Archive for the ‘housing’ Category

The above is a detail from the 1947 OS Map 108. It shows quite clearly the ‘white spaces’ beyond the Liverpool boundary, speaces that were soon to fill up with new housing estates to take people from the inner city. Similar white speaces exist at the same time around the tiny town of Kirkby.

Over the next month or so we’ll be looking at some aspects of the transitory time as countryside became built over. In particular, individual memories of childhood, of playing in rural surroundings, of visits to the riverside, of nature and adventure. We’ll look at Paul McCartney’s memories of growing up in Speke when it was being built and Western Avenue ended in fields and mud; we’ll look at his recall of happy visits to Oglet, an almost idyllic escape from urban life. Even today, a walk from Garston past Speke Hall – along the Mersey Coastal Path – reveals the remains of farming activity, second world war defences, and the Dungeon, a major salt waorks. See Mike Royden’s  excellent piece on Oglet and the Dungeon, and the importance of salt to the rise of Liverpool’s economy.


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A few months ago we looked at a subject called psychogeography which is a bit of a trendy word to describe the emotional effects that places have on us. If you search google you’ll find loads of stuff under the heading, and there are many books that fall into the category. Edgelands is one we looked at. We’ll post the handoouts we looked at soon. Whatever some of the more bizarre stuff found under the heading, all of us will recognise that certain places can have definite effects on our feelings, and this seems especially true of derelict buildings like the ones shown here.

There’s also urban exploration or UrbEx which can involve exploring anything from derelict buildings to long forgotten tunnels. Again, a quick google will give you a good idea.

In the gallery here, Mark just happened to be a-wandering and decided to explore this fine piece of derelict architecture on Scotland Road.

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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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It’s remarkable to think some of us in the group were kids and teenagers when this wonderful documentary was made. Made for the BBC in 1958 and transmitted in early 1959, it depicts working-class life in the back-to-backs of an unnamed northern city. Much of the shooting took place in Liverpool, but areas of Manchester, Salford and Stockport also make an appearance.

As said in previous posts, as well as the subject matter’s being fascinating, the history of documentary is important too. Here is an example which was very unusual for its time with no ‘voice over’ and the use of music and people’s own voices.

We tend to forget how close we are to the ‘olden days’. For some of us our parents or grandparents were around when the workhouses were still operating. One of the group members is working on a project looking at Walton Workhouse where his grandfather worked.

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Here’s an extract from a great documentary made by the then young film maker, Nick Broomfield. It features residents of Kirkby talking about the awful conditions of their housing. We looked at it as part of a wider look at poverty, housing and health in Liverpool and the area. Going back to old documents about life in the workhouse, we went on to examine printed materials, look at old pictures, watch films, read books and listen to archived radio interviews.  Importantly, we looked not only at documentary stuff but also dramas dealing with working class life. We have an ongoing interest in the subjects raised by these issues, but we’re also looking at the changing history of the media themselves. How ‘ordinary’ people’s voices, lives and concerns are represented; who makes the representations; how they’re distributed. Over the coming posts we’ll publish, among other things, more links like this one from our youtube collection.

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