Category Archives: History

Out of Liverpool: Walking to Leeds Section 2

leeds-liverpool-2-65On the bus from the centre of town then, back to where we left off at Wally’s Steps for the second section of our walk from here to there along the whole of the Leeds Liverpool Canal. 127 miles to Leeds with 119 to go. Today we’ll cover the 8 miles from Aintree to Downholland Cross.leeds-liverpool-2-1 leeds-liverpool-2-2 leeds-liverpool-2-3Quality graffiti here. So today will we be Riders on the Storm who will Break on Through to the Other Side? Well.

Sarah has a new jacket.

Sarah has a new jacket.

It’s a ‘paramo’ thing and apparently ‘jacket’ is hardly the word for something that will prove to keep her warm, keep her dry, keep her cool, keep her ventilated and be her best friend when other humans, me, aren’t quite up to the mark. It’s a miracle. And you can keep canal maps in the front. Continue reading

Walking to Leeds 1: Vauxhall to Aintree

A series of walks, in an as yet unknown number of sections, where Sarah and I will walk to Leeds along the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

It's the beginning of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Another way the North Docks area links to Liverpool's industrial past and the rest of north western England's industrial places.


We began this walk last Sunday by walking through this magic doorway and then having the idea of walking all of the rest of the way to Leeds over the next few months.dsc08243In the week since then our resident map maker Sarah has been planning the possible sections of the walk and we’ve both got quite excited about doing something so obvious we wonder why it took us so long to think of it.

Anyway the Sunday after we first have the idea we get the train to Sandhills and walk back a little way to Boundary Street to resume this Section One where we left off last week.dsc08294

Leeds is that way.

Leeds is that way.

Continue reading

Thinking About TenStreets: At Liverpool North Docks

No apologies, this is a big blog post about a big subject. The continuing revival, reuse, regeneration and renewal of a large area of North Liverpool, down by the docks.

It’s also where Sarah and I have the idea of walking to Leeds along the canal.dsc08213

Having been involved in what’s going on down here for the last year or so I got myself invited to a corporate launch thing last Thursday morning. At which and after which people naturally started asking me what I thought of it all?

I said “I don’t know. It’s complicated. I’ll need to have a think about it and get back to you.”

So I’ve been for a think, a walk, the same thing, and here it all is. Me and Sarah meandering round the North Docks, TenStreets if you will, on a sunny Sunday afternoon.dsc08289-1 Continue reading

From the Planet Zogg: The Libraries of a Different World

dsc07973In this last week or so of January 2017 there has been much talk of dystopia. Living through these bleak days in the opposite of a world any of us would want to live in. Waking up in a science fiction novel you never thought you’d actually have to live through.

All of which has reminded me of a science fiction story I wrote a few months ago about libraries and their future in a world where we are free to have opinions, travel freely and generally be a planet of cultured and tolerant human beings.

It’s a story that starts and ends in Liverpool, where else? But as of this week it could be pretty much anywhere. Unlike most of my blog posts it contains no new photographs. Being, as it is, a radio broadcast back to those left at home from the not that fictionally distant Planet Zogg, some time in the imaginable future.livlib08

“The Libraries of a Different World”

The TransLibs

It was like this, we knew things were going to change for us in a big way and a few of us got together to discuss it all before we left. Before we left for the new planet.

You’ve probably heard this basic background a thousand times before, but just in case this story ever gets picked up, say in a library somewhere because, hey, this part of the story is going to be mainly about libraries, here it is. Maybe for someone who’s never heard of Earth, never mind Zogg, here’s the background once again. Continue reading

Poland part two: Slow Travel

Slow travel_47Last week Sarah told us all about her visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Now, in her second blog post about going to Poland we hear how important it was to her to travel there and back relatively slowly by train.


I went to Poland last week, by train, to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial which was an incredible experience. But equally, so was getting to Poland.  I’ve never really liked flying, and with the increased security we face at airports now I find the whole experience unpleasant. So I realised, I have a choice, Europe is well served by trains. And so train it was, well quite a lot of trains in fact.


And an awfully big part of the adventure is ‘The night train’. Continue reading

The Tram Lines

September 14th 1957

September 14th 1957

When Liverpool’s last tram paraded along Lord Street for the last time in 1957 I was there, crying. I loved the trams and was broken hearted to see them leaving so early in my life, as I was only 3. Ever since, I’ve missed them and lamented their absence. And I suppose I’d assumed most of the tram lines had been dug up by now. But not so, as a walk along Penny Lane at the weekend showed me.dsc05889

The Smithdown end of Penny Lane is closed at the moment as the Ullet and Smithdown roadworks proceed slowly along to wherever they’re going to stop.

So we're seeing a lot of notices like these.

So we’re seeing a lot of notices like these.

And scenes like this.

And scenes like this.

Continue reading

A Taxi to Auschwitz


Birkenau_59This is the first of two posts Sarah Horton will be doing on here about her trip to Poland this past week. It’s something she’s talked about doing for a few years now. To bear witness to what happened. And not merely viewing it as history, but as evidence. Evidence of what, in certain circumstances, human beings are prepared to do to other human beings. Sarah has been to Auschwitz.


I’ve taken a proper two week summer holiday this year, time completely off work as a funeral celebrant. The first week of my holiday was sea kayaking in Anglesey – here. In complete contrast I have made a train trip to Poland to visit the town of Oswiecim in southern Poland, about 30 miles west of Krakow.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Museum is located in Oswiecim, and that is the reason for my visit. The town of Oswiecim has been known by both its Polish name, and also as Auschwitz in the German language. In 1939 the town was annexed into the Third Reich and became known as Auschwitz until after the war. It was here the Nazi’s created their largest concentration camp in World War Two.

-Poland trip map

I eventually arrive at Krakow by train on a stifling hot afternoon at 3.30pm, 30 hours after leaving Liverpool at 9.30am the previous day having been on five trains, including a sleeper train. I have carefully learnt the correct pronunciation of ‘Oswiecim’ so that I can ask for my ticket. I have practised a few Polish phrases and am able to say ‘Dzien dobry, prosze, nie polsku’, (Good day, please, no  Polish), although generally I find most Polish people do speak English. I ask for a ticket to Oswiecim, and am surprised when the ticket clerk simply says back to me, ‘Auschwitz, one person’. So I am on my way. Continue reading