Thursday, 31 January 2008

Lime Street


All this has gone! Situated at the end of Lime Street, Liverpool, the Guiness clock and all these buildings made way for a multi-storey car park and hotel in the late 1960s / early 1970s.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Cavern and White Star Line


Another couple of photos from slides. The Cavern was photographed in the mid to late 60’s.

This is the stylish building in James Street, Liverpool, created for the White Star Line by the celebrated architect of Scotland Yard, Richard Norman Shaw. It was from this building in April 1912 that the announcement was made of the sinking of the Titanic with the loss of 1500 lives.


I have been looking through some of my old slides and trying to decide what to do with them. There are many thousands and thousands of them. It would take me another lifetime to scan them into the computer; it seems pointless just leaving them in the loft; and nowadays the majority of them would mean nothing to anyone but me. I shall probably do what I always do with decisions like this and opt out by simply returning them to the loft. In the meantime I shall hunt for a few of the more interesting ones to scan in and show you. The above two are of Clovelly, taken in the late 1960s. Dad is standing adjusting his camera in the top one..

Saturday, 26 January 2008

BILLY LIDDELL - another Flying Scotsman

I went to school with 'The Twins' - Billy Liddell's boys - and so it was only natural that this, combined with my being a Liverpool supporter, should make this phenomenal goalscorer an early hero. He played in the first matches I ever saw - all in the second division - and I seem to recall he scored against Swansea in my very first match when Uncle JPD took me to Anfield and instantly created another Liverpool supporter. Although I rarely saw him play I used to see him regularly as he picked the twins up from school - unlike most parents he came for them in his car! A giant of a man - or so it seemed at the time - he was nevertheless gentle and gentlemanly and very friendly to everyone. His was the first Liverpool autograph I ever got.

Born 10th January 1922 - Dunfermline
Games 537 Goals 229
Honours - 1 League Championship, 28 Scotland Caps
Billy Liddell was perhaps one of the greatest players the club has ever had and in a different era would have won far more medals than he actually did. The greatest compliment ever paid to him was when the crowd nicknamed the club 'Liddellpool'.
Liddell joined the reds prior to the second world war and remained at the club until the sixties. He could play as an out and out striker or more commonly down the wing. He would have played far more games for the reds had he not lost the first six to the war. Serving in the RAF he did find it possible to play some one hundred and fifty games throughout the war years and showed the reds what a great talent they had invested in. However his official debut for the club came in 1946 when he was just short of his twenty fourth birthday. He scored a goal that day in the FA Cup against Chester City.
His first full season with the reds, 1946-47 was a great success as the reds won the league. Sadly though as Liddell improved as an individual, the team around him failed to do so and eventually in 1954 they were relegated. He had by this time though become a Scotland regular as well as being selected to play for a Great Britain side. He tried extremely hard though to rescue the reds from the second division but despite his phenomenal scoring rate promotion never came. Towards the end of the fifties, and his reds career his pace eased off and he took up a position in the centre of midfield where his eye for the defence splitting ball was still apparent. He slowly became more injury prone in his later thirties but his presence on the pitch was still enough to scare opposition players. Liddell was extremely loyal and probably one of the reds greatest ever players and it's a shame he wasn't born twenty years later to play in the days of Shankly who would surely have loved the gifted man.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Flying Scotsman

I love looking through books of photos of old Liverpool – especially the Liverpool which I knew as a youngster and which has now disappeared. Some day I will dig out my old slides of Liverpool from the loft and post some of them on my Blog.

This may seem like one of the less exciting photos in a book called “The Streets of Liverpool” which was published in 2007 and has just come into Pensby Library. But one of the great attractions with photos like these is looking for people you know. Dad was there when the Flying Scotsman was lifted from the Dock Road by the floating crane Mammoth onto the ship “Saxonia” for transporting to the USA in 1969. He even took photos of it and they were taken just about the same moment as this one – as it reached the height of the dock wall.

But he is not on the picture – I suspect he was just off to the bottom right because I think I have found his best friend – and fellow photographer - Jack Grogan in the bottom right of the picture.

