‘I was there’ – My time on the Docks, Part 2

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The second guest post from blog reader John Viggars today.

A few weeks ago when photographer Tricia Porter graciously let me publish her 1970s ‘South Docks’ collection on here, one of the first comments on Twitter came from regular blog reader John Viggars who immediately said that most magical of all historical story phrases ‘I was there.’ He went on to mention he had some photos of his own from his days sailing in and out of our dying South Docks.

Well we had a good look at those and heard some of John’s stories about life in the South Docks in those days a week or so back. Today, in Part 2, John has some more South Docks memories, but first turns his attentions to the North Docks in the 1980s.

Venturing into the North Docks.North Docks02 

“I can’t remember who told me about the Dock Board photo pass but I’m glad they did as when I found myself without work a couple of times in those tough periods in the early 80’s it gave me somewhere of interest to go. I didn’t always take photos, I just went get some fresh air in my lungs, watching  the traffic passing through the locks. Gladstone & Langton were still busy but as you worked your way through the system towards town the vista changed.  I remembered how the South Docks had felt a few years before as this area was also on the wind down. Continue reading

On knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing

 

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Who knows where these sayings come from? Anyway, Sarah and I are getting on with our now twenty years long and rising conversation about life and the living of it, when I come out with more or less the title of this piece.

“The trouble is, they seem to know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

‘Did you just make that up?’ asks Sarah, momentarily impressed. Fortunately my reply is that it’s just an old saying that I’ve remembered from somewhere in my childhood. Fortunate indeed, am I, in not taking the credit because without knowing it I’m quoting from Oscar Wilde. Continue reading

Like a friend dropping in?

Hoping the final edition of Yellow Pages hasn’t just been delivered.

Yellow Pages 2015

Yellow Pages 2015

It was never their slogan of course, it was the Manchester Evening News, but Yellow Pages arriving every year did used to feel like a friend dropping in. Welcome news about which plumbers were operating around here, who we could ring to unblock the drains and oh, which local struggling emporium still considered itself to be a ‘Department Store’.  In their way, little living social documents about life and the living of it around wherever you lived or worked.

Except of course they weren’t little at all and they certainly didn’t ‘drop in’.

A two volume example here from New Zealand.

A two volume example here from New Zealand.

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‘I was there’ – My time on the Docks, Part 1

JV Part One25A guest post from blog reader John Viggars today.

A couple of weeks ago when photographer Tricia Porter graciously let me publish her 1970s ‘South Docks’ collection on here, one of the first comments on Twitter came from regular blog reader John Viggars who immediately said that most magical of all historical story phrases ‘I was there.’ He went on to mention he had some photos of his own from his days sailing in and out of our dying South Docks.

Naturally I asked him if he’d like to do a guest post on here. And here it is. Or rather here’s the first of two. This one mainly about the South Docks, Part 2, about the North, to come soon. With minimal interventions and editing from me. This is the real thing, unadulterated Liverpool history. A long read but a great one. Over to you John.

“Like Ronnie I have always been interested in the Liverpool docklands & therefore his invitation to write on the subject gives me a chance to walk around my memories, get out some old photographs and tell some stories from first 30 years of my life. I have few images from that time as film was expensive and my medium was transparency. I retrieved most of these here from the loft and notice they are losing their colour. Still, they help to paint the pictures of what I’m about to tell you.JV Part One01

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In Liverpool: Along Park Road

A brisk, bright but very cold day for a walk into town to do some record shopping. ‘The temperature will feel like zero’ Sarah helpfully tells me. Passing on the information from her phone which often gives her comedy weather forecasts seemingly gathered by someone looking out of a window.

Undeterred I go out anyway.

Across the park and along Lark Lane.

Across the park and along Lark Lane.

On to Aigburth Road.

On to Aigburth Road.

Not been to Onion for a while. Too early for lunch today though.

A real mixture of shops along here.

A real mixture of shops along here.

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A day out in England

Biddulph Grange, Staffordshire.

Biddulph Grange, Staffordshire.

Living as we do in the semi-independent city state of Liverpool, Sarah and I enjoy the occasional day out in England. Having been some time since we visited the grand nob house of Chatsworth for Sarah’s birthday today we motored through Cheshire and, just, into Staffordshire to visit the gardens at Biddulph Grange, between Congleton and Stoke.

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In 1896, before the house burned down.

Not quite a nob house this one as it was bought by Robert and Maria Bateman in 1840 from ill-gotten coal and steel money. But they never did hold on to this money long enough to do enough crawling to become ennobled, and therefore ‘nobs’ – as they spent all they had on building their garden and stocking it with pilfered exotic specimens from all over the world.

Having passed to someone else, the house mostly burned down in 1896 Continue reading