A Friday Walk where I walk on water to get home to Liverpool? Well, let’s see. First I need to get to New Brighton.
So I walk round into Croshall Street and get the next one. It goes through the ‘new’ tunnel – as I’m clearly always going to call it – and soon arrives at my holiday destination for the day. The bus has been filled with excited little children making excited going to the seaside sounds like “I’ve seen a boat” and “There’s the beach, down there!”
When we all get off we’re first confronted with the hideous precinct of shops and restaurants that have been carelessly plonked on the seafront here.
Yes, it’s the new Liverpool FC stand! If it’s visible from New Brighton imagine how much of a shdow it’s going to cast on Rockfield and all the other roads around the ground?
“Authentic?” I don’t think so. Mind you, at least Paul and Art are still with us so it’s technically possible they could be playing the New Brighton Floral Pavillion. Not so the recently passed ‘Gene Pitney’ and ‘Whitney Houston’. I also thought Fort Perch’s advertised Cilla ‘tribute’ to be more than a little too soon and undignified.
‘Number 1 on Trip Advisor’ they proudly boast. And despite that it is really good. Friendly people. Good straightforward food. And I sit there for a good while reading my current Irish novel. (‘Arimathea’ by Frank McGuinness, in case you were wondering, Donegal in the late 1940s.)
Seriously though, it is very great public art. Something brilliant that touches people’s hearts and imaginations made out of very nearly nothing. I think you can more reliably hear the joyous sounds of human happiness around the Black Pearl than any other attraction on either side of the river.
I make no apologies for all the photos you’re going to see of the opposite bank, by the way. It’s Liverpool, so get over it.
I’m supposed to say ‘Peter Blake did that’ but of course he didn’t actually do the painting. That was done at Cammel Laird’s.
At this point I can tell you that’s how I’m going to achieve this ‘Walking Home from New Brighton’. By getting on that ferry and walking round the deck!
‘The Guinea Trade’ was Trans-Atlantic Slavery.
Obvious and proper. Time was the Pier Head in Liverpool was thronged with buses and trams.
Except to say that restaurant on the right there, that’s a weak ‘mirror image’ of the Museum of Liverpool, is yet another example of us putting up pieces of crap in exactly the place where pieces of crap have no business being at all.
At this point I do consider getting that Dazzle Ferry home. But decide to walk on and join it at Woodside in Birkenhead. (This will not work out well, but read on anyway.)
As I’ve now reached the place where the great Birkenhead Docks System enters the Mersey.
Of which there is much, much more on my walk around Liverpool’s North Docks.
The monoplistic way the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board behaved in Liverpool, basically setting up a separate toll domain outside the control of Liverpool Corporation, caused much competitive docking to be set up by the area’s merchants and railway companies. At Garston, the never built dock at Aigburth, along the Manchester Ship Canal – and here at Birkenhead.
You don’t see much evidence of those plaques around now, or do you?
These days the building is the offices of Wirral Borough Council and also the Borough’s Archives Store.
Nearly time to get on that ferry now. (Cue brooding ‘something’s about to go terribly wrong’ background music.)
The way the Mersey Ferries work these days is that they mostly do tourist cruises all day, calling here, Seacombe and the Pier Head in Liverpool. Then at morning and evening rush hours they revert to being commuter ferries. But for reasons known only to the delusionals running Mersey Travel, they don’t commute to here in Birkenhead!
It’s hardly a disaster, but I must have sworn fairly viscously from the looks I’m getting.
Only recently reopened mind.
So I did my best to walk home from New Brighton. And it was a seriously wonderful walk on a beautiful day. So all’s well really.