Have you ever looked at the grids in your street, really looked at them? Thought not, so we’ve had a look for you. At least we have if you happen to live in any of four roads in New Brighton or a few more back over in Liverpool. And what’s more our inspection was carried out on Sarah’s birthday, showing that we know how to do a celebration.

The way it happened was that on the midweek day itself we’d come for an afternoon out in New Brighton. Had lunch at the café in Vale Park, always a pleasure, and showed Sarah the pirate treasures nearby that she hadn’t seen yet.

So, proper birthday afternoon out sort of stuff. As was going down to the beach once the rain stopped, having a sit on the Black Pearl, then Sarah doing the beach thing she most delights in of bending over double inspecting the tiny creatures and their habitats that most of us can’t even see. As the tide began to come in she took the lovely photographs of waiting oyster catchers that you’ll see somewhere on this blog post, and we both watched the several ships that were also coming in on the rising tide. Particularly delighting in the two little tugboats that turned one of them round (probably not the correct nautical term) so it could point the right way for getting into Seaforth Dock.

So already an interesting birthday by anyone’s standards before we set off to walk back to Sarah’s car, still parked at the back of our lunchtime venue. Which was when I suggested that grids might be of interest to us both. And I was right. So we started taking these photographs. Along Victoria Road, Seabank Road, Magazine Lane and Vale Drive in New Brighton. Then the next day I continued our task along Hope Street, Mount Pleasant, Clarence Street and Rodney Street back in Liverpool.

All of which means it would be possible to start cataloguing what follows in street order. But we don’t want to and we’re not going to. Instead what we’re doing here is celebrating the beauty of grids, the everyday art, history and engineering stories beneath our feet. In rough shape and function order, beginning with water.

Nice Europen touch at the end there, we think you’ll agree. ‘Hands across the water’ and all that. Next? Well, we did talk about whether all the things we’re showing you here are actually grids, or the lids of grids, or indeed the entrances to grids of various services beneath our roads and pavements? And we decided to call them all grids, so that’s that. Those that follow now, though, are clearly the most grid-like of grids.

As well as their functions we particularly like it when a grid contains the name of its manufacturer and their place of origin. Noticing the Cooper Clarke up there we wondered whether it was made in Salford by the punk bard’s family?

Next, gas.

The one that doesn’t say ‘Gas’ up there is particularly lovely and we’ve gone with its shape to assume it’s a gas grid.

Now, triangular.

A grid it you could climb down, if you wanted. And a nod to Wallasey Corporation here, as well as to Stockport, clearly a leading school in the Art of Grids.

More shapes next.

So many stories under our feet, thoughtlessly walked on every day but telling of what time and people’s skills have done. Like of when we had a General Post Office and its workers laid down all of the country’s telephone cables.

Next, an interlude, a welcome alley of iron bollards.

Still street art and recalling an earlier pair of posts on here that celebrated the ‘Bollards of Liverpool 8.’

Returning to grids and completing our celebration with a collection of circles.

One of them not even a grid at all but, we like to think, celebrating and representing all grids and their beauty and usefulness over time.

We think they’re lovely.

But just to show we’re not completely obsessed by grids, and for those of you who might have noticed the ‘New Brighton’ tag and so come here with some expectations, here’s what else we did on Sarah’s birthday.

We went to the beach.
And Sarah looked carefully at its marine biology.
At what tiny creatures are living where.
And of course at lichen.
We also had a sit on the Black Pearl and looked at Liverpool.
And Sarah photographed the oyster catchers…
Waiting for the tide to turn.
Then we watched the ships coming in on the evening tide. And the tugboats turning this one around.
After which we walked along Victoria Road and started photographing grids.

So now you know. Grids are a good thing, we think.

Happy Birthday from Sarah.

Published by Ronnie

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place: http://asenseofplace.com.

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  1. Anyone with an interest in our built environment has to learn the art of looking – first, looking up, to see what you can learn about a building’s history from the bits that don’t get changed because of fashion (such as shop fronts); and then, looking down, to see what passes unnoticed beneath our feet. On a beach, that’s patterns and footprints. In the street, that’s “architectural ironwork”, to give it its posh name. Good on you. I suppose I should now put together an album of the world at my feet; another project to add to the List.

    Sarah’s pictures of the foreshore once again made me think of the old Daily Mirror cartoon strip ‘The Perishers’ and their annual seaside holiday, where Old Boot, the dog, would go down and look at the crabs in a rock pool – who as a result, had evolved a religion of “The Eyeballs In The Sky” which appeared roughly once a year…

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Yes. I have looked at many grids since young childhood-70years ago. Never persuaded anyone else to share that interest! In my road in West Yorkshire curiously manufactured in Bangor? Never thought to take photos but never had a camera until I got a phone

  3. We still have some fine examples of coal hole covers in Rodney Street, Mount Street and Chatham Street. Someone compiled a photo record of London coal holes but there isn’t one for Liverpool. Catch them while you can.

  4. Very nice :) ATE was ‘Automatic Telephone and Exchange’ on Edge Lane, which eventually became Plessey/GPT/Marconi, so that would be access to traffic lights, at least originally.

  5. Ah Ronnie, who needs cake and a party when they’ve got grids and a beach. I’ll settle for the latter anytime. A celebration of our luck to live in that mix of urban and natural worlds.

  6. I thought I must be alone taking pictures of manhole covers and water covers. I find them fascinating, Yours are lovely, I think all I’ve seen here are round.

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