Wednesday 30 November 2011


Wednesday 30th Nov, 2011 saw the biggest one day strike in the UK for a decade. Unions had called members out to support their demands that the government rethink plans to reform public sector pensions. It is claimed that 2 million people went on strike throughout the UK. Two thirds of schools in England were closed (almost all schools were closed in Scotland), 7000 operations were cancelled in hospitals, emergency services couldn't deal with all 999 calls, no buses or trains were running in Northern Ireland ...... the list goes on. David Cameron called the strike "a damp squib" in Parliament. I'm sure he doesn't really think that but if he does then he is SO out of touch. I photographed the strike rally in Liverpool where 15,000 people marched through the city - I was amazed by the turnout at St George's Hall, and the strength of anti-govt feeling. (See how the Prime Minister is portrayed in the Socialist Worker placard below - top photo, r/h side)

Sunday 20 November 2011

Finishing Touches

The new black glass constructions at Liverpool's Mann Island redevelopment were almost complete in March 2011. Love them or loathe them (if you have read previous entries to this blog you'll know my views) they can provide interesting photo opportunities with their angular construction, dramatic outlines and reflective properties. Here, I was poking around in the entrance when I saw these men working on the glass roof which connects two of the buildings. I had to be quick - sometimes the best photos come that way!

Sunday 6 November 2011

Bold Street Dancer

This beauty was demonstrating Chinese dancing at the Bold Street Festival. There was a large crowd gathered around and she moved and twirled so quickly that photography was difficult. This was one frame that turned out OK I thought.

Monday 26 September 2011

Bold Street Festival - Pavement Art

Yesterday was the Bold Street Festival (Liverpool), part of which was the James Carling International Pavement Art Competition. I'm going to put some photos here in the coming days - here's a bright starter from Italy's Alberto Forlenza. I don't need to identify the subjects.
UPDATE : I've decided that the pavement art photos merit a separate blog which I've called Bold Street Art - this is where all future posts related to the Bold Street Festival will be -

Saturday 17 September 2011

The Leaving of Liverpool

The Cunard Building being used as a giant screen

QM2 - a firework farewell
The Leaving of Liverpool

The last day highlight of Liverpool's Festival of the Waterfront (8-15 Sept) was the evening departure of the Queen Mary 2 - Cunard's magnificent star of their fleet. There were thousands lining the Mersey at the liner terminal - and the QM2, lit up against the night sky, looked spectacular. A firework display was Liverpool's farewell gift to the great vessel followed by the strains of The Leaving of Liverpool, Sailing, You'll Never Walk Alone and (ludicrously) Z-Cars. At the opening bars of this last tune the QM2 made her excuses with several blasts on the ship's horn (I think they call it a whistle - whatever it is called it makes a lovely, mournful sound) and began a gentle glide from her berth.

I watched as the great lady slowly sailed away and grabbed my last photos of the day. For the geeks my night shots were all hand held at stupidly high ISO and f5 - I had a tripod and all the necessary gear for remotely fired long exposures but there was no chance of setting it up in that crowd and the vantage point really needed to be much more elevated.

An unexpected bonus of the evening was the utilisation of the Cunard Building (the middle one of the 'Three Graces' - you know, the less 'showy' one) as a screen for Cunard images from past and present. I love it when images are projected onto buildings and grabbed lots of pics on the way down to the river. What a great evening - must find out when the next Queen will be dropping in.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

The Four Streets

50/52 Cairns St. It seems unbelievable, but these houses are both 'tinned up'.
I love the care that locals have taken with hanging baskets and painted steel doors.

Street Market - Cairns St (bringing people back into the greenest of the Four Streets)

Beaconsfield Street - spot the cats peeping out of no.70s bricked up window

Three images from the condemned 'Four Streets' in Granby, Toxteth (Liverpool 8). The first two photos illustrate the horticultural beautifying of Cairns Street and the third shows the different approach in the neighbouring Beaconsfield Street, where the bricked up windows and steel security doors have been painted in an attempt to disguise the bleakness that would otherwise exist (as in the nearby Welsh Streets). Have a look at 'Nerve Magazine' for an article about Cairns Street (which contains more of my photos from the last Saturday market of this year on Sept 3rd). I hope the market continues next year -  if the street is still there!

