Radio City Tower
The tower was built in 1968 c.Mike Peel

St John’s Beacon given listed status

Dan Whelan

The Liverpool landmark, which formed part of proposals for a 400-metre zip wire earlier this year, has been granted grade two-listed status by Historic England, which said its design “embodies the technological bravura and spirit of the space age”.

Also known as Radio City Tower, the building was constructed between 1965 and 1969 as part of planner Graeme Shankland’s wider masterplan for Liverpool city centre and was originally used as an observation tower.

“It is one of only a few buildings to have been realised in the Shankland Plan, widely regarded as the most ambitious masterplan produced for any British city in the 1960s, and it is a powerful symbol of post-war renewal and modernisation,” according to Historic England.

In 1999, it was converted into a radio broadcasting studio after a £5m refurbishment project. St John’s Beacon is owned by Bauer Media, the German multimedia conglomerate that owns Radio City and Greatest Hits Radio Liverpool, which broadcast from the tower.

In outlining its reasons for listing the 125-metre building, conservation body Historic England said the it represented “a bold and optimistic 1960s vision of the future after the horrors of the Second World War”.

More recently, the building, designed by James A Robert was at the centre of the debate around proposals from outdoor pursuits firm ZipWorld, which lodged plans for a 400-metre zip wire stretching from St John’s Beacon to Central Library.

Plans for the scheme were approved in June, sparking anger among residents and conservation groups, before Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson intervened, rescinding planning permission.

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Great to have another listed building in Liverpool.

By John Ginnelly

Interesting news, I do hope the current owners do something about the left over advertising fixings visible at the top on the photo, either remove them or fill the space, they look like a bird cage or chicken coop?

By Liverpolitis

I’m pleased. But also pleased the tower is treated as stand alone. The question of what we do with St. John’s Precinct, as Liverpool’s popularity grows, will be crucial over the next decade. It occupies one of the best sites in Liverpool, but cannot fulfill the potential of its wonderful site, opposite Lime Street station and next to Liverpool’s ‘Forum’: St George’s Hall and Plateau, with the cultural icons of William Brown Street. This needs to become the 21st century gateway to our World Heritage city.

By Red Squirrel

@Red Squirrel – Liverpool’s shopping habits have changed with Liverpool One now well in place. St John’s Precinct, and dare I say it Clayton Square, are just not needed anyone and are surplus to requirements. The best thing that could happen to both shopping centres is that are demolished and turned into landscaped urban parks. The same applies to the Arndale in Manchester. Our two great cities of the North West just don’t have enough green space in their city centres.

By Old Hall Street

Bad news for Liverpool, we don’t need any more English heritage nonsense continually holding us back.

By Wirralwanderer

If this was to be built now people would be kicking off about it, yet it gets listed?

By Floyd

Yes, shopping habits have changed, but unfortunately St.John’s is still quite busy. I agree that it needs a complete redevelopment.
Liverpool is very versatile. Church Street is becoming much more European and there’ll be lots more hotels there soon, as you’d expect of a cosmopolitan European city. There is ample scope at St. John’s to turn this area into a real destination in its own right. Forget the shopping, we need a major development that will echo the civic splendour you get on William Brown Street at the other end of St. George’s Hall. Liverpool does not rely on shopping, it is much more than that. And yes, we have ample shopping space in Liverpool One for the foreseeable future.
As Littlewoods Film Studios develop, I think this area of Lime Street will come into its own as an ancillary location. The Council are on the right tracks with the expansion of St. George’s Plateau, but the opportunity to redevelop St. John’s will become increasingly obvious.

By Red Squirrel

Wow. Never thought that would happen – but I get it.
Yes St John’s needs help – as does Richmond St and Williamson Square – it could be so much more especially with the proximity to St John’s Gardens. All that area of St John’s and Williamson Square is very tired and not achieving what it could. Williamson Square could be great!

By Lizzy Baggot

I’d be interested to know what HE’s comments would have been when the design for this was originally submitted. Presumably, like everything else new and modern they would state that it is not in keeping with its context, dominates and diminishes surrounding historical assets etc.

By Clue

A listed chimney, maybe, but an icon of Liverpool now. It WAS intended to completely remodel St Johns a few years ago, after L1 opened, but then we had a recession.

By Anonymous

As a young lad, I was living in L3 when the Beacon was being built and always wanted to live in it. Early plans (posted in the redevelopment office on Lime Street) were to have it as a regional TV studio, with transmitter atop.

By John Michael Richards