The Old Map: Birkenhead and Wallasey

On Saturday mornings, when I’m content with the week’s work done, I like to walk around the neighbourhood more or less pointlessly. Sometimes the walk involves a sit and a read in a café then some food shopping, sometimes LPs. Today it was books. Restocking my shelf of coming soon novels from both the local library and the local Oxfam. While I was in Oxfam I also found this old map of Birkenhead and sat down for a good look at it and the stories it contains.

Like the story of the major line railway station which was running six trains a day from Birkenhead to London until the late 1960s? Read on.

Continue reading “The Old Map: Birkenhead and Wallasey”

Walking to Eldon Grove and Rotunda

Updated  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 “Walking to Eldon Grove and Rotunda”

The pleasures of walking aimlessly

Leaving the house today with my walking boots on I don’t, as so often, know where I’m going. But walking down the road I decide I’ll get on the first bus that comes, get off it as soon as I see something interesting, and start meandering round from there.

I’m in luck, the bus is the 76. A curious beast that meanders almost all the way around the circumference of the city centre before finally giving in and turning down London Road. I’m not on it until then though because I see this.

Seen from the window of the 76 bus. A vision of brutality.
Seen from the window of the 76 bus. A vision of brutality.

I get off at the next stop for a closer look. Turns out it’s to be ‘Liverpool’s Bio Tech Hub.’ So there, another hub. I must say I’m getting very tired of the word, already turning old as an early century affectation for where we’d have merely called something a ‘centre’ or even plain old ‘building.’ Oh well, no doubt some mover-shaker go-getter with very long pointed shoes got paid a packet to come up with the term.

Here is the 'hub' in full. Just next to the coming on quickly new Royal.
Here is the ‘hub’ in full. Just next to the coming on quickly new Royal.

Continue reading “The pleasures of walking aimlessly”

10k Sunday: A walking version of a run

Noticing the unkempt state of the former Garden Festival site towards the end of this November 2014) walk, you may well be glad to hear the whole site, including the unbuilt housing bit has now been bought from the non-developers by Liverpool City Council (June 2015) with plans to make better use of the place than at any time in the last 30 years. At last.

This is a favourite route of mine as a run. But it’s also a good walk. And since runs are tricky to photograph decently me and my camera set off to walk this particular 10k today. A sunny Sunday and the last day of November.

Along Crawford Avenue.
Along Crawford Avenue.
And up the hill over the railway at Penny Lane.
And up the hill over the railway at Penny Lane.
Down the other side.
Down the other side.
Past one of the two houses round here where the great feminist and politician Eleanor Rathbone used to live.
Past one of the two houses round here where the great feminist and politician Eleanor Rathbone used to live.

It’s now become part of a ‘Spire’ private clinic where, strangely, I was recently given NHS treatment when my left ear went deaf. A bizarre and unsettling experience getting state care in a place full of cosmetic surgery adverts. Continue reading “10k Sunday: A walking version of a run”

Wallasey: A Tale of Two Libraries

Having been keeping a very careful eye on Liverpool’s libraries over the past few months, I decided I go and see how our neighbours are getting on with their’s over the water in Wallasey.Wallasey24I don’t know Wallasey very well at all. I know New Brighton, which is part of it, and was last there a few weeks ago, but to get to know as much of the rest as I reasonably can in an afternoon I decide to walk around, almost aimlessly, other than knowing I’ll try and find a couple of libraries in the course of my wandering.

I think walking is the only way to really get to know a place. To see it and feel it and work out how it fits together and how it’s doing. So let’s go.

But I can't walk on water, so have to walk through town first.
But I can’t walk on water, so have to walk through town first.
Then get on a bus, the 437.
Then get on a bus, the 437.
And through the tunnel to Wallasey.
And go through the tunnel to Wallasey.

Continue reading “Wallasey: A Tale of Two Libraries”

As time goes by: with Harry Nilsson on Roscommon Street

In which I walk the hills of North Liverpool, singing at the top of my voice!

It’s very nearly a year now since I started buying LPs again and it’s going very well, thanks for asking. More new stuff is being put out on vinyl now it looks like it will outlast CDs, and recently our house has been singing out loud to new LPs by local band Bird (swooning keening ethereal good), East Kilbride’s Pearlfishers, Blue Nile’s Paul Buchanan and the sublimely gorgeous ‘Hendra’ by Ben Watt.

Nearly a year in, the LPs.
Nearly a year in, the LPs.

But obviously a lot of the records that have come in over the year have been old stuff from charity shops, and it’s one of them I want to write about. £2.99 from Oxfam, as perfect an album as you could possibly get, by Harry Nilsson.

'A little touch of Schmilsson in the night'
‘A little touch of Schmilsson in the night’

Harry had first come to my attention, and everyone else’s in the late 1960s when Beatles publicist Derek Taylor arrived back from the USA with a box of Harry’s first RCA album ‘Pandemonium Shadow Show’. He loved it so much he gave a copy to all of his friends, including our beloved boys, who immediately told the rest of us about Harry. Continue reading “As time goes by: with Harry Nilsson on Roscommon Street”

The Skyroad: Imagining the Flyover

Here is where we all tried out the wonderful Flyover idea, then in May 2015 comes the news that Friends of the Flyover are the winner of  England’s Epic Awards 2015. Closer now to reality? Let’s hope so.

An owl has arrived with a message for Kate Stewart.

Kate is surprised. Everyone's surprised at the moment their owl arrives.
Kate is surprised. Everyone’s surprised at the moment their owl arrives.

Here is the message:

“Kate,
All of you from Friends of the Flyover have done brilliantly well. An idea’s just an idea until you can show that it works. Well today you have. Today you have shown that if these two spurs of an unloved and unwanted flyover can be given as a gift to the people of Liverpool, instead of being demolished, then the people will cherish them and turn them into things of beauty. Today Kate your ideas have taken wing and nothing now can stop them from coming true.

I know this with the wisdom of an owl and I give you the gift of my certainty.

All my good wishes,

Lunar the Owl”

Here’s the place Lunar is talking about. Continue reading “The Skyroad: Imagining the Flyover”

Great bus journeys of the world: the 433 to New Brighton

A hot, sunny day. Time to go to the seaside, I’d say. And when we were young and growing up in Liverpool the nearest seaside was New Brighton.

So that’s where today’s bus journey will take us.

Beginning at the beginning of the route in Cook Street.
Beginning at the beginning of the route in Cook Street.

To make sure the front seat upstairs is baggsied, obviously.

And we're off!
And we’re off!

Continue reading “Great bus journeys of the world: the 433 to New Brighton”