Waterloo: Such a special place

 

Waterloo01Most people come to Waterloo for one principal reason. To see artist Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ the two miles of iron men figures staring out to sea from here.

For the last few months though, I’ve been working with a group of people in Waterloo to build on the success of ‘Another Place’ and start showing people there are many reasons to stay a lot longer in Waterloo than the time it takes to look at the art.

We’ve made some films together which will soon be used as part of marketing the town to potential visitors. And you can see one of them at the end of this post.

If you come to Waterloo by car you’ll most likely turn off the main Liverpool road at the Five Lamps.

 Waterloo's War Memorial.

Waterloo’s War Memorial.

But I usually get the train.

Arriving at Waterloo Station from Liverpool Central.

Arriving at Waterloo Station from Liverpool Central.

As people have been doing for a very long time.

As people have been doing for a very long time.

Historically part of Lancashire and originally an area of Crosby, named Crosby Seabank, Waterloo was mostly sandhills and fields. One of the first major buildings in the area was opened on 18 June 1816, the first anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, and was named the Royal Waterloo Hotel in honour of the event. Gradually, as the population increased, and particularly with the arrival of the railway, the area became an identifiable location known as Waterloo. Popular with wealthy Liverpool merchants and sea captains.

Waterloo, early in the 20th century. When the beach came up to the end of the road.

Waterloo, early in the 20th century. When the beach came up to the end of the road.

I remember coming here often in the 1950s and 60s to the beach there, as we only lived a few miles away.

We'd walk onto the beach here. and stop just there on the right to brush the sand from our feet on the way home.

We’d walk onto the beach here. And stop just there on the right to brush the sand from our feet on the way home.

Then in the 1970s, when the Liverpool Container Port was constructed just up river from Waterloo, the Marina you can see now was made.

Waterloo front and Marina.

Waterloo front and Marina.

Part sea defence and also of course, a water park. The first wide open breathing space as you leave the city behind.

On sunny days the whole front here fills up with visitors.

Arriving as they always have.

Arriving as they always have.

On this old post card coming on their holidays from as far away as Hoylake!

In this case coming on their holidays from as far away as Hoylake!

Beyond the Marina and the sandhills the beach is still here of course.

Beyond the Marina and the sandhills the beach is still here of course.

But what else?

Well there's Crosby Lakeside.

Well there’s Crosby Lakeside.

On the edge of the Marina. Bar, bistro, gym, you can even stay here. Plus hire bikes and boats, as we did in the films we’ve made.

Rowing out on the Marina.

Rowing out on the Marina.

Causing intense happiness, as you can see!

Causing intense happiness, as you can see!

Waterloo14

The people I worked with on the films are the ‘Friends of Waterloo Seafront Gardens.’ The gardens which stretch all the way along the front of Waterloo.

They're working with the local council to gradually restore the gardens to their former splendour.

They’re working with the local council to gradually restore the gardens to their former splendour.

This splendour.

This splendour.

Clearing over growth.

Clearing over growth.

Restoring ponds, planting and rockeries.

Restoring ponds, planting and rockeries.

So the gardens are shining again.

So the gardens are shining again.

Peaceful places to sit and watch the world go by.

Peaceful places to sit and watch the world go by.

Or to ride through on your hired bikes!

Or to ride through on your hired bikes!

One of the lovely terraced houses here was the home of the Captain of the Titanic.

One of the lovely terraced houses here was the home of the Captain of the Titanic.

And there’s lots more history around the place too.

Potter's Barn here.

Potter’s Barn here.

An exact replica of the barn at Waterloo, Belgium.

An exact replica of the barn at Waterloo, Belgium.

In which, as all Abba fans will remember:

“Napoleon did surrender.”

But for me, as ever, a place I simply like walking around. Good streets, interesting shops, a strong sense of place.

I particularly like this place, Old Christ Church.

I particularly like this place, Old Christ Church.

Timelessly lovely. Here it is early in the 20th century.

Timelessly lovely. Here it is early in the 20th century. Soon after it was built.

And here in 1986. Don't cars date quickly?

And here in 1986. Don’t cars date quickly?

These days it’s not used as a church any more. But holds Farmer’s Markets and various community activities. Like the Seafront Gardens, this is another place looked after largely by volunteers.

Perhaps explaining the name of everyone's favourite local?

Perhaps explaining the name of everyone’s favourite local?

So I enjoyed doing this. As things stand, my last film project as I’ve said on here before. Not saying that passion for an issue or simple curiosity mightn’t see me making another. But this marks a happy ending to my days as a film maker for hire. If you’ve got the time, take a look. Three and a half minutes walking, bike-riding and boat rowing round a lovely place.

Waterloo.

Waterloo.

Such a special place.

Such a special place.

Big thanks to Nick Thompson and the Friends of Waterloo Seafront Gardens. Also To Visit Sefton and West Lancashire for funding the Friends. And Steph Beqo from Crosby Lakeside.

Also special thanks to Helen Shaw and her children Alex and Louisa – the ‘bike family’ in the films.

2 thoughts on “Waterloo: Such a special place

  1. Reg McComb from Seaforth

    An excellent production. Being seventy doesn’t dim the memories of the beautiful place. Although I left 40 years ago the place is as vivid as ever.
    Thank you

    Reply

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