Kitty’s Launderette’s Kickstarter campaign has now passed £8,500 worth of pledges from over 150 people. Really good going as we all get behind seeing it all the way to its target of £14,000.
Less than £5,500 now needed to reach the target. So if you haven’t pledged yet…?
A few weeks ago I started telling you the story of a new idea, the story of Kitty’s Launderette. An affordable and ecological laundrette in the community of Anfield and Everton. A warm and welcoming place for arts, social activities and doing the washing.
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”
Yesterday I was ‘The Stranger in Skelmersdale.’ One day, 200 years after my precious book, of being taken on a walk round a nearby town that I hardly know at all.
I remember the moment I was introduced to Skelmersdale.
It’s a summer evening in 1965 and we’ve come out for a drive after our tea in the brand new family car, a dark blue Ford Cortina, ELV 397C. We’ve travelled out from North Liverpool into the Lancashire countryside. All winding lanes and old churches, where the most modern thing in the landscape is us in our car, until we arrive at what I remember as the crest of a hill where we are looking down into the huge bowl of a building site landscape:
“What’s that Dad?”
“It’s a new town they’re building down there. It’s going to be called Skelmersdale.”
After that my memories are few. Of riding through the brand new place most days on a Ribble bus, on my way to Wigan Tech, as the 1970s begin. A few years later some friends lose their home in Melling as the M58 is finally, and more than a bit late, built through there to Skelmersdale. Then in more recent years some contacts and one visit through my work with the School for Social Entrepreneurs. So, not much and definitely not enough to claim to know the place.
Over the last ten years or so one of my quietly favourite things has been to work with the School for Social Entrepreneurs. Particularly with Sylvia Pearson and Lisa Mairah. I say quietly because I write very little about it, as this work has been about helping people get their enterprises going. Which is a delicate thing requiring quiet help as all of us involved are working inside people’s dreams. Something which Sylvia has always been particularly superb at doing.
Sylvia retired on Friday night at Blackburne House here in Liverpool. So here are my photographs as she begins a new phase of her life.