Walking to Mello Mello

The Independent Liverpool Card comes out for a walk.

This was a beautiful day. Cold and sharp with low, glancing, winter sunlight. The sort of day when no self-respecting camera would allow itself to be left in a bag.

I put my boots on and I walk out into the Mystery.

I put my boots on and I walk out into the Mystery.

Past the winter trees.

Past the winter trees.

And onto Smithdown.

And down on to Smithdown.

Colourful new student housing (yes, more) in a block respecting the shape of the old yellow café that crumbled in on itself here a while back.

Colourful new student housing (yes, more) in a block respecting the shape of the old block that eventually crumbled in on itself here a while back.

This block.

This block.

Up to this point there have been pubs along the road, notably the Brookhouse and the Willowbank. After here the housing thins out, and so do the pubs.

This was the Woodcroft, now the Landmark Indian restaurant.

This was the Woodcroft, now the Landmark Indian restaurant.

And the sadly closed down Royal Hotel.

And the sadly closed down Royal Hotel.

With its beautiful mosaic tiling.

With its beautiful mosaic tiling. Perfect Guinness served no more – for now.

Just along the road we find out why the pubs are closing.

The empty homes of Webster Road.

The empty homes of Webster Road.

The beginning of the Desolation of Smithdown. Formerly settled streets laid waste by the failed Housing Market Renewal Initiative.

No people around, so the shops shut down too.

No people around, so more shut shops.

Tunstall Street, at the end of another empty year.

Tunstall Street, at the end of another empty year.

Empty now for what? Seven years or more? Still, better than the emptiness opposite.

Tunstall Street, Cantsfield Street and Mulliner Street. St Dunstan's on Earle Road in the background.

Tunstall Street, Cantsfield Street, Underley Street and Mulliner Street. St Dunstan’s on Earle Road in the background.

And the Mulliner, another pub that ran out of customers.

And the Mulliner, another pub that ran out of customers.

And looks like it might be running out of the will to live.

And looks like it might be running out of the will to live.

But never mind, it's 'a development opportunity.'

But never mind, it’s ‘a development opportunity.’

Here’s the thing, right? How would it be if local councils couldn’t approve housing projects unless and until they could show proof of the money to complete them? Standing aside from the argument about whether the houses in these streets had come to the end of their useful lives or not, this is a public sector strategy that’s decimated this place by starting what it has failed to finish. So not really a strategy at all then.

Aware that I’m starting to have an argument with a load of empty fields I walk on.

Opposite, there are still settled streets.

Opposite, there are still settled streets.

And look, a pub that's still open.

And look, a pub that’s still open.

A supermarket too.

A supermarket too.

In its time this has been a Tesco and a Kwik-Save. Now it’s something much more independent.

Getting closer to the city centre now.

Getting closer to the city centre now.

Both cathedrals in view.

Both cathedrals in view.

Along Upper Parliament and into the Canning area of Georgian houses.

Friendship House from Falkner Square garden.

Friendship House from Falkner Square garden.

CanningStreet and the Cathedral. I've taken this picture so many times.

Canning Street and the Cathedral. I’ve taken this picture so many times.

Here's another version of it.

Here’s another version of it.

The corner of Canning Street and Bedford Street South.

The corner of Canning Street and Bedford Street South.

You almost wonder if, when they were building these in the 1820s one builder turned to another and said ‘You know these are going to look cracking in photographs taken on sunny days early in the winter – whatever photographs are?’

Further along Canning Street, in the shadow of a cathedral.

Further along Canning Street, in the shadow of a cathedral.

This cathedral.

This cathedral.

Hope Street, the Georgian buildings continue.

Hope Street, the Georgian buildings continue.

Falkner Street.

Falkner Street.

Hope Place.

Hope Place and the Unity Theatre, a former synagogue.

Pilgrim Street, the cathedral at the far end.

Pilgrim Street, the cathedral at the far end.

Down into town now.

Down into town now.

Into Bold Street.

Into Bold Street.

New, I think, next to Bold Street Coffee.

New, I think, next to Bold Street Coffee.

The Street in shadow.

The Street in shadow.

Rennie's Arts and Crafts, newly added to the Independent Liverpool Card.

Rennie’s Arts and Crafts, newly added to the Independent Liverpool Card.

Crossing Ranelagh Street and looking up. Always more interesting than the shop fronts. There's a fading ghost sign for something up there.

Crossing Ranelagh Street and looking up. Always more interesting than the shop fronts. There’s a fading ghost sign for something up there.

Remembering that this post is entitled ‘Walking to Mello Mello’ Liverpool residents may be getting a bit uncomfortable by now, knowing I should have turned left half way down Bold Street. Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing. And anyway, it’s my blog.

Church Street is busy and full of stalls. Looks like they're going through with Christmas again.

