Archive for the ‘street events’ Category

Vivaldi and Jimi Hendrix! Sort of catches the spectrum of a great event. The video ends with the West Everton Super Strings. See our early post of the brilliant Harmony initiative to give all four year olds in West Everton tuition in stringed instruments.


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Some images from the great Hope Street Feast on 18th September. There was a marvellous range of foods, of course, and the atmosphere was wonderful as all ages enjoyed what seemed like never-ending entertainment. Songs, music, street theatre, dance and more than a touch of the surreal throughout the day. The Philharmonic Hall was open for children’s films, young people’s performing music and song, the Royal Philharmonic Choir, and performances from folk, to Chinese and Irish artists sharing their culture. Sole artists and duest performed songs at the Mount Street and Myrtle Street stages. The Masonic Hall was open for tours, as was the former Irish Centre, now sadly derelict. Local venues for smaller events included the Caledonia and the Hope Street Hotel.

You’ll get a taste of the day watching the short video which will be our next post.


We mark the end of the first phase of our Hope Street Chronicles project with this event. It has to be said that we haven’t  included even half of what we intended. We have an archive now of posts including pictures, stories, poems and histories waiting to be published when time permits (We only meet two hours a week). And there is more and more new stuff suggesting itself every week. It’s been fascinating, and a great learning process, to see how much thre is to be discovered from one street.

The annual Feast is full of food and drink as always plus much, much more. Visit the website here for a full ‘menu’ and a downloadable pdf programme.

Highlights include the West Everton Children’s Orchestra we featured as our first post!. The Phil itself is open for tours, as is the Masonic Hall and, of course, both cathedrals. Hope Street Hotel’s lounge is a venue. The old Irish Centre is open too: that alone is a great visit down memory lane. Theatre from Hope Street Limited who we referred to in our post about the Everyman are presenting

Hope Street Limited presents

Free Radical Follies

12pm – 4pm


This is Hope Street Limited’s fourth street theatre spectacular at the Hope Street Feast following on from the hilarious antics of ‘Market of Optimism’, ‘The Big Nosh’ and ‘Wealth & Hell Being’.

Hear your radical fortune, start your own campaign at Manifesto Ville and be sure not to leave without having an extreme makeover…

Children… Join the Minor’s Strike and protest against broccoli, sandpit closures and early bedtimes!

Everyone… Come and listen to some untruths in the Lie Inn or bargain for a bottle of free advice or a Mersey sound at the Almost Free Market.

‘Free Radical Follies’ is commissioned by Culture Liverpool and presented by a multitude of local professional artists and directed by Trevor Stuart and Helen Statman of world renowned street theatre company Cocoloco.

There is a rich programme of music, theatre, dance, comedy and much more on the day, far too much to list here so visit the website.

We’ll be there taking photographs and videoing so look out for posts in the coming two weeks.








One of Hope Street's most popular meeting places


Hotels, restaurants, estate agents  and tourist publications often refer to the Hope Street area as the Hope Street Quarter. In recent years it has been widely referred to also as the Cultural Quarter. There is a slight problem for historical perfectionists like ourselves since the Cultural Quarter is in fact the area around St George’s Hall, the museum and Walker. Still, let’s not be too fussy. We shall shortly be looking at the Learning Quarter, which flows down besides the RC Cathedral and into Hope Street: indeed, so intimate is the union that the pavements and roads upgrading link the two quarters. The Learning Quarter prospectus includes many images of Hope Street and the Hope Street area (mainly restaurants and fine Georgian Buildings).

Yet there are other quarters superimposed upon the mainstream descriptions. These occupy the same place as the others, for instance the hugely important Imagine mental health service, three centres for drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and a very large nursing home for long-term vulnerable people. Where the ‘other end’ of Hope Street, opposite the end where the Learning Quarter is, begins the Toxteth or the Windsor Street Quarter, headed by a Merseycare hospital. Let’s not forget either that the workhouse we’ve mentioned already, the Blind School, and the orphanages, sheltering homes and alms houses (all falling within the ‘Hope Street Area’) are relatively recent history. We’ll return to look at the history of poverty, mental health and wellbeing in future posts.

