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Red Tom

some more scribblings.

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I lived in Tunnel Rd, facing the old coal merchants offices,from birth (1950) and moved out when the bulldozers moved in (1966- there goes the neighbourhood !). We relocated to Lee Park, where my dad's family had migrated from Myrtle Gardens. My auntie May's lot were the first, having settled in Bele Vale Rd c1956 ( many carefree days being spent there pre 1960) and as the rest of the family knew the area,the transition was logical.
My old man had worked painting the tower blocks some years earlier, and readily accepted an offer of a maisonette on the top floor of Macmillan House.I relished my time there, and enjoyed for the first time in my life a bathroom (with similar sky views as our old facillities, but indoors ),hot water on tap, not to mention underfloor heating and spectacular views over South Liverpool.
The accoustics on the main stairwell made for a good place to practice my guitar (in much the same way as the the guys in the tenements did) I linked up with another guy, and this led to rehearsals in St.Stephens church hall.
I still don't entirely understand the apparent infamy these blocks attracted, during my five years there, the buildings generally functioned as designed, but perhaps others have differing recollections.
My mum's family were miners and agricultural workers from Cronton and Tarbock, and she worked in service at the original Bridge Inn in Gateacre, before moving pre war to the Juno off Chatsworth St, where my old man met her (and her identical twin sister, which gave rise to some farce-like confusion).
At some point in his youth, my old man discovered in the ale houses around Oliver St./Linden St., a way of obtaining free ale, the wager worked thus- he would bet somebody he could stick the poker in the fire until red hot and then lick it without harm
( yes, I know) he was only able to accomplish this feat thanks to fully functioning saliva glands and speed.
My mum was a country lass and I doubt if she had encountered such ale house antics before.
Co-incidentally, the Bridge Inn was mentioned in Freddy O'Connor's 'The Pubs Of South Liverpool, but the Juno was ,I think, the only pub in that part of Edge Hill not Illustrated.
My wife was born and (well) bred in Speke, her mother's family settling there around 1905. Her father was one of three (at least) generations of Garston dock workers, and that branch of the family is an ongoing genealogical project.
After marrying at Brougham Terrace we lived in a flat in Belvidere road , Dingle (not in those days Toxteth) then out to Netherley, until the first signs of it's eventuall decline began to appear. We then crossed the bridge to Runcorn,where our first children were born.After seven years there, we then moved around the country chasing work for the next twelve years or so.
While managing a caravan site in Mousehole near Penzance, my father in law became ill, we needed to be closer but my wife missed the sea views. We found a flat overlooking the empty site of New Brighton swimming pool,where my father in law could sit on the verandah and watch the shipping traffic,but he died before this was possible.
We managed a business for several years selling ice cream and doughnuts at the New Palace, but due to health issues the work became too demanding, so we are virtually retired now.
Our peripatic perambulations are at an end,after 18 years here we are settled (with four grandchildren) in a shoebox further along the promenade and here we remain until rising sea levels (or the landlord) force us out.

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  1. Oudeis's Avatar
    Yes indeed Brer Tom the wonders of the public bar showman have long been in decline. I knew a Glasgow fellow who earned a few pints by pushing a pint glass through the handle of a pint jug. Well worth the money, I say.
    You have got me wondering what songs you rehearsed in your stair-well?
    Camp site management must have left you with a rich store of tales. (hint-hint)

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