Recently in Camera & Calendar Category

Liverpool Edge Hill Stephenson Rocket train mural off Tunnel Road / Harbord Road junction (photo taken 4 July 2007) Liverpool Edge Hill was the location, along with its Manchester, Liverpool Road counterpart, of the first public railway station, opening on 15 September 1830. For some years more recently this historic site was marked by a large mural or relief of the 'Rocket' steam engine invented by George Stephenson (1781-1848) - an interesting vision in the grim context of our own contemporary Edge Lane access route into the city.

Liverpool & Merseyside Camera & Calendar Historical Liverpool

09.07.05 Edge Hill & Stephenson Rocket

07.07.04 Liverpool Edge Hill Stephenson Rocket train mural (photograph taken 4 July 2007)

09.07.05 Edge Hill & Stephenson Rocket

The Stephenson Rocket was one of four locomotives which ran in convoy on the fateful day when the route was launched, the day which also saw the demise of the reforming Liverpool MP William Huskisson (1770-1830), when he and the Rocket collided at Parkside station.

Sadly, the Rocket mural of more recent times is now in a state of some disrepair; but at least the Huskisson memorial remains, standing proud in the grounds of nearby Liverpool Cathedral.

06.11.19 Huskisson Memorial Liverpool St James Cemetery & Cathedral

Less appealing however are the many boarded and painted-over windows of housing about to be demolished along the Edge Lane corridor which passes through Edge Hill, where crass management of highways and the public realm has resulted for far too long in mass desolation along the main access route into Liverpool.

These attempts at jollification through 'art work' offer a very different message from the solid magnificence of Huskisson's memorial - a celebration of the man and his work for the public good - or indeed the Rocket mural, an attempt made much more recently to celebrate the skills of engineering and invention which were the distinctive mark of northern British cities such as Liverpool and Manchester, two centuries ago.

09.01.18 Edge Lane boarded up painted windows, Liverpool

09.07.05 Edge Hill boarded up street alongside Stephenson's Rocket mural


Postscript (23 July 2009)
Excellent news for Liverpool and the whole of NW England: the Liverpool-Manchester route is to be electrified. As anyone who uses the M62 will know, the environmental value here is as important as the economic. Detailed planning work is to start immediately.
But there is already debate about which end of the line should be done first. Let's just hope that this isn't the start of another set of disastrous delays such as we've seen in developing the Edge Lane approach to Liverpool city centre. There has to be a better way, with mutual respect for views, based on real effort to communicate and get the right things done.


See more photographs and read more at Liverpool & Merseyside, Camera & Calendar and Historical Liverpool.

09.06.01  Kniphofia (Torch Lily)  West Highlands  Scotland Ardnamurchan, the most westerly point of mainland Britain, is not the first place most of us would look to find the dramatic Shenandoah 'Red Hot Poker' or 'Torch Lily' in bloom; after all, the Kniphofia group of plants to which Torch Lilies belong originated in Africa. But the remote north-west UK location around Loch Sunart has been showing these spectacular flowers off in profusion during the amazingly hot (up to 24 degrees C) first weekend of June this year.

09.06.01   Kniphofia Ardnamurchan  Scotland  early June


09.06.02   Ardnamurchan Loch Sunart  Scotland Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia) Torch Lilies


See more photographs at Camera & Calendar and at Locations & Events.

08.05.05 garden table, hedge & nest In the garden in early May last year, a broken piece of ivy jutting out from the hedge caught our attention.
Then a thrush darted into the greenery, and we realised this was in all probability the site of a nest - as indeed it turned out to be, a neatly solid little structure with three beautiful blue eggs in it.
Waiting patiently, carefully positioning the camera well away and using a zoom lens, this is what we then saw emerging, almost at our back door....

08.05.05 thrush blue eggs & nest hidden in hedge

08.05.05  thrush blue eggs hatching & nest

08.05.05 thrush blue eggs, newly-hatched chick & nest

The other eggs hatched later, and we saw the adult birds going about their parental duties for several days thereafter, flying to and fro with titbits for their young. And perhaps the process is being repeated again this year, now the gap in the hedge has covered over, for the garden thrushes seem to be very active once more.


Read more articles about Living Things, Nature & The Seasons and The Philospohy Of Hedges, and see more photographs at Calendar & Camera.

For more information on thrushes, their nests and eggs, click here.

