A film and a ghost mural telling the story of Granton Road, North Liverpool.
“We kept hearing the word ‘units’ about us. When these were not ‘units’ – they were people’s homes!” Jayne Lawless – Granton Road artist and story teller.
In two linked posts about one day, Friday 8th April, I’m going to write about the future of the place that occupies most of my time now. North Liverpool. First the story of a film and its accompanying mural of a lost place, Granton Road L5, which was just opposite Liverpool FC’s ground.
I’ve spent the day so far being part of an amazing event down at Make Liverpool, working on the Beautiful Ideas I’ve been telling you about for a while now. On this day the ideas have gone public and all the invited guests are telling us how exciting North Liverpool is feeling to them. More on this in the post which will link to this one.
Now, as evening falls, I walk up Boundary Street and along Walton Breck Road to Homebaked.
Lighting up the models Janet has made. From photographs of the lost road, of Granton Road, taken by photographer and baker Jessica Doyle.
Jayne Lawless had long nurtured the idea of making a piece of art here and about here. Being commissioned originally by Arts Council England to create a mural on a gable end. However, as the gable ends began to be demolished, Jayne had to come up with another idea. Enlisting Janet Brandon to work with her on the film and ghost mural we’re going to see tonight.
In a beautiful house they had bought, and in a friendly community they had never expected to see broken up during their lifetimes.
And that’s just this side of Walton Breck. The streets lost to the despised Housing Market Renewal initiative that cost us 30,000 homes across the cities of the North. The other side of Walton Breck, many more were lost to Premier League Football and the prevarication of decades from Liverpool FC.
When we introduce ourselves to each other they tell me what number they come from, who lives next door and who is opposite to them. Except of course their road isn’t there any more.
In the warm and homely bakery the people here have created for themselves. Their community business and binding place, where they welcome in everyone who wants to work with the people of the place on a future where they all matter.
And as the film fades to black and the music to silence…
I stand to the side carefully taking these pictures as something wonderful happens. Something wonderful that the film has caused.
Whilst anger might have been an understandable reaction to the story just told, what happens instead is something much deeper.
There is sadness, true. And tears, some of them mine. But I’d call what happens here a lamentation. Something deeply spiritual and done with immense dignity. And while too early and too raw yet to call it a healing, I think we may come to look back on this night as when the healing begins.
While we’ve talked, friend, writer and helper Grace Harrison – also down at the North Docks earlier – has moved all the projection equipment to here.
As I said, Arts Council England originally commissioned Jayne to make a mural on a gable end, but accepted the change in Jayne’s plans as all the available gables began to be demolished.
Reflecting on all of this the day afterwards, what stays with me is the beautifully crafted film and the gently deep discussion it opened up. A lamentation, as I’ve said. But also and maybe the beginning of a healing. Not a forgetting, but a shared remembering and a treasuring. A mutual story telling that may gently and eventually lead towards a listened to, reconciled and acknowledged future round here. That what’s happened is wrong, but it’s done now. So what shall we all do next?
Jayne and Janet want this film to be widely seen. So do I. So get in touch through the blog if you’d like it to be shown and discussed with your community in your place. Let’s see what happens?
Thank you for asking me to take the photographs Jayne. It was a privilege.