So, continuing my Sunday walk this week. It’s a beautiful, sunny day. And having walked to the Bold Street Festival, through Granby, Canning and down the hill from Hope Street, now I’m outside St George’s Hall.
I get off at Walton Lane and walk along Bullens Road to the first place I want to see.
This is the street of my earliest memories. We lived in two different shared houses here until I was three years old. I don’t remember any cars then, back in the 1950s. People like us just didn’t have them. But I do remember standing in the front window sometimes and watching thousands and thousands of people walk past the house.
Lovely to see Diana Street still settled and well after all these years.
Next I set off across Stanley Park.
Lots of people and organisations have helped with this, including nearby Liverpool Football Club.
Even though we were living right next to Everton’s ground, I grew up under strict instructions to be a Liverpool FC fan. And I always have been.
But there have been times these last few years when my loyalty to the business side of the club has been stretched. Because they’ve been prevaricating over whether they wanted to build themselves a new stadium in part of Stanley Park, or stay where they are and renovate Anfield.
Earlier this year the decision was finally taken to stay at Anfield. But the years of prevarication, together with help from the notorious and failed Housing Market Renewal Strategy has been hard on the streets immediately surrounding the ground. People have literally not known whether they were coming or going.
This is Alroy Road. If you’ve been following the blog for a while you might have been here before. On the ‘Anfield Home Tour‘ late last year.’ Not all these houses are empty, and not everyone wants to leave.
So in the midst of all this doubt and demolition it warms the heart to walk round the corner and find Homebaked.
The equipment they got through their phenomenal ‘Kickstarter’ appeal is now arriving and they are almost ready to play their part in the serious revival of their place. Well done all. In fact the only sane and reasoned response to what you’re achieving here with Homebaked is to run out and dance in the street.
I walk on.
Me, I’ve moved on from being three years old in Diana Street, now I’m nearly five and coming along Netherfield Road to have my tonsils and adenoids out.
There are though, very, very few houses here now.
And now as I walk I’m 18 again, in my first proper job working in Liverpool City Council’s Housing Department. It’s the early 1970s and this place is crowded with huge tenement blocks like Tommy White Gardens and all the tower blocks that have replaced the demolished terraces over the last ten years. Some of the week I work down the hill on Scotland Road.
All gone now and mostly grassed over.
In truth, a hard park to love. Not so much planned as grassed over. The views and the running are wonderful. But when I worked here thousands and thousands of people were living here. And it was lively and I miss them in the eerie silence of the place now.
I walk down through the park towards Great Homer Street, passing no one.
Half-way down the hill there’s this allotment plot of raised beds though.
Formerly one of the main roads into Liverpool City, but largely bypassed these days.
Again, I’m 18 years old and me and someone called Wally from the Netherfield Heights Housing Office have walked down the hill to Great Homer Street to take the day’s rent money to the bank. Wally’s carrying it all in a brief case. And me? A gangly hippy? The Security? Everyone knew who we were and what we were doing, but no one ever bothered us. Halcyon days.
The whole area has its breath held waiting for a big development called ‘Project Jennifer’ to get going.
Greatie’s really not doing so great. But just round the back?
Along St Anne Street now towards the city centre.
Always strange how bits of the past seem to survive, almost by accident.
A wonderful day then, seeing how the place is doing. And there really is no substitute for walking around it to get a feel for how things are. Through Granby, Canning and the the city. And Walton, Anfield and Everton, back to the city.
And how are things? Well, there’s no single answer. It’s a city. Differing parts of it are asking various questions. And there may yet be more questions than answers. But I’ll keep up my self-imposed watching, in these and other places. Because this is my place. This is home. And it matters to me.
The sunshine definitely helped, mind.
See also, ‘Inspecting Liverpool, part one.’