In the neighbourhood: Wavertree

Work done for the day, late on a sunny afternoon, I decide to inspect the neighbourhood, see how it’s doing. It’s become my self appointed, and some say revolutionary task to do this now and then, as you may know.

Not the wider Liverpool, from home to Anfield and back like I did the other week today, but the immediate block of the square mile or so round where we live. So, Liverpool 15 mostly. And not the three local parks either. If you’ve been around this blog a while you’ll have seen plenty of The Mystery, Greenbank and Sefton Parks. This is about the streets. And obviously, I take photographs as I go.

The West Coast railway line crossing Smithdown |Road.

The West Coast railway line crossing Smithdown Road.

Smithdown Road beyond the bridge.

Smithdown Road beyond the bridge.

Photographs of ordinary things on an ordinary day. The kind of photographs I like and look for on the internet when I’m trying to illustrate things, particularly historical things.

In fact, now I’ve been doing this blog for 18 months or so, it’s surprising how often photographs I’ve taken myself turn up in these searches. So I guess sometime in the future even these from today may be turning up in someone’s blog posts, or someone’s homework. As long as no one tries to get paid for my work I don’t much mind. I throw these to the wind.

On Greenbank Road, Richard Behrend's Music and Instruments shop. A treasured and longtime occupant.

On Greenbank Road, Richard Behrend’s Music and Instruments shop. A treasured and longtime occupant.

As is Dafna's Cheescake Factory, round the corner.

As is Dafna’s Cheescake Factory, round the corner.

Borrowdale Road, one of the many terraced streets off Smithdown.
Borrowdale Road, one of the many terraced streets off Smithdown.

Oomoo, great local independent café.

Oomoo, great local independent café.

Turning into Gainsborough Road.  Great corner shop on Lawrence road there.

Turning into Gainsborough Road. Well stocked corner shop on Lawrence Road corner there.

Gainsborough turns into Wellington Road. Here's the railway line again.

Gainsborough turns into Wellington Road. Here’s the railway line again.

Red Royal Mail vans in the Wellington Road sorting office.

Red Royal Mail vans in the Wellington Road sorting office.

These belonged to us all until the other week when the Con Lib Government flogged off the Royal Mail at a knock down price.

Shouldn't that be 'Believe IN...'?

Shouldn’t that be ‘Believe IN…’?

Passing the public swimming pool on the far side of The Mystery.

Passing the public swimming pool on the far side of The Mystery.

Strangely, this shop's open all year.

Strangely, this shop’s open all year.

Round into the High Street, lovely Wavertree Library.

Round into the High Street, lovely Wavertree District Library.

Opening hours cut down now, could get worse soon.

Opening hours cut down now, could get worse soon.

Due to the Government’s austerity policies Liverpool may end up closing most of its public libraries, 3 have already gone. I wrote to the elected Mayor, Joe Anderson about this earlier in the year, asking to be involved in discussions about it, and was told that consultations would probably begin ‘from late Summer.’ I’ve heard nothing since.

Bits of old off the High Street. Wells Road, still cobbled.

Bits of old off the High Street. Wells Road, still cobbled.

Ancient empty house behind a petrol station.

An empty Georgian house behind a petrol station.

When I was young and had a job around here, there was still a very old lady living in there. It had windows then, but the condition of it wasn’t much better.

Elegant Sandown Lane and the Edinburgh pub.

Elegant Sandown Lane and the Edinburgh pub.

On the High Street, a row of Georgian houses, with our dentist's at the end.

On the High Street, a row of Georgian houses, with our (very good NHS) dentist’s at the end.

The Prince Alfred. Back in the early 80s, when me and my friend Phil were drinking beer for England, this was one of our favourite out of town venues.

The Prince Alfred. Back in the early 80s, when me and my friend Phil were drinking beer for England, this was one of our favourite out of town venues.

Wavertree Town Hall.

Wavertree Town Hall.

It’s a pub now, but it was a town hall until Wavertree was incorporated into Liverpool in 1895.

This is where I worked, very briefly, in 1972.

This is where I worked, very briefly, in 1972.

It was called the DHSS then and it was awful. Wasn’t allowed to sit down all day except for official breaks and spent the whole time trudging round the offices in there matching up post and forms with files. I relieved the tedium by having themed singing days and still treasure the boiling outrage this caused on ‘Led Zeppelin Day!’

After about 6 weeks I got a miles better job at the Housing Office on Scotland Road – and began my proper working life.

Still on the High Street, this lovely old bow-windowed shop.

Still on the High Street, this lovely old bow-windowed shop.

Neighbourhood24

It's a Co-Op shop now, a good one too. but it used to be the Abbey Cinerama.

This is a Co-Op shop now, a good one too. But it used to be the Abbey Cinerama.

I remember coming here to see one of those disaster movies, I think it was Earthquake. SurroundSound effects like outbreaks of steady and supposedly volcanic rumbling under the seats caused much hilarity.

