National Museums Liverpool are putting on an exhibition at the Oomoo cafe on Smithdown Road, showcasing the way in which the road has changed over the years, reports Art in Liverpool. The exhibition, which runs throughout September, will consist of photographs and stories – the memories of old and young who live and have lived in the area – to build a picture of Smithdown Road over time.
This is precisely the thing I’m trying to do with Historic Liverpool, and it just goes to show that there is an audience out there for this kind of history, this landscape archaeology of a single road! It’s incredibly important when writing about history in such a public arena that you connect with what the audience wants, and not what you want to tell them (unless you’re confident you have a new and interesting angle, of course!). That this exhibition actively involves the local residents is excellent; they are the main audience after all. It’s a shame I don’t think I’ll be able to make it, but hopefully I can learn something from this. I know my own site is quite one-sided at the moment (I’m trying the interesting angle, which hopefully isn’t covered by other similar sites), so in future I will try to add stuff more directly related to the people of Liverpool. After all, the aim of the site is to give you insight into the history of your area, help you explore and encourage you to get out there and see the place in a new light.
I’m still finalising the comments arrangements, but soon you’ll be able to hold forth on pretty much any page, so please do!
Historical notes: Smithdown, once known as Esmedune, was a manor mentioned in the Domesday Book, and was part of the royal forest of Toxteth, used for hunting.