Better Places Together: Introducing Ed, the camper van

There’s an organisation I really admire in Liverpool, called PLACED. Stands for PLACE EDUCATION. I’ve worked with them in the recent past and been friends with their founder Jo Harrop for a good long time.

Today just off Bold Street they launched their Better Places Together programme and their special new friend, Ed the camper van.

Here’s Ed.

So a few words from Ed and Jo:

“PLACED is an award-winning social enterprise that engages and involves people of all ages and backgrounds in architecture, planning and design and enables them to shape their built environment.”

And Better Places Together?

“This is a project that will invite local people to explore ideas for how to improve spaces and places across the city.

We have refurbished a camper van, named Ed, which has become a unique, mobile workspace touring the city. We’ll be running mini-workshops, hands-on activities and facilitating discussion which tackles topics around the built environment.

From the city centre to further afield, we will be inviting you to join us. So we hope you can join the debate.”

Because places matter. As I’m sure you realise. Continue reading “Better Places Together: Introducing Ed, the camper van”

Sky Blue Black Vinyl Day

The sort of perfect day when no self respecting camera should be left in its bag. Fully charged up we go out, to a feast of colour and record shops.

First to Granby, a social call.
First to Granby, a social call.

But then all visits to Granby these last five years and more have been social visits. Where our conversations with each other have created the future.

A future now bursting into colour.
A future now bursting into colour.
So proud of our newly finished houses.
So proud of our newly finished Community Land Trust houses.
Particularly loving the yellow front door here.
Particularly loving the yellow front door here.

And don’t worry music fans, the Black Vinyl is coming later. Continue reading “Sky Blue Black Vinyl Day”

Breathing Spaces

My verdicts on all of Liverpool City Centre’s quiet places for a peaceful sit. Warning, it’s not very complimentary.


The news from Liverpool Confidential that this little area of trees in Victoria Street is to be turned into a multi-storey car park, rather than, say, a little area of trees with seats, has got me thinking.

Where are the breathing spaces in the centre of Liverpool?

Not the great ring of parks that surround the city, but the centre itself? Where can we go for a break, a sit, a quiet read, to watch the world go by, in the middle of town? Not somewhere that’s a café where you have to pay, but somewhere free and open to all of us, where we can breathe in the open air and be at one with each other and our place? The garden at the back of The Bluecoat springs immediately and obviously to mind, but where else?

Well I’m about to make myself some butties and a flask of tea, then walk around town and find out. So if you see me later on looking around forlornly with my camera, then help me out with your suggestions. Otherwise I might be reporting back later with a very short blog post?

Continue reading “Breathing Spaces”

In Liverpool: Along Park Road

A brisk, bright but very cold day for a walk into town to do some record shopping. ‘The temperature will feel like zero’ Sarah helpfully tells me. Passing on the information from her phone which often gives her comedy weather forecasts seemingly gathered by someone looking out of a window.

Undeterred I go out anyway.

Across the park and along Lark Lane.
Across the park and along Lark Lane.
On to Aigburth Road.
On to Aigburth Road.

Not been to Onion for a while. Too early for lunch today though.

A real mixture of shops along here.
A real mixture of shops along here.

Continue reading “In Liverpool: Along Park Road”

Liverpool and Sociology in 1973

In 2013 I took this rainy day walk around the University and the city as if I was back in 1973, the year I first turned up at the Eleanor Rathbone Building to study sociology. Never dreaming that five years later, in 2018, I’d once again be walking through those same doors to start a PhD.

It’s raining hard so I get the bus into the centre of Liverpool.

For an urban Friday Walk.
For an urban Friday Walk.

Today I’m going to walk through pieces of my own past, forty years ago, in Liverpool 1973.

I’d not thought of this urban walking I do as a revolutionary act. But this week a friendly blog reader, @PFurmo via Twitter, drew my attention to an article in the New Statesman that suggests it is. Talking about members of the Situationist International in Paris in 1968, John Rogers writes:

“The car was seen as a tool of capitalist propaganda, the city itself as a manifestation of hierarchies and power structures; modern urban planning was a mass exercise in “organising universal isolation” that shackled and oppressed the human spirit. The primary solution to combat this attack was to walk.

What the situationists recognised was the transformative potential of large numbers of people regularly stepping outside the matrix, taking to the streets and walking, becoming active participants rather than passive spectators. This “revolution of everyday life” is a radical shift that starts with placing one foot in front of the other.”


So I decide to start today’s Friday Walk at the place where I went to learn about societies and revolutions, only 5 years later than the Situationists were writing, in 1973.

Liverpool University, Department of Sociology.
Liverpool University, Department of Sociology.

Continue reading “Liverpool and Sociology in 1973”

Thank you for the days

Back in Liverpool now, Saturday dawns sunny and we have our second joint run of the week.

Running round the lake we see all seven cygnets and both remaining goslings (yes, down to two as of a week or so ago) with their parents, all well. No photos of course, we were running after all. (See Sunday update at the end of this post.)

Then early afternoon Sarah wants to go to town for various ‘bits’ and me and the camera come along too.The Days01

We catch the 86 bus outside Antwakki's Bazaar down on Smithdown Road.
We catch the 86 bus outside Antwakki’s Bazzar down on Smithdown Road.

Now from here to town we’ll recreate one of Liverpool’s greatest pieces of cultural heritage, Continue reading “Thank you for the days”