly different scenario, with talks of a fall-out between Dr F and Mr G.

But if Loyd Grossman insists that there have been no fall-outs, no arguments, then who are we to argue?

I mean, it's the most natural thing in the world to decide to quit a job, long before your term of office has expired in what must be the most important year in Liverpool’s History since The Toxteth Tiddlers were runners-up in the World Tiddleywinks Games way back in 1787.

He’s saying his final farewell in July, just as the European Capital of Culture Year crescendo reaches its pealk Good timing Loyd.

He cites the fact that a new local chairman is needed to concentrate on the new museum. Isn’t that the building that will be nowhere near finished in 2008 and will instead open at the runt end of 2010 or maybe even 2011 (if we are lucky).

And there’s no guarantee the new chairman will be a local champion of our buried treasures. The vacancy will be filled by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which makes Secretary of State Andy Burnham the decider. So let’s say it won’t be a Scouser.

Anyway Messrs Grossman, Fleming and others can insist that there has been no falling out, but that won’t stop tongues wagging.

I wonder what Kim Herforth Nielsen, principal of 3XN will make of all this at his office in Copenhagen? He cited the insistence by NML over switching from Travertine to what he described as the cheaper Jura stone as one of the issues that led to a parting of the ways.

Ironically, Nielsen’s team were able to secure a lower price for the Travertine that matched the cost of the Jura limestone, but NML insist Jura is much durable and preferable than the facing marble originally planned.

Perhaps we can time the opening of the limestone-covered museum to coincide with the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, that’s providing it – the museum I mean – can be finished in time. I blame the way NML’s Egyptian artefacts have been moved around. Dr Fleming should have had a word or two with his mummies rather than risk a curse.

Larry Neild presents The Commons Touch every Sunday at 12 noon on CityTalk 105.9FM.

*Purists wanting a say in the whether Italian Travertine marble should be ditched have until March 21 to tell Liverpool City Council Planning Department what they think. A decision is expected to be made early in June. The planning application number is 08F/0435.

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

V. I. Lenin AirportMarch 17th 2008.

I found it difficult to find my way to the Tate for the Turner Prize, and I've here all my life! One can only shudder with embarrassment at what tourists and other visitors think!

TT RacesMarch 17th 2008.

It is like post-war Berlin in the city centre at the moment. Yes I know it's progress, but do they really have to put an eyesore like the museum and a load more flats on a world heritage site? Liverpool will regret this I bet.

TT RacesMarch 17th 2008.

It is like post-war Berlin in the city centre at the moment. Yes I know it's progress, but do they really have to put an eyesore like the museum and a load more flats on a world heritage site? Liverpool will regret this I bet.

London RoadMarch 17th 2008.

I was down at the waterfront yesterday and I couldn't believe what a mess it was. And in culture year. You can't evene get to the waters edge. What must people think when they come here?

Is it too late?March 17th 2008.

Send in the Cloud?

EleanorMarch 17th 2008.

Somebody has lost their marbles. Do we really, really need an ugly museum on this site. It would have been better left as beautiful open space. Those NML people have cursed this city with their eyesore.

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