Recently in South Liverpool: Aigburth, Allerton, Mossley Hill & Sudley Category

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.

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.

Christmas Carols at Sudley House, Liverpool L18 8BX  Tony Burrage & John Peace The 2008 Elegant Music Carol Concert at Sudley House, by Mossley Hill Church, Liverpool, is on Sunday 7 December, from 2 - 3.30 pm. Join us after your lunch, all prepared to sing at 2.30. It's free and everyone's welcome! And do leave time to explore Sudley House, too. It's one of the great treasures of Liverpool, with wonderful art, plus a cosy tearoom open daily, 10 am till 4.30 pm.

Repeating the great fun of Live-A-Music's / Elegant Music's 2007 Carol Concert at Sudley House, off Rose Lane in Liverpool, this year the event is on Sunday 7 December from 2 - 3.30 pm.

The concert is free and everyone is welcome. Join us at 2 pm to relax and enjoy a short violin and piano concert by Live-A-Music / Elegant Music musicians Tony (Martin Anthony) Burrage and John Peace, before the carols and festivities begin at 2.30 pm.

You can see more details of Sudley House, visitor arrangements and local transport here.

The address is Mossley Hill Road, Aigburth, L18 8BX, tel: 0151 724 3245.

The tearoom is open daily from 10 am until 4.30 pm (reservations: 0151 478 4178) and Sudley House itself is open every day until 5 pm, except from 2pm on 24 December, and all day 25 and 26 December and 1 January.


08.12.07 Elegant Music Sudley House 'Carols Round the Christmas Tree' Tony Burrage & John Peace

Read more about Live-A-Music and Elegant Music, and about South Liverpool: Aigburth, Allerton, Mossley Hill & Sudley.

www.elegantmusic.co.uk
www.liveamusic.co.uk
www.ensembleliverpool.co.uk

Xmas Tree & Piano 113x87 011b.jpg Sunday 23 December 2007 was the date for an occasion to remember: Carols Round the Christmas Tree at Sudley House, the historic home of a Victorian Mayor of Liverpool. The free singalong afternoon concert saw almost three hundred people came to enjoy the company and the carolling with Live-A-Music and the Children's Choir.

This event was supported by the National Museums Liverpool and offered a warm welcome to everyone. The musicians (Martin Anthony (Tony) Burrage, John Peace, Richard Gordon-Smith and Hilary Burrage) were all members of Live-A-Music, a group also known as Elegant Music. The children's choir of Mossley Hill Parish Church also performed.

Sudley House has an excellent tearoom for refreshments throughout the afternoon, and provides full disabled access. It is set in peaceful parkland and offers spectacular views across the River Mersey to the Wirral and beyond, to Moel Famau in Wales.

Visitor information and location and travel advice for Sudley House is available here.

See also:
Sudley House: Victorian Home Of A Mayor Of Liverpool

Liverpool's Ancient Chapel Of Toxteth, Dingle Gaumont Cinema, The Turner Nursing Home & Dingle Overhead Railway Station

Autumn Glory In Sefton Park

Sefton Park, Liverpool: Winter Solstice 2006

For more articles please visit History of Liverpool and The Music.

Sudley House, Liverpool 29 Oct. 2007 Aigburth is a long-established residential area within sight of Liverpool Cathedral. Amongst the many surprises in this enduring part of the city is the National Museum Liverpool's newly refurbished Sudley House, tucked away behind Rose Lane, Carnatic Halls and Mossley Hill Church. Bequeathed to the City by Emma Holt, daughter of a Victorian merchant, it offers a major art collection.

Mossley Hill Church, Liverpool, 1 Dec. 2007

Sudley House, Liverpool, 29 Oct. 2007

Sudley House veranda & conservatory, Liverpool, 29 Oct. 2007

Sudley House, Liverpool, view to the River Mersey, the Wirral & Moel Famau, 1 Dec. 2007

Sudley House, Liverpool, wall & stables , 29 Oct. 2007

Sudley House & Holt Field , Liverpool, 29 Oct. 2007Sudley House Hillsborough Memorial Garden, Liverpool 29 Oct. 2007Sudley House wallside walk, Liverpool, 29 Oct. 2007Sudley House conservatory, Liverpool,  29 Oct. 2007

North Sudley Road looking to Liverpool Cathedral (below Sudley House & Holt Field), Liverpool, 20 Jan. 2007

Sudley House contains works by artists such as Gainsborough, Reynolds, Landseer and Turner. This is the only surviving Victorian merchant art collection in Britain still hanging in its original location.

