Including getting inside the Stanley Dock for the first time.
I love these February days like today when the sky here in Northern Britain is blue and it’s clear spring is on its way. Though we’re not through all of the grey winter days yet.
But today the sky is blue and that green colour you only see in spring is appearing.
The ground here in Calderstones Park is full of new growth.
And around the base of some trees are galanthus, the snowdrops are here.
And, cute wildlife alert:
If the squirrels ever did hibernate they’re up now.
And tiny bits of colour…
Are in the autumn leaf fall…
Everywhere you look.
The great herbaceous border is bare still.
Though never quite devoid of life.
Meanwhile the park is bursting with half term life.
A mini protest about the adults only City Bikes?
I get myself something to eat from the Reader Café.
Then go and sit in the sunshine in the English Garden to read my book.
Since publishing Dave Sinclair’s beautiful photographs of Liverpool in the 1980s on here the other week, I’ve thought a lot about the times and the politics I was involved in then and may well write more about it. For the moment I’m fascinated by the book and the constant reminders in it that ‘I was there’.
A lot of Dave Sinclair’s 1980s photos were of North Liverpool and the industries round the docks dying. And one day last week, a grey day this one, I was along the Dock Road there to see somewhere coming back to life and get inside somewhere I’ve long wanted to. The Stanley Dock.
The Bascule Bridge is closed to traffic at the moment.
But I’m here to go into somewhere that’s recently opened.
In the Stanley Dock, the Titanic Hotel.
Quite like the Albert Dock and also designed by Jesse Hartley.
I’m here talking about life and making the most of it with someone.
The sort of thing I do for my work.
And a peaceful few hours we have of it, sitting in here and walking round the neighbourhood that still buzzes with all sorts of trade.
Here I am. My friend having a go of the new camera.
We deliberately sit by the window.
Delighted to be looking out at something so grand.
And eventually ‘something so grand’ demands to be photographed as more than background.
Here we are then, inside the Stanley Dock.
Closed off for ages as derelict, or a potential site or a huge disco or somewhere for filming the Peaky Blinders TV series.
Looking at it from this angle for the first time in my life. On a still and cold day.
The beautiful and huge tobacco warehouse.
And its gorgeous Bascule swing bridge.
See my previous North Docks post for more on the Bascule Bridge.
That’s 27 million bricks, 30,000 panes of glass and 8,000 tons of steel.
Built in 1901.
And ending its days as a working warehouse in the 1980s.
Working inside there in the 1920s.
While I’m taking these photos there are sounds of heavy works taking place from across the dock. Apparently it’s being turned into a mixture of apartments and market spaces.
But right now some of its old ‘stuff’ is still around.
A crane and this concrete building.
A long and meandering way from Leeds to here.
Looking more closely at the ancient hardware.
Framing the past.
And the future?
Some of the dock building this side was destroyed in World War 2 and never replaced ’til now.
So it’s been great to finally get inside here.
Beyond the fence.
And this side of the Mersey Wall.
Even on such a grey and cold winter’s day this has been a real thrill for me. But I’ll be back for more on a blue day some time soon.
A day more like this.