Tag Archives: Eldon grove

Streets Apart: A History of Social Housing

Early in May this year writer and journalist Lynsey Hanley, together with a producer from BBC Radio 4 came and interviewed me for a series of programmes they were planning about the history of social housing. I was glad to do this as Liverpool had a significant role in the early development of council housing.

Then a few weeks after our recording the Grenfell Tower Fire happened and in its still unfolding aftermath it seems more necessary than ever to look back at the history and development of social housing. 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

2016: A year in 30 photographs

A selection from the several thousand photographs I’ve taken this year for this blog. Taken all together they tell one story of the year. Not a definitive one, more of a meander as you might expect.

In a year that’s been turbulent in so many ways it’s been good to have this blog to come home to. A quiet place to reflect and to tell some stories. Stories of ordinary days and determined people, trying to make our part of the world a better and fairer place.

A frame round the sky. At Rotunda in Kirkdale

A frame round the sky. At Rotunda in Kirkdale

The new stand at Anfield rising in the January fog.

The new stand at Anfield rising in the January fog.

Reflection of the new Royal.

Reflection of the new Royal.

Continue reading

Walking with Municipal Dreams

From LFC to Eldon Grove, talking history, housing and the beauty of hills.
DSC03239I’m on my way to meet John Boughton, renowned blogger as ‘Municipal Dreams’ and his partner Michele Grant, to go walking.

As usual in Anfield I get off the 27 bus at the top end of Oakfield Road.

As usual in Anfield I get off the 27 bus at the top end of Oakfield Road.

To see just how big the new stand is looking.

To see just how big the new stand is looking.

I meet John and Michele at the Shankly Statue as arranged.

I meet John and Michele at the Shankly Statue as arranged.

They live in London and have done for many years, but Michele grew up here in Liverpool. Continue reading

Walking to Eldon Grove and Rotunda

Eldon&Rotunda - 48Updated  November 2016

The plans mentioned below for the restoration of Eldon Grove do now seem as if they will receive planning permission, despite the objections of many local people. The blocks of new flats around Eldon Grove that they are objecting to will still be built, though those to the front have now been reduced to three storeys from four. So I’m very glad that what I consider to be the most beautiful municipal housing ever built is to be saved. But I’m bewildered that we’re not treating it with more respect.

A slate grey cold February Friday? Maybe, but dry and perfectly fine for a short but more than interesting walk from town to Rotunda. Passing, on the way, a worrying update to my continuing tale of our precious Eldon Grove. A contrasting study, in fact with Rotunda, in the long term effects of how we love and care for two of the places and buildings that should most matter to us?

I set off from a morning meeting in Central Library.

I set off from a morning meeting in Central Library.

Walking towards North Liverpool.

Walking towards North Liverpool.

I could of course go straight along the main road, but where's the interest in that?

I could of course go straight along the main road, but where’s the interest in that?

Continue reading

It’s Liverpool, in 1964: City of Change and Challenge

Or ‘Seaport: A Life in a Book’challengeSeaport - 1This book came out originally in 1964 when I was ten years old. And though I had my adult-side library ticket by then it must have been a reference only book, as I have no memory of bringing it home. Instead I would sit in the North Liverpool library of my childhood and pore over it for hours. Fascinated by such a gorgeous book about the place that, even then, I considered myself lucky to have been born in. Much of which I hadn’t yet seen. My Liverpool was a Ribble bus to County Road and Stanley Park, near where I’d first lived, or all the way into town, with occasional rides on the ferry, back and forth, back and forth.

My parents, having lived through the war years in Vauxhall and Bootle next to the decimated docks, had been glad to move their little family out to the new northern suburbs where everything was new and life could only get better. And Maghull back then was a fascinating place to grow up in. Between our house and the library there was still a farm where you could watch the great big sow suckling her piglets. And the surrounding streets as they got built filled up with footballers from Everton and Liverpool who we would constantly pester for autographs. But also, of course, by 1964 the Beatles were among us and together with this book only added to my fasciation with the place I was actually from, my Liverpool.

So I would sit there in Maghull branch library, gazing at places I hadn’t yet seen and dreaming of finding them. Then over the decades that came I would find the book occasionally in the Liverpool libraries I by then lived near, and notice that in a way, the book and those early dreams were shaping my life.

Eventually a copy of the 1993 reprint of the book entered my life. The father of my partner Sarah, Frank Horton, was dying of lung cancer. And having seen how often I would look through ‘Seaport’ while visiting him, tenderly passed the book over to me, saying “I think it’ll be more use to you than me now.”

It’s one of my greatest treasures and I’ve long thought of writing about it on here. So here goes. No clever editing, we’ll just leaf through the book, and skipping back and forth across the decades since Liverpool in 1964, I’ll tell you the story of my life. Continue reading

A Year in 12 Photographs

Now that 2014 is over, here’s an attempt to sum up my own past year in 12 photographs.

Over the year there were 160 new blog posts and most of them contained new photographs as I wandered around, mostly, Liverpool with my camera clutched permanently in my right hand. Here’s what I saw.

The 472 to Heswall.

The 472 to Heswall.

This was the year of ‘Great Bus Journeys of the World’ all made possible, or at least cheaper, by me being awarded the freedom of my City and beyond, by way of a bus pass. So as soon as I got it, late in January, I began a new kind of exploring. Here I’ve made my first ever trip through the Mersey Tunnel on a bus. Getting on at Cook Street, where the 472 starts, to make sure I can get the front seat upstairs and get the best views through the tunnel and across the Wirral. As thrilled as any child.

The view from Ward 7Y.

The view from Ward 7Y.

I spent the early part of the year being tested and diagnosed with a relatively rare blood disorder, polycythaemia, most likely caused by a genetic defect. This included regular visits to the Royal Hospital where dedicated staff perform their daily miracles in an architectural monstrosity – with great views. Continue reading