An interesting day of doing the things I love best. Walking round Liverpool and talking with interesting people. Some of the people today are travelling over from Leeds. But first there’s a walk to be done.
My friend here Jayne is an artist from North Liverpool who’s recently moved into her new place just off Lodge Lane. Relatively unfamiliar with the south end of the city she’d said ‘Can I come on one of your walks, in return for a really detailed walk around my end of the city?’ So here we are ‘beating the parish bounds’ of Jayne’s new neighbourhood.‘Beating the parish bounds’ is an old Saxon custom where people would walk around their place ‘to share the knowledge of where they lay, and to pray for protection and blessings for the lands.’ I’ve always done this in new places where I’ve lived, even on holiday, to make myself feel at home. So felt it would be just the thing for Jayne.
A formal walk through the past…

And the present…

Of the whole wider neighbourhood…

Not just Lodge Lane…

But exploring.

Exploring all of the streets and places of Liverpool 8, of what’s come to be known as Toxteth.
I explain that the original Toxteth was a much wider place, a medieval deer park stretching to Otterspool. But we’ll now walk through the lands which make up the ‘parish’ of Toxteth now.
Lands continuously replenished and enriched by the cultures of newcomers.

Newcomers like Jayne.

Off Lodge Lane along Astbridge Street.

Beginning one of the many interweaving conversations we’ll have while walking along. This one about how streets work, how they need to lead to others, and why cul de sacs are said by some to be items of social and even military control.
We reach Granby 4 Streets, Beaconsfield here.

Then Jane gets a shortened version of the history of the place in Cairns Street.

Who’s doing what.

The Community Land Trust houses are lovingly pointed out.

Jayne’s involved in a community land trust herself, through Homebaked up in Anfield.
And we leave the Four Streets through Ducie Street.

Next we go into Princes Park, where I suspect the snowdrops will be out. This parish contains great riches.
And here they are. The clumps bigger this year than last.

Achingly perfect. A promise of springtime.

All clustered around the headstone of a donkey who worked here in the park many years ago.

Next it’s the story and the still suspended future of the Welsh Streets.
The former cowhouse on Gwydir Street.

And the desolation of Powis Street.

Left looking like this after two series of Peaky Blinders. We walk on, through to the Dingle.
Streets much like the Welsh Streets.

But these mercifully escaped the attentions of the ‘Housing Market Renewal Initiative’ and so are still full and popular.
Down the Dockers’ Steps to pay our respects to Alan Murray’s great work.

Then it’s a quick walk along Mill Street to town.
We’ve got people to meet.

Down Bold Street.

The people from Leeds I mentioned.
This is sort of a return visit from one I made to Leeds last summer. We all meet up in Bold Street Coffee.
And then come next door to Maray to eat and talk.

Phil Kirby from Leeds, Culture Vultures.

Emma Bearman from Leeds, Culture Vultures.

David Lloyd, Liverpool, SevenStreets.

Elaine Cresswell, Liverpool, landscape architect.

Marie Millward, Leeds, community projects manager.

Jayne Lawless, Liverpool, artist.

And me of course, getting everyone to do much more multi-faceted introductions of themselves than photo captions can encompass.
And we talked. For two hours of being patiently looked after and thoughtfully fed by Maray. About Leeds and Liverpool, our similarities and differences, what works and doesn’t, the meanwhile use of empty buildings, the power of art coming from the place it’s about. And the potential power of co-operation, between and across the towns and cities of Northern England. From Liverpool to Newcastle, we would be better together and have so much to learn from each other.
We had a great time and will definitely be meeting again.

And before our Leeds guests left? Time to inspect the parish.
And discuss more pros and cons of cross-city collaboration and international opportunities.

A good day and Jayne and I will resume our walking in a couple of weeks time by walking around the Everton and Anfield parish where she was born.
Thank you all for a lovely day.
Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.
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