Rising from the city’s original seven streets, the Business District encompasses Liverpool’s grandest civic planning: within its American-inspired grid of streets you’ll find ornate banking halls, lofty skyscrapers and eye-catching late 19th century office buildings.
If Water Street, diving down to the Strand, looks almost like downtown Chicago that’s not entirely accidental. It’s said Peter Ellis – who designed the striking, glass-fronted Oriel Chambers in 1864 – inspired the Chicago School: an early, pioneering step towards modernism.
Check out his small-but-beautifully-formed Cook Street Building (16 Cook Street) for further proof of Ellis’ inspired, ahead-of-the-curve vision of a modern office building: all metal-framed curtain walled glass (described at the time as “a great abortion”).
Elsewhere in the business district, the city’s Town Hall (1749, is one of the country’s finest surviving 18th century civic halls, well worth a peek inside. Pevsner’s Buildings of England describes its interior as having “probably the grandest …suite of civic rooms in the country”.