City’s biggest ever event makes an impact

LIVERPOOL has reaped the benefits of what is being hailed as the biggest event in its history.

An independent report into the impact of the Giants-led Memories of August 1914 has revealed it is one of Liverpool’s most successful events to date.

It shows that the spectacular swelled the number of visitors to the city by one million people across the five days (23-27 July).

This figure has resulted in an unprecedented economic impact of £46 million into the local economy.

The report also found:

  • Around 300,000 of the visitors were from outside the city region, with the event proving popular with people from Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Wales. Australia, France and Hong Kong were some of the most common places people outside of the UK had travelled from.
  • The average spend per person for someone from Liverpool was £19.
  • The average spend per person for someone outside the city region was £107.
  • Around 160,000 visitors had never been to Liverpool before.
  • Memories was hugely popular with groups, with 41 per cent visiting as groups which included young and old members of the family.Grandmother 1

When asked to score the event out of ten (with ten being the highest), the average score of the hundreds of people interviewed showed that the overall quality of the event scored very highly with 9.2, with the event organisation also receiving positive feedback.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “We anticipated that the return of the Giants would have a massive impact, but this report shows it has surpassed our expectations.

“To have one million people specifically come to the city to experience a free cultural event is really rewarding, and the economic boost is one of the biggest this city has ever experienced.

Memories of August 1914 was an incredibly special event – the creative brilliance of Royal de Luxe brought to life part of this city’s history which many had forgotten, and once again we really took those three special visitors to our hearts as they played out this emotional story before our very eyes.

“But it’s not just about the economic benefits – this was the UK’s flagship cultural commemoration marking an incredibly important moment in our history. This event connected hundreds of thousands of people with the story of the First World War and inspired many to reflect on the impact this momentous time had on their families and the city as a whole.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the huge team involved in making Memories such a success – partners across the city, from the police and transport networks right though to volunteers and sponsors, worked together tirelessly to make sure our city shone during this Giant extravaganza.

“I’m proud to be Mayor of a city which is renowned for having the ambition and commitment to stage events of this scale – it cements our reputation as one of the most creative cities in the world.”

xolo croppedThe report was produced by The Murray Consultancy Ltd.

Memories was a co-commission between the city council and 14-18 NOW – the First World War Centenary Cultural Programme. Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said: “Memories of August 1914 was the most extraordinary event, and 14-18 NOW is delighted that one of our headline commissions commemorating the centenary of the First World War made such an impact on Liverpool. I am thrilled that so many people were able to witness the Giants tell an important story from Liverpool’s history, leaving all those who saw it with their own lasting memories.”

Following the event, figures also revealed other Liverpool attractions felt the benefit of the giants over the three day period of 25-27 July:

Liverpool One – Footfall was up 16.9 per cent in comparison to the same weekend in 2013, and up 5.7 per cent in comparison to the Sea Odyssey weekend in 2012 which was Liverpool’s first Giant experience. They also saw an increase in sales of 49.8 per cent compared to the 2012 event.

National Museums Liverpool – Its venues (World Museum, Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, Museum of Liverpool and Piermaster’s House) welcomed 55,319 visitors. Retail sales were up 72 per cent and catering up 154 per cent on the same time period as last year.

Albert Dock Liverpool – The area was bustling with thousands of families with many of the Dock’s bars, restaurants and shops reported an increase in takings and footfall. The Pump House was 20 per cent up on the same time last year and had a record breaking week – the best the pub has ever had. Likewise, Revolution Albert Dock broke all records for food sales, becoming the busiest venue of their chain for the week. While the Nauticalia shop said they were “massively” up on both footfall and on spend.

Liverpool Bid Company – Wetherspoons on Whitechapel saw a 50 per cent increase in sales and La Tasca recorded their busiest ever trading week, a pattern which many of the restaurants in Queen Square followed.

Chris Bliss, Liverpool ONE Estate Director: “Liverpool ONE was at the heart of the Giant Spectacular and we welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors during the event.  Sales across Liverpool ONE increased by almost 50 per cent compared to the Giant’s last visit in 2012 with cafes, bars and restaurants doing particularly well with sales up 30 per cent, clearly demonstrating the positive economic impact for the city.”

Peter Cronin, Director of Development and Marketing for Albert Dock Liverpool, said: “Albert Dock is the natural heart for waterfront animation like Giant Spectacular. We are committed to working in partnership with the city council, Culture Liverpool and the wider Waterfront Partnership to create incredible events which generate huge economic impact on the city and create lasting memories for our visitors.”

Using the rail network was one of the most popular ways for people to travel in and out of the city.

  • Merseyrail found that around 500,000 passengers travelled on the local network.
  • Northern Rail’s figures show more than 330,000 passengers passed through stations they managed.
  • First Group saw a 71 per cent increase in passengers on the Saturday (around 3,320 more people than usual).
  • Virgin Trains logged 22,500 journeys to Liverpool – an increase of 24 per cent.
  • London Midland saw 29,690 passengers – an increase of 7,663 on the week before.
  • East Midland figures show an additional 2,200 journeys on their network were made.

Maarten Spaargaren, Managing Director of Merseyrail, said: “The Merseyrail network was one of the main ways for local residents to get into town and see the Giants this summer. We put on extra services, made trains longer and pulled out all the stops to ensure that as many of our customers as possible could take part in this global spectacle. We’re thrilled to be part of something that is enjoyed, not just by people from the city region, but way beyond, and we look forward to working with city partners on any major events in the future.”

The event delivered fantastic local, national and international coverage including America Online, USA Today, NBC News as well as coverage in publications from Slovakia, Italy, Denmark and Canada. More than 200 items appearing in the media.

Over the five days the official website ( had 1.2million visits, the majority of which were first time visitors. #giants trended nationally on Twitter, and messages on the @giantspectacle account were retweeted by people across the world including South America, India, Japan, South Africa and Australia.

And the story was extremely popular on other media websites. The dedicated BBC Giants website received 2.2million views and their specially commissioned programme Liverpool’s Giant War generated viewing figures of 1.1million – this is an impressive 21 per cent share of the viewing audience.

The full report is available at

More information about Memories of August 1914:

Memories of August 1914 was the UK’s flagship 2014 cultural event, marking 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War.  The event was commissioned jointly by Liverpool City Council and 14-18 NOW, the First World War Centenary Cultural Programme.

It was brought to Liverpool by street theatre tour de force Royal de Luxe, who captivated crowds of 800,000 people in 2012 with the Giant spectacular Sea Odyssey, generating £32million for the local economy.

The event took place from 23-27 July 2014 and saw the Giants explore the city as part of a brand new moving and emotional story recollecting a time when Britain was preparing for war.

This was only the third time Royal de Luxe have performed in the UK.  The first was in London in 2006 when 1.5million people were wowed by the Sultan’s Elephant.

Liverpool City Council invested £300,000 which in turn attracted a further £1.7million central government (Department of Culture, Media and Sport), the European Regional Development Fund and Arts Council England. Partners and sponsors from the private sector also helped to bring the event to the city.

The one million visitor figure applies to those who specifically came to see three special visitors explore the city as it is believed there were more people in the city, in addition to this figure, while the event was taking place


Liverpool Waterfront