In Everton: The New Precinct

These are the end days for the new precinct. Born in the 1960s, in the ‘city of change and challenge’ the new precinct on Great Homer Street is almost ready to leave us now.

But once upon a time there were such dreams dreamed for here.

But once upon a time there were such dreams dreamed for here.

Clean lines, elegant walkways. New lives full of possibilities.

Clean lines, elegant walkways. New lives full of possibilities and stories?

But now the new precinct is to be replaced by a new 'new precinct'

But now the new precinct is to be replaced by a new ‘new precinct’

The second time in my lifetime there’s been a ‘new precinct’ built here. On Great Homer Street. The street of Homer, the great story-teller.

So much bigger and so much bolder.

So much bigger and so much bolder than the old ‘new precinct’. Apparently.

For now, while they start building it, you can see clear through to Scotland Road, to where the land stops being called ‘Everton’

In fact, you can see through to the River, for now.

In fact, you can see through to the riverbank, for now.

These of course are the photographs of a moment in time. Taken by me on the early afternoon of Tuesday 9th December 2014 when I happened to be walking between the 26 bus stop on Great Homer Street and somewhere on Scotland Road, for some work I’m involved in. A moment in time. But I think these photographs will have a life in a certain world. A world that cares about Everton and about Scotland Road and what time does to them.

So I hope they will be used and shared, these folk memories my camera takes of ‘Remember when?’ and ‘No, look at this!’ One of the ways we preserve in our hearts and stories the places we lose to progress and history. I’m not the only one who does this with photographs taken on ‘ordinary’ days, look.

Great Homer Street, early 1960s.

Great Homer Street, early 1960s.

Looking down the hill at Everton in those days.

Looking down the hill at Everton in those days.

This is one of my favourite photographs of Liverpool ever. Though I’ve no idea who took it. Like my own photographs it can now be found all over the internet. Our folk stories left there for future generations and their homeworks of ‘Where I live, Where my parents were born, Stories of my Grandparents.’ All the stories.

Then 'Change and Challenge' began to happen to Everton.

Then ‘Change and Challenge’ began to happen to Everton.

This is round about when I turned up. Early in the 1970s, walking most days up and down the hill in my first proper job, between the Housing Offices on Scotland Road and Netherfield Heights.

Netherfield Heights

Netherfield Heights, the long slab block towards the left.

Mazzini, Garibaldi and the Braddocks nearby. St George’s Heights not yet built. In an Everton where these new tower blocks are creeping up the hill to replace the old terraces.

Down on Great Homer Street the new precinct is open and busy.

Down on Great Homer Street the new precinct is open and busy.

Me and Wally, a Senior Rent Collector, walk down to here sometimes to put the rent money from Netherfield Heights into the Midland Bank. No security, unless that was eighteen year old me? Cash in a brief case. I’ve still no idea why this happened only some days. But it did.

Just one of the stories of Great Homer Street. The street of Homer, the great story-teller.

The Great Homer Street market gets an indoor hall as well as its street stalls.

The Great Homer Street market gets an indoor hall as well as its street stalls.

And the new precinct is always busy, surrounded by all those tower blocks. I remember going often to the Seven Stars pub in the precinct.

And to the library.

And to the library.

Then time happens, years go by and most of the people disappear. Me and my camera turn up one early autumn Sunday.

Nether field Heights becomes a viewing platform.

Netherfield Heights has become a viewing platform.

For the new parkland that replaces most of the tower blocks.

For the new parkland that replaces most of the tower blocks. Blocks that lasted barely thirty years.

Then a year ago now I turn up to photograph the market.

By then the busiest thing in the new precinct. Opening up the closed down shops one day a week.

By now the busiest thing in the new precinct. Opening up the closed down shops one day a week.

In 1984 a new covered bit of the market had been opened over the other side of the road (thanks @Liverpool1207 on Twitter for this one).

In 1984 a new covered bit of the market had been opened over the other side of the road (thanks @Liverpool1207 on Twitter for this one from Liverpool Picture Book).

Across the road in those days, another covered hall bit of the market.

Another new development fated to last barely 30 years.

But all under sentence of change by then.

As all was under sentence of change by then.

As the long lumbering development known as ‘Project Jennifer’ in its early days slouches towards Great Homer Street to be born. The street of Homer, the great story-teller.

Then a few weeks ago the new penned in Market arrives.

Then a few weeks ago the new penned in Market arrives. No longer stretched along its Great Street.

To mixed reviews and no space for the traders still left over in the 'new precinct'

To mixed reviews and no space for the traders still left over in the ‘new precinct’

The old 'new' market hall is abandoned.

The old ‘new’ market hall is abandoned.

And time is almost ready to move on site.

St Anthony's watching over what happens, as ever.

St Anthony’s watching over what happens, as ever.

It is begun.

It is begun.

And in fact, seeing the sheer size of the cleared site now between Great Homer Street and Scotland Road I feel more put out on the street market’s behalf than ever. Shoved up into the corner by Dryden Street when the whole other side of the road could have been the site for a rejuvenated Greatie?

And across the road?

Instead,  across the road?

The 'new precinct' awaits its inevitable fate.

The ‘new precinct’ awaits its inevitable fate.

In the City of Change and Challenge.

In the city of change and challenge.

On Great Homer Street. The street of Homer, the great story-teller. The street where complete change keeps happening and nothing seems to last more than 30 years any more.

On the hill of Everton.

On the hill of Everton.

Where will all the stories go now? Now the street will be mostly all ‘new precinct’. Now the Market is so hemmed in at the far end. Now there are so few people left living here to tell the stories anyway? Let’s watch, with our cameras, as time happens. As change happens.

Happy to credit the photos if anyone actually knows who took any of them. Also happy for my own to go on their travels. This is the shared history of us all and our place that we are archiving here.

7 thoughts on “In Everton: The New Precinct

  1. robertday154

    “New precinct” is such 60s and 70s terminology – takes me back to my childhood in Derbyshire, when the first generation of “new precincts” were beginning to spread in Derby, Nottingham and later Birmingham and Coventry. I wonder what euphemisms for new developments will seem quaint to those who are kids now in fifty years’ time?

    Reply
  2. IanArrow

    I am intrigued as there has been such a lot of negative comments/opinions regarding this development and yet I feel a lot of them have come from Liverpudlians who do not live in the area, have they seen the area when the market is not on? Apart from a Saturday morning the rest of the week meant a handful of barely open shops with barely any shoppers! The area was dead 95% of the time. I appreciate the treatment of the market (and stall owners) should have been better and having to remove a small of the park is frustrating but I feel that we need to give this development a chance before writing it off! I hear constantly that it is a development taken an eternity to actually start, but it has now, the diggers are here on an almost daily basis and for long hours with most of the main site now flattened. I have lived literally a 100 yards from the development for 11 years, I for one am firmly behind the change….whether it is destined for history to repeat itself is another thing! I do have my doubts also mind and hope that the area is easier (and enticing) for people outside the area to visit as I think that will be a key goal for it to succeed! I also hope the maintenance/development of the shops and park will continue once initially finished as I feel that was the downfall the last there was a new precinct!

    Reply
    1. Annie

      The area has long died a death, and as someone who still lives in the area we are in desperate need of regeneration.Totally not happy with the new market, too small, no atmosphere and a pretty poor selection of goods, unless you need pillows. Hopefully the regeneration will bring some sort of awakening and help local businesses that have clung on waiting for this to happen.

      Reply

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