The pleasures of walking aimlessly

Leaving the house today with my walking boots on I don’t, as so often, know where I’m going. But walking down the road I decide I’ll get on the first bus that comes, get off it as soon as I see something interesting, and start meandering round from there.

I’m in luck, the bus is the 76. A curious beast that meanders almost all the way around the circumference of the city centre before finally giving in and turning down London Road. I’m not on it until then though because I see this.

Seen from the window of the 76 bus. A vision of brutality.

Seen from the window of the 76 bus. A vision of brutality.

I get off at the next stop for a closer look. Turns out it’s to be ‘Liverpool’s Bio Tech Hub.’ So there, another hub. I must say I’m getting very tired of the word, already turning old as an early century affectation for where we’d have merely called something a ‘centre’ or even plain old ‘building.’ Oh well, no doubt some mover-shaker go-getter with very long pointed shoes got paid a packet to come up with the term.

Here is the 'hub' in full. Just next to the coming on quickly new Royal.

Here is the ‘hub’ in full. Just next to the coming on quickly new Royal.

I was last walking around here just before Christmas and progress has been very fast.

I was last walking around here just before Christmas and progress has been very fast.

The new Royal Hospital being built next to the current 1970s building.

The new Royal Hospital being built next to the current 1970s building.

A brutal place full of everyday miracles.

A brutal place full of everyday miracles.

Walking along the empty road.

Walking along the empty road.

Which I always enjoy. It only happens on major public holidays that are also major family occasions. Like Christmas Day and today, Easter Sunday. So peaceful I can have whole streets more or less to myself.

To complete our collection of Royal Hospitals, here's the late nineteenth century one, still with us.

To complete our collection of Royal Hospitals, here’s the late nineteenth century one, still with us.

Along the road, an opening onto visions of student housing and an interesting old department store.

Along the road, an opening onto visions of student housing and an interesting old department store.

Now this part of Liverpool, around the top end of London Road is where the city’s Jewish arrivals from Eastern Europe first settled early in the 20th Century. And one of their kosher butcher’s shops is still here – just.Meanderings10And it’s currently fronted by its own hoarding telling the story of the shop and Liverpool’s Jewish community.Meanderings12Meanderings13

Don't know what the plans are for the building. Do you?

Don’t know what the plans are for the building. Do you?

Round the corner to that interesting department store.

Round the corner to that interesting department store.

This used to be a large Co-Op shop and I remember being brought here in the 1960s for my school uniform. Now? Student housing, inevitably.

A quiet day at Bulky Bob's.

A quiet day at Bulky Bob’s.

The social enterprise that recycles the city’s bulky household waste, and has done for ages.

Just opposite, the Bullring, St Andrew's Gardens.

Just opposite, the Bullring, St Andrew’s Gardens.

A surviving and magnificent piece of municipal housing. For students now, obviously.

A quiet day at the rarely shut TJs.

A quiet day at the rarely shut TJs.

And empty Pembroke Place.

And empty Pembroke Place.

Where I bought my first suits.

Where I bought my first suits.

Not that purple slither of student development, but the shop that’s now ‘Machine Mart.’ This was ‘Jonathan Silver’s’ in the mid 1970s, outfitters to young hippies who were dressing up a bit. The same Jonathan Silver went on to set up Salt’s Mill, the mighty old mill building in Bradford that houses so much of David Hockney’s Art.

London Road, almost empty.

London Road, almost empty.

A welcome bit of shopping diversity with an ugly advert plastered onto it.

A welcome bit of shopping diversity with an ugly advert plastered onto it.

Continuing downhill, will this be the year the flyover gets turned into a sky park?

Continuing downhill, will this be the year the flyover gets turned into a sky park?

Never seen any other building that shape. Magnificent.

Never seen any other building that shape. Magnificent.

Just opposite this piece of modern squalor.

Just opposite this piece of modern squalor.

Having the nerve to share space with the Playhouse and the former George Henry Lee building. The one that says 'Poundland.

Having the nerve to share space with the Playhouse and the former George Henry Lee building. The one that says ‘Poundland.

In town, not empty but a lot less people than on an ordinary Sunday.

In town, not empty but a lot less people than on an ordinary Sunday.

