The Road Home

A Friday Walk through the various places where people live. Eventually getting to town to see some friends and their new venture ‘Home’ in School Lane, Liverpool One.

'Home' in School Lane.

‘Home’ in School Lane, eventual destination for the day.

Across The Mystery on a blue 20th December morning.

But first, across The Mystery on a blue 20th December morning.

Out on to Cow Lane.

Out onto Cow Lane.

It’s been called Prince Arthur’s Road for the last century or more, since the visit of some royal. But as a keen fan of evidence of urban farming I always use its original name.

On Wavertree High Street, the shaming of The Lamb.

On Wavertree High Street, the shaming of The Lamb.

Yes, looks like a pub and always was a pub. But now, sadly, it’s a solicitor’s office.

The Picton Clock. He paid for it, he named it.

The Picton Clock. He paid for it, he named it.

The Wavertree Lockup.

The Wavertree Lock-Up.

The plaque on it says:

“Built in 1796 to house drunks and criminals overnight, it later accommodated cholera victims and refugees from the Irish Famine.”

Though as you’ll know if you’ve been around here a while I won’t have it called a famine. Only the potato crop failed. The English ate or exported everything else. What they didn’t do, though, was enclose the little green the Lock-Up is standing on. That is the only remaining piece of common land in Liverpool, and therefore very precious.

The Monks' Well.

The Monks’ Well.

Medieval this, apparently and there really is a spring under it. The cross is a relatively recent addition though but its inscription is a gem:

”Deus dedit homo bibit’ meaning ‘God gives, man drinks”

Further along Mill Lane, an unwelcome sight, a gated estate.

The gated road home: Further along Mill Lane, an unwelcome sight, a gated estate. Why?

Just next to this deep railway ravine with allotments next to it.

Just next to this deep railway ravine with allotments next to it.

And one of Liverpool's old cottage hospitals, still in use.

And one of Liverpool’s old cottage hospitals, still in use. For psychiatric intensive care.

From Wavertree into Old Swan. The Glasshouse, beautiful and still a pub.

From Wavertree into Old Swan. The Glasshouse, beautiful and still a pub.

On Broadgreen Road, Tom Williams Cake Factory!

On Broadgreen Road, Tom Williams Cake Factory!

I love walking through Old Swan. Lively and full of people, and with a complicated crossroads that’s a real relic of when the place was a village with coaching inns, a few miles from Liverpool town.

St Oswald's Church, designed by Pugin.

St Oswald’s Church, originally designed by Pugin.

'The Old Swan' itself, at Liverpool's finest village crossroads.

‘The Old Swan’ itself, at Liverpool’s finest village crossroads.

Roads going off in all directions.

Roads going off in all directions.

Though, architecturally speaking, the junction still misses the tenements and shops of St Oswald’s Gardens.

St Oswald's Gardens

Replaced by a large car park, with monopoly capitalist attached.

Replaced by a large car park, with monopoly capitalist attached.

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Better local bargains available this side of the road.

From all the possible directions I set off along Prescot Road to the city.

From all the possible directions I set off along Prescot Road to the city centre.

The Road Home: Past these typical Liverpool terraces.

The road home: Past these typical Liverpool terraces.

There are 80,000 of these terraced houses in Liverpool, we live in one.

Past St Anne Stanley school. Holidays have begun and maintenance works have started.

Past St Anne Stanley school. Holidays have begun and maintenance works have started.

The Road Home: Herrick Street.

The road home: Herrick Street.

The closed Stanley pub, next to the Stanley Abattoir.

The closed Stanley pub, next to the Stanley Abattoir.

Not sure how much ‘abattoiring’ goes on in there now, or whether it’s just a wholesale market? But they are moving with the times. An advert on the front boasts of the availability of ‘slimming sausages’.

More wholesale marketing.

More wholesale marketing.

Though today it looks more like a vast empty space.

Though today it looks more like a vast empty space.