Church Street is busy and full of stalls. Looks like they’re going through with Christmas again.

In tarletan Street, more looking up.

In Tarleton Street, more looking up.

Near the top of what used to be a Yates’s Wine Lodge is a depiction of Conwy Castle. Curious, as just along the road is a pub called the Carnarvon Castle (I know that’s not the way to spell it any more, but that’s how the pub spells it).

In Williamson Square I find what I'm looking for, in this urban Christmas village of containers.

In Williamson Square I find what I’m looking for, the Urban Winter Village.

Yes, it's Independent Liverpool.

And here are Independent Liverpool and their hampers and Cards.

Introducing David Williams and Oliver Press, Independent Liverpool.

Introducing David Williams and Oliver Press, Independent Liverpool.

Yes, I’ve come to meet them before going to Mello Mello, another of the 50 or more places covered by their Card. They’re here promoting and selling the Card, as well as meeting many of us who already have it, up until 22nd December. They explain:

“Obviously you can buy the Card online, but we’ve found a lot of people keen to get their hands on one even more quickly than that. So they come down here, have a chat with us, and go off, with their own card straight to one of the independent cafés, shops, bars and restaurants covered by it.”

So if you’re around Williamson Square go and say hello to them and get your own Card. As I’ve said before, it’s a ridiculously good idea and for £10 you not only get yourself a year’s worth of discounts in some of Liverpool’s best places, you also support the independent traders who are so big a part of what makes Liverpool special. And no, they’re not paying me to say this. The only thing wrong with their idea is that I didn’t have it first!

I’m getting hungry now, time for lunch.

Into Wolstenholme Square past this fascinating old sign.

Into Wolstenholme Square past this fascinating old sign.

Who are or were Hastie & Patterson of the splendid old looking sign then? Electrical engineers, and they’re still going.

Underneath Jorge Pardo's 'Penelope'

Underneath Jorge Pardo’s ‘Penelope’

Lunch at last.

Lunch at last.

DSC00555The Mello Mello offer for Independent Liverpool Card holders is:

“Free bar snacks with a pint of guest tap;
Two meals and a bottle of wine for £20;
Whiskey chasers £2 with a pint of guest tap.”

All aimed at the evening market then, I’d say. So I wasn’t here for a discount, I was here for my lunch, already knowing how splendid the food is these days. In fact I’m not even going to review the food, read Independent Liverpool’s own review and story of the place for that.

I enjoyed myself in a warm and comfortable, child-friendly, everyone friendly environment.

I enjoyed myself in a warm and comfortable, child-friendly, everyone friendly environment.

And after I'd eaten I stayed for a good while, peacefully reading my book.

And after I’d eaten I stayed for a good while, drinking tea and peacefully reading my book.

‘Life’ by Keith Richards, in case you’re interested. Scurrilous, surprisingly likeable, passionately musical and highly recommended.

After that, me and The Card and the camera got the bus home.

5 thoughts on “Walking to Mello Mello

  1. Gerry

    Do you remember the gas lights in the Royal (and in that one still visible outside, over the entrance)? Not that long ago – just a few years back.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      I do Gerry. The Royal’s the kind of good, solid, popular pub I’d thought would always be there. Very sad to see it all shut up today, with no immediate prospect of any new and thirsty population moving in to re-open it and the Mulliner.

      Reply
  2. stan cotter

    Yes Ronnie, I used to know all these streets well. Although im not from that area a lot of my friends were, its so sad really to see so many really good housing stock flattened and gone. How nice it could have been if they had been modernised.

    My fathers family lived in Portwood Street at the top of Upper Parliament Street, now long gone and mostly forgotten sadly. All those community pubs where people met friends, all gone, again so sad.

    Thanks for the memories.

    Reply
  3. Jimmy Mo

    “How would it be if local councils couldn’t approve housing projects unless and until they could show proof of the money to complete them?”

    I’m not sure that was ever the honest intention? The cynic in me suggests demolishing the houses was the objective from the beginning.

    A very similar thing occurred in the ‘problem’ estates of Sunderland..
    Fantastic grand plans are drawn up – http://www.jtp.co.uk/public/uploads/pdfs/pennywell_sunderland.pdf

    The bulldozers moved in.. (brutally horrible for the people who’d bought houses)

    That was years ago, so now… the endless wait for jam tomorrow..
    http://binged.it/1bJJuMs

    It was never about redevelopment, it was about ‘getting rid’.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Sadly true, Jimmy. It’s all about the housing ‘market.’ So what we see as empty fields developers will no doubt view as ‘land banks.’

      Meanwhile, people’s lives go by. Empty of the houses they could be holding their loved ones in, raising their children in. All in the cause of the sacred ‘markets’ – which must be ‘renewed’ at whatever cost. It’s not so much government as theft.

      Reply

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