Early Morning Mystery

I woke up early and got up early this morning. And on a beautiful blue day was soon out with my camera in The Mystery. Sounds dramatically philosophical, but it’s actually what we all call the park near to our house.

The Mystery.

The Mystery.

Wavertree, L15.

Wavertree, L15.

It’s a gently sloping hill and near the top of it is a patch of wildflowers.

With bees in the thistles.

With bees in the thistles.

Though many of the flowers are turning to seeds now.

Though many of the flowers are turning to seeds now.

One of these dropped gently into our back yard yesterday evening while Sarah and I were sitting out there in the evening quiet.

And it seems too soon but some of the trees think it's already autumn.

And it seems too soon but some of the trees think it’s already autumn.

Autumn happens when it will. It's not up to us to decide.

Well Autumn happens when it will. It’s not up to us to decide.

DSC05312 DSC05313 DSC05314I’ve lived in the house where me and Sarah are now for 25 years ( Sarah for 23). When I moved in The Mystery was full of football pitches for Sunday League games, which my delighted daughter Clare would always observe as ‘swearing demonstrations.’ Now the only marked out pitch on the big fields here is for rugby.

I've noticed a womens rugby team practising in the evenings.

I’ve noticed a women’s rugby team practising here in the evenings.

The Mystery.

The Mystery.

This avenue of trees used to lead to a grand place called Grange House. When that was demolished late in the 19th Century the land around it was donated to the people of Liverpool by a ‘mystery donor.’ It fairly quickly became known that the donor was shipping line owner Philip Holt, so not a mystery at all. But the name stuck nevertheless and ‘The Mystery’ it is to this day.DSC05318 DSC05319 DSC05320

The only football goals now are on the all weather pitches by the Aquatics Centre.

The only football goals now are on the all weather pitches by the Aquatics Centre.

Or ‘swimming baths’ as I persist in calling it.

Nearby is this notice. Any ideas?

Nearby is this notice. Any ideas?

Leaving the park past these grand but never opened gates.

Leaving the park past these grand but never opened gates.

And on to the High Street.

And on to the High Street.

Good Georgian houses.

Good Georgian houses.

DSC05329

And over there are the Friends of Wavertree Rose Garden.

And over there are the Friends of Wavertree Rose Garden.

Next a new kind of Pound Shop.

Next a new kind of Pound Shop.

Really? A pint for a pound?

Really? A pint for a pound?

Just next to the very definitely not Thatched House...

Just next to the very definitely not Thatched House…

An ancient piece of wall...

An ancient piece of wall…

Leading to a firm instruction.

Leading to a firm instruction.

Now a Job Centre, used to be the DHSS.

Now a Job Centre, used to be the DHSS.

For a few miserable weeks in autumn 1972 I worked in here. Naively mistaking the ‘social’ in its title for a place that gave a shit. It didn’t and I was soon off on the housing adventure that continues to this day.

Next somewhere I've never walked.

Next somewhere I’ve never walked.

Yes, 25 years of constant walking and there are streets this near to home I’ve never walked along. Full of terraced houses and car repair shops.

Terrace

Wright’s Terrace

And Castleford Street.

And Castleford Street.

Both already here on my 1905 Ordnance Survey map of Wavertree.

This close to the Coffee House pub and the old Abbey Cinerama.

This close to the Coffee House pub and the old Abbey Cinerama.

In Waterloo Road there's more ancient wall.

In Waterloo Street there’s more ancient wall.

DSC05342

The 1905 map marks just behind here as Chapel Yard.

The 1905 map marks just behind here as Chapel Yard.

Though for a very long time now it's been an undertaker's.

Though for a very long time now it’s been an undertaker’s.

Back on the High Street a Victorian shop front.

Back on the High Street a Victorian shop front.

Currently and splendidly a wood turner's.

Currently and splendidly a wood turner’s.

With a gloriously casual attitude to work.

With a gloriously casual attitude to work.

When lots of these places were built Wavertree won’t have been part of Liverpool. That only happened in 1895, the same year we were given The Mystery.

Round in Cow Lane, these lovely houses.

Round in Cow Lane, these lovely houses.

It’s been officially called Prince Alfred Road since one of Queen Victoria’s offspring visited, but I’m not having it.DSC05350

Crossing Hunter's Lane.

Crossing Hunter’s Lane.

Further along Cow Lane, along the top of The Mystery.

Further along Cow Lane, along the top of The Mystery.

More grand gates.

More grand gates.

Into the graveyard at Holy Trinity.

Into the graveyard at Holy Trinity.

We’d always come in here all those years I ran ‘Finding the work you’d love’ and I’d ask people ‘What would you do if you had a year to live?‘ A question that ended up changing my own life as much as anyone else’s.DSC05356

So far away...

So far away…

So close.

So close.

Nearly home now.

Nearly home now.

Soon after I get back the post arrives and it’s something wonderful. Our first official letter from Companies House about ‘Coming Home.’

A quietly good ending to The Early Morning Mystery.

8 thoughts on “Early Morning Mystery

  1. Martin Greaney (@histliverpool)

    Great tour of Wavertree, and some historic details I didn’t know – Cow Lane’s a much better name! Pictures of the Mystery remind me of cold (so very cold) ‘cross country’ PE lessons at school, and the stand at the sports centre was where we had our sports days. Blistering hot weather, just wondering when we could go home (I was not a participant!).
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Thanks Martin. Yes that huge field looks expansively lovely on a summer’s day but I run across there often in the winter now and the wind from up off the Mersey can be truly Baltic!

      Reply
  2. robertday154

    That shop front on the High Street looks older than Victorian; I’d take a punt on Regency. The semi-circular fanlights tend to be that period. It’s rather lovely, though, no matter how old.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Yes, when you think about it you can see a group of Jayne Austen characters peering in the window at the millinery. Amazing it wasn’t ever destroyed in favour of a more brutal modernity. Very precious.

      Reply
  3. Maggie Wallace

    Only ever driven by The Mystery I’m ashamed to say. I wonder how long it will take the Council take over a proportion, say half to three quarters, to keep Redrow happy? Surely only a matter of time.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Don’t think so Maggie, the draft Local Plan they’ve publicised this week and are about to consult on includes these priorities:

      “Protect all of Liverpool’s parks for the health and wellbeing of citizens. Prioritise brownfield sites to allow the creation of 29,600 homes by 2033.”

      Reply
      1. Maggie Wallace

        It sounds so good, doesn’t it? So why are they planning on building on parts of Calderstones Park?

        I haven’t seen the draft Local Plan – currently on holiday in Bwlchtocyn (apart from a 2 day flying trip home last week for PIP Assessment – aaarrrgggghhh- on Tuesday). I’ll do a search for it and take a look when have more time.

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