Liverpool – The Goree Warehouses.
Above Photo: Detail from the front cover of Bombed Out!
As regular readers will know, the front cover of my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!, is littered with book-relevant imagery, and I often receive emails concerning different aspects of it.
I’ve previously written about the painter/engraver, Samuel Austin in an article on this site, with reference to the book cover’s images, but someone recently asked why I’d featured the warehouses (seen above, behind Thatcher’s head) on the cover; so this article is about what the warehouses were, why I used this particular image of them, and their relevance to proceedings in Bombed Out!
The warehouses depicted on the book cover were called the Goree Warehouses, and they were built in 1793, at the height of Liverpool port’s commercial power. They were named after a slave embarkation island off the cost of Senegal in West Africa and the warehouses were located on Liverpool’s Dock Road, in the very heart of the commercial district of the city, right across the road from the docks.
Although the warehouses were named after the island, they weren’t used in the Slave Trade, as they were built years after England outlawed slavery, but the name is a reminder of Liverpool’s role in that terrible human trade.
I mention Liverpool’s notorious slaving past in Bombed Out! a couple of times, as it is very relevant to the historic development of the city and to the construction of some of the city’s most magnificent buildings, which of course comprise the backdrop to many of the events chronicled in the book.
After the decline of the slave trade from Senegal in the 1770s and 1780s, Goree Island became an important centre for the shipment of peanuts, peanut oil, ivory, and other products, and many of these products also made their way to Liverpool to be stored, with much else imported into the docks, in the Goree Warehouses.
The warehouses were demolished in 1958 following heavy World War 2 German bomb damage, and nothing now remains of them as a wide road (the Strand) runs over the former site of the warehouses.
I took the original image on the book cover from the (above) 1829 painting by Samuel Austin, although you will see I changed the church behind it, for reasons that will be explained in another article.
The superb cover artwork for the book was done by my friend and Punk, graphic artist Martin Why.
Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php