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 “2016: A year in 30 photographs”

Coming Home: Our First Home

'Coming Home' by my Granddaughter Ellie Melhuish.
‘Coming Home’ by my Granddaughter Ellie Melhuish.

We are going on site. Keys to our first home will be handed to builders later this week, ready to start work on turning a house that’s been empty for two years back into a home.

Though I haven’t written about Coming Home for some time on here we have been very busy getting everything going. Lots of time on legalities, practical preparations, working with Liverpool City Council’s Empty Homes team and with much help and publicity from BBC Radio Merseyside thank you, so that now we are ready, ready to start work on our first home.

Jayne Lawless of Coming Home, centre, working on our branding (coming soon) with Hayley Oldfield and Fiona Shaw.
Jayne Lawless of Coming Home, centre, working on our branding (coming soon) with Hayley Oldfield and Fiona Shaw.

Continue reading “Coming Home: Our First Home”

St George’s Hall, Liverpool – what’s it for?

Well, what exactly is St George’s Hall for? Hardly an urgent issue but something I ask myself now and then.

As I walk along Lime Street.
As I walk towards it along Lime Street.
Liverpool's most respected building by Pevsner and the like.
Liverpool’s most respected building by Pevsner and the like.
Here standing between the brutal vulgarity of the St John's market car park and the elegant grace of Lime Street Station.
Here standing between the brutal vulgarity of the St John’s market car park wrap-around screen and the elegant grace of Lime Street Station.
Well it just is, isn't it? Just there.
Well it just is, isn’t it? Just there.

I can’t imagine Liverpool without it. Continue reading “St George’s Hall, Liverpool – what’s it for?”

Our heritage? The Friday Walk

Isn’t ‘Heritage’ a peculiar word and concept? How come some things are ‘Heritage’ and others merely ‘ordinary.’ And who decides anyway? Being ‘National Heritage Weekend’ when you can get into approved places you might not always be able to, I decided to walk round the neighbourhood here and have a think.

Starting at the heart of things.
Starting at the heart of things.

Granby 4 Streets of course. Where I spent most of yesterday and much of the last week. This week we’ve started handing out the keys to the first Community Land Trust houses to come off site. This week they’ve started turning into homes. Heritage or just places where people live?

Off out walking on Friday morning.
Off out walking on Friday morning.
Forever fixing the roads that are too much travelled on?
Forever fixing the roads that are too much travelled on. Heritage or utilities?
Past the Unitarian Church. Heritge and open this weekend.
Past the Unitarian Church, Ullet Road. Official Heritge, William Roscoe and all, and open this weekend.

Continue reading “Our heritage? The Friday Walk”

Now With Added Bollards!

Added Bollards - 66The Bollards of Liverpool 8: Part Two

The day dawns sunny, unlike the deluges of yesterday’s post and it’s nearly time to set out on Part Two of our weather interrupted tour of Liverpool 8’s bollards. This one walking through Lodge Lane to Granby and Canning.

Before we do, a couple of clarifications in response to discussions over the past day or so on Twitter. Firstly I don’t for a minute think that ridding Liverpool 8 of its bollards is the most important issue facing society or even Liverpool 8 today. Of course it isn’t. But I am pointing out that there are rather a lot of these bollards, most of them have been here a long time, and I think we should consider getting rid of most of them as they are producing arid and blocked off neighbourhoods. Blocked off for reasons of authoritarian convenience, bordering on social control as I pointed out yesterday.

Secondly, I certainly do not want to turn the bollards into any kind of art project or even any kind of campaign. After what I’m about to write I will have had my full say on Liverpool 8’s bollards, and I’ll move on to other things. So let’s get going.

today's walk begins on Hartington Road, another of Liverpool 8's borders.
Today’s walk begins on Hartington Road, another of Liverpool 8’s borders.

Now you may remember from yesterday’s post, which was mainly around the Dingle and the Welsh Streets, the beginnings of a theory that there are bollards around the borders of Liverpool 8. But can this be true here too? Continue reading “Now With Added Bollards!”

The Bollards of Liverpool 8

Bollards of L8 - 34Yes, it sounds like a learned historical essay such as ‘The Lollards of Pre-Reformation England’ doesn’t it? But it isn’t. Part One here of a two part quest to find out why Liverpool 8 has so many bollards.

The other day someone contacted me through my friend Marianne who’s an architect, and asked me this intriguing question:

“Why are there so many bollards in Liverpool 8?”

Well why are there? Do you know?

Continue reading “The Bollards of Liverpool 8”

Great bus journeys of the world: the 27

Now the light nights are here and summer’s arriving the tourist buses are busy ferrying visitors around. But not many of those visitors probably know that the best of the tourist buses runs all day, every ten minutes, and can take them to the places most tourists want to go – but also to the real Liverpool that the rest of us treasure. Welcome to another great bus journey. Let’s go and get on the 27.

It's Saturday morning, a blue sky day.
It’s Saturday morning, a blue sky day.

As we leave the house on what will turn out to be the warmest and sunniest day of the year so far.

Off to Lodge Lane to catch the 27 on another 'Great bus journeys of the world' adventure.
Off to Lodge Lane to catch the 27 on another ‘Great bus journeys of the world’ adventure.

But before we get on the bus we have a look around Lodge Lane.

Feeling like we're on our holidays in a bustling marketplace.
Feeling like we’re on our holidays in a bustling marketplace.
On our holidays in Liverpool 8.
On our holidays in Liverpool 8.

Continue reading “Great bus journeys of the world: the 27”

The Stranger in Liverpool

Where would you take a first-time visitor to Liverpool to show them the best of the city? Well if it were the early 19th Century you’d obviously reach for your trusty copy of ‘The Stranger in Liverpool’ for sound advice. This early guidebook to  the ‘Town of Liverpool and its environs’ assists me to this day whenever I walk round the place pretending it’s some long gone time.

My 1820 edition of 'The Stranger in Liverpool'
My 1820 edition of ‘The Stranger in Liverpool’

For our visitor over these past few days, though, her principal guide while putting together what she’d like to explore, had been this very blog. Mandy Cheetham from Perth in Western Australia is a friend who has been reading the blog regularly since it started and therefore had  reassuringly opinionated ideas about what she wanted to see before she got here. So Sarah put together a map which omitted much of what most people come here for, and an itinerary of depth and taste. And off we set.

Mandy's map and itinerary, put together by Sarah.
Mandy’s map and itinerary, put together by Sarah.

Continue reading “The Stranger in Liverpool”

The Friday Walks

We still go walking, of course we do. But not every Friday like we used to.

For the whole of a year, last year, I wrote about our walks every week, more or less. A couple had to be called off during the howling gales and rains of last summer. This year would have been different. Here in Northern Britain we’re having our hottest summer for seven years and we certainly wouldn’t have been out walking on a day like today.

In fact several years ago, before writing it all down had been even vaguely thought of, we used to have a ‘walking season’ of approximately late September to April. After that we’d stop walking and go camping as the heat rose and a ‘normal’ summer happened. Climate change changed all that, and so walking, with its attendant thermals and waterproofs happened all year.

Otterspool Park, Liverpool.
Otterspool Park, Liverpool.

So that, arriving at last year and the creation of this blog, we were able to catalogue a whole year of walks. Continue reading “The Friday Walks”