A second sunny day of the Bank Holiday weekend pulls me out on another walk around the wider neighbourhood of home.
It’s a wonderful name ‘The Mystery’ as it was donated to the city in 1895 by a ‘mysterious donor.’ Soon discovered to be most likely shipping line owner, Philip Holt, the name’s stuck anyway.
Not too bad is the answer. For a while a lot of the shops were empty, but a good number of newly arrived people have moved in and the shops are gently being reopened by some trading newcomers.
But a little further along, where Lawrence Road turns into Earle Road we find this.
Welcome to another piece of the blight that is the now cancelled ‘Housing Market Renewal Initiative.’ Having failed to be knocked down while the ‘initiative’ was still alive, these particular streets then failed to be renovated in the same failed renovation that did nothing for the Granby 4 Streets last year. Now they wait silently for their uncertain future. More empty homes people could be happily living in on this sunny day.
Up until the early 1970s the city’s magnificent stock of Georgian housing used to reach here, where Falkner Street reached the Lodge Lane crossroads. It was destroyed for an inner ring road that never happened.
Walking past the Women’s Hospital these little banks of earth look pleasant enough.
In fact much of the rioting of 1981 happened here, on what was then open land. So afterwards these little hills were constructed on either side of Upper Parliament Street, to make future public disorder more difficult. I’m aggrieved every time I walk past them. Even on this lovely day.
But my spirits are soon lifted.
From 1975 onwards I worked here for Liverpool Housing Trust (LHT). And still now, whenever I arrive at this gorgeous, complete Georgian square I think ‘Home’ and I’m at peace. I’ve never lived here, but I feel like I always have.
One day in 1973 I walked into this street, that leads into Falkner Square, for the first time. Hardly any cars and the houses all looking like they might fall down soon. But I loved it immediately, and I’ve loved it ever since.
Crossing Catharine Street we arrive at a piece of personal Georgian.
A few years earlier the same flat had been owned by Brian Epstein, though we didn’t know it at the time. And when they first got married Brian had loaned the flat to John and Cynthia Lennon. Yes, no hyperlinks, you know who these people are.
In those days Falkner Street was pretty run down too. That’s why you could rent cheap flats there. We even bought some houses there for LHT for next to nothing. No longer.
And on either side of me, there are Cathedrals.
But we’re not going into either of them today. I just want to be outside.
Nor are we finished with empty homes, Granby is just along Princes Avenue.
My day’s walk nearly over I look back on these two days of walking round my neighbourhood and feel blessed and lucky.
We don’t know what happens when we die, and I suspect quiet oblivion. But I know now, on this earth, that I have lived in heaven. And I have walked around it.
And as the shadows lengthen on a perfect day, as is only right and proper…
Where the big news of the day…
I won’t forget.