How it looked in its Art Deco finery.

How it looked in its Art Deco finery.

Opposite is Jenkins Funeral Directors.

Opposite the Abbey is Jenkins Funeral Directors.

Sarah’s done a fair bit of work with them. Lovely people.

'Shelter in the middle of a roundabout?'

‘Shelter in the middle of a roundabout?’

Well yes it is, but it’s not THAT one. We’ll be coming to that soon.

The 68, one of Liverpool's valuable 'round the city' bus routes. Here to Bootle in a round about way.

The 68, one of Liverpool’s valuable ’round the city’ bus routes. From Aigburth Vale to Bootle in a round about way.

Looking along Hunter's Lane, you can just see the Cathedral in the distance there.

Looking along Hunter’s Lane, you can just see the Cathedral in the distance there.

And Fir Lane. The coming home fro work traffic building now.

And Fir Lane. The coming home from work traffic building now.

On Church Lane. It's a bus stop now, but those old steps were for getting on and off your horse.

On Church Lane. It’s a bus stop now, but those old steps were for getting on and off your horse.

Holy Trinity in the setting sunlight.

Holy Trinity in the setting sunlight.

The Chapel at the Bluecoat School.

The Chapel at the Bluecoat School.

Then, turning into Newcastle Road.

where No. 9 has just sold for £480,000. That's about £300,000 over the odes for the area.

Where No. 9 has just sold for £480,000. That’s about £300,000 over the odds for the area.

Because it was John Lennon's first home.

Because it was John Lennon’s first home.

Down at the Penny Lane junction, more Beatles stuff.

This is the 'shelter in the middle of the roundabout' out of the song.

This is the ‘shelter in the middle of the roundabout’ out of the song.

But what's that on top of it?

But what’s that on top of it?

It's the beginnings of making something better out of the place.

It’s the beginnings of making something better out of the place.

Than the closed down Sergeant Peppers it's been for years.

Than the closed down Sergeant Peppers it’s been for years.

But the beginnings of an upper storey were put on in the summer and it’s looked like this for months now. So will it ever be completed? Or will we be left with a dis-used public toilet (because that’s what the back half is) with a stupid looking hat on top of it?

Penny Lane in the setting sun.

Penny Lane in the setting sun.

And the new Penny Lane hotel, in an llld housing association office.

And the new Penny Lane Hotel, in an old housing association office.

A bit of Beatles related development that has been completed. See, it is possible.

Back onto Smithdown. and legendary Hatton's. Stocked up for Christmas and mailing out model railway sets from Smithdown to the world.

Back onto Smithdown. And here’s legendary Hatton’s, another great Liverpool Smithdown independent since 1946. Stocked up for Christmas and mailing out model railway sets from Smithdown to the world.

Oxfam. These days a regular supplier of quality second-hand LPs.

Oxfam. These days my regular supplier of quality second-hand LPs.

And look! A new shop I've never noticed before. Good luck, it's a splendid name.

And look! A new shop I’ve never noticed before. Good luck, it’s a splendid name.

And home as darkness falls.

And home as darkness falls.

So, the neighbourhood feels fine. I’ve lived here now since 1991, Sarah arriving a couple of years later and we love it. Even without seeing the parks or the other independent shops on Allerton Road, I hope you can see  why. Interesting, varied, urban, Liverpool.

And things I noticed?

On the High Street, despite Liverpool City having shortsightedly abandoned Bus Lanes in a bewilderingly regressive move, I noticed most people considerately staying out of them anyway. Except for a few ‘better than the rest of us’ 4×4 drivers. Only time some of them will have seen an inside lane for ages.

Outside Bluecoat School at home time, two Police Community Support Officers on the gate. What’s that for? Or is this normal at schools now?

Oh and I didn’t take photos of any of the 3 mini-Tesco’s I passed, obviously. No need to give them any encouragement in trying to take over Liverpool’s corner shops market, even if they do claim to be ‘Working with our community.’

16 thoughts on “In the neighbourhood: Wavertree

  1. Shirley

    Hi Ronnie
    Much of our courting was done at the abbey cinema….we would meet after work on Saturdays buy a Chinese take a way (two forks please!) and sit on the wall opposite sharing one meal between us, it all came in one foil tray then!
    Then ‘the pictures’ and if we had any cash left we would sometimes share another Chinese afterwards!
    It’s a shame to see the abbey as a supermarket but I can only be thankful it’s not a tesco!

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Hi Shirley. Good to hear from you.

      And glad to hear your Abbey memories. If you were sitting on the wall opposite it was probably Jenkins Funeral Directors. And 2 forks, romantic. Not to mention a second course afterwards.

      The Abbey building is really big too. So there must still be empty stalls up there. Seats with your names on?