Sefton Park Liverpool Daffodils The past few days have convinced us that Spring is finally on its way. The daffodils in Sefton Park are a glory all of their own - the focus of hope in so many ways, at the equinox when people begin once more to populate our park's wonderful space, strolling by in chatty groups, with prams, on bicylces, running to raise funds for charity or simply stopping to enjoy. And then as the daffodils begin to fade, we see the promise of the next great gift of nature, the delicate blossoms of almond and cherry to delight us yet a while....

Sefton Park Liverpool Daffodils (29 March 2009)

Sefton Park Liverpool - first blossoms of Spring (30 March 2008)


See more photographs of Liverpool & Merseyside and read more about Sefton Park.

Josephine Butler House Liverpool, ruined Josephine Butler House in Liverpool's Hope Street Quarter is named for the famous social reformer, and the site of the first UK Radium Institute. Latterly an elegant adjunct to Myrtle Street's The Symphony apartments, it sits opposite the Philharmonic Hall. But the intended ambiance has been ruined by a dismal failure and omission on the part of Liverpool City Council, who have permitted Josephine Butler House to be grimly defaced with little prospect of anything better, or even just intact, taking its place.

Liverpool & Merseyside, The Future Of Liverpool and Regeneration.

The Symphony, previously part of the City of Liverpool College of Further Education portfolio (and before that, the Liverpool Eye, Ear & Throat Infirmary), is a newly restored apartment block immediately opposite Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall. It is elegantly refurbished by Downing Developments and adds an attractive dimension to city centre living in Liverpool's historic Hope Street Quarter.

View of The Symphony from Liverpool Philharmonic Hall,  Myrtle Street Liverpool

But just a year ago this weekend (i.e. in the first few days of March 2008) residents of those apartments saw tarpaulin raised around their neighbouring building, the historic Josephine Butler House, home to the UK's first Radium Institute (which is celebrated in the Liverpool 'Suitcases' Hope Street / Mount Street sculptures) and named after the social pioneer whom Millicent Fawcett described as “the most distinguished woman of the Nineteenth Century".

Josephine Butler (1828 -1906) was an extraordinarily accomplished British social reformer, who had a major role in improving conditions for women in education and public health. She moved to Liverpool in 1866, when her husband, the academic George Butler, became headmaster of Liverpool College. Much of her work derived its inspiration from the death of their young daughter, and she has a national library, a collection at Liverpool University, an educational institution and a charitable trust named for her. Her life and work is also celebrated locally in the Suitcases ('A Case Study') public art installation a block up the road on the Hope Street / Mount Street junction in Liverpool.

Josephine Butler House with tarpaulin

So what followed after the Josephine Butler House was swathed in tarpaulin was almost beyond belief - with just days to go before a formal enquiry, Maghull Developments, who had recently acquired Josephine Butler House in partnership with the previous owners, Liverpool John Moores University, took hammers to its entire street-facing facade.

Josephine Butler House, Liverpool , Myrtle Street facing facade ruined

Josephine Butler House, Liverpool, Hope Street facing wall ruined

The Liverpool Daily Post reported Maghull Developments in March 2008 as saying, nonetheless, that the work under wraps on the frontage was “specialist restoration work to the stone facade” - a claim which is difficult to reconcile with the still intact stonework of the Stowell Street side of the building, unblemished to this day:

Josephine Butler House Liverpool, Stowell Street side wall, intact

But if the City Council had amended their omission, as many times requested, to include this corner of Hope Street in the Conservation Area, they could have protected the entire historic location at a stroke.

The plans for the Josephine Butler House site had been in considerable contention even before these extraordinary events. There were public meetings and demands that proposals be returned to the drawing board because they were adjudged inappropriate for Hope Street Quarter - Liverpool's cultural quarter, the home of the city's two cathedrals, its two largest universities, its internationally recognised orchestra and several theatres, and a critically important gateway into the city centre.

Josephine Butler House, Liverpool, ruined ; next door to The Symphony

A comment, at the time of the 'specialist restoration', from Liverpool City Council's elected environment portfolio holder, says it all:

Why would they restore the stone facade when they are planning to knock the building down? Don’t treat us like we are dim.
The building is an intrinsic part of what makes Hope Street so special, but there’s very little the council can do short of me sleeping under the scaffolding.

So much for the 'legacy' of Liverpool's status as 2008 European Capital of Culture.

What worries some of us is not even just that the Josephine Butler scaffolding has now long disappeared and the damage surely done.

