The Writer’s House

After I wrote about my friend the artist Emma Rushton’s house a couple of weeks ago, some other friends suggested I might like to do a series where I look around some other people’s houses. They thought this could be an interesting development from other writings and work I’ve done on, oh, the meaning of life and home as a human right. They also thought it would be a good nose.

Thanks ‘some other friends!’

So to try out the idea, and because it’s only fair, I’ve decided to follow up the post on Emma’s house with one about where I live. And since I’m writing this and it’s what I do a lot of, here’s ‘The Writer’s House’.

I moved in here with my daughter Clare in September 1991. A three bed terraced house in Wavertree, much like thousands of others in Liverpool. Continue reading “The Writer’s House”

One Special Day

All days are special, especially this one. So I decide I’ll walk around and photograph it, as I tend to do.

Walking to work in fact on a gorgeous blue day.
Walking to work in fact on a gorgeous blue day.

Friday 20th January, 2017. Yes, the day the world gets a chauvinist thug as President of the USA.

Thinking about this as I walk into The Mystery.
Thinking about this as I walk into The Mystery.

And deciding the day is too special and beautiful to spoil it with any more thoughts of him.

Me and an urban goal.
Me and an urban goal.

Continue reading “One Special Day”

Coming Home in the Liverpool Echo

There’s something about being in an actual printed newspaper that confirms an ideas existence more than anything digital can. And this week Coming Home’s existence has been confirmed by the Liverpool Echo.

The Coming Home team on site. Me, Jayne Lawless and Steve Ross of Penny Lane Builders.
The Coming Home team on site. Me, Jayne Lawless and Steve Ross of Penny Lane Builders.

Knowing though that many of this blog’s readers don’t live around Liverpool or even in England I thought I’d reproduce Echo journalist Josh Parry’s article about us on here. So here it is.

How one affordable housing scheme is transforming Liverpool’s empty properties. 

‘Coming Home’ team tackling both housing shortage and empty homes problem. Continue reading “Coming Home in the Liverpool Echo”

Walking to Create

After a few years away a much loved Liverpool business is once again a high street presence in Liverpool.

Welcome back Create.
Welcome back Create.

Back open since November on Prescot Road, Old Swan, Create was one of Liverpool’s original social enterprises from its founding in 1995. Sarah and I did a lot of work with them over the years and became particular friends with their longest serving Chief Executive Greg Walker.

Create worked on white goods – cookers, fridges, freezers and washing machines. Recycling some and supplying them at good affordable prices to people who needed them the most. More particularly though they helped people with their lives, training and employing many hundreds in the end, from their base then in Speke, and with Create shops all over Merseyside.

But we’ll pick up their story when we get there, because today we’re walking to the new Create.

Off across The Mystery on a deeply blue morning.
Off across The Mystery on a deeply blue morning.

Continue reading “Walking to Create”

How to do Social Housing: Part Two

Continuing the true story of Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust on siteGranby on site - 70

The second of two detailed parts of my story about exactly how to do social housing. Or at least, exactly how we’re doing it in Granby 4 Streets.

At the end of Part One we are deliriously winning the Turner Prize.
At the end of Part One we are deliriously winning the Turner Prize.
Assemble and a few of us are up in Glasgow at the Channel Four announcement.
Assemble and a few of us, though not me, are up in Glasgow at the Channel Four announcement.
The rest of us are in Liverpool watching it all together at The Small Cinema in Victoria Street.
The rest of us are in Liverpool watching it all together at The Small Cinema in Victoria Street.

Next morning I’m up well before the dawn reflecting on what’s just happened and have published my thoughts on here before the media start arriving in the Four Streets. Continue reading “How to do Social Housing: Part Two”

The Cranes of Anfield

16.03.07 Anfield - 14What a beautiful day this Monday 7th March has been here in Liverpool? The kind of a day when a camera simply can’t go unused, even if just walking past things I’ve sort of got used to. Like the humungous new stand Liverpool FC are building between Walton Breck Road and Anfield Road.

I’ve arrived deliberately early for a meeting I’m having with the Beautiful Ideas Co. Partly so I can take some pictures, but also allowing time for me to call in at Homebaked. Where its good to see Cathy Alderson, usually just in for match days and street markets. And also good to have a Mushroom Stroganoff pie for my healthy social enterprise lunch! Lunch over I go outside to take the pictures.

Now normally I have some concerned words to say about Liverpool FC. Words like prevaricating, blighting and exploitation. But today we’ll let all that temporarily alone, because I’m here to rejoice in the engineering.

As you’ll know if you’ve been around this blog for a while I’m a big fan of giant cranes. So today I’m in for a treat. Continue reading “The Cranes of Anfield”

In North Liverpool: At Rotunda

When I told a friend I’d been to Rotunda he’d never heard of them. “What is it?” he said “What do they do?” I took a deep breath and said roughly this:

“Basically they’re a community led place that’s there to improvise whatever help’s needed around whoever comes through their Kirkdale door. Alternative education for the young, adult education, counselling, legal advice, loads of community stuff, a business centre, a café that’s also a history resource, a nursery, a gorgeous garden round the side & a big space out the front for events – plus advocacy for the future of North Liverpool. From a beautiful row of Georgian houses on Great Mersey Street. Oh and they’ve also got their own folly.”

In case you know as much about Rotunda as my friend I’ll tell you how to get there.

You could get the 27 like me to the bottom of Everton Valley.
You could get the 27 bus  like me to the bottom of Everton Valley.

Continue reading “In North Liverpool: At Rotunda”

North Liverpool: What’s your Beautiful Idea then?

I wrote about this a few weeks ago when we launched the, well, idea. £600,000 raised and matched from a community car park on Priory Road near Liverpool FC’s stadium, to be reinvested straight back into good ideas for North Liverpool. Ideas that have to work as being socially good, as well as being good and sustainable enterprises.BeautifulSo this is just a short reminder via the Beautiful Ideas Co to add your idea to the many already sent in before it’s too late.

First a short film tour of North Liverpool. Starring Homebaked and their pies and with me talking: Continue reading “North Liverpool: What’s your Beautiful Idea then?”

Granby 4 Streets, Assemble & the Turner Prize

Assemble - 1On Monday 7th December the winner of this year’s Turner Prize was announced at the Tramway in Glasgow and live on Channel 4. And it was Granby 4 Street’s architects Assemble for the quality of the work they’ve been doing in Liverpool 8 with all of us. Some of us were in Glasgow with Assemble and the rest of us gathered all together in Liverpool to continue the surreal journey of this year.

The story of us getting the result is told elsewhere and as for what we do next? Well let’s wait and see when we all return from our Christmas break. In the meantime, let’s look back at how we got from Granby to Glasgow and the Turner Prize.

Our story begins years ago of course, but let’s start this version in April this year as one day I arrive at our site house in Cairns Street L8 to find the tiny yard there turned into some kind of workshop.

'What on earth are they doing out there' I ask?
‘What on earth are they doing out there?’ I ask
Assemble - 3
‘Making concrete things out of the rubble in the skips’ I’m told.

It’s Lewis and Joe from Assemble, with their friend Will Shannon making fireplaces for the Community Land Trust houses. Obviously.

Proudly exhibited to the amused, but quietly impressed community of us, at the first of this year's Street Markets.
Proudly exhibited to the amused, but quietly impressed community of us, at the first of this year’s Street Markets.

The doing of these had been commissioned by FACT here in Liverpool. Continue reading “Granby 4 Streets, Assemble & the Turner Prize”