More than 40% of the world’s trade passed through Liverpool’s docks in the 18th and 19th centuries; the hulking, shuddering warehouses of the Baltic Triangle have housed everything from sugar to spices, cotton to coffee. More recently the success of creatives, digital businesses and musicians in the former warehouses of Elevator Studios, Camp and Furnace and the now-demised CUC, which sit between Greenland Street and Parliament Street, cemented the city’s renaissance. Greenland Street runs adjacent to the former Queens Dock, where Liverpool’s late-18th century whaling ships landed, unloading their gargantuan Arctic cargoes onto the street, where the whales were stripped and prepared. A valuable cargo – the head of one sperm whale could yield 2,000 gallons of oil – alongside lubricants, corsets, umbrellas, knife handles and furniture, the labour-intensive crews with 40-50 men per ship saw around 1,000 Liverpool men sent to the Arctic every year. While Liverpool’s Scandinavian connection is an ancient one, the streets of the Baltic Triangle are a hodge podge of connections to its seafaring past, many – though not all – of them symbolic of darker days: the city’s role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade is notable in the name of Jamaica Street, which bisects the Baltic; New Bird Street is named after Alderman Joseph Bird, a slave trader and 18th century mayor, while Blundell Street is named after slaver Bryan Blundell, who also founded the Bluecoat School. Parallel Bridgewater Street commemorates the completion of the Bridgewater Canal, which loops through Cheshire from the Mersey, and connects with the Leeds-Liverpool Canal at Leigh.
Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle
Bursting into new life as the city’s creative and digital heart, historically the area now known as the ‘Baltic Triangle’ reflects many of the city’s Scandinavian links – our local stew (and subsequent nickname), ’scouse’, derives from the Norwegian dish lapskaus, brought ashore at the neighbouring Wapping Dock by sailors of the Baltic Fleet. Norwegian sailors stoked the fires of the industrial revolution with their timber supplies from the 17th to the early 20th century – you’ll see the distinctive ship-shaped Baltic Fleet pub on Wapping, with Gustav Adolf’s Kyrka – the Scandinavian seamen’s church – around the corner on Park Lane.
We are a unique kind of venue. Restaurant, bar, indoor festival site, music venue, pop-up event space, conference location, cultural hub and all-round surprising destination. The building itself is a revelation – a real star. It has the qualities of an industrial film-set, a feat of engineering, a hint of an industrious past. The quality of light in The Furnace is wonderful – a real treat – it really feels like the outdoors, indoors. – A kind of urban park. The interventions in the building don’t ape what exists – and act as inventive and interesting design features without compromising the building’s intergrity. What’s new is new. It’s a bold concept – and one that could only have sprung from the deepest recession in modern times. This capsizing of conventions has let us examine what we thought was important – simplicity, friends and family, collective experience, good quality and warm hospitality. “We’d all enjoyed a decade or so of going to festivals and wondered what it would look like, if we took all of the best bits and brought them together under one roof. It was important to us to retain that outdoor aesthetic, we wanted to keep that feeling of being in a field with your mates, but in a city centre location.” So we based our idea around these themes and wrapped our professional passions into the mix – architecture, music, design, sport, food & drink. At the heart of the development is the Lobby Bar and restaurant – this is our warm welcome to vistors and is the central hub of the building. In neutral shades, punctuated by a punchy green, it’s designed with comforting simplicity – avoiding frills and gimmicks – naked wood, bare bulbs and an oversized wood-burning stove work together to nurture a feeling of cabin culture. Camp and Furnace does have broad appeal – we really wanted that sense of community and coming together as family and friends that we appreciate and yearn for – Tattooed hipsters in skinny jeans mingle easily with outdoorsy grannies harbouring a sense of adventure followed by a tumble of excited grand-kids are a common sight. And we love it like that.