In Liverpool: On Christmas Day in the morning

For a dedicated urban walker Christmas Day offers just about the best chance of the year to walk around the city centre, in daylight, while most of it is shut, and be almost alone too.

I begin up at the Cathedral.

I begin up at the Cathedral.

It is Christmas Day after all.

It is Christmas Day after all.

Along a silent Hope Street is the Catholic Cathedral.

Along a silent Hope Street is the Catholic Cathedral.

Along Hope Street I see the only party hats of the day. Three women in the restaurant at the Liverpool Carriage Works having what looked like an intensely serious discussion with Christmas Cracker hats on their heads. No, I don’t risk a photograph.

Down Hardman Street.

Down Hardman Street.

A discovery, empty buildings look even emptier and lonelier when there's no one around.

A discovery, empty buildings look even emptier and lonelier when there’s no one around.

Pilgrim Street.

Pilgrim Street.

And down the hill, a magnificently empty Bold Street.

And down the hill, a magnificently empty Bold Street.

Yes, that's a closed Tesco there on the right. A miracle of Christmas Day.

Yes, that’s a closed Tesco there on the right. A miracle of Christmas Day.

Concert Square

Concert Square, note absence of drinking and dancing.

Ranelagh Street and the Adelphi.

Ranelagh Street and the Adelphi.

Church Street.

Church Street, Christmas market stalls all gone.

Parker Street, the giant screen playing to no one.

Parker Street, the giant screen playing to no one.

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Bassnet Street.

Basnett Street.

Williamson Square, urban village of Christmas pop-up shops all gone.

Williamson Square, urban village of Christmas pop-up shops all gone.

But the adverts play on, hoping you got one of these this morning.

But the adverts play on, hoping you got one of these this morning.

The streets are not quite empty but I think the few people I pass are visitors strolling around the streets from their hotels. I hear many languages but little English.

Along Lord Street, hadn't realised it was slightly uphill 'til today.

Along Lord Street, hadn’t realised it was slightly uphill ’til today.

The leased out private streets of Liverpool One.

The leased out private streets of Liverpool One.

Two Liverpool One security guards there in the distance. Protecting it from, well, me.

Two Liverpool One security guards there in the distance. Protecting it from, well, me.

Looking up, on Lord Street,  at the loveliest survivor of the World War II Blitz.

Looking up, on Lord Street, at the loveliest survivor of the World War II Blitz.

Along Castle Street, the dressed up Town Hall.

Along Castle Street, the dressed up Town Hall.

San Carlo on Castle Street. Open for Christmas Dinner.

San Carlo on Castle Street. Open for Christmas Dinner.

Fenwick Street.

Fenwick Street.

The stark surprise of Mann Island. Starker without the cars and people to soften the sharp edges of the modern.

The stark surprise of Mann Island. Starker without the cars and people to soften the sharp edges of the modern.

Crossing to the Pier Head, in silence.

Crossing to the Pier Head, in silence.

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A curious site next to the Titanic Monument. A drilling platform?

A curious sight next to the Titanic Monument. A drilling platform?

Of a sort, yes.

Of a sort, yes.

It turns out to be owned by Fugro Seacore:

“Our mission is to be the world’s leading overwater Marine Drilling Contractor, providing geotechnical services and specialist foundation solutions for the marine construction, renewables, oil, gas and mining industries worldwide.

Specialising in large diameter drilling services, we always seek to expand the parameters of drilling technology. In completing a 6.5m diameter shaft in 2009, we have created the largest drilled marine socket in the world.”

So now you know. What one of their drilling platforms was doing being parked at the Pier Head, well, there was no one around to ask.

The Belfast Ferry, more usually seen sort of river traffic.

The Belfast Ferry, more usually seen sort of river traffic.

Lovely Tower Buildings, opposite the Liver Buildings.

Lovely Tower Buildings, opposite the Liver Buildings.

Again, with no people around to blur the edges, this modern landscaping looks graceless.

Again, with no people around to blur the edges, this modern landscaping looks graceless. A bit like those ‘adventure playgrounds’ that got built at the base of 1960s tower blocks.

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Yes, why isn’t that the planet’s name?

Walking back past Liverpool One, adverts still playing to the emptiness.

Walking back past Liverpool One, adverts still playing to the emptiness.

Up Duke Street.

Up Duke Street.

Disguised empty buildings on one side of the road.

Disguised empty buildings on one side of the road.

Facing obviously empty on the other. All Georgian.

Facing obviously empty on the other. All Georgian, mind.

Duke's Terrace, back to back surviving 'court' housing, just off Duke Street.

Duke’s Terrace, back to back surviving ‘court’ housing, just off Duke Street.

Past the Chinese Arch.

Past the Chinese Arch.

And back up to the Cathedral.

And back up to the Cathedral.

Walk over, as the sun sets on the city centre's empty day.

Walk over, as the afternoon arrives and the sun begins setting on the city centre’s empty day.

Peace on Earth and good will to all of us, all of us. As the City sleeps and for a few sacred hours capitalism is turned off.

9 thoughts on “In Liverpool: On Christmas Day in the morning

  1. Gerry

    Jesus! The capitalist moguls slipped up badly today! Made no attempt to draw the crowds and extract some dosh from people’s pockets. I’m sure they’ll have it sorted by next year. Thanks for the Tony Benn Christmas message, Ronnie, and I hope you and Sarah had a happy day and will have a peaceful new year.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      It’s a more prosperous looking ghost town than what The Specials were singing about in 1981. Nevertheless it was a great relief to see the economy turned off for a day. And a serious annoyance to have the global brand advocates bleating about ‘footfall’ in the next day’s Liverpool Echo. Like shopping is our duty.

      Reply
      1. lindsay53

        Footfall? Really? Is that what us shoppers are now called? Thought we were customers or even clients. Deserving of a ‘corporates’ boycott eh? Vive les independents!!

      2. Ronnie Hughes Post author

        That’s why I’m such a keen supporter of independent shops, cafés and bars around here (and the brilliant campaign & idea of the Independent Liverpool card). I like to be greeted by people who recognise me and in time get to know their names and they mine. It’s what helps knit us all together, brings the city alive on a human scale, helps people I care about run human scale businesses. ‘Footfall’ talk shows me where to avoid.

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