A brisk, bright but very cold day for a walk into town to do some record shopping. ‘The temperature will feel like zero’ Sarah helpfully tells me. Passing on the information from her phone which often gives her comedy weather forecasts seemingly gathered by someone looking out of a window.
Undeterred I go out anyway.
Not been to Onion for a while. Too early for lunch today though.
Dingle Station used to be here. The start of the Liverpool Overhead Railway.
And though it was the ‘Overhead’ it started under the ground here.
Emerging into daylight a few hundred yards away, down by the river. Where it would then run above the wall of the docks all the way up to Seaforth Sands station in the north of the city.
As you’ll well know from my regular lamentations on here, this engineering marvel was closed at the end of 1956 and ripped down altogether the following year. But I have been down on that platform.
And Sarah took her car there a couple of times for repairs. But they’re long gone now too, as there was some collapsing in the tunnel a couple of years back. People living in the houses above having to move out. Still not sure if their insurance has been sorted out yet.
The pride of the radical Labour Council at that time. Some still refer to these as ‘Hatton houses’ after Militant Derek.
Park Road had a tough enough time in the 1980s when the dense population of the tenements were moved out to be replaced by the much sparser population in the new houses. Then more recently a long derelict supermarket opposite has been replaced by that giant Tesco, so often the death knell of local shopping.
But against all expectations this side of the street is doing mostly ok.
Municipal housing, probably Liverpool Mutual Homes, down the left side going towards the river. And new apartments facing them.
Imagine a time when we had our own banks? Even Lewis’s department store had one.
Apparently comes ‘with a high income’ from those masts on the top. Tempting.
At this point a hailstorm that Sarah’s phone had predictably failed to warn me about swept in from the river, so the camera had to go into my bag for a few minutes.
Which you might think was a church for the people of Sussex Gardens. But actually versions of Christianity were fairly mixed round here. I remember, when the Pope was coming to Liverpool in the early 1980s, a sign being painted over the Park Road entrance to Sussex Gardens saying:
‘The Prince of Rome shall not enter these portals.’
I doubt he had plans to, but the message was fairly clear.
The red ‘Staples’ sign you might be able to make out in that photo is above their store on the other side of the river, just after the exit from the Mersey Tunnel.
And where Park Road meets Mill Street you can see that ideas for what to do with the cleared land have run out too. Hardly parkland this.
So, bizzarely, there’s an ‘entry-feature’ sign here, celebrating what the Dingle used to look like.
It truly is a curious little corner of Liverpool here. Close to town and where Park Road meets the major Upper Parliament Street junction. But a sudden bit of edgeland really.
But also that isolated pair of Georgian houses. And a yard of?
I think I’m on my own nosing around here, but when a car breaks down in the middle lane of the Upper Parly junction suddenly four other people appear from somewhere to help push it to a safe place. ‘Where are you going?’ I ask the stranded driver? ‘Seaforth.’ he says. ‘We’ll get you there easy!’ we all chorus at once.
Actually we don’t need to. A man with a van full of car fixing stuff has also stopped and is poking authoritatively under the bonnet as I walk on.
I realise they’ll be getting ready for the Chinese New Year celebrations tomorrow down there, so I go and have a look.
Sarah’s phone is confidently predicting rain. But what does Sarah’s phone know? Didn’t know about those hailstones did it?
Called The Arch, what else, it’s yet more student housing. But in a really good place to live.
A peaceful sit, a read through ‘Bitten’ and I’m ready to go and look for LPs.
In a couple of charity shops, downstairs in Dig Vinyl, and do you know what? I don’t feel like it. Nothing sticks to my hand and it’s not them, not the record shops, it’s me. I’m not in the mood. So I walk on.
It was the walk I came out for. And a peaceful lunch. Not the shopping. It hardly ever is.