"In defiance of interminable cycles of top down ‘renewal‘, people have painted curtains on bricked up bay windows, and planted emptied streets with trees, picnic tables and burgeoning vegetable boxes. On the first Saturday of every month they hold the thriving Cairns Street market, complete with reggae sounds, curry stalls and vintage bric-a-brac, a little piece of 1960s Portobello Road in inner Liverpool" 
the above quote was taken from a footnote by URBED's Jonathan Brown to an 'Architects Journal' article (29-Sept-11) - see following link for full article -

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Super 8

This is the new Liverpool 8 Superstore in Lodge Lane. Breathing new life into this part of the city (occupying the site of a failed KwikSave) this is the place to come for a huge variety of fruit / veg / ethnic groceries & household goods.

Monday 12 September 2011

The Florence Institute - a scaffoldscape

This is a privileged view from inside the Florrie (8th Sept,2011). It's a heritage open day and I managed to book a tour of this historic building. It's a building site - full of scaffolding. We had to wear steel toecapped boots, hard hats and vis vests as well as signing something that said we understood the dangers and would behave ourselves! This £4m project will provide a great visitor attraction and community resource to Toxteth / Dingle. The current plan is to open in March 2012 - I hope they make that date and I'll be an early visitor.

Saturday 6 August 2011

The Florrie

The Florrie under wraps
 'The Florrie' is The Florence Institute for Boys in the Dingle area of Liverpool. It's a magnificent building that fell into a sad state of decay. Now being restored (the reopening is scheduled for Feb 2012) it is currently completely under wraps. This view doesn't give a true idea of the size of the building, but I liked the 'community garden' notice, the man with the dog and the two names on the wall. It's all about narrative!

Friday 6 May 2011


In both Edge Hill and Toxteth, where entire streets have been evacuated, essential services have to be disconnected. All houses that are awaiting demolition have 'E/Off' and 'Gas off' painted on the front.

A glance at the telegraph poles in the Welsh Streets shows that the lines of communication have all been cut.

Wednesday 4 May 2011

The Welsh Streets - Voelas

I love the short Voelas Street. Tree-lined with large grassed area at the South Street end that the children must have used for playing when the houses were occupied. That red end-terrace looks so appealing in the sunshine (I know that my romantic view doesn't reflect the conditions in these properties). I was told by a local that when the houses are demolished (possibly this month) the trees will be kept in all these streets. We'll see what happens. Whilst looking for shots in the morning sun, these two community policemen came past and were happy to be photographed before stopping for a short chat.

Voelas Street from the other end (High Park Street)

For the last time, Voelas Street comes alive. It's a street party (for the Royal Wedding on 29th April). There was a barbecue and a disco. A community policeman asked me if I had permission to take photographs (he knew that I was a stranger in this area). I explained that party organiser Adam (who owns the corner newsagents / general store) had invited me to attend and that I was keen to record the street with people - something that won't be seen again.

Sunday 1 May 2011

Lodge Lane

This used to be the site of Edge Hill Public Baths on Lodge Lane - next to Edge Hill Library which is still open. I hear there are plans to redevelop this site, so the derelict landmark building (not itself part of the baths) will probably disappear - I'll make enquiries next time I get chance. I wonder what happened to the roof - vandalism / arson maybe?

When I was photographing it a friendly passerby engaged me in conversation - his name is Bello (left). He was telling me that he is a guitarist when his mate arrived and joined in for the photo. I never got to hear the rest of Bello's tale - maybe another day!

Friday 29 April 2011

Wynnstay Street

The tree-lined Wynnstay Street looks inviting in the afternoon sun but look closely. There are no people and no cars. The houses are empty - windows blocked up and doors sealed with steel security panels. This is one of Toxteth's 'Welsh Streets' - quietly awaiting demolition. Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral can be seen through the trees, beyond the end of the street.