Crossing the railway. Good to see such a long goods train. Makes a lot more sense than a load of trucks on the road.

Crossing the railway. Good to see such a long goods train. Makes a lot more sense than a load of trucks on the road.

Newsham Park.

Newsham Park.

Oh look, it’s a regeneration sign!

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Opposite a row of splendid but empty homes.

The road home: Opposite a row of splendid but mostly empty homes.

For a couple of miles now we’ll be walking through the ‘Kensington New Deal’ area. A regeneration initiative from the early days of New Labour. So it’ll be interesting to see how it’s worked.

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I go in.

I go in.

And find a rich selection of mostly Eastern European and Middle Eastern foods.

And these splendid cakes.

And these splendid cakes.

I buy a couple of Turkish olive-bread rolls and walk on.

Past empty shops.

Past empty shops.

And, still here, the old Kensington Market.

And, still here, the closed down old Kensington Market.

I remember this being a (hate the phrase) ‘Flagship Project’ at the beginning of the New Deal. Now it’s got bushes growing out of the roof. What went wrong?

There is new development around the Sheil Road junction.

There is new development around the Sheil Road junction.

Where I'm pleased to see the pub is still open.

Where I’m pleased to see the pub is still open.

And the Dean Road Jewish Cemetery has been beautifully restored.

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‘Here the weary are at rest.”

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Legendary, and still here.

Legendary, and still here.

Legendary if you’re a Deaf School fan anyway. As they memorably sang:

“Everybody looks like me
Down at Capaldi’s Caff.”

The Road Home: New housing off Kensington.

The road home: New housing off Kensington.

Dilapidation at Christ Church.

Dilapidation at Christ Church.

Next, a real treat, glorious Kensington Library.

Next, a real treat, glorious Kensington Library.

Road Home41I go in.

Isn't this gorgeous?

Isn’t this gorgeous?

It’s still managing to be open four days a week, though you fear for its future with the UK government’s vicious ‘austerity’ policies.

Oh look out! Looks like the 'Housing Market Renewal Initiative' has been doing its usual job of creating empty fields.

Oh look out! Looks like the ‘Housing Market Renewal Initiative’ has been doing its usual job of creating empty fields.

The Road Home: Lovely, yellow brick, Adelaide Road.

The road home: Lovely, yellow brick, Adelaide Road.

More emptiness at the far end of the New Deal area.

More emptiness at the far end of the New Deal area.

So this is hardly a scientific study of ‘How the New Deal for Kensington’ worked out (you can read that here). I’ve only walked along the one road. But it is the main drag and it’s not looking all that regenerated is it?

Next, those of you not from Liverpool, try and guess what this is.

High security prison, Nuclear power station or factory specialising in the production of dangerous chemicals?

High security prison, nuclear power station or factory specialising in the production of dangerous chemicals?

All wrong, it's our main hospital, Liverpool Royal.

All wrong, it’s our main hospital, the Royal Liverpool.

Every day, the people who work in here perform miracles. All of us know someone whose life has been saved at the Royal. But they seriously need a better place for their miracles than this slab of brutalism.

Just as well we're about to get a new hospital then.

Just as well we’re about to get a new hospital then.

Though none of us lot, the experienced patients of Liverpool, were asked about it. So who knows if it will be better than what it’s replacing?

Closer to town now.

Closer to town now.

In fact when I was young this was part of the city centre. Now it’s more an area for budget shops.

Like this

Like this ‘Bulky Bob’s Furniture World’

‘Bulky Bob’s’ is a part of the Furniture Resource Centre Group who we did a lot of work with in the early days of ‘a sense of place’. They collect all the bulky household unwanted goods in Liverpool, then recycle all they can, cleaned up and refreshed, here in this shop.

Just along the road is a Liverpool legend, TJ’s.

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We’d come here to their Christmas Grottos in the late 50s and early 60s. I remember Pinky and Perky, Sparky and his magic piano, The Dancing Waters. Always the best in Liverpool.

