Five years ago now Liverpool was the European Capital of Culture, oh yes it was. And that year one of our proudest and most loved cultural items was the Superlambanana, a surrealistic cross between, well it’s obvious. But where has this beloved beast ended up? Read on to find out.
June is here and it dawns on a sunny Saturday. Far too cool to go around calling it ‘summer’ but a bright and welcome day nonetheless to go and see how Granby is doing.
For anyone new to the blog, a quick introduction to where we are. These are the last four remaining original streets of Granby, Liverpool 8. Streets of tree-lined late 19th century terraced houses, where about 60 of them are being lived in and 140 are empty and bricked up and have been for years. There used to be many more streets like this, but over the last 30 years they’ve all been cleared and developed into new houses of varying standards and not a few cul-de-sacs, or left as empty fields awaiting regeneration someday.
And these four streets? Well, a mixture of strong resident determination, guerilla gardening the area, running street markets and happenstance has left them standing. Blighted by the loathed around here ‘Housing Market Renewal Initiative’ but somehow outliving it.
I got involved a couple of years back, helping residents to decide what they’d like to happen and being part of moving towards that. And you can read much more about that by typing ‘Granby’ into the search box on the right. There’s been a lot of Granby on this blog and it’s been a pleasure to be here.
New houses are nearly completed at the end of two of the streets.And in Beaconsfield Street a row of terraced houses is nearly done. These have retained the facades of the original houses, whilst being essentially new houses behind.
Yes, the Superlambanana, the beloved cultural icon is here in Granby. So has the promised ‘trickledown effect’ of the ‘Capital of Culture’ year happened and is ‘Bob’ the proof on a trolley?
Meet Bob’s owner.
Joe is one of the Street Market organisers and coined its memorable and forthright marketing slogan:
“Of the people, by the people and for the people,”
And staunch activist and organiser as Joe is, Joe and Bob are inseparable. They go on days out and to Festivals together.
Well done Joe and Bob. Lovely to see a cultural icon ‘giving back’ to the community.
And how’s it going with all these empty houses you see in the background? Well, it’s looking more promising than it ever has.
After the last regeneration of the whole place proposal fell apart last October, the residents and City Council began talking about a more varied approach. Where instead of passing the whole place over to one developer, it would be done in smaller and more interesting pieces and would involve the Community Land Trust the residents set up for themselves a couple of years ago.
Discussions on precisely what will be done are apparently going well and there is a higher confidence than I’ve felt before that the Four Streets have a definite future. Ann O’Byrne, the City Council’s lead cabinet member on housing was at the market, clearly on good terms with everyone. So, well done all. Let’s see the Four Streets safely into the future now. One set of empty homes empty no more.
I go down Mount Street to catch a bus.
I’m here because I’m worried about the park’s babies.
As you might know I’ve been doing my own personal ‘Springwatch’ the last couple of weeks since finding this enchanting sight at the side of the main lake.
Well, I’d passed through here yesterday, Friday evening, and found only a pair of adult geese, no goslings and lots of notices about taking extra care for the young.
Living for the City isn’t easy sometimes. For all of us creatures who live here. It takes great care to care for the place, to govern it, to fix the streets and houses, and raise the children, in joy and freedom. And we don’t always get it right.
But today, today felt good. Well done Liverpool.
The next Granby 4 Streets Markets will be on the first Saturdays of the summertime months, 6th July, 3rd August, 7th September. Culminating in a musical extravaganza in September like last year:
Contact Rosa for more information about the markets and to book a table: 0151 726 9379. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org