The earliest resident of the house was Nicholas Robinson, a rich corn merchant, who bought the land and built the original house somewhere between 1811 and 1823. The architect may have been Thomas Harrison. Robinson was Mayor of Liverpool in 1828-9. He lived in the house until his death in 1854, and his two daughters continued to live there until their own deaths in 1883.

Sudley was then sold to George Holt, a ship owner and merchant, who made many alterations to the property. He acquired the art collection which remains in the house, which, with its contents, was in 1944 bequeathed to the City of Liverpool by his daughter Emma.

See also: History of Liverpool

Carols Round The Christmas Tree At Sudley House

Liverpool's Ancient Chapel Of Toxteth, Dingle Gaumont Cinema, The Turner Nursing Home & Dingle Overhead Railway Station

Autumn Glory In Sefton Park

Sefton Park, Liverpool: Winter Solstice 2006

Please see additional photographs at Camera & Calendar

More information on Sudley House and visitor arrangements is available here.

Liverpool Toxteth Chapel (small) 100x143.jpgOne of Liverpool's most significant and fascinating historic areas is barely known even by the city's own residents; so Monday Women arranged a visit. The area lies in the heart of Toxteth - Dingle, comprising four adjacent sites: the early seventeenth century Ancient Chapel of Toxteth (the original place of worship of astronomer Jeremiah Horrox or Horrocks), the Turner Nursing Home built by Alfred Waterhouse in 1882-5, Dingle Overhead Railway Station, constructed deep underground and opened in 1896, and the Dingle Gaumont Cinema, erected on the site of the old Picturedrome in 1937.

Liverpool Toxteth Chapel inside.jpg
The general perception is that Liverpool has few really serious historic sites. Interesting architecture, Yes, in abundance; 'old' buildings, No. On Saturday 16 November 2006 several dozen members, families and friends of Monday Women and CAMPAM set out on a beautifully sunny afternoon to discover why this perception is not always accurate.

The Ancient Chapel of Toxteth
Liverpool Toxteth Chapel inscription100x312.jpg






We congregated first in the Ancient Chapel of Toxteth, opened especially for us by its warden, Annette Butler. She and local historian Christina Clarke (to both of whom we owe enormous thanks) had a remarkable tale to tell about the history of this simple and appealing building, constructed variously at times between 1604 and 1618. The Chapel is now owned, and used, by the Unitarians, but was built and developed by Puritan dissenters from the Church of England.

The site of the Chapel is that of the thirteenth century royal hunting Park in Toxteth, sold late in the sixteenth century to the Earl of Derby. He in turn sold it to Puritan families from around the Lancashire towns of Bolton and Ormskirk who were seeking more freedom of conscience in their religious practices, using a place which had been Crown property and was thus not subject to parish law or to enforcement of regular attendance at the parish church. [See: The History of the Royal and Ancient Park of Toxteth, Lost Villages of Liverpool: Pt. 1, The Diaries of Edward Henry Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby 1826-93 and map Toxteth (Old O.)]

Liverpool Toxteth Chapel graveyard 180x225.jpgEven with sunshine outside, the inside of the Chapel feels dark and close (perhaps in part because the winters of the seventeenth century were bitter), the pews being closely placed, but with an appealing and open gallery area above them, and an impressively large pulpit at the centre of the south wall. Over the centuries the building itself has been considerably extended, not least to adapt the previous schoolhouse (built in 1611) into the access point for the organ loft.

In contrast to the closeness of Toxteth Chapel itself, our visit to the graveyard found it calm and airy, with dappled light through the mature trees, as we examined the columned arcade and headstones of such local luminaries as Richard Vaughan Yates , who devised Princes Park, and the cartographer Richard Horwood [A to Z of Regency London]. Many other well-known local family names, including the Mellors, are also to be found there.

Jeremiah Horrox or Horrocks (1618 or 1619 - 1641)
Liverpool Toxteth Chapel Horrox plaque-closeup.jpgAmongst other fascinating plaques inside the Chapel is one commemorating the brief life and momentous work of Jeremiah Horrox (as spelt on this plaque; or Horrocks as often spelt in the reference books). Horrocks was the youthful astronomer who first observed the transit of the planet Venus, on Sunday 4 December - 24 November by reference to the Julian Calendar then in use - 1639. (There is an anecdote, possibly apocryphal, that he calculated this rare occurrence and had to pre-empt much of the Curate's duties he may have performed in Hoole, Lancashire, that day, in order to observe the transit via a telescope he constructed himself, reflecting the sun's image onto a piece of card.) [Jeremiah Horrocks,Astonomer (1618? - 1641) and His Times: No.6 (Chorley Civic Society Occasional Papers)]

