Archive for the ‘documentary’ Category

Many families in Liverpool were and are among those affected by the sinking of the Titanic. The tense faces of those shown in the first newsreel as people wait anxiously for news provide haunting images that may remind us of more recent tragedies, and give pause for silence and rememberance.


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The above footage includes a pageant at Wavertree in 1907. It’s taken from a video we’ve looked at several times and well worth a watch. The footage below is of this year’s Brouaha parade down Princes Road. In years to come such material will be archive history. These days there are so many millions of photos and videos being taken everyday of ordinary, everyday life it will be extremely difficult for historians and others to go through them. On the other hand, they’ll be able to  gain a far more accurate impression of life in 2011 than we can of life a hundred years ago.   Every image we record is towards making history.


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Rounding off a great afternoon at the Walker’s Art in Revolution we visited Like You’ve never been away featuring Paul Trevor’s photographs documenting deprivation in 1975. 58 black and white images on display for the first time show Toxteth and Everton as places almost unrecognisable now. A BBC docimentary showing at the exhibition sees Trevor revisiting the areas and being welcomed by many who remember him, one saying it’s “like you’ve never been away.”  With the help pf residents he managed to track down some of the subjects of his photograph. Poignantly, the young ten year old pictured in the pubicty for the exhibition died at the age of 20, as Trevor found out talking to the boy’s older brother.

Watch a short BBC documentary extract and read more here.




Runs until 25 September. Free

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As well as looking at how literature is a way of recording history (particularly in Herman Melville’s Redburn and, soon, the writings of Liverpool working class author, George Garrett), we have been watching film representations of the city. Last week we saw a collection of British Pathe newspeels documenting the early years of the twentieth century. These were fascinating, and what we noticed most of all was their emphasis on royalty, famous personages, patriotism and a sense of togetherness as if everybody took the view ‘we are all in this together’. We then looked at the moving sequence of Boys from the Blackstuff where Chrissie wheels George towards the Baltic Fleet for a pint with the lads, through the decay and destruction of the South Docks, so celebrated as part of Liverpool’s greatness in the Pathe films.

Watching the films gave us the chance to see how representing the city has changed for several reasons, importantly the massive opening to working class ‘bottom up’ representations since the 1950s, and also, importantly, the opportunities that new technologies in production have afforded.

Finally, we watched the opening sequences of Terence Davies’s Of Time and the City and discussed the ways in which music, poetry, autobiography, archive footage could all be blended together to present new and exciting ways of representation.

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There are still many buildings and structures in the North Docks to represent a link to the past, and we’ll be documenting them soon. But such warehouses as these behind the South Docks will probably not be there for much longer, or will be converted to aprtments and the like. Walking among them – they’re just off Jamaica Street or you can get to them from the Strand –  you do get a very powerful feeling of the past and a sense of direct connection. It’s a very different experience than strolling around the reclaimed Albert Dock, interesting as that is.

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During the redevelopment of Liverpool’s centre, Peter was working on some of the buildings and took pictures. The other photographs here are from about seven years ago onwards just after work had started. Photographs of the city even in such a short time frame shows how quickly things change.

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There’s a book not long out called Edgelands written by two poets. A couple of us have read it, and found it good in parts but overall probably not the best; still worth reading though as it gives ideas for looking into things we normally only see in passing, in this case the ‘edgelands’ between the city and the countryside. These are places where a surprising amount of nature has returned to; the history of the recent past is inscribed there; sewage farms, motorway service stations, conference centres, travel lodges, kids’ dens, surreal golf ranges…..

We’re inspired to look at something a bit like edgelands but those within the town and city. The alleys, the derelict industrial sites, rows of houses awaiting demolition, and the new businesses that spring up selling cars, carpets, sheds and pallets. Our first foray was into Birkenhead’s docklands. There is a definite sense of atmosphere as you leave the main road that runs by the park, head up Duke Street then cross into the dusty remains of the past, tangled wreckage of machinery, and the signs of life springing up as if at random. Here are some of the pictures we took.


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