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26 May 2006

Forum meeting
The Forum will hold a meeting at the Athenaeum on Thursday 15 June, 5.30 pm for 6pm, finishing at 8 pm. Councillor Berni Turner will speak on the City’s plans for 2007. This will be followed by general discussion of societies’ plans for the year. Drinks can be purchased at the bar. Representatives of societies and interested individuals are invited to attend. We thank the Athenaeum for kindly providing the room free of charge. (Kindly note that The Athenaeum has a dress code, which embargoes casual clothing.)

New city heritage champion
Councillor Berni Turner is now Executive Member of Liverpool City Council for Environment & Heritage. It is of great value for the heritage cause to have a senior Councillor having this responsibility. Berni represents Old Swan ward and has been Honorary Secretary of the Wavertree Society. The Leader of the Council, Councillor Warren Bradley, handles culture directly. Councillor Mike Storey has responsibility for special projects, which includes the 800th birthday celebrations.

Societies’ activities in the near future

    * 3 June: The Lord Mayor’s Parade. Starts at 3 pm at Pall Mall.
    * 4 June: Liverpool Welsh Choral Society and Tallaght Choral Society of Dublin perform Verdi’s Requiem at the Phil at 7.30. Various ticket prices.
    * 8 June: “Regeneration Walk”: Ropewalks and Cultural Quarter, meet 2 pm at 82 Wood Street.
    * 11 June: Liverpool Sunday City Walk : St Peter’s Stones, meet 2 pm at Rice Lane station. Info 0906 680 6886. Calls cost 25p per minute. Charge for walks £2.50.
    * 11 June: Celebrations of the completion of the facelift of Hope Street.
    * 11-18 June: Downtown Liverpool Week. This will include a trail to view works by Tyson Smith, the Liverpool sculptor. Merseyside Civic Society’s “Quentin’s Walk” and a discussion at FACT about how Liverpool should develop over the next ten years.
    * 16 June: The English Speaking Union has a talk on “Emma, Lady Hamilton” by Michael Corfe, 7 pm at the Athenaeum.
    * 17 June: The National Wildflower Centre (0151 738 1913) between Broad Green and Roby has an event (2-4 pm) entitled “Make a card for Father’s Day using inspiration from insects for National Insect Week (which is 19-25 June). (Make your own connection between fathers and insects! - Ed). There are many other events at the Centre, which is a charitable visitor attraction.
    * 18 June: Liverpool History Society has a visit to St Francis Xavier’s (SFX) Church. Meet at the church at 1.30. (website www.liverpoolhistory .The saint, perhaps best known locally for the College which bears his name, was born in Spain in 1506 and met St Ignatius Loyala, who went on to found the Society of Jesus, an influential Roman Catholic institution. He spent 10 years bringing the Christian gospel to people in India, China and other parts of south east Asia and died on an island off China in 1552. He was made a saint with St Ignatius Loyola in 1622.
    * 18 June: Liverpool Sunday City Walk “Poetry please” (2 pm Met. Cathedral steps) Info 0906 680 6886. Calls cost 25p per minute. Charge for walks £2.50.
    * 18 June: “Artists Walk”– booking essential via 0151 794 2348.
    * 21 June: Liverpool Decorative & Fine Arts Society has a talk by Mike Higginbottom on “Blackpool’s Seaside Heritage” at 2 pm at Bridge Chapel Centre, Heath Road, Garston. Contact 0151 427 1572.
    * 28 June: Lunch at LACE, 12 noon Croxteth Drive followed by a tour led by Cecil Moss of the magnificent Princes Road Synagogue, of which David Lewis, founder of he department store, was a major benefactor.
    * 28 June: Liverpool Opera Circle has a preview by the Rev. Colin Oxenforth of the 2006 Buxton Festival (7.30 at The Athenaeum).
    * 29 June: Regeneration Walk: City Centre and Paradise Street, meet 2 pm, 08 Place, Whitechapel.
    * 9 July Liverpool Sunday City Walk “A revolution in retail”, meet 2 pm Lewis’s store. Info 0906 680 6886. Calls cost 25p per minute. Charge for walks £2.50.
    * 16 July: The Friends of Liverpool Cathedral have a Festival Evensong and their AGM. Contact 0151 709 6271

Local filmmakers are invited to submit (by 7 July) films that respond to how Liverpool is changing, exposing the energy of a city in transition. Selected films will be shown on the BBC Big Screen in Clayton Square during the opening week of the Biennial. Applications by 7 July to Renae Belton on 0151 709 7444 or email The Biennial is the UK’s largest contemporary visual arts festival. It is to be held from 16 September to 26 November 2006.

Official plans for 2007
Liverpool Culture Company will announce the shape of the 2007 celebrations of the 800th anniversary of the foundation of Liverpool at an event on the morning of 14 July. This will include the launch of the brand and the website pages and the announcement of the first tranche of Roots grants.