I see the old Probe Records in Button Street is now

I see the old Probe Records in Button Street is now a ‘Smokehouse.’

And now I want to see something down on the river.

And now I want to see something down on the river.

The White Star remains though.

The White Star remains though.

Passing the rarely on fountain that Sarah's Dad, Frank Horton, had a hand in designing.

Passing the rarely on fountain that Sarah’s Dad, Frank Horton, had a hand in designing.

Then a plaque near the Mersey Tunnel ventilation shaft that I can’t believe I’ve never noticed before.

The City always surprises me.

The City always surprises me.

Here we are then.

Here we are then.

This is what we've come to see.

This is what we’ve come to see.

Peter Blake’s done a new design for one of our ferries.

And it's ready to move.

And it’s ready to move.

Here we are.

Here it comes.

A psychedelic Dazzle Ship.

A psychedelic Dazzle Ship.

Brightening a grey day on the river.

Brightening a grey day on the river.

Meanderings42Meanderings43Meanderings44Meanderings45

I settle down for a read as the sun begins to emerge.

I settle down for a read as the sun begins to emerge.

This is what I'm reading.

This is what I’m reading.

It stands for the Shelter Neighbourhood Action Project and it took place in Granby, which is why I’m interested. I’m sure I’ll be back with more about it.

While I read the day turns bright blue.

While I read the day turns bright blue.

I walk on, past - for some reason, some old Corpy buses.

I walk on, past – for some reason, some old Corpy buses.

I'm going in here.

I’m going in here.

To see this, 'L8 Unseen.'

To see this, ‘L8 Unseen.’

Something so good it’s going to have its own blog post. It captivates me for an hour.

And when I come out Birkenhead's disappeared.

And when I come out Birkenhead’s disappeared.

Along with most of the river.

Along with most of the river.

A haar has drifted in.

A haar has drifted in.

Though it's ok looking inland.

Though it’s ok looking inland.

It's misty at the top of the Liver Buildings.

It’s misty at the top of the Liver Buildings.

I walk on, into nothing.

I walk on, into nothing.

Clear inland through the new Exhibition Centre.

Clear inland through the new Exhibition Centre.

Mysterious the other way.

Mysterious the other way.

Interesting river junk down there.

Interesting river junk down there.

Brunswick Dock.

Brunswick Dock.

And its mighty river gates.

And its mighty river gates.

The hair clearing up over by the Tranmere Oil Terminal.

The hair clearing up over by the Tranmere Oil Terminal.

I've left the Pier Head crowds well behind now and I'm completely alone here.

I’ve left the Pier Head crowds well behind now and I’m completely alone here.

Passing the Dingle, L8.

Passing the Dingle, L8.

Leaving the river and turning for home at the Garden Festival pub.

Leaving the river and turning for home at the Garden Festival pub.

Past St Michael's.

Past St Michael’s.

Along a busy Lark Lane.

Along a busy Lark Lane.

And under the London Line to home.

And under the London Line to home.

A good ramble on what turned into a lovely day. A walk that made itself up as it went along. Often the best kind.

9 thoughts on “The pleasures of walking aimlessly

  1. John V

    I also enjoyed an aimless walk today. Off the bus at the Royal, veered left at the Bullring, onwards through the Georgian quarter & St James Cemetery, on the ‘downhill’ through the Baltic Triangle & on to Queens Dock. The streets were remarkably quiet until I reached Gower St where I found the tourists, so worked through the back streets to Bold St. An easy walk & eventually I was joined by the sun. Must have passed you by somewhere on route?

    Reply
  2. J. C. Greenway

    I love your walks!
    The land around the Jewish butchers is being developed by the School of Tropical Medicine. They have to protect the shop front and I believe the green tiles are going to be incorporated into the new design. Should be an interesting link between the old life of the city and the new.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Glad you enjoy the walks and thanks for letting me know. And yes, here’s hoping the memory go Galkoff’s is handled sensitively. Too evocative and important to be done any other way.

      Reply
  3. Cathy Alderson

    Brilliant, as always Ronnie.
    I’m down in Cornwall with my “ex pat” family, who really enjoyed that too, particularly my brother in law, who does similar aimless, but inevitably interesting walks when they visit me.
    He loved it! Thanks.

    Reply

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