Around Lark Lane

Always

Thought I’d be working today but, to my own surprise I got something finished a day earlier than expected, so? It’s Friday, the sky is blue, let’s go!

Not a particularly long Friday Walk in terms of miles this one, but it covers nearly 40 years of my life.

Leaving home.

Leaving home.

The terraced house in Wavertree where I’ve lived for 24 years now, the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. On this walk we’ll be seeing where I first lived when I moved to the south of the city in the 1970s.

Down on Smithdown Antwakky's are very proud of their chairs.

Down on Smithdown Antwakki’s are very proud of their chairs.

Under the main London line.

Under the main London line.

Through high summer Greenback Park.

Through high summer Greenbank Park.

The whole site it’s on is currently being developed by the University for, you guessed it, new student housing. Not so the Rathbone House here. Though apparently some money is going to be spent on its preservation. About time.

Equally august and important. Past my partner Sarah's allotment.

Equally august and important. Past my partner Sarah’s allotment.

Along lovely Greenback Lane, full heavy leaved canopy closure now.

Along lovely Greenbank Lane, full heavy leaved canopy closure now.

And across Sefton Park.

And across Sefton Park.

We’ll be back for a longer sit in the park later.

But for now, out the other side and over to Livingston Drive.

But for now, out the other side and over to Livingston Drive.

Full of grand Victorian Houses, mostly flats now.

Full of grand Victorian Houses, mostly flats now.

Round into  Normanton Avenue.

Round into Normanton Avenue.

A friend, Colette, owns this piece of land.

A friend, Colette, owns this piece of land.

And her daughter Jessica, an architect, has designed her house, which will be here.

And her daughter Jessica, an architect, has designed her house, which will be here.

It’s ‘in Planning’ – could be some time.

Along Ellesmere Road, lovely house that.

Along Elsmere Avenue, lovely house that.

Haven’t walked along here since the late 1980s.

Since I used to live around Aigburth Road.

Since I used to live around Aigburth Road.

In here in fact.

In here in fact.

This was called the ‘Fulwood Estate’ when I moved here from Walton in 1977. It was developed by the City Council and was part for sale and part Council housing. First time they’d done that.

And here's home, from 1977 for the next 10 years.

And here’s home, from 1977 for the next 10 years.

Such a strange feeling to stand here now and remember all the time I was here. When it was a brand new house and we two who moved in were at the beginning of our adventure. Which didn’t long outlast the time we lived here. But I did like it here. The house has grown a new front since those days. A lot more brick and wood and tiles. And a lot less glass.

But next door is still called '1690 No Surrender!'

But next door is still called ‘1690 No Surrender!’ See the Red Hand of Ulster there.

When I lived here this was as near as houses got to the river. Then in 1984, between here and the river, on part of what had been Liverpool’s Rugby Union Ground (disused) they built the International Garden Festival.

I remember these lions though.

I remember these lions though.

And these older houses on the estate called 'Battery Close.'

And these older houses on the estate called ‘Battery Close.’

There still is an Army Barracks next door and before our houses were built the whole place had been a parade ground for them.

.I'd leave the estate this way to get to the local Aigburth Road shops

I’d leave the estate this way to get to the local Aigburth Road shops.

This is the first time I’ve seen this gated development though. Who exactly do they need protecting from. Forty years on this seems like  very well settled place.

And it's still got a little bit of undeveloped wilderness in it, glad to say.

And it’s still got a little bit of undeveloped wilderness in it, glad to say.

Ah, that’s probably what the fence is about then. I’ll bet ‘youths’ gather in there to do offensive things like smoking and talking to each other. Dangerous stuff.

The local shops.

The local shops.

That one that says ‘Russian Virgin Hair’ (‽) used to be a very old fashioned bakery. Sadly swept away by society’s apparent need for luxury hand made hair extensions. Give me strength.

Since first publishing this have had this message from Lesley Davies on Twitter:

“Kinseys closed because the brothers were getting on. Took 2 years to sell the shop.”

Kinsey's as was.

Kinsey’s as was.

But truth to tell I' didn't go that way too often. I'd always orientate myself towards the City.

But truth to tell I didn’t go that way too often. I’d always orientate myself towards the City.

So some things are still the same with me.

I'd always pass a Sisters of Mercy Convent here.

I’d always pass a Sisters of Mercy Convent here.

