Iconic street artist Smug, has created a spectacular large-scale new mural inspired by Carl Jung’s famous description of Liverpool’s ‘Pool of Life’, and the inspiration of this on one of the oldest and most creative neighbourhoods that surrounds it, the Cavern Quarter.
The mural, on Harrington Street, has been co-commissioned by Culture Liverpool and Liverpool BID Company on behalf of the Beatles Legacy Group to explore the extraordinary history of this area, from the global music explosion it defined in the 60s to it becoming the centre of Liverpool’s ground-breaking and culturally defining counterculture of the ‘70s and ‘80s.
The mural by Glasgow based artist Sam Bates aka Smug, hints at the area’s layered history drawing on the well known names like Erics and The Cavern which draw tourists from across the world, but also add greater depth in exposing the layers of history, architecture, commerce and trade which made up Jung’s ‘Pool of Life’.
The 1927 essay by Jung, was judged to be describing a place “into which many streets converged” as Mathew Street and Rainford Square in the Cavern Quarter do. Poet and artist Peter O’Halligan, who founded the Liverpool School of Language, Music, Dream and Pun on the site of the former Fruit Exchange warehouse on Victoria Street, popularised the use of the phrase in the 70s to describe the neighbourhood.
In 2012, a plaque to mark Jung’s ‘Pool of Life’ was unveiled nearby.
The Cavern Quarter is one of the oldest commercial districts in Liverpool city centre. Once home to an iron foundry, brewery and mills, it became home to the fruit and produce markets selling goods as they came from the nearby docks.
Bill Addy is the CEO of Liverpool BID Company, and Chair of Liverpool Visitor Economy Network
“Art has an incredible power to tell our story and in commissioning this artwork, our idea is to both animate the public realm but also to share with the many visitors, shoppers, music lovers and more who pass through the Cavern Quarter the history that surrounds them. I am delighted that this work will cast a light on one of my favourite chapters of the city’s history, which has gone so far in shaping our unique culture”.
Kevin McManus is Head of UNESCO Music City at Culture Liverpool
“I’m delighted that this exciting project, initiated by the Beatles Legacy Group and Liverpool BID is coming to fruition. I’m sure that it will quickly become another city centre landmark attracting visitors and music tourists as well as being something that can be enjoyed by Liverpool residents. This is a location that is closely associated with key eras in the city’s music and cultural history so it is fitting that this impressive mural will be sited there. It is an area that is close to my heart because when I was a young lad attending gigs at Eric’s – undoubtedly changing my life for good – while across the road a decade earlier the Cavern changed the world forever. Lesser known bars in the area like the Harrington Bar and the Pen and Wig also played an important role and this rich landscape of Liverpool’s vibrant musical heritage will be celebrated in this fantastic mural by Smug.”
Peter Hooton (Chair The Beatles Legacy Group)
“As Chair of the Beatles Legacy Group, I am really looking forward to seeing this work of art unveiled and I’m so pleased that Smug has chosen to interpret Carl Jung’s ‘Pool of Life’ dream. The area has had such a cultural impact on the world from the Cavern in the 60s to Eric’s/The Armadillo/Harrington Bar/Probe/Wade Smith in the 70s 80s and 90s. The area was such a melting pot of music/fashion and counterculture that it is fitting the mural will be located there and people will be able to guess at the references in the artwork.”
The Cavern Quarter is part of the Retail & Leisure BID Area. In 2020, a masterplan for Cavern Quarter and Williamson Square was approved and published, with a Spatial Regeneration Framework (SRF) focused on improving the area and celebrating its heritage, particularly through artist-led intervention and animating blank spaces.