On my holidays: At the Pier Head

Running about

Wonderful photograph of exactly how it felt, by Joe Neary.

Well the Pier Head’s bigger than it used to be when we’d come here for days out like this in the 1960s (wonderful photograph of exactly how it felt by Joe Neary). Back then the Albert Dock was behind a big wall and went completely unnoticed by me until its renovation in the mid 1980s.

Here we are.

Here we are, 1965.

Bus station in front of the Liver Buildings.

Bus station in front of the Liver Buildings.

With children.

With children from earlier in the century.

And more recently.

And more recently.

And the rest of the place has only recently gone.

The rest of the place has relatively recently gone.

So

So here I am today in 2016, on holiday at the bigger Pier Head.

Where there is lots of Beatles about.

Where there is lots of Beatles about.

In fact I decide to walk around as if I’m two people. The one who’s lived here forever, and one who’s a tourist on their first visit.

The tourist is impressed by the busy-ness as well as the architecture.

The tourist is impressed by the busy-ness as well as the architecture.

I'm still aggrieved that those black glass 'could be anywhere' buildings were ever put up.

I’m still aggrieved that those black glass ‘could be anywhere’ buildings were ever put up. And put up there in particular.

But no one could dislike the sounds of children laughing on a merry go round.

But no one could dislike the sounds of children laughing on a merry go round.

Picturesque as it is.

Picturesque as it is.

I've always thought of it as a place people go when they can't think of anywhere to go.

I’ve always thought of it as a place people go when they can’t think of anywhere to go.

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Even if it has got a Tate.

Even if it has got a Tate.

The Slavery Museum will get a post of its own one of these days. I don't feel like going inside anywhere today.

The Slavery Museum will get a post of its own one of these days. I don’t feel like going inside anywhere today.

The tourist shuffles contentedly round the Dock.

The tourist shuffles contentedly round the Dock.

In fact me and Sarah have always called what people do here the 'Albert Dock Shuffle'

In fact me and Sarah have always called what people do here the ‘Albert Dock Shuffle’

Sometimes the shuffle is forced on people because it’s so crowded. Sometimes it’s suggestive of vaguely disappointed people trying vainly to ‘make a day of it’ until their coach takes them safely away without having been anywhere near a more real Liverpool.

Me and the tourist me agree that there is some appalling tat in the shops here.

Me and the tourist me agree that there is some appalling tat in the shops here.

Exactly as bad as the tourist tat anywhere.

Exactly as bad as the tourist tat anywhere.

But we do have the Tate.

But we do have the Tate.

Though neither of my selves feels like going inside anywhere today.

Though neither of my selves feels like going inside anywhere today.

Oh is this where the Olympics have been taking place?

Oh is this where the Olympics have been taking place?

Seems a bit quiet?

Seems a bit quiet?

Oh good. Doughnuts ahead!

Oh good. Doughnuts ahead!

(Yes I know everyone spells it differently now. Well everyone’s wrong.)

When I’d come to the 1960s Pier Head – and we really would make a day of it – one of the definite highlights was the doughnut stall in the old wooden ferry terminal. Maybe it was the sea air or merely the excitement of the day, but no doughnuts ever tasted fresher or sweeter than these. So me and the tourist both approach this attractive van to get one.

But no, even though I ask I'm told they're only available as multiple purchses.

But no, even though I ask I’m told they’re only available as multiple purchases.

Ridiculous as they really are making them here, they’re not pre-packaged.

The tourist is bewildered, I stomp off knowing it'll be in a blog post.

The tourist is bewildered, I stomp off knowing it’ll be in a blog post.

But I'm calmed down, as ever, by Billy Fury.

But I’m calmed down, as ever, by Billy Fury.

And humming 'Half Way to Paradise' explain our wondrous and lost Billy to our visitor.

And humming ‘Half Way to Paradise’ explain our wondrous and lost Billy to our visitor.

The sea chains have filled up with these love locks I notice.

The sea chains have filled up with these love locks I notice.

Trust all's going well Eve and Justin?

Trust all’s going well Eva and Justin?

And yes, there's the river and the shipyard in Birkenhead.

And yes, there’s the river and the shipyard in Birkenhead.