And silently, if unfairly, curse the lot of them. The head mistress of my junior school, Sister Ligouri, was one of them. A barking and howling one-woman Spanish Inquisition. So I’m truly not sorry to see the order’s time around here has passed.

When I get to here I always get an enormous sense of well being. I am home.

When I get to here I always get an enormous sense of well being. I am home.

This is where my Liverpool, the version of it where I’ve spent most of my life, truly gets going. You can see Liverpool 8 at the end of Aigburth Road there, just beyond the 82 bus. Home, my home, is inner Liverpool. Not merely the house where I live. But all the streets and parks and lakes and lanes from here to the city centre and the river and right round to Walton and Anfield.

Don’t worry, we’re not going to walk through all of them today. In fact we’re stopping for lunch part 1 soon.

Passing what was my library from 1977 onwards. And wishing it well for it's future?

Passing what was my library from 1977 onwards. And wishing it well for it’s future?

And passing this lovely shop that always tugs at my heart and the tips of my fingers.

And passing this lovely shop that always tugs at my heart and the tips of my fingers.

Should I, shall I ,one more time?

Should I, shall I , one more time?

When I lived around here it was my early years of working at Liverpool Housing Trust, which, as you may know, I enjoyed immensely. But I thought it was only temporary because I was going to be a famous songwriter. So that upstairs front room back at Fulwood Drive contained my guitars, drums,  Akai reel to reel and later a Portastudio. And it never did make me a famous songwriter.

So let’s move on before I spend money I haven’t got on everything in that window!

To lunch part 1, at Onion.

To lunch part 1, at Onion.

This really is one of my favourite lunch destinations in all of Liverpool. The food is lovely and the conversations are excellent. On a recent visit I was reading ‘Slaughterhouse Five’ and so ended up discussing the wonderfulness of Kurt Vonnegut with Kerry behind the counter. My sort of café.

And here is Kerry behind the counter, on the left getting my Halloumi Wrap ready.

And here is Kerry behind the counter, on the left getting my Halloumi Wrap ready.

The front room’s full so I find a seat in the back. Where today’s conversation is with a small boy just learning to talk. We get on famously though no actual words are used. Just guttural sounds and hand gestures!

As ever I admire the current display of LP sleeves.

As ever I admire the current display of LP sleeves.

And count how many I’ve got or had? Eight this time, though my version of ‘South Pacific’ is a different one. Music playing while I’m here? A Billie Holiday selection.

Crossing the road, finally we get to Lark Lane.

Crossing the road, finally we get to Lark Lane.

Oh yes it is.

Oh yes it is.

First passing this curious place.

First passing this curious place.

I don’t know why, maybe because it’s in not quite Aigburth Road and not quite Lark Lane either, but it never stays as the same thing for long and looks like it’s shut down once again now. Back in 1983 a housing friend of mine, Sayed, opened it as his dream Indian restaurant. And it was great. But it didn’t last.

So Lark Lane proper doesn't really get going until here.

So Lark Lane proper doesn’t really get going until here.

A glorious mixture of shops, bars and eating places.

A glorious mixture of shops, bars and eating places.

Plus this. One of it's oldest residents.

Plus this. One of it’s oldest residents.

The side streets are great too, Lucerne Street here.

The side streets are great too, Lucerne Street here.

dancing

Extreme Dance and what else?

'Gasp!' vintage stuff.

‘Gasp!’ vintage stuff.

A treasure trove.

A treasure trove.

Be going upstairs there, Greendays, for lunch part 2 in a bit.

Be going upstairs there, Greendays, for lunch part 2 in a bit.

Not  yet though. Pausing as ever to admire the offensive cards downstairs.

Not yet though. Pausing as ever to admire the offensive cards downstairs.

Passing the Lodge.

Passing The Lodge.

A nod to the fact that it was always a perfectly good pub called The Masonic until a short-lived experiment as ‘Noir.’ All black paint and gloom like a Goth’s bedroom. Oh well, not all experiments work and this has always been a street willing to experiment.

Hope the 'Ale House and Kitchen' is working out?

Hope the ‘Ale House and Kitchen’ is working out?

A particularly beautiful street too.

A particularly beautiful street.

Some years in the 1980s I think Liverpool might have shut down if it hadn’t been for the football teams, Bold Street, Hope Street and here.

Always

Always somewhere to go.

Artd Hub there was, for many years, the Amorous Cat bookshop. Where most of my Liverpool books came from. Much missed now.