Dingle's Gaumont Cinema
Liverpool Toxteth Gaumont Cinema Dingle Lane & Park Lane160x216.jpgToxteth Chapel is on the north-western corner of Park Road (running parallel to the River Mersey) and Dingle Lane (which goes from Princes Park directly towards the river). On the south-western side of this junction is a cinema now unused for its original purpose, the Gaumont, designed by W. E. Trent FRIBA, FSI (Chief Architect of Gaumont-British) specifically to accommodate the large fan-shaped curve of the roads at this corner, and opened on 29 March 1937.

The Gaumont Cinema, an art deco building erected on the site of the old Dingle Picturedrome (photo in Edwardian A-Z and Directory of Liverpool and Bootle: South Liverpool Part 3; demolished 1931), must have been very impressive in its hey day - there are many features reminiscent of the famous Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on Hope Street. It has (or had?) an orchestra pit and Wurlitzer organ console (again, the Phil has a fine organ, almost unique in rising from the stage). The cinema seated 1,500 people, 615 of them in the balcony.

It is said that the projection room was the first in Britain to have the Gaumont 'projectomatic' system which automatically changed the reels during projection of films, as well as controlling the houselights and stage curtains. There was also a Western Electric Mirrorphonic sound system.

Sadly, the Gaumont lost its originally intended function in September 1966, to become a Top Rank Bingo Club which opened in January 1967. We were not therefore able to go into the building to see more as we passed on to the south-eastern corner of this 'site visit' and the next venue of our Monday Women trip in November.

The Turner Nursing (or Memorial) Home
Liverpool Toxteth Dingle Turner Nursing Home 140x211.jpgThe story behind the Turner Nursing Home is very sad, but the outcome is a testament to the positive thinking of Mrs Charles Turner, wife of the Liverpool Member of Parliament who was also first Chairman of the Liverpool Docks and Harbour Board - the tale of which Board we shall continue at the next and final stop of our Dingle-Toxteth 'tour'. The entire Turner Memorial Home project commemorates Anne Turner's husband Charles Turner MP (13 June 1803 - 15 October 1875) and their son Charles William (16 October 1845 - 13 September 1880), who died tragically.

Liverpool Toxteth Dingle Turner Nursing Home sculpture 40x100.jpgIn memory of her husband and son Mrs Turner commissioned the architect Alfred Whitehouse to build a strikingly asymmetric and strangely attractive 'home' for retired and 'distressed' gentlemen - a function which it still has. In the entrance lobby there is a lovely marble statue of the two male Turners, father and son, created for the opening of the Home in 1885 by the London-based sculptor Sir William Hamo Thorneycroft R.A. (1850 - 1925). This sculpture seemed to fascinate our younger companions on this visit, perhaps because it is actually so sympathetic and life-like.

Liverpool Toxteth Dingle Turner Nursing Home chapel 140x281.jpgLiverpool Dingle Toxteth Turner Nursing Home turret 140x53.jpgThe red ashlar, turreted Home has a chapel, almost church-sized, with an arcade of octagonal columns and stained glass windows (by Heaton, Butler and Bayne); and beyond the spacious communal living areas we saw wide lawns sweeping down towards the River Mersey. This is a gracious reminder of times gone by, still of great value to the community, which shows us just how elegant Dingle and Toxteth must have been a century or more ago.

Dingle Overhead Railway Station
Liverpool Toxteth Dingle Overhead Railway Station (looking down)160x168.jpg Finally on this special afternoon, as the light drew in, we retraced our steps to Kedlestone Street, the road opposite the Ancient Chapel of Toxteth, and to what appeared to be a short side-alley leading to a mechanics' garage. Few of us had any idea what would come next.... As we approached, the owner, Nigel, opened the doors and we were led down an alarmingly steep slope to another world - the world of the legendary Liverpool Overhead Railway designed by leading engineers of the time, Sir Douglas Fox and James Henry Greathead.... a return to the time of the 'Dockers' Umbrella' and Liverpool's great era of engineering and transport.

Liverpool Toxteth Dingle Overhead Station group 160x217.jpgThis was the site of Dingle Station, the final stop of the Overhead Railway route from Southport, Seaforth, Litherland and Aintree, via the city centre and the frantically busy docks, to the south end of the city. Interestingly, especially in the light of current-day debates elsewhere in Liverpool, the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board had on a number of occasions from 1852 onwards had travel route proposals rejected or returned for modification in the light of the increasing demands for public transport to and from the city centre.