And a ship at the Pier Head.

And a ship at the Pier Head.

A cruise ship our tourist me might well have arrived on?

A cruise ship our tourist me might well have arrived on?

Though you’ll hardly be surprised to hear that the Liverpool me wouldn’t go on a cruise ship for a big clock.

So then, here is this place 50 years ago. Half recreation, half bus station. Which made session as back then the ferries were necessity more than amusement.

The Museum of Liverpool.

The Museum of Liverpool.

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And those things.

And those things.

DSC05413 DSC05414Next, a friend had told me about this. Much of the stuff we’d thought was here for the ‘Liverpool Loves’ festival a couple of weeks back has been here all summer.

See.

See.

Including this view blocking, bouncer at the entrance champagne bar.

Including this view blocking, bouncer at the entrance champagne bar.

The view round the back of it. Tatty.

The view round the back of it. Tatty.

Mind you, at this point my tourist self has probably gone in there for a drink or three. It’s quite a hot afternoon after all.

Let's walk off and take some better photos.

Let’s walk off and take some better photos.

The Leeds and Liverpool canal extension.

The Leeds and Liverpool canal extension.

The Liver Buildings refracted in it.

The Liver Buildings refracted in it.

And flipped the right way up.

And flipped the right way up.

Glad to see a vegan food offer. But I'm still grieving for that doughnut.

Glad to see a vegan food offer. But I’m still grieving for that doughnut.

Oh look! Another chance.

Oh look! Another chance.

Not looking promising from the sign.

Not looking promising from the sign.

But Will from Cherry Lane is a reasonable man and is more than happy to sell me the longed for single doughnut.

But Will from Cherry Lane is a reasonable man and is more than happy to sell me the longed for single doughnut.

Delicious it is too. Wouldn’t have been a proper Pier Head holiday without it.

The Dazzle Ferry out on the Mersey.

The Dazzle Ferry out on the Mersey.

Some Mersey Travel numbskull on Twitter this week said we had to ‘rush’ to book on it as we won’t have it after this year. Why ever not? It looks beautiful and people generally like it, so why get rid. The tourist me is back after his champagne and is slurringly bewildered at such corporate short-sightedness.

The nobility would never have allowed it in their day.

The nobility would never have allowed it in their day.

Time to walk on.

Time to walk on.

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Good reflective sky photos. Only things these buildings are good for.

Good reflective sky photos. Only things these buildings are good for.

Though I notice a Dave Sinclair 1980s photo displayed in front of an empty office.

Though I notice a Dave Sinclair 1980s photo displayed in front of an empty office here.

Being on holiday and having a camera of my own I spend a while playing around with its exposure settings.DSC05439 DSC05440 DSC05441

Sometimes real life benefits from a bit of visual adjustment!

Sometimes real life benefits from a bit of visual adjustment!

And it is my holiday anyway.

Next the tourist me wants to ‘go over and have a look at Liverpool One?’

So we do.

So we do.

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They've been having the Olympics here too.

They’ve been having the Olympics here too.

And tell my other self "At least it's a breathing space and there are precious few of them in Central Liverpool'

And I tell my other self “It’s all a bit corporate and tired but least it’s a breathing space and there are precious few of them in Central Liverpool”

At which point our holiday at the 2016 Pier Head comes to an end. Even the Liverpool me enjoyed it, for all the moaning.

And a friend of mine is good with historical photos. So some Pier Head days out from the 1960s are now here, from my friend Angela. Thank you.

Running about was great!

From the 1960s, when the running about was great and we played here all day.

3 thoughts on “On my holidays: At the Pier Head

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Thanks Robert. Their blackness helps when there’s a sunny contrast. They still do look like architectural conceit to me. Especially now RIBA are moving into one of them.

      Reply
  1. Glenn Aylett

    Excellent stuff, being an outsider, whenever I see the green buses at the old Pier Head bus station, I seem to think of Nerys Hughes in hotpants running for the bus in the Liver Birds credits and the music by The Scaffold. Indeed most people from outside the city probably got to know about Liverpool’s landmarks from this seventies sitcom.
    Interestingly being from North Wales, Ms Hughes could put on a convincing Liverpool accent.

    Reply

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