The Culture Company plans that events will take place throughout 2007. Six key periods are planned:
    January    Opening event
    23 April    Gala reopening of St George’s Hall
    June    Historical Pageant
        Maritime Heritage event
    July    Launch of History Exhibition
        Children's (school) parties
    August    Slavery Remembrance
        Mathew Street Festival
        Birthday Celebration (Civic procession/fireworks)
    September    Extended Heritage Open Days

Liverpool Culture Company has an “08 Ambassador” programme to support the city’s achievements in 2008. This involves making a short statement of why you love Liverpool for use on the website

Societies’ events in 2007 - ACTION REQUIRED!!!!
The event on 14 July will include announcement of events being organised by voluntary societies. Most societies planning events to celebrate 2007 will wish to join in the publicity and spirit of co-operation which this event will generate. It is very important that they communicate information about their plans within the next three weeks. This is an opportunity not to be missed. A form designed Liverpool Culture Company has been circulated to all societies. This is rather complicated and is in excel format, which some societies’ computers cannot receive. Please do not be deterred by this. Just send in BY MID-June to the email address at the top of this newsletter the following details:

          o Name of society
          o Contact person (email address, postal address, telephone number)
          o Event (type, time/date, location, anticipated attendance, problems)

Around town

 National Museums Liverpool moved Liverpool tramcar 245 to Wirral Transport Museum (via Runcorn!) enabling Merseyside Tramway Preservation Society to formulate a long-term restoration plan. The tram was built by Liverpool Corporation Tramways and was in service from 1938 to 1957. It is part of NML’s large Land Transport collection, most of which is not currently open to pubic view. Wirral Transport Museum, 1 Taylor Street, Birkenhead is open 1-5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Tel 0151 647 2128.

 The Scottie Press is increasing promotion of the Tourism in Vauxhall Project and Canal Bird Life Projects aimed at promoting the history, heritage and culture of the Scotland Road, Vauxhall and Everton districts.

June Lancelyn Green has just retired as President of Merseyside branch of the ESU. Many will wish to salute her service to this and many other cultural causes in Merseyside.

Peter Elson of the Daily Post had plans to run a steam train from Liverpool to North Wales on 27 May, the first steam train there in 40 years. The 162 tonne “Duchess of Sutherland”, which was based at Edge Hill for the later part of its life to pull Liverpool to London expresses, was to haul it. Alas, the project was cancelled due to lack of bookings. This is surely down to the woefully bad mechanisms in Merseyside for letting people know what is going on - a phenomenon which this newsletter tries to play a small part to overcome. There are several glossy brochures distributed free, some paid for by advertisements which have event listings. I see piles of them in certain restaurants and bars - but I don’t think they reach most of the population of Liverpool let alone the rest of Merseyside.

    * It is good to hear of Liverpool’s treasures being shown elsewhere. “Treasures from Sudley House” (the house is currently closed for refurbishment) have been on display in London, at the Williamson Galley in Birkenhead and, until 3 July, at the Judges’ Lodgings in Lancaster. Good “ambassadors” for our city.

    * In Victorian times Liverpudlians used to take day trips by ferry to Eastham, on the Wirral, where there were pleasure gardens, a small zoo, a hotel, a pub and a ceremonial arch, a small version of London’s Marble Arch. The ferry to Eastham finished long ago but people still go to the old ferry pier at weekends to look at the river. “The Tap” pub contains a large bell marked ”HMS Liverpool 1938”. Apparently the owner of the Eastham Ferry hotel was a friend of the captain of the Liverpool and was given the bell by him.

You can get copies of “08 Update” by phoning 0151 233 2008. The latest edition reminds us that there were celebrations in both 1907 and 1957 of Liverpool’s foundation. Choirs of 1,000 voices performed specially composed pieces, finishing with Land of Hope and Glory.

Editorial thoughts: heritage is about memories and record as well buildings
Buildings are the main means by which we “take in” our heritage but heritage is also about historical people and events and we need means to capture and retain memories of these. There are many records of Liverpool’s history and more are being created. The difficulty is in getting to know what is available. As the keeping of information passes from the printed page to the internet, it is important that knowledge does not become lost. Here are notes of publications old and new which have come my way in the last month.

 Two interesting booklets came across my desk: “Liverpool Conservation Areas – Liverpool Heritage Bureau published by Liverpool City Planning Department in 1974 and “A guide to Merseyside’s Industrial Past” by Duncan Harper, published in 1984 by the Museums and CountyVise Ltd. The former has lovely line drawings of notable buildings. The latter reminds us that Liverpool had industry as well as commerce in the 18th and 19th centuries. Birkenhead we know as a great shipbuilding centre in recent times. Liverpool was also a shipbuilding centre. For example, the Albert Dock was built on the site of shipyards.