Thursday, 24 January 2008


The original Golly was a glove puppet and he resides today in the Bethnal Green Museum of childhood, London. Tiny, just a few inches high. A black glove, two buttons for eyes, a bit of felt for the mouth - and then some red trousers and a blue coat. This rag doll, improvised from a simple glove, was the best friend and comfort blanket of Florence Upton who, in 1895, wrote him into her illustrated children's story - The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg. Golly became a worldwide phenomenon, an international best-seller, and the first world-wide idol of the nursery world, well pre-dating the teddy.

In the 1950s it was perfectly acceptable to collect Golly badges by sending away to Roberstons - manufacturers of jams and marmalades. Golly dolls and picture books about gollies also abounded. (James Robertsons and Sons Ltd opened its famous jam works in 1890. At first, stone jars were used for the marmalade, but were eventually replaced by glass jars in the 1930's. The famous 'Golly' trademark was adopted in 1910 and is said to have originated from one of the Robertson's grandchildren who owned a rag golly doll with a happy face.)

The Golly was also popularised in the Enid Blyton Noddy books but was replaced in the latter years of the century by a white goblin.

To me, the connection between the golly and black people just didn't seem to exist - the golly was very obviously not real. It would have been like assuming Homer Simpson was supposed to be real in some way and a symbol of vaguely jaundiced people. Not that I am advocating the return of the Golly but it certainly was not the racist symbol it has subsequently been made out to be.

The same conclusion has been reached in an academic study by Dr David Rudd. Although it could be argued that the golliwog was not originally intended as a representation of a black person, anti-racists fastened on to the character as a key symbol of racism and sought to ban it, which gave it a status and significance it did not originally have. Part of Dr Rudd's study is based on what children - rather than disapproving adults - think about Enid Blyton. "All I can say is that, of the children who were not previously aware of the equation 'golliwog equals ethnically black person', none made it," he writes.

By contrast the writer and broadcaster Darcus Howe said he was relaxed about the new study but added: " When I was a child in Trinidad, my parents associated the golliwog with colonial pomp and banned it from the house. I continue to take the same position. "

Golly has gone - perhaps it is as well - but he is not forgotten as yet.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Runcorn-Widnes Bridge

In 1961 Uncle Eric took me on the Widnes-Runcorn Transporter Bridge for the last time in an effort to ensure I remembered the experience. I did! I was only eleven years old but even at that age I remember thinbking that it was a shame that when the new bridge was built they would be pulling down the old one. Even at that age I was somethiong of a conservationist. The transporter bridge had been opened in 1905 and nowadays, had it survived, it would be such a tourist attraction.

No one doubted the need for the new Runcorn-Widnes Bridge (renamed The Silver Jubilee Bridge in 1977) and in 1975 it had to be widened from two to four lanes to try to cope with the traffic. Even with that change it suffers from much congestion. It is a compression arch suspended-deck bridge and has been declared a Grade 2 listed Building.

The bridge is one of the largest of its kind worldwide with a main span of 330m and its crown approximately 86m above sea level. It is the largest bridge of its type in the United Kingdom and its proportions are approximately 2/3rds the size of the world renowned Sydney Harbour Bridge. The bridge is lime green in colour and is continually being painted. It takes on average five years to paint, end to end, and a full repaint uses around 50,000 litres of paint.

Thursday, 17 January 2008


Opposite our house in Renville Road lived Aunty Nora and Uncle Cyril. Uncle Cyril worked with Dad. When we were children Aunty Nora made GB and I a hand puppet each. This is GB’s, photographed in Childwall Woods in 1953; so far as I know there is no picture of mine which is a shame. It was my constant companion for a long time and in bed at night I would tell it all my secrets. I wonder what those secrets were?

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Cotton Reel Tanks

Do you remember making tanks from cotton reels? Great fun.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

"Wakey Wa-a-a-key!"


Some radio programmes from the Fifties...