Back Home

Mark spent 40 years living in Wynnstay Street. Compulsary purchase of his house, prior to demolition (Toxteth regeneration) means he has had to leave. I met him exercising his dog Monster and asked if he would return to his old house for this photo. Not all former residents are happy with the council plans for demolishing the Welsh Streets. Mark, now staying with relatives, would like to have remained where he was. I hope that he soon finds suitable accommodation of his own.

Sunday 24 April 2011

The Welsh Streets

A group of Toxteth streets near Princes Park known as The Welsh Streets are shortly to be demolished. The Victorian terraced housing was originally built in the 1880s for the dockers (many of them Welsh) and the streets were given Welsh names. Wandering around these streets (April 2011) was a very strange experience - there were no people and no cars - it felt like an abandoned film set. The houses are now waiting for the demolition team. Like Edge Hill, this area is being 'regenerated'. This view of Voelas Street looks friendly and inviting but, in reality, it is deserted and silent - many of the houses in a poor state of repair. The loss of these terraces will remove much of the character of the area and, perhaps more importantly a part of Liverpool's social history will be lost forever. Ringo Starr was born in The Welsh Streets and his house (in Madryn St) will be bulldozed too. Should it be saved? A future blog post will discuss this further.

Thursday 21 April 2011

Mersey Watch

Gazing at the river from Pier Head becomes a family occasion for some on a warm, sunny April Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Edge Lane - April 2011

With the houses now demolished, and the ground cleared and flattened, the Edge Lane widening now begins. This photo, taken from the existing pavement on Edge Lane, shows how much extra width is being achieved. (The street in the background is Toft St. - the houses on one side have already been demolished, those facing the camera are safe!)

Sunday 17 April 2011


After 49 yrs in Edge Hill's Cicely Street (see below), Charlie has now been relocated nearby - his former home now boarded up and waiting to be flattened. He is delighted with his newly built house ("it's warm and dry, has three toilets and a garden"). Charlie explained how the old terraces were cold and damp in winter despite having central heating.

It has surprised me that the people who I have met seem to be happy to move. Although, from the outside, the terraces look cosy in the sunshine, it seems that they weren't all ideal accommodation for the residents. The clearances - via CPO (Compulsary Purchase Orders) - are part of the Kensington Regeneration Scheme - not the Edge Lane widening which is taking place just a few hundred yards away.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Sutton Manor Summit

'Dream', on the former site of Sutton Manor Colliery (near St Helens), is the at summit of these bikers' climb.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

The Shipperies

The cobbled Arnside Road is a cul-de-sac off Dunning Road, Edge Hill, Liverpool. With a couple of exceptions the houses are boarded up awaiting demolition. I was told by one of the last remaining residents that plans have been put back 5 years (has the money run out?) so maybe a few of the properties will open up again to the rental market. The building facing Arnside Road is The Shipperies (Dunning Road) - a pub which has been closed for a year or more. This too is abandoned and boarded up.

Monday 7 March 2011

Two Liverpool Museums

behind the Museum of Liverpool Life (closed 2006), and somewhat out of kilter with its surroundings, is its replacement - the new Liverpool Museum (opening July 2011). In the background is the Liver Building and in the foreground the wonderful stone gatemens' hut at the entrance to the Canning Half Tide Basin.

Monday 24 January 2011

Central Hall (Renshaw Street)

this is a privileged view from the 'circle' in Liverpool's Central Hall (built by the Wesleyan Mission, 1905). Sold by the Methodists in 1990 it spent a couple of years from 1998 as Barcelona nightclub (I think it's sad that important architectural buildings become nightclubs - especially churches) and it now houses a strange assortment of shopping units. Great for goth clothing, tattoos, novelties etc. some of which have relocated from Quiggins which was demolished in 2007 as part of the Paradise Street Development Scheme (from which Liverpool One was born).
The circle seating is all intact and I was told that a refurbishment of the upper area is planned - it would be great to attend a function in this wonderful building and just amazing to hear that organ played again!