In Liverpool: Along Park Road

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.

Across the park and along Lark Lane.

Across the park and along Lark Lane.

On to Aigburth Road.

On to Aigburth Road.

Not been to Onion for a while. Too early for lunch today though.

A real mixture of shops along here.

A real mixture of shops along here.

Including a fair number of charity shops like this one.

Including a fair number of charity shops like this one.

Around into Park Road. The Ancient Chapel of Toxteth over there.

Around into Park Road. The Ancient Chapel of Toxteth, still the 17th century over there.

This side is somewhere innocuous but deeply significant.

This side is somewhere innocuous but deeply significant.

Dingle Station used to be here. The start of the Liverpool Overhead Railway.

It looked like this.

It looked like this.

And though it was the ‘Overhead’ it started under the ground here.

The platform looked like this.

The platform looked like this.

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.

Because in later years the old Overhead Station became Roscoe Engineering.

Because in later years the old Overhead Station became Roscoe Engineering.

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.

When roscoe Engineering were in there.

When Roscoe Engineering were in there.

Just long Park Road a familiar Dingle story begins. Land left over after clearance.

Just along Park Road a familiar Dingle story begins. Land left over after clearance.

Many large tenements were replaced by these 1980s houses.

Many large tenements were replaced by these 1980s houses.

The pride of the radical Labour Council at that time. Some still refer to these as ‘Hatton houses’ after Militant Derek.

Good wide roads where

Good wide roads where larger buildings stood on the left here.

And a high street that has refused to die.

And a high street that has refused to die.

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.

Some of the shops reflect the times we're in, mind.

Some of the shops reflect the times we’re in, mind.

Even Tesco's got a pawnbrokers on site.

Even Tesco’s got a pawnbrokers on site.

But people are improvising. This pub's become somewhere to stay as well.

But people are improvising. This pub’s become somewhere to stay as well.

And it's a mixed population round here now.

And it’s a mixed population round here now.

Municipal housing, probably Liverpool Mutual Homes, down the left side going towards the river. And new apartments facing them.

The Council gym and swimming pool shared with  Liverpool john Moores University.

The Council gym and swimming pool shared with Liverpool John Moores University.

Spectacular graffiti opposite.

Spectacular graffiti opposite.

And the long gone Liverpool Savings Bank.

And the long gone Liverpool Savings Bank.

Imagine a time when we had our own banks? Even Lewis’s department store had one.

Still for sale if you want it?

Still for sale if you want it?

Apparently comes ‘with a high income’ from those masts on the top. Tempting.

Opposite and in contrast, a whole road of new houses.

Opposite and in contrast, a whole road of new houses.

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.

But soon all is peaceful along picturesque Dorrit Street.

But soon all is peaceful and dry along picturesque Dorrit Street.

Just the hint of an apologetic rainbow over the Cathedral.

Just the hint of an apologetic rainbow over the Cathedral.

Passing what became of the great tenement of Sussex Gardens.

Passing what became of the great tenement of Sussex Gardens.

And huge St Patrick's.

And huge St Patrick’s.

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.

Getting closer to town now.

Getting closer to town now.

A bit of the past accidentally missed in all the clearing.

A bit of the past accidentally missed in all the clearing.

It's so clear today I can see for miles.

It’s so clear today I can see for miles.

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.

But now we're just about at the end of the Dingle.

But now we’re just about at the end of the Dingle.

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.

Just land left over after clearance. A road with nowhere to go.

Just land left over after clearance. A road with nowhere to go.

So, bizzarely, there’s an ‘entry-feature’ sign here, celebrating what the Dingle used to look like.

Welcome to the past.

Welcome to the past.

Remember Caryl Gardens?

Remember Caryl Gardens?

And where the Overhead came out of Dingle Tunnel?

And where the Overhead came out of Dingle Tunnel?

The display itself is old and breaking up now.

The display itself is old and breaking up now.

But never mind, the Titanic's still here.

But never mind, the Titanic’s still here.

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.

The back way into the closed down brewery.

The back way into the closed down brewery.

But also that isolated pair of Georgian houses. And a yard of?

Wood actually. Sarah's had wood for her allotment beds from here.

Wood actually. Sarah’s had wood for her allotment beds from here.

And what's this?

And what’s this?

I don't think so.

I don’t think so.

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.

Past more partial clearance.

Past more partial clearance and new building.

Some walk up blocks still here, but empty.

Some walk up blocks still here, but empty.

Waiting sadly for a future they probably haven't got.

