From LFC to Eldon Grove, talking history, housing and the beauty of hills.
I’m on my way to meet John Boughton, renowned blogger as ‘Municipal Dreams’ and his partner Michele Grant, to go walking.
They live in London and have done for many years, but Michele grew up here in Liverpool.
And all suspecting that as its so much out of scale with the rest of the ground, then the rest of the ground will probably big-up too over the years to come.
As is my civic duty I point out what the Stand has cost. The lost streets over this side of Walton Breck sacrificed to the public square stretching through to Stanley Park that will be a vending area on match days. And the collateral damage done by the Housing Market Renewal ‘Pathfinder’ on the other side of the road. The lost V-streets, waiting to be a car park for the new Stand.
A friend Elaine Cresswell is a landscape architect and is very interested in these poppies. Apparently they pop up wherever something is demolished in this part of Anfield and Everton. Suggesting that they may have lain dormant under the houses for all the time the houses were here. And may therefore be Victorian or earlier poppy seeds from when this was known as Ann’s Field. There’ll probably be a walk based on it all soon.
Anyway, back to today’s walk.
A gift from Andrew Carnegie and designed by Liverpool’s great libraries architect Thomas Shelmerdine. Closed these last decades, the latest attempt to revive it had estimated returning it to community use by autumn of this year.
I’d be more than interested to know what is or might happen here though?
Then we walk over the brow at Everton to one of the best views in the city.
Where we can once again see the 18th century views of Everton’s rich founders.
Eventually the hills of Everton filled up with terraces and trades. And when I came to work up here in my municipal job, the place looked like this.
The monochrome photos I’m using here all by Dave Sinclair from his time as photographer for Militant. Published on here with his publisher’s permission.
Where I worked a couple of days each week in the Rent Office on the ground floor, early 1970s.
I tell Michele and John that last time I was here they told me I wasn’t allowed to take photos on ‘private council land.’ We all laugh at this contradiction in terms.
Michele also takes the opportunity to do some light shopping. Before demanding, getting and giving her on the spot approval to this lovely picture of them both!
We talk about life in London, life in Liverpool and what we write about. How John tries not to be London-centric but how it’s unavoidable, if you’re a writer, not to write about where you are.
Then we cross Scotland Road to the day’s crescendo. To arguably (and I would argue) the greatest example of municipal housing ever built anywhere. Eldon Grove.
Now if you read this blog with any regularity you’ll know well that this is one of the main places in Liverpool that my heart beats for. So I won’t repeat myself today and report on the current plans, such as they are, to save and restore the place. I wrote about them earlier this year on ‘Walking to Rotunda’ and as far as I know that’s still the state of things.
It’s called Municipal Housing in Liverpool before 1914: the ‘first council houses in Europe’ and I hope you’ll go and read it after we finish this walk. But for now let’s continue our walk around lovely Eldon Grove.
Before having a look through the next good vantage point at the other end of the site fence we have a look at some other beautiful municipal housing built at the same time as the long empty Eldon Grove.
Look like they were probably done by the same architects and builders too?
So why are these all lived in and no one lives in Eldon Grove? Discuss, ad infinitum.
John talks about the powerful effects of actually seeing the place.
With much looking back we walk on.
A big cause of the isolation of Eldon Grove these past 40 years. Many have simply forgotten it.
Had to be done.
And I didn’t leave them there, of course I didn’t. Escorting them safely to a bus stop for the Cathedrals they were going to next, with family, my guiding done for the day.
So thank you both. A lovely morning walk to get the long weekend started. Lots more walking available next time you’re here?