It's that, in brutal fact, the prospect of any action on the Josephine Butler site - beyond perhaps demolition to become a car park? - looks itself from where we sit to be exceedingly dim; and that the whole City Council seems still to be asleep on the job.

Josephine Butler House Car Park Liverpool (corner of Hope Street & Myrtle Street)

Josephine Butler House, Liverpool defaced


[PS This sad saga was taken up by Ed Vulliamy in The Observer of 20 March 2009, in an article entitled How dare they do this to my Liverpool.. There is also a prolonged debate about Josephine Butler House on the website SkyscraperCity.

An updated version of this article (here) was published on the Liverpool Confidential website, on 22 April 2009.]

See more photographs of Liverpool & Merseyside and read more about The Future Of Liverpool and Regeneration.

08.12.20 The Santa Carols Wagon, Liverpool Mossley Hill Scouts and Guides We're at the longest night and the shortest day - the Winter solstice. But that doesn't stop the goodwill shining through, as citizens of Liverpool get together to raise money for worthy causes. Every year at this time the Santa Claus wagon trundles past, tannoy blaring out the carols and youngsters running from house to house as they collect for charity. And private festive collaborations are evident too, with neighbours sharing brilliant illuminated phantasies to cheer us all up.

08.12.20 The Santa Carols Wagon, Aigburth

08.12.20 Mossley Hill Scouts and Guides Santa Carols Wagon, raising money for local charities

For many years at this time the local Scouts and Guides, and / or members of The Rotary Club, treat us to rousing blasts of carolling, as their respective wagons trundle up the street, with Father Christmas in all his illuminated glory aboard to urge us on to charitable largess. Here are people who give time and energy willingly to raise money for good causes: mums, dads and offspring, smiley teenagers, drivers and supervisors in luminous jackets; everyone has a job to do.

And it's not just the bigger organisations in our part of town who join in the festivities. Neighbours too - in both suburbs like Aigburth, and in inner city areas such as Dingle-Toxteth, so often pronounced less community-connected - play their part, co-ordinating Christmas illuminations to raise our spirits as we pass by in the gloom of the Winter solstice.

08.12.20 Neighbours share a herd of shiny 'reindeer'

08.12.22 Dingle-Toxteth family homes with Christmas lights

Who says the community spirit isn't stll alive and shining through to cheer us all in the darkest days of the year?


See more photographs in Camera & Calendar.

08.10.03 Liverpool Biennial Spider, Web of Light, Ai Weiwei,  Exchange Flags This spider, set against the austere statue of Lord Nelson and a backdrop of Liverpool's historic Town Hall, has so much more to offer than the monster mechanical arachnid which scoured our streets a short while ago. La Princesse was piece of engineering; this spider is a work of art. It trusts us to see in it what we will - it's magical, creative and beautiful all at the same time, leaving the imagination to work its fancies.

08.10.03 Liverpool Biennial Spider, Web of Light,  Ai Weiwei, Exchange Flags & part of Lord Nelson & Britannia statue


More information: Liverpool Biennial 2008 plus The Observer Review of 'Web of Light' and the Liverpool Biennial.

See more of Hilary's photographs here: Camera & Calendar; and read more articles about Cultural Liverpool.

Sunrise over an urban park, from a window This is the day and date when the clocks go 'back'. We have an extra hour in bed on Sunday morning, and then... darkness an hour earlier until next Spring. And most of us will miss the dawning of the day as well, since the majority of people in the UK no longer keep agrarian hours. So let's do something about using daylight in the best way, in the modern world: Sign the No 10 Petition for 'better use of sun'.

The petition for 'Daylight Saving' - i.e. keeping British Summer Time (BST) all year long - is here [http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/betteruseofsun/].

We have already discussed in detail on this website the safety, energy, health, leisure and other benefits of not going into the grimness of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) every Winter. Let's make it clear that (as is in fact the case according to surveys *) most of us would welcome a continuation of 'summertime' hours.

Watching beautiful sunrises and sunsets offers aesthetic reasons for keeping summertime hours. But there are many hard-headed reasons too; and if you still doubt this, just check out for yourself with bodies such as RoSPA - or indeed read the views of Sir Stuart Hampson, who, as chairman of the John Lewis Partnership from 1993 to 2007, surely knows a thing or two about looking carefully at the facts.

Who can really argue, when the evidence is so clear? In Sir Stuart's words,

Daylight is precious. Let's stop wasting it. If we didn't put the clocks back we could cut crime, keep fitter - and reduce carbon emissions.

