The Stranger in Liverpool

Where would you take a first-time visitor to Liverpool to show them the best of the city? Well if it were the early 19th Century you’d obviously reach for your trusty copy of ‘The Stranger in Liverpool’ for sound advice. This early guidebook to  the ‘Town of Liverpool and its environs’ assists me to this day whenever I walk round the place pretending it’s some long gone time.

For our visitor over these past few days, though, her principal guide while putting together what she’d like to explore, had been this very blog. Mandy Cheetham from Perth in Western Australia is a friend who has been reading the blog regularly since it started and therefore had  reassuringly opinionated ideas about what she wanted to see before she got here. So Sarah put together a map which omitted much of what most people come here for, and an itinerary of depth and taste. And off we set.

Mandy's map and itinerary, put together by Sarah.

Mandy’s map and itinerary, put together by Sarah.

It’s instructive to see what fascinates someone from half a world away, who’s never been to Liverpool before. But it was no surprise at all to see what was at the top of Mandy’s list.

Having worked as a librarian in Melbourne and Perth all her working life, it had to be Liverpool Central Library.

Having worked as a librarian in Melbourne and Perth all her working life, it had to be Liverpool Central Library.

Where David Stoker from the Library welcomed Mandy to Liverpool and gave us a fascinating and enthusiastic tour of the place ha's helped to re-create. Thank you David.

Where David Stoker from the Library welcomed Mandy to Liverpool and gave us a fascinating and enthusiastic tour of the place he has helped to re-create. Thank you David.

Like everyone we know, Mandy was deeply and emotionally impressed.

Like everyone we know, Mandy was deeply and emotionally impressed.

Stranger06 Stranger07

Next we took Mandy exploring around our favourite street, Bold Street.

Next we took Mandy exploring around our favourite street, Bold Street.

Lunch first, at Garden by Leaf, in FACT.

Lunch first, at Garden by Leaf, in FACT.

A rummage in Rennie's?

A rummage in Rennie’s?

Essential.

Essential.

News from Nowhere? Naturally.

News from Nowhere? Naturally.

Across to 69A.

Across to 69A.

For surprise and fascination

Stranger14Then up the hill.

To the Cathedral.

To the Cathedral.

Where we happened upon Evensong. Perfect.

Where we happened upon Evensong. Perfect.

Having a look at the Church of St James.

Having a look at the Church of St James as we passed. Much the same as in 1820.

And Coleman's Depository. A particularly strong fascination for Mandy, from half way round the world.

And Coleman’s Depository. A particularly strong fascination for Mandy, from half way round the world.

On our way to the Dingle.Stranger18

Stranger20

Calling in at The Florrie.

Calling in at The Florrie.

To see their fascinating 'Your past, their future' exhibition.

To see their fascinating ‘Your past, their future’ exhibition.

And that’s just the first day.

Next morning, in considerably better weather Mandy and Sarah set off without me.

To visit 16th Century Speke Hall.

To visit 16th Century Speke Hall.

I can’t bear the smug way the National Trust run their houses and gardens so I didn’t go here. But they came and picked me up for our next adventure, through the tunnel to Thurstaston Common.

Where Mandy was particularly keen to see the ridiculous Fairy-tale wedding hotel that squats incongruously next to the common land.

Where Mandy was particularly keen to see the ridiculous Fairy-tale wedding hotel that squats incongruously next to the common land.

This used to be called Bidston Court and was transported to here and rebuilt, brick by brick in 1930.

And enjoyed the blackberries growing all around it.

Mandy enjoyed the blackberries growing all around it anyway. They’re not allowed to grow wild in Australia apparently.

We had lunch overlooking the Shining Shore.

We had lunch overlooking the Shining Shore.

Then walked along the Shore.

Then walked along the Shore.

Having a nose at the new Studio that's been built at Shore Cottage. We'll be coming back for a closer look at whatever this is.

Having a nose at the new Studio that’s been built at Shore Cottage. We’ll be coming back for a closer look at whatever this is.

Until the sun began to set.Then the sun began to set.

Then to Plot 44, Sarah's Allotment, for tea around the fire.

So back to Liverpool, to Plot 44, Sarah’s Allotment, for tea around the fire.

Next day, Sunday was National Heritage Open day.

Visiting Princes Road Synagogue first.

Visiting Princes Road Synagogue first.

Stranger31

The lovely Ancient Chapel of Toxteth.

The lovely Ancient Chapel of Toxteth.

Lunch at Onion on Aigburth Road.

