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Posts Tagged ‘garston’

A couple of us were brought up in and around Speke. We’re both about the same age (an age which some younger group members regard as a biological phenomenon), and keen to look back and recall our childhoods in Speke, and how the area’s changed. This post is just an introduction. It also touches on how by selecting images we can represent places in ways different to how they’re perhaps most commonly thought of. Speke, for example, may summon up simply images of big housing estates, factories and possibly ‘urban deprivation’; in this post we begin to see how selection reinterprets images.

Speke is probably most famous for Speke Hall, the Tudor mansion which you can read about here. As kids, one of the best thing about going there was that it was (of course) haunted. It’s pretty remarkable visiting today with the airport right next door. Still, there are some great woods and gardens around, and a short stroll takes you down to the river and the boat club.

It’s a place of contrasts. Although there have been some good developments made in recent years, Speke was once one of the poorest areas in the UK. It’s orginally a farming community, and still is as you can see from the pictures, but its population shot up in the 50s when the huge housing estates were built, alongside hundreds of factories. The industry declined as quickly as it had started which led to lots of social problems. (more…)

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Everybody has childhood memories, and most of us love hearing those of others. Our parents and grandparents fascinate us with stories of a past that seems like ‘a foreign country’. Here are a few memories of Jack Jones, the Trades Union leader who died last year at the age of 96, about growing up in Garston:

Jack Jones

Jack Jones wrote about his childhood in his autobiography, ‘Union Man” (1986):

 

My home was in York Street, Garston, in the south end of Liverpool – a long street of poor and mean terraced houses. They had two rooms up and two rooms down, generally in a decaying state. They had been built some time in the last century – obviously with the minimum of cost – to house labour for the nearby factories and docks. The houses were infested by rats, mice, cockroaches and bugs. Our rent was five shillings a week, and even that was exorbitant!

From a child’s point of view the street had one advantage: out of the maze of working-class streets it was the nearest to the Mersey river. We walked past the copper works, the tannery, Grayson’s shipyard, the bobbin works (making wooden bobbins for the textile industry), a derelict glass works and King’s ship-breaking yard and there we were on the shore, a wonderful if muddy playground when we tired of playing our games in the the street.

 

 

There was no gas or electricity, so we had a paraffin lamp downstairs, but otherwise we used candles. I was the youngest of five children and my three brothers and I slept in one of the two bedrooms – and when we were very young, we were all in one bed.

 

None of the houses in the street had an inside lavatory or a bathroom – we bathed in a tin bath once a week, and that wasn’t easy, as the water had to be heated on our single coal fire. Every morning a lad would trundle a metal barrel on wheels round the street, shouting “Lant!” – which meant urine, for use in the pickling process in the local copper works. The women would go out and empty the contents of their chamber pots into the barrel.

 

I left school, aged 14, and went to work at a general engineering firm, making components for Graysons as well as Harland and Wolff, the shipbuilding and ship-repairing firms.

 

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