Now

Catching up on things in and around our world, the evolving story of life.

Is it another cold Spring, or a late Winter? Hard to tell, but the light’s increasing by the day, so the crocuses are out, the blossoms are beginning, and therefore I think it’s fair to say that, on balance, it’s Spring.

Blossoms beginning in Sefton Park.

Blossoms beginning in Sefton Park.

Working in the park13

Sometimes a warm few hours do arrive and take us by surprise, and it’s been possible for me to work in the park. Working in the park12

Much of our work at the moment is with the people of The Florrie, a brilliantly restored building in the Dingle in Liverpool. Originally a Victorian Boys Club, over the last seven years a determined group of mostly local people, who we are now working with on their future story, have saved The Florrie from dereliction. And re-opened it as a centre for everyone in the local community and a major heritage resource and events venue for the people and organisations of Merseyside, and indeed anyone who wants to come and use this beautiful historic place.

Do go and have a look. They’ll be keen to show you around. And before long you’re bound to be thinking ‘What could we do here?’

The Florence Institute, Mill Street, Liverpool 8

The Florence Institute, Mill Street, Liverpool 8

Working in the park17And see their new website too, here.

As well as our work with organisations, Sarah’s been busy with her work as an independent funeral celebrant. Helping families and friends begin the process of letting their deceased loved ones go by telling the stories of their lives at their funerals. Sarah’s finding this deeply rewarding and had carried out 3 funerals in the past week.

Here’s a film about the organisation where Sarah got her qualifications:

In Liverpool this last week, the City Council agreed a set of brutal cost savings, forced on it by the Government’s failing political and economic ‘austerity’ measures.

Protestors outside Liverpool Town Hall this week.

Protestors outside Liverpool Town Hall this week.

Amidst cuts to services for young people and old people, they also introduced a plan to close 10 of the city’s 19 libraries, and make 6 of the remaining 9 part time.

Norris Green library, under threat?

Norris Green library, under threat?

I responded immediately and emotionally to this with a plea to ‘Defend every library.’

And this was followed at the weekend with a piece by Gerry at ‘That’s How The Light Gets In’ called ‘Public Libraries: 150 years of advance is being destroyed.’

In this Gerry sketches out the historical development of public libraries and their continuing evolution and importance, saying:

“The broadcaster Joan Bakewell has described the planned library closures in areas like Liverpool and Newcastle as a ‘cultural catastrophe’ and called on Culture secretary Maria Miller to prevent them:

‘Given the disproportionately heavy cuts to local authority funding in the north of England, when will the secretary of state use her considerable reserve powers to stop this cultural catastrophe?”

One of the comments on Gerry’s piece suggests that the time for books and libraries is passing and says “There’s an awful lot of middle-class sentimentality and condescension, projected downwards, flowing through this debate.” But I think Gerry deals with this factually and well. Go and see.

Toxteth library. Under threat?

Toxteth library. Under threat?

Meanwhile, I’ve written to the Mayor of Liverpool’s office about when and how consultations over the libraries will happen. I’ll let you have the details when I get an answer.

Finally for this round-up, after supportive coverage on an episode of BBC Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’ (1:46 to 7:56 here) to opposition to the demolition of the Welsh Streets in Liverpool, there followed further support this week in the Architect’s Journal from George Clark, the Government’s own official Empty Homes adviser.

The Welsh Streets, Liverpool 8.

One of the Welsh Streets, Liverpool 8.

So there we are, one week in one city. Growth, change, restoration, death, new life, support, courage, opposition and determination. Thousands of stories, these are just some of them.

All in one place. The story of life.

5 thoughts on “Now

  1. jbaird

    Toxteth Library is just gorgeous. If some of these libraries close, what will they do with the buildings? Let them fall into disrepair? I certainly hope not. May spring bring harbingers of change in the right direction.

    Good for Sarah for being a funeral celebrant. She has such a talent for that.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      We’ve got a library of that quality already closed, in Everton, and the building is doing nothing Jan. Hoping the political and funding tide will turn before it disintegrates.

      And I’ll pass on your good wishes to Sarah. Since doing Rachel’s service early last year she’s been determined to get to here, regularly working with other families and telling the stories of their loved ones.

      Reply
  2. ann cowley

    How nice of your wife to do that, we need someone other than priests doing this. The priest at my uncle’s funeral started off talking about him, then half-way through the story, he changed to another mans story, with a different name and never even noticed what he had done. We were all so upset and angry.

    Reply
  3. cheethamlib

    Beware Liverpool City Council – once a thriving and well used service is severely downgraded in the bad times, resurrection to previous service levels when the good times come back is not easy. This appaling exercise in ’emergency’ financial cost cutting is quite beyond belief and frightening to say the least.This must make us all wonder what is happening to our cultural values if this destruction is allowed to take place. Well done to Gerry for his carefully considered overview of the public library movement and its ongoing relevance to our times.

    Reply

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