Artd Hub there was, for many years, the Amorous Cat bookshop. Where most of my Liverpool books came from. Much missed now.

'Remains to be seen.' Wouldn't be Lark Lane without it.

‘Remains to be seen.’ Wouldn’t be Lark Lane without it.

And Marantos.

And Marantos.

Why not have a Swiss building in the middle of the terrace?

Why not have a Swiss building in the middle of the terrace?

This was a recording studio owned by Andy McLusky of Orchestral Manouvres,don't know if it still is?

This was a recording studio owned by Andy McCluskey of Orchestral Manouvres,don’t know if it still is?

It also used to be a Motor Museum.

It also used to be a Motor Museum.

b

Leda Grove, a quiet court.

Back on the Lane.

Back on the Lane.

In the midst of life.

In the midst of life.

The tatoo place used to be a bakery on the ground floor and a great café upstairs - back in the 1980s. Still miss it!

The tatoo place used to be a bakery on the ground floor and a great café upstairs – back in the 1980s. Still miss it.

And now, Hadassah Grove.

And now, Hadassah Grove.

The sign says it’s private. Which is of course an open encouragement to me to walk in.

To a secret piece of perfect England, just off Lark Lane.

To a secret piece of perfect England, just off Lark Lane.

Around Lark Lane - 63 Around Lark Lane - 66 Around Lark Lane - 65 Around Lark Lane - 64

It even ends with a Secret Door.

It even ends with a Secret Door.

So close and yet so far away.

So close and yet so far away.

The Deli of its sister café just along the road.

The Deli of its sister café just along the road.

This was great Deli too, for a little while. Closed for years, I'm glad to see it open again now.

This was great Deli too, for a little while. Closed for years, I’m glad to see it open again now.

The Albert, Lark Lane's other pub. Haven't been in here since on, early 1980s when I was drinking beer for England?

The Albert, Lark Lane’s other pub. Haven’t been in here since oh, early 1980s when I was drinking beer for England?

Because I'd usually go here, to Keith's.

Because I’d usually go here, to Keith’s.

Pretty much the foundation stone of Lark Lane is Keith’s. Liverpool’s first wine bar that wasn’t a Yateseys. ‘Keith’ is an architecture student of Sarah’s departed Dad, Frank. As far as I’m aware this is the only place Keith has ever designed!

And yes it's not slick. It's Keith's. And on a good many days of my life 'Keith's' has been the answer to many a question.

And yes it’s not slick. It’s Keith’s. And on a good many days of my life ‘Keith’s’ has been the answer to many a question.

Sarah and her friend Bren insist that this is Liverpool's best chippie.

Sarah and her friend Bren insist that this is Liverpool’s best chippie.

This Co-op caused a fair bit of controversy before it opened.

This Co-op caused a fair bit of controversy before it opened. Seems to be trading inoffensively though, and nothing has shut down, the usual fear of even small supermarkets.

Another Amorous Cat location from years ago.

Another Amorous Cat location from years ago.

A newish arrival I've not visited yet.

A newish arrival I’ve not visited yet.

And Que Pasa, almost as venerable as Keith's.

And Que Pasa, almost as venerable as Keith’s.

Next door, a curious and pointless failure of the Lerk Lane building line.

Next door, a curious and pointless failure of the Lark Lane building line.

Livingston Anenue behind here.

Livingston Avenue behind here.

A mix of flats and council houses. A bit of a Lark Lane secret.

A mix of flats and council houses. A bit of a Lark Lane secret.

Ancient municipal signage.

Ancient municipal signage.

It doesn't, of course, flow into Livingston Drive just behind it.

It doesn’t, of course, flow into Livingston Drive just behind it.

Out onto Linnet Lane.

Out onto Linnet Lane.

And round the back of Lark Lane on Ivanhoe Road.

And round the back of Lark Lane on Ivanhoe Road.

Some emptiness.

Some emptiness.

Some new.

Some new.

But mostly happy.

But mostly happy.

And all the roads named after Walter Scott places or characters. Why not?

And all the roads named after Walter Scott places or characters. Why not?

Then round in Little Parkfield?

Then round in Little Parkfield?

A precious piece of past.

A precious piece of past.

One of Liverpool's most celebrted Cowhouses.

One of Liverpool’s most celebrted Cowhouses.

Back on Lark Lane.

Back on Lark Lane.

