Home as a Human Right: Ten Thoughts

On believing in everyone having a secure home as a human right. 

This is roughly the text of my talk to the Liverpool Walton Constituency Labour Party on the evening of 22nd May 2018.

From a lifetime working in and around housing and communities and at the request of the Walton Constituency Labour Party here in Liverpool, these are my ‘Top 10’ thoughts, a mixture of policies and practicalities, on how we might go about fixing the wide ranging housing crisis we are now in.

1 Establish having a secure home as a basic human right
2 Reinvent Council Housing
3 Be secure and safe from the cradle to the grave Continue reading “Home as a Human Right: Ten Thoughts”

One Day: A story of getting ready

Almost time for the ‘One Day: Photographing Liverpool’ course Jane MacNeil and I are running on Wednesday this week.

So on a  sunny Saturday morning it’s time for us both to get together in town and make our final preparations.

All bookings in advance, here through Eventbrite.
Book now

I get on a 75 bus on Smithdown Road, while Jane travels in from Walton.

Getting off the bus at the Bombed Out Church the streets are quiet. It’s been Light Night the night before and not many people are around yet.

Walking down Bold Street I remember I’d noticed earlier on their Instagram that Bold Street Coffee are coming back and re-opening. Which I’m glad about as Bold Street hasn’t seemed quite itself without them. Continue reading “One Day: A story of getting ready”

Squash: Food for Real on Windsor Street

On a beautiful morning in the finally here springtime of the year Squash opened today on Windsor Street.

The café and shop were busy all of the morning I was here and it was great. A beautiful building full of the spirits of the community who have created it. And all of us visitors.

There’s a story behind it all which is theirs to tell and for you to join in with when you visit. Which I think you should.

Here’s what it’s like.

Continue reading “Squash: Food for Real on Windsor Street”

From Pitt Street to Granby

Liverpool is a city full of stories and next Tuesday evening I’ll be going to the launch of a new book that tells a few more. I can’t tell you any of the stories here because I don’t know what they are. But I do know that hearing them will deepen and change my own sense of this place, this Liverpool. So I wondered if you might like to come and hear them too?

From Pitt Street to Granby – Book Launch with Professor Mike Boyle, Tony Wailey and Madeline Heneghan

Venue: Toxteth Library, Windsor Street, Liverpool, L8 1XF
Time: 6.30pm (Doors 6pm)
Tickets: £4/£2

Here’s how they describe what their new book is about: Continue reading “From Pitt Street to Granby”

One Day: Photographing Liverpool

One day to change the way you look at the world, with street photographer Jane MacNeil and me, Ronnie Hughes.

Taking place on Wednesday 23rd May, in Liverpool.
All bookings in advance, here through Eventbrite.

This will be a one day course:

  • For anyone who wants to do more with photography;
  • Tell stories in pictures as well as words;
  • By better appreciating the place where you already are;
  • And using the camera you already have, your phone.

A day of stories, conversations, ideas, advice and getting out and about round the streets and neighbourhoods of Liverpool, with the two of us.

And maybe you? Continue reading “One Day: Photographing Liverpool”

The Wichita Lineman: And I need you more than want you

A friend and I have been swapping lists just lately of our favourite pieces of classical music. For our own education and maybe even a blog post on here sometime. The doing of these somehow made me think of ‘Wichita Lineman’. Not because it’s classical music, of course, though maybe it is now?

I’ve been listening to this glorious song since it first emerged from my Binatone transistor radio fifty years ago. I’ll almost certainly have heard it on the new BBC Radio One that had just been invented then to replace my preferred Radio Caroline pirate station. And once I’d heard it the song not only stuck with me, it stuck in me.

The loneliness, the yearning, the situation, the working man out there on his own, the SOS in the strings and every single time these last fifty years when he sings:

‘And I need you more than want you
And I want you for all time’

I stop. Continue reading “The Wichita Lineman: And I need you more than want you”

In Liverpool: Those Three Sunny Days in April

If these were the only three sunny days we get they were great weren’t they? So I thought I’d write them down so I can remember them, later on. When the weather goes back to seeming like it’s colder than it used to be and it rains most days.

It’s Saturday evening as I’m writing, going dark now but the daytimes here in Liverpool have been sunny since Thursday. Warm days of less clothes and crowds in the parks. Though not yet in The Mystery as I set out for the day. Continue reading “In Liverpool: Those Three Sunny Days in April”

For the Love of Record Shops: Defend Vinyl

As Record Store Day 2018 approaches this weekend, an appreciation.

I’m keen on high streets, as you may have noticed, reasoning they’re not only essential  for the well-being of our neighbourhoods but also in defining who we are and where we’re from. As in:

‘I’m Ronnie Hughes, I live just off Smithdown Road in Liverpool, and these days its such a great high street it’s even got a record shop’.

It’s called Defend Vinyl and I featured it on here eighteen months ago, not long after it opened.

Well here it is again, not only going stronger than ever but also about to host Record Store Day this coming Saturday, April 21st.

Record Store Day, in case you’ve never heard of it, is about encouraging people to visit their local record shops. Simple as that. After a precipitous drop in numbers record shops are returning to our high streets for the simple reason that enough of us want them to. So Record Store Day is a day to celebrate record shops everywhere by visiting one.

Let’s do that then? Continue reading “For the Love of Record Shops: Defend Vinyl”

Kitty’s Launderette: Opening soon in North Liverpool

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Come & visit Kitty’s Launderette this coming Sunday They’re getting their place ready to open later in the summer so it’s not open for business yet, but come along, meet the team & have some tea and cake from Homebaked too. This coming Sunday, 6th May 12:00-3pm.

I want to tell you about Kitty’s Launderette, which is being opened by some friends later in the summer in North Liverpool and is one of the most interesting ideas I’ve heard in a long while.

But first, I need to tell you about Kitty Wilkinson.

In the Gardens below the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool you can find this gravestone. It’s the grave of one Catherine Wilkinson who died in 1860, long before the Cathedral was built, at the age of 73. Even though she died so long ago the grave is rarely without a small bunch of flowers, in tribute to the woman buried here. Her inscription reads:

‘Indefatigable and self-denying , she was the widow’s friend; the support of the orphan, the fearless and unwearied nurse of the sick; the originator of baths and wash houses for the poor.’

In a time of disease and poverty Kitty Wilkinson did indeed invent the wash house, what we’d now call a launderette, making life better and healthier for thousands. She’s remembered in this stained glass window in the Cathedral and continues to be an inspiration to people doing good things to this day, as we’re about to find out. Continue reading “Kitty’s Launderette: Opening soon in North Liverpool”