Buildings matter

The recycling of Liverpool’s Whitechapel and the Casbah


  • Mike Brocken Liverpool Hope University



music and built environment, music city histories, Liverpool music history


This article discusses the reshaping of Liverpool's built environment, reminding us that buildingstake on new uses and meanings as they progress through time, with entertainment spacesemerging and declining as part of the meta-narrative of post-industrial capital. The expansionand repurposing of spaces such as theatres and cinemas are discussed, with 'new' spaces suchas record shops also regarded as assisting in re-establishing empty buildings at crucial times inLiverpool's history. The article consequently aims to encourage the reader to consider how buildingdevelopment directly relates to the emergence of popular music history, particularly in thelate 1950s when a number of key venues in Liverpool emerged. A cogent theme is that specificplaces in cities remind communities of not only where they live, but also who they are and were.

Author Biography

Mike Brocken, Liverpool Hope University

Dr Mike Brocken is a popular music historian and semiotician. Hepresents BBC Radio Merseyside's Folkscene, the longest runningspecialist music radio programme in British broadcasting history.He is also a lecturer at Wirral 3Ls; Honorary Chair of MinervaArts Charitable Trust; and Senior Fellow of the Higher EducationAcademy. His latest work (2018 with Jeff Daniels), is Gordon Stretton,Black British Transoceanic Jazz Pioneer: A New Jazz Chronicle(Lanham, MA; London: Lexington Books).


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How to Cite

Brocken, M. (2020). Buildings matter: The recycling of Liverpool’s Whitechapel and the Casbah. Popular Music History, 12(1), 75–93.