And enjoy more sunrises....

Sunrise and sunbeams through trees on a frosty morning

* 4,215 people took part in an online vote on RoSPA’s website between 24 October and 2 November 2006. The vast majority (86%) supported this change. Of those who voted, 3,625 voted ‘Yes’, 548 voted ‘No’ and 42 voted ‘Don’t Know’.


Dates for 2008 - 2011 when at 2 a.m. the clocks go back (October) and forward (March) by one hour in the UK are:

In 2008: the Sundays of 30 March and 26 October
In 2009: the Sundays of 29 March and 25 October
In 2010: the Sundays of 28 March and 31 October
In 2011: the Sundays of 27 March and 30 October


Read more about BST: British Summer Time & 'Daylight Saving'

Liverpool Sefton Park 'Sage' - tree trunk sculpted Is it Merlin, or is it some other mystical creature, whose likeness arose silent and unannounced from the lone long-topped tree trunk in the heart of Sefton Park? One August morning, in the midst of the more expected park renovations of 2008, there 'he' was, the beautifully sculpted Sage of Sefton Park, the beginning, we can only hope, of a serendipitous array of creations in the park, for us to enjoy and create further in our imaginations as we wish.

08.08.23 Sefton Park 'Sage' - sculpture from a tree trunk

08.04.06  Sefton Park tree trunk in snow

It's heartening that, even so long after it was first suggested, a tree sculpture has now appeared in our park, a place subject, for many months now, to less engaging and sometimes jarring disruption.

Who sculpted our 'Sage' and why or how, we don't at present know [later: or at least we didn't then]; but perhaps that mystery can be resolved [please see Comments below]? Is 'he' Merlin the wizard or some other mystical creature? Does he have a message, or is he simply there to lift our imaginations and to add some fun as we stroll by, or as we pop into the cafe with the kids for a little treat?

May this be the start of much more creativity and friendly magic for the imagination, in this special urban green space right by the centre of our city.

08.08.15 Sefton Park 'Sage' wood sculpture by Hanna Jelinek


Read more about Sefton Park, and see more photographs at Camera & Calendar.

HOTFOOT 2005 Tayo Aluko (baritone soloist) wears his T-shirt Every year from 1996 HOPES has produced a limited edition T-shirt for everyone involved to wear for the Hope Street Festival; and only in that first year was there no special performance at the Philharmonic Hall. So 1997 marked the first of the subsequently annual HOPES HOTFOOT concerts which celebrate the exciting and diverse communities in Liverpool's Hope Street Quarter. That's a lot of people - orchestra musicians, singers, helpers and supporters - and, as we see below, a lot of editions of the T-shirts...

1977 Original Hope Street Festival T-shirt logo 1996 Hope Street Festival T-shirt logo 1997 Hope Street Festival & HOTFOOT T-shirt logo 'Hotfoot on Hope Street'


1998 Hope Street Midsummer Festival & HOTFOOT T-shirt logo 1999 HOTFOOT T-shirt logo 2000 Hope Street Midsummer Millennium Festival & HOTFOOT T-shirt logo

2001 Hope Street Midsummer Festival & HOTFOOT T-shirt logo 2002 HOTFOOT T-shirt logo 'KOOL STREET' 2003 HOTFOOT T-shirt logo


2004 HOTFOOT T-shirt logo 2005 HOTFOOT T-shirt logo 'Tradewinds' 2006 'Hotfoot on Hope Street 1997-2006' HOTFOOT T-shirt logo


2007 'Celebrating 30 Years of the Midsummer Festival ' & HOTFOOT T-shirt logo 'Liverpool First & Last' 2008 HOTFOOT 08 T-shirt 'Cafe Europe'



And 2009? Who is to say?...


HOTFOOT 2007 T-shirts & helpers
HOTFOOT 2007 T-shirts modelled enthusiastically!


HOTFOOT 2006 T-shirts & helpers


HOTFOOT T-shirts 2005 Choir 'Trade Winds'


The original 1996 Hope Street Festival HOPES T-shirt modelled by Martin Anthony (Tony) Burrage, who commissioned the original T-shirts and is Leader / Director of the HOPES Festival Orchestra
Martin Anthony (Tony) Burrage


See also:
HOTFOOT on Hope Street (The Concert)

Hope Street Festival, 1997 -

HOPES: The Hope Street Association

and more photographs in Camera & Calendar

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