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.
But I usually get the train.
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.
I remember coming here often in the 1950s and 60s to the beach there, as we only lived a few miles away.
Then in the 1970s, when the Liverpool Container Port was constructed just up river from Waterloo, the Marina you can see now was made.
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.
But what else?
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.
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.
And there’s lots more history around the place too.
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.
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.
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.
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.