2012: Friday Walks, Noticing

Well, Sarah’s back from her travels but she’s not coming on the Friday Walk.

Obviously walking round two Cumbrian peninsula’s earlier in the week has walked her feet off.

So it’s another solo day. And this time I’ve decided to stay in my end of Liverpool, walk around places I know well, but look for things I don’t usually take particular notice of. Things that don’t usually get photographed.

Nearest park to our house, The Mystery, both Cathedrals visible.

It’s does have an official name, but everyone in Liverpool knows it as The Mystery, because it was donated to the City in 1895 by a mysterious donor. Though we’re now fairly certain who the donor was the lovely name has stuck.

Next, down on Smithdown Road, it’s the former Sefton Park Railway Station, on the main Liverpool to London line.

Sadly, it hasn’t been a railway station since 1960. These days there’s a uniforms shop and a funeral director’s in the former station building.

But this is how the station was.

Just along the road is the Handymans Supermarket.

Which is clearly telling us it used to be a stables.

And just round the corner, in Greenbank Drive, this lovely unused synagogue.

As you may know, I’m no fan of monotheism, but this seems a shame.

Next, we’re on our way into the park, Sefton Park.

Where all is well at the cricket ground, nestling beneath the tower blocks.

And in the park autumn is well advanced.

Multi- coloured autumn.

Now the Sefton Park area is one of the most popular places in Liverpool to live, understandably. But just in the corner of the park we find this:

Belem Tower.

A former social housing block, sold off to some private developer who’s obviously just sitting on it until the property market ‘recovers’. The lowest form of pond life.

Talking of which:

Over the road in Princes Park, a puddle photograph.

Next a lovely terrace of houses that I’d forgotten about because it’s hidden from the road by trees and hedges.

Belvidere Road.

Round the corner on Park Road, something ancient:

The Ancient Chapel of Toxteth, 1618.

It’s a Unitarian Chapel and we’ve been inside.

September 2011, inside the chapel.

And this lovely, gentle man spoke to us about his beliefs. ‘Well, Christ, Buddha, Krishna, they’re all the same thing really aren’t they?’

Just over the road is another precious piece of Liverpool.

Doesn’t look much now but this is where the Liverpool Overhead Railway began.

Yes, it began in a tunnel and it looked like this.

We’ll see where it emerged from the tunnel later in the walk. But years after the Overhead was closed in 1956, the tunnel was used by Roscoe Engineering and we once took Sarah’s then car, a Citroen 2cv to be serviced there. And it was surreal. The cars they were servicing, and vintage cars they had all wrapped up to sell one day, were parked all the way along the tunnel.

A few weeks ago part of the tunnel roof collapsed. And some local residents who were evacuated from their homes have still not been allowed back in

Along in Dingle Lane, outside a Sure Start centre, this lovely mosaic globe.

Next, something very strange.

A permanent barrier across the road.

Where we’ve been, you see is ‘working class’. And when what they probably call this ‘private estate’ was being built in the 1980s, they didn’t want us lot driving through it.

Along this ugly suburban road where all the houses turn their backs on the street.

And the cars that passed me were a 4×4 BMW and a Jaguar.

But we soon emerge at where the Garden Festival used to be, in 1984. This section now awaiting yet more ‘private development.’

And then we reach the river.

Where I sit and read for a while in the company of this, erm, small bird – not good on bird identification?

Next it’s up the Dockers Steps.

For another look at Alan Murray’s lovely history of Liverpool painting.

This time looking particularly at the small details in it:

The Garden Festival.

The 1981 Riots.

The Overhead Railway.

Black people in Liverpool being recruited to fight in the First World War.

Then it’s up the steps.

And along there on the far left is the end of the tunnel where the Overhead Railway used to emerge and travel all the way along Liverpool’s docks, to Seaforth, in the north of the city.

Up Draycott Street.

Back onto Park Road. Now dominated by a huge Tesco.

I had my first look at this thing a couple of weeks ago. It’s laid out like an airport. The whole of the ground floor is a car park. Then you go up an escalator and the shop is where airport security and the duty free would be. Bizarre, and the day I was there, almost empty. It felt like that rare thing, a failing Tesco.

Along on Dingle Lane, the Turner Home.

Until today, I’d always assumed this grand house was formerly a merchant’s mansion, turned into a residential home. but it’s not. It was built in 1884 ‘for the care of sick and disadvantaged men’and that’s what it’s still doing.

Round the corner outside the former Shorefields School, now a conference centre, is a Superlambanana.

You can read more about these strange creatures in our friend Fiona Shaw’s lovely book.

Then just along Aigburth Road, in a junkshop window:

More strange creatures. For as little as 99p one of these could be yours.

The ordinary. The Everyday. The 82 on Aigburth Road.

Though I do miss the days when you could tell where you were from the colours of the buses. The 82 should really be green and cream, not the same Arriva blue as everywhere else.

Getting grumpy. Must mean I’m hungry.

Along Lark Lane, and time for lunch.

Then home across the autumnal park.

And yes, couldn’t decide which was the better of these two pictures, so I’ve put them both in.

So, a day full of colour and noticing, even if the sky stayed the same grey for most of the time. Ordinary, everyday, lovely Liverpool.


7 thoughts on “2012: Friday Walks, Noticing

  1. Jan Baird Hasak

    Lovely, indeed. Every time I see pictures of your walks I learn a little bit more about this fascinating part of England. It’s so magical: the contrast between nature and the urban aspects, the colors of nature and city life standing out from the grayness of the sky. Superb. xx

  2. stan cotter

    Hi Ronnie, you opened my eyes again. I didn’t know about the Sefton Park railways station. I’ve lost count of how many times ive been under that bridge, and visited the undertakers once (not for personal reasons).

    I had many friends from Draycot Street and the rest of the Shorefields streets.

    Also didnt know why the Mystery was called so, its always been a MYSTERY to me!
    keep it up, I love them

  3. ballyucan

    The old station is the other side of the bridge, towards town. It is now a place called C&G finishes and is painted in the old British Rail maroon and cream. Your building was formerly the Hatfield Hotel, as can be seen on the mosaic floor at the entrance, but it never opened as a hotel because it was not granted a license.

  4. lindsay53

    Fascinating and enthralling Ronnie. Love ‘tours’ like this that get under the skin of the what you see on the surface and make you take a second, long hard look at things. Such a wealth of working history as well. Just as well you are there to keep some of it alive.


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