Time for lunch part 2, as promised.

Time for lunch part 2, as promised.

In Greendays.

In Greendays. (Note Captin Beefheart picture, left of the window frame.)

Run by my friends Carole and Ronnie.

To see my friends Carole and Ronnie.

Carole's been running this for, I think 13 years now. Vegetarian, plus some fish.

Carole’s been running this for, I think 13 years now. Vegetarian, plus some fish.

Today it’s very good carrot cake and a cup of tea. You didn’t think I’d have a whole second lunch did you? Music playing while I’m here? Joni Mitchell, Blue.

Lark Lane from Greendays.

Lark Lane from Greendays.

Off to the park now. Past the Moon and Pea and a very new arrival.

Off to the park now. Past the Moon and Pea and a very new arrival.

Liverpool’s first ever pizza takeaway used to be where ‘On the Pallet’ is now, fact fans!

Past theOld Police Station. Now the regular venue for my LP feasts.

Past the Old Police Station. Now the regular venue for my LP feasts.

And we leave Lark Lane.

And we leave Lark Lane.

And I sit for an hour or so reading in Sefton Park.

And I sit for an hour or so reading in Sefton Park.

Just so's you know, there's music coming up.

Just so’s you know, there’s music coming up.

On that bandstand.

On that bandstand.

Leaving the park along Ibbotson's Lane.

Leaving the park along Ibbotson’s Lane.

Past a lovely old Liverpool Corportion crest.

Past a lovely old Liverpool Corportion crest.

Me and Sarah wanted to live there once.

Me and Sarah wanted to live there once.

Long before those apartments there were two of these lower brick buildings. An abandoned maintenance yard for Sefton Park. We dreamed of living in them, running ‘change your life’ things in there, together with maybe running a plant nursery on the land around them.

One of the dreams we had on our way to a sense of place.

Continuing along Ibbotson's Lane.

Continuing along Ibbotson’s Lane.

A beautiful secret.

A beautiful secret.

Back past the Eleanor Rathbone building site. House just visible through there.

Back past the Eleanor Rathbone building site. House just visible through there.

And here we are. Nearly home.

And here we are. Nearly home.

Tourists here, as ever.

Tourists here, as ever.

All the time.

All the time.

Beatles for Sale.

Beatles for Sale.

Oh and don't miss this Portugese bakery. Best pitta bread ever.

Oh and don’t miss this Portugese bakery. Best pitta bread ever.

Penny Lane, not that much different to in the 1960s.

Penny Lane, not that much different to in the 1960s.

From Penny Lane our road is just along there. We're not going that way though/

From Penny Lane our road is just along there. We’re not going that way though.

Not the barber's in the song, but  good slogan.

Not the barber’s in the song, but good slogan.

Recommended.

Recommended.

And over there, just opposite St Barnabas where our Paul sang in the long ago choir.

And over there, just opposite St Barnabas where our Paul sang in the long ago choir.

It's the 'shelter in the middle of the roundabout' from the song.

It’s the ‘shelter in the middle of the roundabout’ from the song.

Been amongst Liverpool's slowest building sites for years now.

Been amongst Liverpool’s slowest building sites for years now.

'Leave me where I am, I'm only sleeping?'

‘Leave me where I am, I’m only sleeping?’

Anyway, just round the corner from home is the barber's out of the song.

Anyway, just round the corner from home is the barber’s out of the song.

Along Cow Lane, fawningly called Prince Alfred Road for the last century or so.

Along Cow Lane, fawningly called Prince Alfred Road for the last century or so.

To home.

To home.

No apologies for the length of the post. It took me nearly 40 years!

 

3 thoughts on “Around Lark Lane

  1. Kenn Taylor

    Ah, Lark Lane, one of several old addresses. Good to see it doing okay. I lived there around the crunch when a lot of the independent businesses went to the wall. I agree on that being the best chippy! You could have also mentioned Elif, my fave restaraunt in the world! And the blue plaque for Mojo on Remains to be Seen, or ‘the indifferent alsatian’ as we called him. And trust me, the Co-Op is an improvement on ‘Pablo’s’!

    Also, if they ever actually re-paint the facade of Keith’s, I think it would be like the raven’s leaving the Tower of London!

    Reply
  2. Simon banks

    Great post,
    On the pallet is run by Jo who used to run the betting office that was there before, the Italian pizza place was to the right where sharz Indian is now!

    Reply

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s