Waiting sadly for a future they probably haven’t got.

Watched over by the Cathedral.

Watched over by the Cathedral.

New

New housing next to Georgian in George’s Square.

I realise they’ll be getting ready for the Chinese New Year celebrations tomorrow down there, so I go and have a look.

Yes, there's a fair under construction.

Yes, there’s a fair under construction.

Here it is.

Here it is.

Nelson Street ready for New Year.

Nelson Street ready for New Year.

Even the municipal housing has a Chinese frontage.

Even the municipal housing has a Chinese frontage.

The street is busy.

The street is busy.

And the Arch is magnificent.

And the Arch is magnificent.

Hope everyone will have a good time down here on Sunday.

Hope everyone will have a good time down here on Sunday.

Sarah’s phone is confidently predicting rain. But what does Sarah’s phone know? Didn’t know about those hailstones did it?

Happy New Year.

Happy New Year.

The shops are full of colour.

The shops are full of colour.

and even this long-time derelict building is now restored.

And even this long-time derelict building is now restored.

Called The Arch, what else, it’s yet more student housing. But in a really good place to live.

Ethereal music is coming our of the Burned Out Church as me and that seagull pass.

Ethereal music is coming our of the Burned Out Church as me and that seagull pass.

Going round into Bold Street and down to FACT.

Going round into Bold Street and down to FACT.

The Leaf cafés busy but I'm not here for lunch.

The Leaf cafés busy but I’m not here for lunch.

I'm here to pick up my copy of the new 'Bitten'

I’m here to pick up my copy of the new ‘Bitten’

Continuing down Bold Street I'm delighted to see that Raggas, from Smithdown and Lark Lane, have opened here too.

Continuing down Bold Street I’m delighted to see that Raggas, from Smithdown and Lark Lane, have opened here too.

In Church Street a large crown have gathered around a tremendous noise.

In Church Street a large crowd have gathered around a tremendous noise.

The enduring appeal of guitars and drums.

The enduring appeal of guitars and drums.

Then past the Bluecoat to somewhere quieter.

Then past the Bluecoat to somewhere quieter.

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.

Past Lewis's. Where redevelopment has reached the 'very big crane' stage.

Past Lewis’s. Where redevelopment has reached the ‘very big crane’ stage.

In operation today.

In operation today.

Police on horses down at the bottom of Bold Street.

Police on horses down at the bottom of Bold Street.

Then down by the river.

Then down by the river.

To get the bus home.

To get the bus home.

It was the walk I came out for. And a peaceful lunch. Not the shopping. It hardly ever is.

 

16 thoughts on “In Liverpool: Along Park Road

  1. robertday154

    The steel hatch in the wall looks like something I’ve seen in Birmingham, where the fire service installed similar hatches in the parapets of bridges over canals so that they could take a water supply from the canal for fire-fighting purposes. Just a thought…

    Reply
      1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

        Collectively, though, we have almost cracked it. The aerial photo has the wood store. So all we don’t know is whether that ‘money safe’ has got a water supply. I think we all suspect it has.

      2. Ronnie Hughes Post author

        On reflection I’m wondering if all this ‘dead’ land over the former St James station is owned by some version of British Rail? They’re notorious hoarders and this could explain why it’s looked like edgeland for decades.

  2. Chantelle

    Park Road and you didn’t stop in at St James Church?! Lots going on there, even though the building looks like it is in disrepair!

    Reply
  3. humphries346

    Excellent Tour around the City. It is good to see evidence of the Militant Council in the Past and the houses being referred to as Hatton Houses , your tour was so inclusive. A real panoramic view of the City and its people

    Reply
  4. memoirsofahusk

    And I never left my bench! Thanks for a great walk. I do envy you the roots, I have nothing like them – moved so many times, so many places. I suspect some of the people who profess to dislike Liverpool are actually just envious – I am. For all its faults (there are some), it’s a place I can’t help but wish I had once belonged. Nine years on the fringes is the best I can manage!

    Reply
  5. Janet Barnes

    Home thoughts from abroad (well Scotland anyway)!

    Really enjoyed my virtual walk round town. My family hails from the Dingle so it brought back many memories.
    Keep up the good work.

    Janet x

    Reply
  6. George elliott

    Great memories of park road lived in coulsdon place. Watched a video of the dingle wedding and recognised Dennis Francis, if anyone knows Dennis perhaps they could tell him Bert elliott is still alive and doing well would love to get in touch,

    Reply

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