IT SITS on the River Mersey, this place with its lost ship building industry and famous musical son.
But this Liverpool was founded 550 years after our own, and its world-famous musician was a Country and Western artist, not the founder of The Beatles.
This is Liverpool, Nova Scotia – population 3,295; main employment source: the Bowater-Mersey pulp mill; and the final destination for UK artist Simon Faithfull.
During his 3,000-mile voyage, by container ship, train and ferry in the summer of 2008, he sketched 181 drawings.
These are being sandblasted into stone pavings and etched into the glass arches at the new entrance to Lime Street Station, due to open later this month, creating a permanent art work for the city.
“I sketched whatever caught my eye over the four-week journey,” says London-based Faithfull, who was commissioned by Liverpool Biennial.
“I spent nearly a week in Liverpool, England, waiting for the container ship so the pictures start with scenes in and around the city – two girls chatting in a coffee shop, a seagull perched on a CCTV camera and the waterfront.
“Then there’s the daily life of a container ship going across the ocean – some of the crew, the birds soaring around the bridge, the Filipino first mate mending the survival suits.
“And in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, I sketched pick-up truck drivers and baseball cap wearing moustachioed faces.”
Faithfull’s work is often based on journeys he has made. He came up with the idea for this project while looking at a map.
“There are many Liverpools, about 12 around the world, but this seemed the most relevant with the transatlantic shipping route.
“I enjoyed the absurdity of it, that you go 3,000 miles and arrive in another place called Liverpool.”
He was also intrigued by some of the similarities between the two locations.
“Liverpool, Nova Scotia, is much smaller but it’s on a River Mersey, a long time ago it had a shipbuilding industry that died and it has a famous musical son – Hank Snow, a big Country and Western singer. But, rather than Scousers, it has non-Metropolitan Canadians.”
Once in Nova Scotia, Simon made printed cards of each of his drawings and posted them to 181 random addresses in the Liverpool phone directory, inscribing each with the words, “Wish you were here.”
“There is only one person that has since got in touch,” he says, “so there are still another 180 people out there wondering why they have received one.”
SIMON FAITHFULL is presenting a public performative-lecture at St George’s Hall at 6.30pm on Thursday. Book free tickets at http://tiny.cc/limestreet