A hot, sunny day. Time to go to the seaside, I’d say. And when we were young and growing up in Liverpool the nearest seaside was New Brighton. So that’s where today’s bus journey will take us.
To make sure the front seat upstairs is baggsied, obviously.
New Brighton was ‘invented’ in 1830 as a speculative development by Everton resident James Atherton as a desirable residential and watering place for the gentry of Liverpool. Intended to be Liverpool’s own Brighton it eventually developed into a mass market resort for people from Liverpool and the Lancashire mill towns.
The tower was taken down at the end of the Great War, having been poorly maintained. But the ballroom beneath it remained and the Beatles played there many times before it was eventually destroyed by fire in 1969.
When we were young we’d usually come to New Brighton by ferry, until they stopped in 1971. After which the landing stage and pier were dismantled and New Brighton entered a period of dramatic decline, recorded in ‘The Last Resort’ by photographer Martin Parr. People still enjoyed their chips but the place had seen better days!
In more recent days money has been spent on the place in various ways, so I’m here to see if things are looking up.
A Morrison’s supermarket, a casino, an Iceland, a Home & Bargain and several chain restaurants and coffee bars. I think it’s gross, of course.
And yes, I realise this frontage looking out into Liverpool Bay, is as much a sea defence as a promenade, but need it look as bleak as this back of a row of shops, a casino and a hotel?
The open air swimming pool featured at the top of the post is long gone now too, in case you were wondering.
Some bits of the past are still here though.
But there have been some peculiar planning decisions made here in recent times. All that stuff on the front, obviously.
By this time I’m hungry. Don’t want chips and also don’t want to eat in any of those restaurants in the new development. A couple of reasonable looking cafés are closed though, maybe because it’s Monday. So the best I can do in the end is buy some bread and cheese from the Co-Op and go back down to the front.
Because around this side of New Brighton and along this coast you can do something you can’t do anywhere else on earth. You can sit on a beach and have your lunch…
After a good and peaceful sunny day out.
Which follows a slightly different route.
Then turning inland along Mount Pleasant and Seaview Roads.
So, New Brighton? I don’t much like that new development on the front there, but it’s undoubtedly popular. Still, I worry that little of the income it’s generating from its filled car park and its suburban hinterlands seems to be staying in a town that still feels as if Martin Parr would recognise much of it from photographing it in its down-at-heel 1980s.
See all of the ‘Great bus journeys of the world’ here.