      Reply
  2. robertday154

    I’ve had very little to do with Liverpool in my life – visited for conferences about three times – but Hattons is well known to me, as a railway enthusiast. Nice to put a shop front to the name after all these years!

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      This is their ‘new’ shop Robert, only been in it a decade or so. Used to be closer to town, but still on Smithdown. Glad to have shown you where the trains come from.

      Reply
  3. stan cotter

    Yes Ronnie, you keep doing this to me. More memories. As an ambulance driver I used to collect a lady in the 2nd house down Wells Street for her day treatment. The cobbles were murder with the carry chair, until I decided on back right up to their doorway and wheeled her straight in. Her husband used to put a bollard in the street to stop anyone parking before we turned up.

    Another patient told me about the horse mounting stones in Church Road and also about a duck pond somewhere near where her Auntie used to take her to feed the ducks.

    Keep it going my friend I’m following you everywhere!

    Reply
  4. Christopher Crouch

    Great that you consider Hattons worthy of inclusion. Excellent store and very helpful.

    I would also add that as an ex pat in California, don’t let your correspondents knock Tesco too much, they are one of very few UK retailers flying the flag over here.

    It’s many years since I visited Liverpool and it’s a pleasure to see your photos.
    Christopher Crouch

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Thank you Christopher, glad you enjoyed the neighbourhood tour and are such a fan of Hatton’s.

      My problem with Tesco is about how they are operating in the British market, my particular concern being Liverpool. As well as their successful supermarkets, in the last decade or so they’ve developed a policy of surrounding these with their own smaller convenience stores, trying to soak up the whole market. This is bad for local traders and corner shops, obviously, and bad for our quality of life – all food and goods ending up being the ones that Tesco chooses to stock.

      I also understand that the natural aim of a capitalist company is to be continually more successful, but I don’t have to like the effects of that aim. Since Tesco are so proud of stating that they ‘work with’ their communities, this is one community member suggesting that the best way to do that round here would be to back off a bit in the interests of variety and local independent retailers, of whom Hatton’s, for one, are of course much loved and treasured.

      Reply
  5. mooshylala

    Only just seen this, thank you so much for mentioning my little shop “Mooshy La La”,I opened in November 2013, so looks like I had only just opened. I sell Vintage clothing & jewellery, along with antiques, I am becoming quite established now, with an impressive following & love being in the area. I’m very close to Penny Lane so receiving a lot of attention from the tourists! …….and the name……well it is my daughters nickname ……her name is ‘Misha Lily’ and when she was born my son ‘Lloyd’ (aged four at the time) decided on his own version of the name …….hence “Mooshy La La”. I adore the Deco period & I think “Mooshy La La” is a perfectly frivolous, coquettish name that conjures up the image of a Ziegfeld Flapper of the day! Thank you again for the mention! Sue Gannon-Kendrick

    Reply
      1. mooshylala

        Yes, Ronnie and now we have Penny Lane Emporium over the road, an array of vintage and antique units the area is fast becoming the destination to head to for a leisurely mooch after Sunday brekki in one of the many wine bars and restaurants around Penny Lane!

  6. Gordon Conway

    Hi Ronnie thanks for your Interesting article I lived in Rose Villas off Prince Alfred Road went to Blue Coat School my father was the Verger at Holy Trinity Church you mentioned all my Childhood Haunts I used to enjoy Sefton Park and the boating lake Kind Regard

    Reply
  7. HEGR

    Morning all. Lovely photos mate, so lovely to see somebody taking time to appreciate their home town.
    I realise all these posts have happened a few years ago but I thought I’d reach out on the off chance as I’m seeking some advice. My partner and I are expecting our first little on next year and are looking to move out of the family home and buy our first house. Wavertree is looking like it’s the most realistic area for our budget but it’s not an area either of us know. Just wanted to ask for honest opinions about how suitable an area it is for a young family. Any hints for particular roads to go for/avoid would be much appreciated.
    Many thanks all
    Much love
    -H

    Reply
    1. Gordon Conway

      Hi Ronnie nice to see All my Haunts in Wavertree I was born in Sefton Hospital now Asda lived in Alderson Road until about 1955 ,then we moved to Rose Villas off Prince Alfred Road ,fond memories of my Youth my last school was Blue Coat Church St ,

      Reply
  8. Ian

    Hi mate, I’ve just stumbled on your article while I was trying to find out the name of the pizzeria that use to be on the High St, late 80s to early 90s. It was run by an elderly Italian gentleman, and to this day remains the best pizza I’ve had outside of Italy. If anyone can recall it, please tell me the name.

    I notice you have a picture of the old house behind the garage that the old lady lived in. I was at school with their son. It was owned by Mr and Mrs Hope-Jones. There’s a fabulous story about Mr Hope-Jones and his wartime heroics if you or any local historian would like to know, I can retell it.

    Thanks for trip down memory lane Ronnie

    Reply

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