Today, five days before Christmas, their sale has already begun. So how's business?

Today, five days before Christmas, their sale has already begun. So how’s business?

I go in expecting it to be rammed. Far from it.

I go in expecting it to be rammed. Far from it.

Outside TJ's the street market's quiet too.

Outside TJ’s the street market’s quiet too.

The Road Home: St Andrew's Gardens, The Bullring.

The road home: St Andrew’s Gardens, The Bullring. Student housing now.

Then all of a sudden we're at the city centre. The Walker Art Gallery here.

Then all of a sudden we’re at the city centre. The Walker Art Gallery here.

The Mersey Tunnel just down the road.

The Mersey Tunnel just down the road.

Passing a housing office, I’m taken by surprise.

You won't be able to read it all with the reflection.

You won’t be able to read it all with the reflection.

But it says:

“For Liverpool,
For everyone,
For the long run.”

And I wrote these words about seven years ago, along  with tenants involved in the transfer of the remaining City Council homes to a new landlord, who wanted to make sure public housing would stay public forever. This is the office of that landlord, Liverpool Mutual Homes, and I’m so pleased to see the words still there.

I walk on and finally find where the people are.

In Williamson Square.

In Williamson Square.

And Church Street.

And Church Street.

But I’m not here for Christmas shopping myself of course. I’m here to call in on a couple of friends and their new venture.

Finally 'home'

The road home: Finally ‘Home’

New to School Lane in Liverpool One. Three floors of coffee, drinks, food and deli.

New to School Lane in Liverpool One. Three floors of coffee, drinks, food and deli.

An independent at the heart of Liverpool One, run by Polly and Ben Harrison.

An independent at the heart of Liverpool One, run by Polly and Ben Harrison.

This is Polly and Ben’s third ‘Home’ – the others being in Oxton and Woodside Ferry terminal. They’re local themselves, of course, and are dedicated to using local suppliers.

The place is beautifully done and I'm sure I'll be back another day to eat here.

The place is beautifully done and I’m sure I’ll be back another day to eat here.

For today I’m just delighted to see them here. It’s wonderful to be able to walk around inside two people’s dream. Regular readers will well know that I find most of what Liverpool One offers to be far too much about big, corporate, could be anywhere chains. Well this is different. These are two of our own. And if Liverpool One’s to have a future in our hearts, then we need a good few more of our Pollys and Bens to be in there, making it work, you know – ‘For Liverpool, for everyone, for the long run?’

I’ve known Polly and Ben for years, in fact if you’ve read our posts about ‘The story of a sense of place’ (and if not..?) you’ve met Polly before:

“One lunch-time I run into a woman who’s just been on one of our ‘One Day’ workshops, and she asks me where I’m going. ‘Back to work’ I say, ‘I’m just on my lunch-hour’. She looks a mixture of mystified and disappointed. ‘I’m surprised’ she says. ‘You were encouraging us all to go with our hearts the other week, and do what we want with our lives. And yet here you are on your way back into work. Is this what you really want to be doing?’ I tell Sarah about this and it really touches a nerve in both of us. We start to realise that before we can really fly, we’re going to have to jump.”

Well, that was Polly. Thank you Polly for the inspiration, and lovely to meet you here, at the end of this particular road home. Go well, both of you.

2 thoughts on “The Road Home

  1. alf burns

    I’ve been in Australia for over 50 years now,and wondered if various buildings/suburbs still existed, and it appears against all odds and destructive government and council policies, that most of it still does.

    I moved away from Liverpool in 1956 (joined the British army. And after much travelling I washed up in Australia. I love your pictures and all things Liverpool. Keep on keepin’ on Ronnie.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Thanks Alf. I was born here round about when you left, and I still recognise a lot of places from growing up, especially when my walks take me to the places that don’t get photographed all that often. A lot has gone, but I’m glad the place is still recognisable to you. And yes, I’ll keep on walking around it, watching it carefully, like it’s a precious jewel!

      Reply

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