Lunch at Onion on Aigburth Road.

Then down to the river.

Then down to the river.

Where Mandy was particularly keen to visit the International Slavery Museum.

Where Mandy was particularly keen to visit the International Slavery Museum.

Where she found out that, despite official denials earlier in the day, the Norris and Watt families of Speke Hall, were indeed plantation and slave owners.

All too soon it’s the final day. Early morning shopping at Barcelona, 69A and Rennie’s.

Followed by a cup of tea with a friend in Granby.

Followed by a cup of tea with a friend in Granby.

Lunch in Greendays, off Lark Lane.

Lunch in Greendays, off Lark Lane.

Then back to Plot 44 to plant some bulbs.

Then back to Plot 44 to plant some bulbs.

Placing them next to the Wollemi Pine that Sarah planted when her friend Rachel died. Mandy is Rachel's mother.

Placing them next to the Wollemi Pine that Sarah planted when her friend Rachel died. Mandy is Rachel’s mother.

Just over the road from Plot 44 was our next destination.

Greenbank House, home of Eleanor Rathbone.

Greenbank House, home of Eleanor Rathbone.

And of course where William Roscoe and William Rathbone would meet to discuss the abolition of Trans-Atlantic Slavery.

And of course where William Roscoe and William Rathbone would meet to discuss the abolition of Trans-Atlantic Slavery.

Talking of which.

'Allerton' - funded by takings from the slave trade.

‘Allerton’ – funded by takings from the slave trade.

The entrance to 'Allerton Tower' - home of the slave trading Earle family.

The entrance to ‘Allerton Tower’ – home of the slave trading Earle family.

Sarah and Mandy in the lovely orangery at Allerton Tower.

Sarah and Mandy in the lovely orangery at Allerton Tower.

Then home for tea, reflections and packing.

To Lime Street in the morning. Mandy setting off on the next part of her trip.

To Lime Street in the morning. Mandy setting off on the next part of her trip.

We loved having you here Mandy. And going with you to the bits of Liverpool and Wirral that most fascinated you. You’re not a stranger in the place any more.

And just imagine? Four days in and around Liverpool with no football grounds, no Beatles, no Liverpool One and no Ferry ‘cross the Mersey? It can be done.

10 thoughts on “The Stranger in Liverpool

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Thank you Stephen, we love a good itinerary. Only the library module was ‘mandatory’ as we’d already arranged that with David Stoker. Everything else was improvised around neighbourhoods and the ‘Index of possibilities’ Mandy had picked out from the blog. I was delighted when they found evidence at the Slavery Museum that directly disproved information a National Trust guide had given them earlier. Good work by Mandy and Sarah.

      Reply
  1. Stephen Roberts

    I am finding your blog to be increasingly interesting and enjoyable. It really is very aptly named because it explores places so sympathetically. I really think it deserves a wider audience.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      I think you’d be surprised by how wide the audience is at times Stephen. Like most blogs it gets a lot more views than comments. But of course an even wider audience would always be welcome.

      Reply
  2. The Accidental Amazon

    Brilliant!! First of all, I applaud Mandy for wanting to see the library. Mandy, you’re a woman after my own heart. But I knew that already. I love a great library & this one looks magnificent. As do all the sights on the rest of the tour. I hope that when I finally cross the Pond & see you two in person, that we can work up a similar excursion. And of course I need to tack on a little side trip to Cheshire to see where my grandfather, Jack Cunningham, was born. Great pix! Haven’t been travelling the blogosphere as much as I used to, but I always enjoy a little trip to A Sense of Place. Am about to have two weeks off from work, so I hope perhaps to post a bunch of pix of the particular delightfulness that is autumn in New England. Lots of love to you both, Ronnie.

    P.S. BTW, Sarah, I just love that spectacularly ruffled item of clothing you are wearing!! Wonderful!

    xo, Kathi

    Reply
  3. Anthony Moro

    Ronnie, looks like you guys had a really good time. Thank you for taking care of Mandy. I miss her and Jayden already.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Hi Anthony, good to hear from you. It was great showing Mandy the parts of Liverpool she’d read about on here, I think we covered everything on her list!

      And glad they enjoyed their time with you in New Jersey and New York too.

      Reply
  4. Alan

    I think its a disgrace to say Allerton Towers was funded by the Slave Trade . Sir Hardman Earle was a Director of the Liverpool Manchester Railway and the building of Earlestown in Lancashire . Please get your facts right before making comment like this.

    Reply

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