Summary: The conjoined suburbs of Anfield and Breckfield represent just a small part of Liverpool and Merseyside. They evolved from a semi-rural villa community to densely built-up residential suburb by the end of the 19th century.
Description: The approaches adopted here and elsewhere formed part of English Heritage’s policy of encouraging HMRI partnerships to acknowledge the potential value of the historic environment as a focus for local identity and a basis for heritage-led regeneration.
Issue: The area was targeted for Housing Market Renewal in 2003.
Strategy: A Rapid Assessment was undertaken both to explore the intrinsic interest of the area and to test the validity of the HAA approach. The approaches adopted here and elsewhere formed part of English Heritage’s policy of encouraging HMRI partnerships to acknowledge the potential value of the historic environment as a focus for local identity and a basis for heritage-led regeneration.
Outcome: The report highlighted the main alterations that occurred after 1900 once the area’s dominant character was established. It placed the suburb in the wider context of Liverpool’s expansion, identified the drivers of change, revealed the impact of changing architectural fashions and planning regulations, and showed how the community’s needs were expressed in its commercial and institutional buildings. The report also presented an analysis of the varying character of the area, drawing particular attention to streets and neighbourhoods where the integrity of the historic landscape was high and retention might therefore be desirable, and contrasting the largely residential streetscape with the important designed landscapes of Stanley Park and Anfield Cemetery. Some recent decisions affecting Anfield and Breckfield have adversely affected its historic character, but others have responded to indications contained in the report. The approaches provided templates for the generic advice prepared by English Heritage for all HMRI Partnerships (EH policy guidance note ‘Low Demand Housing and the Historic Environment’). Assessments by consultants, such as North Staffordshire (Conservation Studio) and Oldham-Rochdale (Derek Latham Assocs), are now routinely requested. The research on Anfield and Breckfield was subsequently published as Ordinary Landscapes, Special Places: Anfield, Breckfield and the growth of Liverpool’s suburbs (2008), which includes a chapter aimed at stimulating greater awareness of what communities can achieve by looking at their own environment.
Keywords: ASSESSMENT AND CHARACTERISATION
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