Liverpool 'The Dockers' Umbrella' book by Paul Bolger 160x181.jpgEventually however, in 1888, a group of prominent businessmen formed the Liverpool Overheard Railway Company and obtained the powers of the Dock Board by an Act of Transfer. Work on the elevated railway therefore began in October 1889. [See: Seventeen Stations to Dingle: Liverpool Overhead Railway Remembered; Liverpool Overhead Railway.]

Dingle Station opened for passengers on 21 December 1896 and closed to the public fifty years ago, on 30 December 1956. The station platform (a full 170 feet by 28 feet) has now been demolished, but the tunnel and entrance subway remain in use as a car repair business, Roscoe Engineering. There is also an astonishing extension to the station - a kilometer long passage from this point to an opening on the Herculaneum Dock 'down by the river', and thence to the docks via the factory site of the Herculaneum Pottery which, though the company closed in1840, must have triggered a lot of local industry.

Some of us, hugely curious, then made our wary unlit way down to the Herculaneum tunnel entrance and Liverpool Toxteth Dingle Overhead Station Tunnel to Herculaneum Dock 160x232.jpgback, and others, less nimble, used the time to learn more from our host Nigel about the remaining features of the station (the red buffer Liverpool Toxteth Dingle Overhead Station buffer 100x98.jpg hidden behind mechanics' equipment; the sturdy hooks and notices...). And finally we returned to Park Road as the day ended, much enlighted by our visit and debating energetically how future generations would see the places we had visited - places which (as evidenced by the enormously ambitious commissions in Toxteth - Dingle a century or so ago, engaging the most prestigious architects, designers and engineers the nation had to offer) had in times past witnessed great wealth and opportunity and then, nearer to the present day, distressing poverty and huge challenges.

'Which way now?' was the question on everyone's lips as we hit the road for home.

See also: History of Liverpool

Sudley House: Victorian Home Of A Mayor Of Liverpool

Read the discussion of this article which follows the book 'E-store'.....

Penny Lane entrance (small) 06.10.jpg Penny Lane in Liverpool is one of Liverpool's most famous streets. How sad then that the high hopes of this community have been dashed so many times, as they try to secure their dream of a Millennium Green and a Centre for visitors and locals alike. A decade waiting is quite long enough. Now there must be some action.

Penny Lane (street).jpg Ten years is not a long time in the life of a city, but it can be in the life of a community. In that time people can arrive and depart, have families or see their youngsters leave. Many things determine the likelihood of any of these events, not least changes in the tone and appearance of that community’s actual location.

These thoughts came to mind as I recently made a visit to Penny Lane, that part of Liverpool’s inner suburbs, not far from my own home, which has been immortalised by our most famous sons, the Beatles.

Does it have to take a decade?
Penny Lane Millennium Green signs.jpg Ten years ago local residents decided they would like a Millennium Green and a Centre for locals and the many visitors, on the Grove Mount site of fairly undeveloped land along Penny Lane. After much hard work they secured a promise of such an amenity as long as they were able to secure the land and produce a sensible business plan. As part of the celebratory activity following this promise, I took ‘before’ photographs of the area – which I had hoped would swiftly be superseded by the ‘after’ photos.

Three cameras and thousands of photographs later, I'm still waiting.

The City Council has made various vaguely encouraging noises over the years, but nothing of substance seems to be happening. The field still hosts very occasional children’s football matches, but is if anything is more derelict than before. It is strewn with litter and worse; and the building in the corner is in a serious state of collapse.

Community impact
Penny Lane Millennium Green building.jpg Unfortunately, much the same can be said of some people in the local community. Local youngsters (by no means a majority of them, but enough) use the field to hang out, disturbing and worrying other residents, whilst those who campaigned for the Millennium Green hand on grimly to their dream, never having imagined when they began that so much later still there would be no evidence of success.

Is this the way to treat people who give whatever they can of their time, imagination and enthusiasm in trying to improve their community?

People Power
Penny Lane cat.jpg Someone once said that a theme to which I consistently return is People Power. Too right, if what is meant by that is respecting and helping decent folk to maintain the areas in which they live. This, in my books, is a requirement on us all.

For now, the only satisfied ‘resident’ of the proposed Penny Lane Millennium Green is the cat who suns himself on the entrance pillars to this sorry, derelict site. I really hope that before long the powers that be will get a grip, and that, before the humans decide to give up completely, this happy little felix will have to relocate.