Children's Favourites,
Worker's Playtime,
Any Questions?,
Ray's a Laugh,
Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh ,
Gardener's Question Time (with Fred Loads, Bill Sowerbutts and Alan Gemmell - "I think the answer lies in the soil..."),
Down Your Way,
Housewives Choice,
Mrs. Dales Diary (Not a programme to which we listened. Most people tended to be either Mrs Dale or Archers fans but not both!)
Journey into Space (with Captain 'Jet' Morgan),
The Archers (set to become the world's longest running radio drama serial ) in the first episode of which Walter Gabriel uttered his famous "Well, me old pal, me old beauties,",
Dick Barton - special agent,
Educating Archie (surely the radio programme the least likely to succeed - Peter Brough and Archie Andrews, a ventriloquist's dummy, on radio! But succeed it did.),
The Goon Show,
Children's Hour (with Uncle Mac),
Beyond Our Ken,
A Life of Bliss (with Percy Edwards as Psyche the dog),
Hancock's Half Hour (with Sid James, Kenneth Williams and Bill Kerr),
Have a Go (with Wilfrid Pickles and Mabel at the table),
Meet the Huggetts (Jack Warner with "Ron and Eff")
Top of the Form,
Paul Temple,
Take it from Here,
Round the Bend,
Life with The Lyons (a popular domestic sitcom featuring the real-life family group of Ben Lyon and Bebe Daniels with their children Barbara and Richard),
The Clitheroe Kid ,
Listen with Mother,
Friday Night is Music Night,
Music While You Work,
The Billy Cotton Bandshow,
Does the Team Think? (with Jimmy Edwards, Ted Ray, Arthur Askey and guests like Cyril Fletcher),
My Word!,
The Navy Lark ("Left hand down a bit, Mr Phillips"),
Twenty Questions,
Family Favourites.......

Have I missed any of your favourites?

Thursday, 3 January 2008



Do you remember the I-SPY books? I got a greal deal of pleasure out of spotting things in the I-spy books in the 1950s. Apparently there were about 40 volumes published in all but in the mid-1950s there were only about half that number. The books cost 6d with the exception of the thicker volumes which included Birds and Wild Flowers. These bigger ones were 1/- each. Each book covered a subject such as I-SPY Cars, I-SPY on the Pavement, I-SPY Churches, I-SPY on a Train Journey, etc. As children spotted objects such as coalhole covers, oak trees, semaphore signals, fire engines, whelks, and so on, they recorded the event in the relevant book, and gained points. Once you had earned a certain number of points you could send it to Big Chief I-SPY for a feather and order of merit. I had a few feathers by the time my enthusiasm for I-SPY ran out.

I cannot recall Helen or Bryony having any but Richard had I-SPY castles at one time so they must have still been going in the 1990s. The books were initially self-published by Charles Warrell - the original Big Chief I-SPY - but, after a brief period when they were published by the Daily Mail, they were taken over by the now defunct News Chronicle newspaper and based in the paper's building in Bouverie Street. The regular I-SPY column, which appeared in the News Chronicle, reverted to the Daily Mail when the News Chronicle ceased publication, and continued to appear until the late 1980s by which time the books were sent to David Bellamy rather than a Big Chief.

I thought the idea had long since died a death but to my amazement I discovered a game has been released for the Nintendo DS console based on the books.

Washing on the line


This is hardly the most inspiring of photos but there is a message in it.. It was photographed in the early 1960s on my 35mm Halina camera (which had formerly been GB’s) and the negative is numbered 36 suggesting it was only taken to finish off the film. The view is part of that which could be seen from my bedroom window in Renville Road, Liverpool.

The message is an environmental one. Unlike our neighbours Mum preferred to dry much of our washing over the bath but it was the normal practice in most households to dry the washing on the line – tumble driers and washing machines still being a thing of the future for those on an average income.

Just imagine how much energy would be saved if we all went back to those days! If you can’t be bothered to go the whole hog and hang out your washing (or if you live in accommodation where it isn’t possible) visit for some tips on how best to use your drier. Or get a good old-fashioned hanger like the one shown on (though I’m sure you could get one cheaper – or even make one yourself).