The way it started was this. A few months ago a journalist arrived in a taxi from Lime Street. Whoever it was didn’t have much time to get back to London so they knocked off an over-hasty article which gave the impression that Wavertree wasn’t much of a place to live, for various reasons. One of which seemed to be that the people of the place were several kinds of objectionable.
Which struck me as odd at the time, as I’ve lived in this part of Liverpool very happily now for twenty eight years and have always found the people to be friendly and neighbourly and nothing like the people the journalist talked to in the short time before their train took them safely home to their preconceptions.
Bur other than feel vaguely offended I didn’t do anything about the article. Unlike a good sized group of other Wavertree people whose response was this. To get the main high street through the middle of the area closed for the day, while thousands of us played in the street and generally celebrated our place, our Wavertree. Because we love it, we do.
I turned up early because I knew I wanted to see Wavertree High Street looking like this, car free, which it’s mostly anything but. Heavy rain had been forecast for the whole day, but as you can see, it mostly didn’t.
The road was closed from the Picton Clock to the Rose Garden. A good stretch which later on provided plenty of room for a cricket match, various kinds of football, dancing and several stages of music, including those Bowie Ukes, who we’ll be returning to.
As people realised the deluge wasn’t arriving the street began to fill.
That’s Danny from Peloton there, the one pedalling, and we’ll be back for a go on that soon. But first a look at one of the High Street’s newest arrivals.
This is the general gathering, living and being with each other room at the new group-house Vitality Living have recently opened in a former pub and police station for people in recovery. There are nine flats done so far, two staff members living here, and several more flats to be completed. And it felt great. I met several of the people here, was offered toast tea and their stories, and sat in with a group of other visitors talking through how well it’s all going and how the residents here are contributing help, activities and spending to the new neighbourhood they’re so happy to have arrived in.
Time for a go on Danny’s bike then, along with PJ from Vitality.
And that’s several of the day’s organisers we’re nearly running into there. Clare Devaney and local councillor Clare McIntyre smiling at the camera. Well done you two and everyone else, City Council people included, who have pulled off this miracle response in such a short time.
‘Best Ever Whole Neighbourhood Response to Piece of Thoughtlessly Negative Journalism?’ I’d say so.
Eventually the deluge did arrive, but the day was well-set by then and no one was much bothered by the rain. It was such a pleasure, such a pleasure, to see each other and to be here, on Wavertree High Street’s best ever day. The day the cars were replaced by us, the people of the place.
And the Bowie Ukes?
Well this worked, definitely. So I’m looking forward to the next one. And to many more car-free days on Wavertree Hight Street. To mornings when the road through the middle of our neighbourhood looks like this.
Love and respect from me x