 Margaret Donnelly’s book “My Parish Holy Cross” was launched on 10 April at Holy Cross School, Fontenoy Street. The book is an interesting set of reminiscences about the area between Byrom Street and Tithebarn Street. The commemorative panel which once adorned the now demolished Holy Cross Church and is now in a war memorial garden next to the site states that St Patrick preached there in AD 432 before evangelising Ireland. The Irish who made up so much of Liverpool’s population are commemorated in St Anthony’s Church in Scotland Road but, worthy though this is, it is fairly small scale. The memories of our ancestors are good for the pride of local people. They can also be a means of drawing tourists to the city. Other local communities could copy the parishioners of Holy Cross.

We grieve about the horrors today of terrorist bombs in Baghdad and elsewhere. Younger Liverpudlians might think that this is only something which happens abroad and might have found it surprising that an unexploded German World War II bomb, 7 foot long and 2 feet wide, was found on the Mersey riverbed the other day near the Wallasey tunnel and had to be taken out to sea and exploded sending spray 60m into the air. According to The Times, there were 68 Luftwaffe raids on Liverpool between July 1940 and January 1942. About 4,000 people were killed and 10,000 homes destroyed. The story of the blitz was told with emotive photographs in a booklet called “Bombers over Merseyside”. This includes a photo of the painting entitled “Enemy Action” by Grainger Smith as seen from his Wallasey home. It shows a pall of flame over Liverpool city centre twice the height of the Liver Building and five times as wide. The painting is in The Walker. Liverpool was the most bombed city in Britain apart from the capital.

    * There was once a monthly journal called “The Liverpolitan”, describing itself as “frank, free and fearless”. It resumed publication in January 1945, having been closed during World War II. It seems to have begun life in 1932 and reviewed political and cultural aspect of the city’s life. Isn’t “Liverpolitan” a better name for Liverpool people than “Liverpudlian”?

 “A century of Liverpool’s Commerce” by W.A. Gibson Martin published in 1950 recounts the history of the Chamber of Commerce, established in 1850 and incorporated in 1874. There had been a chamber of sorts since about 1774. (Richard Brooke in his survey of Liverpool in the last quarter of the eighteenth century published in 1853 refers to it.) An intriguing photograph in Martin’s book shows a model of the “Pierhead of the future”. We talk now of the Three Graces, which now grace the waterfront, to which the proposed futuristic Museum of Liverpool would be an addition. This model in the photograph shows three prominent buildings on either side of the Three Graces. Clearly, they were never built but how serious the intention to build them ever was I do not know.

Liverpool History Society has just published the latest edition of its Journal, a useful record of people and events in the city. Copies for the last 3 years can be bought @ £2.60 including postage from LHS, 46 Stanley Avenue, Rainford WA11 8HU.
 The University of Liverpool is carrying out a study of Liverpool’s aspirations, ambitions and attitudes before, during and following 2008. It is seen as a blueprint for the creation of cultural events across the world.
Liverpool’s triumph in the Cup Final is one of a series of remarkable wins. The Times said that “an infusion of Scouse spirit and the ethos of Bill Shankly would be welcome” in the World Cup. As defender Jamie Carragher said in the paper: “You have to give it everything”. Wanting to be the best is a Liverpudlian characteristic not only in football but also in music, painting, architecture and social reform. It’s what makes the city different from anywhere else. Let us not be modest about our merits in 2008. It is in the city’s character to want to be the best. Sometimes we achieve it.

A campaign is afoot to refurbish the remaining estate shop at Minster Court, formerly Myrtle Gardens. This property was a showpiece of Liverpool’s modernist housing of the 1930s and is said to be one of two such remaining. It was re-developed in 1983 after damage during the Toxteth riots of 1981. The architect, Sir L.H.Keay, included two shops in his design of the complex, seeking to create a self-contained community. Only one remains.

 Liverpool is proud that Mark Simpson, 17, of West Derby won the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2006. Culture lives on in our city.

…and finally
I am taken to task for referring to the influence of the Earls of Sefton on Merseyside where I should, according to a reader (a supporter of the old county names of Lancashire and Cheshire), have said Liverpool. In the particular case. I meant Merseyside, because the Seftons’ influence was indeed felt across Merseyside, not just in Liverpool. Aficionados of the use of the old names may be miffed that the original Cheshire cat, the inspiration of Lewis Carol, is to be found in Wirral, which is now officially part of Merseyside. It is in the Embroidery Centre at Brimstage in the middle of Wirral. (It was probably meant to be a lion anyway!).

I pass on remarks from a reader who wishes to correct comments in the last issue about the controversy on the intended use of the Church of St Mary of the Angels for rehearsals by the Phil orchestra. He says that objections come from a small group of people who are mostly not locals. He says that the locals favour the church’s new use and feel “intimidated” by the campaigners so they keep their feelings to themselves.