Do you know about the secret alley, off Smithdown and along the back of Garmoyle? What Lawrence Road turns into one it’s crossed Wellington and stops being a road? Well you do now, and it was looking both beautiful and useful this morning when I walked home along it, from picking up a delivery at the Sorting Office on Wellington. Like a short cut kind of useful.

Here it is. Looking back to Lawrence Road then forward into the alley.

All the roads off it lead up to Smithdown, there at the end. And all the alleys are gated. So it’s no one’s insecurity, this secret place.

And beyond the wall opposite the gables is the West Coast railway line to London. Beyond that, The Mystery. But this here’s a mystery too, isn’t it?

And you can’t get cars along here now, just humans. But once you could and there’s a memory of that as we approach the secret alley’s end.

A beautiful place, and useful too. Until it eventually runs out at an alley that would lead directly to people’s back gates.

After which I walked up to Garmoyle behind the Brookhouse, and back onto Smithdown under the bridge. In a shifted geography of round here in Wavertree.

And home, to where the springtime species tulips have arrived and so, now, has the package of notebooks I’d gone to collect.

All along the secret alley.

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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4 Comments

  1. Hello Ronnie,

    You might find find this story interesting.

    I know about this alley very well, for the last 51 years it’s been a powerful memory of my youth.

    On Wednesday January 28th 1970, when I was 14 years old, I had an argument with my dear late Mum, and ran away from home. It’s strange, it was so long ago, yet I can remember most of that day as if it were yesterday.

    The argument was over something really silly, Mum sent me on an errand to get a loaf of bread at the local Sayers. I was fascinated by bonfires and fireworks at that time, and not far from the Sayers shop, some old terraced houses were being demolished. Timber from the houses had been burned on a bonfire by the demolition men. As you may recall from your own youth, (same generation as me) Health and Safety was practically non-existent back then, demolition men wore jeans and cloth jackets, no safety helmets, demolition sites were not cordoned off, etc. etc. Anyway, I had to go and start messing around at the demolition site; I threw some old wood onto one of the piles of ashes that was still red hot, and in doing so, got my hands blackened.

    My detour to the demolition site had made me a bit late going back home, and as I came into our street, Canning Street at that time, my angry Mum was coming towards me, demanding to know where I had been. She happened to see my blackened hands, and without giving me a chance to explain, slapped me, suspecting that I had been up to no good. There was an angry exchange between us, she got hold of my wrist to take me back home, and in a moment of madness, I broke free of her grip and ran off.

    I ran non-stop along Huskisson Street, through Grove Street to Parliament Street, then Along Kingsley Road to Princes Boulevard roundabout, and then I walked down Ullet Road to Smithdown Road until I got to the Junction of Smithdown Road, Allerton Road and Penny Lane. I can’t remember exactly where I went after that, I just remember walking along quiet leafy suburb lanes, and eventually coming to what looked like a park surrounded by an iron fence, close to which I have a memory of seeing a sign which I still swear to this day said: “Cheshire”, though I can’t be right about that because I couldn’t have gone beyond the old Liverpool boundary.

    Anyway, I thought I was on my way out of Liverpool into the great wide world, but after several hours, I found myself in streets that looked familiar; it turned out that I had somehow gone back on myself and ended up going around in circles. I eventually found myself back on Smithdown Road. That whole day was overcast but quite mild, and I was very frustrated because the sun wouldn’t come out; if it had, I would have had a better sense of direction, i.e. where north and south was.

    Now this is where that alley comes in; for most of that afternoon, I finished up wandering up and down along Smithdown Road, down Earle Road, and going back onto Smithdown along that alley.

    I eventually got tired and hungry, and went home at about 7.00 pm that evening. Mum and Dad were not happy, but they forgave me.

    January 28th 1970 was a sad day in that I hurt the feelings of my late Mum and Dad, but I will always remember it as being a bit of an adventure, and that alley will always be a part of it.

    1. Thank you for this. A whole extra blogpost of a story, time slipping back along the alley to 197o and through the streets of Upper Canning as they were being demolished. Some pictures of those streets are here in “Lost and Found

      1. Hello Ronnie,

        I had read the Lost and Found blog. The map is interesting, I was born in 1955 at Mill Road Hospital, now long gone, and I grew up with Mum and Dad at 111 Grove Street Liverpool 7. We lived there until June 1969, when we moved to an upper floor flat in 60 Canning Street.
        My childhood home was demolished in May 1971, which was sad, as it was a three story Georgian terrace, with old fashioned crank handled bells in the rooms, and a old coal fired stove in the front basement room; it was the sort of property that I’m sure would be preserved and renovated nowadays. Even after all these decades, I still occasionally have dreams about the old house, my childhood home, which now seems like a far off legendary place.

        My Mum had possession of a second house in Upper Huskisson Street which she used to rent out to tenants. she would go there every so often, and so from my childhood, I remember a lot of those old streets on that map, especially Mona Street, at the end of which there was a corner shop that I remember always seemed to have a sweet, custardy smell when we went into it.

  2. I also remember these streets in The Georgian Quarter. We lived at 132 Bedford Street South, close to the corner of Falkner near the old Womens hospital. That house is still there and has been renovated. Thanks to whoever did that. There was a bomb site across the road from 132 and the story was a bomber was heading or coming from the docks and decided to drop some of his bombs. One hit the middle of Falkner Street by the Womens Hospital and another hit the house across the road. We used to play on the bomb site in our early days in Bedford Street.
    Mum and Dad eventually got a bit richer and we moved to 27 Beaconsfield Street. By which time I was off around the world in the Merchant Navy. Only 16 years old, I had a whale of a time and got paid for it..

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