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Going underground in Liverpool history, part I – the Williamson Tunnels

Last week was one of my history-indulgent weeks on Merseyside. One where I catch up on the ever-changing town centre (it’s still changing), check that my book’s still on the shelves of Waterstone’s (it’s not 🙁 ) and book myself on a tour or two (I did).

First up, on Sunday, I was lucky enough to catch one of the Williamson Tunnels member’s tours courtesy of the Friends of Williamson’s Tunnels (FoWT). Despite a little mix-up on my part, which revealed the existence of two societies concerned with the Tunnels, we were well taken care of by the energetic volunteers who make up the Friends. A special thank you to Chris, who booked us in, and Jamie and Tom, who, along with Chris, were our guides for the three parts of the tour. Read more

Rapidly diminishing heritage

This is a sort of short follow up to the most recent blog post on the Futurist cinema, which was demolished against the wishes of a vocal number of Liverpool’s citizens.

Another planning application raising eyebrows is one put in to demolish parts of the Rapid Hardware building on Renshaw Street. This is a well known landmark for anyone who’s spent any time in the city. It also happens to be where I first bought a lot of archaeological health and safety kit! Read more

The future and the Futurist

And so the Futurist cinema is coming down.

It’s been on the cards for a few months, and now people are generally coming to the opinion that it was inevitable (for which read ‘the Council pretended it wouldn’t be demolished, but always intended to demolish it anyway’). But I’m not here to debate conspiracies, because you get nowhere, and what’s done is done (by the time you read this). Read more

Neolithic Anglesey and the Merseyside connection – a trip with the NSG

Anglesey and North Wales are very close to Liverpool hearts. Countless Welsh builders helped create some of our inner suburbs in distinctive yellow brick, and the red bricks of the University are Welsh too. More recently, there can’t be many Scousers who haven’t had a day trip or two to Llandudno, Conwy or Beaumaris.

On the weekend of 13th to 15th May 2016 I joined a Neolithic Studies Group tour to Anglesey, or Ynys Môn, to have a look at much older remains of Wales’s inhabitants, and inevitably ponder on how old the links to Merseyside could be. You’re probably two steps ahead of me already, but I’ll catch up with you in good time. Read more

A compendium of Liverpool history compendia

In this post I’ve collected together a few articles and pages which delve a little deeper into aspects of Liverpool history. They’re either longer, detailed articles about one topic, or they bring together a whole range of sources.

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Old maps of Historic Liverpool now available as phone and tablet cases

I’m making my old maps of Liverpool more available for you to enjoy every day. From phone cases to drinking mugs, get your hands on some old Liverpool cartography. Read more

Liverpool: A landscape history (or Historic Liverpool: the book)

I can’t deny it – I’ve waited a long time to be able to say this: I have written a book, and someone has agreed to publish it.

At the time of writing, Liverpool: A landscape history is due in shops imminently, although I’ve not had confirmation of the exact date yet. There’s only 1000 to be printed, so get yours as soon as you can! Read more

Maps for Local History Research (part 2: Old Maps)

I know, I know, you’ve been waiting and waiting for this! So without much further ado, I present a selection of old maps of interest to the avid and casual Liverpool historian.

In this, the second of two posts on maps of Liverpool, I want to point you in the direction of a load of maps from before the Ordnance Survey was established. Read more

Spirits of Place: Where historic landscapes collide (with folklore and fiction)

There’s nothing like a gathering of like minds to get the keyboard fingers itching to put down a few words! And this past Saturday (2nd April, 2016), the Spirits of Place symposium held at the Calderstones Mansion was just one of those gatherings.

The organiser was John Reppion, who’s written a book on 800 Years of Haunted Liverpool, as well as countless articles on Yo! Liverpool, comics and no doubt more that I’ve not come across. His opening talk set the scene for the day, and kicked off a full set of varied takes on Liverpool’s past. Read more

A hidden West Derby path

Liverpool is (like so many other places) full of the remains of hidden paths and landscape clues. This week I’m looking at one in West Derby, once the home of ambassadors and merchants.

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Book Review – Candles, Carts & Carbolic: A Liverpool childhood between the wars

Is this the best Liverpool memoir? It’s certainly different to all the rest.

There are plenty of memoirs and autobiographies written by people who lived through some of Liverpool’s darkest days (or, at least, they lived in Liverpool’s darkest areas – not many memoirs by the Victorian gentry). Some are semi-fictionalised, like Her Benny, and Helen Forrester’s Twopence to Cross the Mersey, while others form the basis of photo books, like Scotland Road: the old neighbourhood, by Terry Cooke. Still more are dotted around the Web, shared on Facebook and passed around. Read more

Who’d be a Scouser?

Are you proud to be a Scouser? Are you relieved not to be a Scouser? Which is right?

I’ve recently started reading Candles, Carts & Carbolic: a Liverpool childhood between the Wars by J. Callaghan, which is rapidly becoming my favourite out of the many first hand memoirs of living in Liverpool in the last two centuries. Read more

Liver Birds, Imaginary Cities, and Open Doors

There’s all sorts popping up around the Internet recently for those of a landscape persuasion. From the dozens of liver birds dotting the streets, to poking around inside old buildings, there’s something for every urban explorer. Then there’s imaginary city landscapes… Read more