Below is a piece by Phil Thornton giving a somewhat sobering pause for thought. Among other things, it suggests the ways in which Hope Street in some aspects is a microcosm of the city.

Hope Quarter

Phil Thornton

How many quarters can a city have? The newly proposed ‘Hope Street Quarter’ or ‘Hope Quarter’ joins other equally ridiculous quarters in Liverpool’s city centre such as the Met Quarter (a shopping mall) and the ‘Knowledge Quarter’ along with made up zones such as Ropewalks and East Village. The trend for this arbitrary zoning and re-zoning of city centres is part and parcel of the regeneration industry, transforming formerly run-down o derelict areas by giving them pseudo-cosmopolitan handles Manchester’s ‘Northern Quarter’ for example used to be the seedy, undeveloped but ‘Bohemian’ area between Oldham Street and Piccadilly station. It’s still seedy, undeveloped and ‘bohemian’ and has retained that aura of rough and ready edginess that all city centres require as an escape from the sanitized retail zones that have spread like a consumerist cancer across the rest of the city centre.

Liverpool has copied Manchester’s blueprint in a desperate bid to re-market itself as a vibrant, forward-thinking 21st century haven for spenders and students, the chattering classes and the ‘business community’ anyone in fact apart from the people who actually live in the city, those who don’t fit into the marketing peoples’ vision of the future. Yet these quarters and zones have no boundaries either real or imagined; where does the Knowledge Quarter begin and end, where is East Village on the map? The development of the Hope Quarter is aimed at attracting money away from Liverpool One, and whilst the proposals speak of ‘community and ‘culture’ it is commerce, as usual, that is really fuelling this concept.

Liverpool One was supposed to be the solution to all Liverpool’s problems, a shiny, retail paradise that will not only cater for local shoppers but also entice people from other towns and cities on the periphery away from Manchester. What is has done is move

the centre of commercial activity away from the traditional shopping areas moving south from the city centre from Hardman Street and Bold Street up towards the cathedrals and the bourgeois/boho area of Hope Street with its theatres and bistros and colleges. Just as the formerly thriving area around London Road has now become a wasteland of tatty material shops, cut price bargain stores and run-down alehouses, so the city centre south of say Hanover Street is quickly fading as the money gets sucked into the privatized black hole of Liverpool One.

The Hope Quarter is designed as a counterweight to the short sighted easy money options that resulted in Liverpool One’s development which was itself the culmination of 30 years of constant ‘re-generation’ beginning with Albert Dock. If the city centre looks much better than it did 30 years ago and that’s a matter of opinion, then there’s no doubt it looks very different. Yet there are still many questions to be answered about how aristocrats such as Lord Grosvenor and wealthy companies such as Peel Holdings can own swathes of the city centre and enrich themselves at the expense of the ordinary people who are increasingly squeezed out of the city centre back to their red brick reservations on the periphery. For all the billions spent in Liverpool via EU objective one funds, government and private investment, what has changed for the everyday people? Walk a few miles in any direction from Liverpool One – north to Kirkdale, south to Toxteth, east to Kensington (or even west across the Mersey to Birkenhead) and suddenly the rosy future promised during the run-up to Capital of Culture seems just another mirage.

Simply re-naming something doesn’t change it. Canny Farm is still Canny Farm even if the planners prefer Stockbridge Village and Duke Street is still Duke Street even if the marketing suits prefer to name it East Village. How many quarters can a city have? The Four Quarters of the Apocalypse – culture, retail, education and administration? A city and a psyche can’t be neatly divided in such a fashion and such zonings are actually counter-productive, forming ghettoes and increasing division. If we can have a Hope Quarter why not a Despair Quarter? I’d certainly spend my hours if not my money there.

We are exploring the theme of public space and ‘culture’ that is not confined to an enclosed setting such as a gallery or an auditorium. In Hope Street, there are many examples. The buildings, architecture in general; the ‘cafe culture; the staues or installations; perhaps most of all the use of Hope Street as the open air location for so many events.

Here is the Aerial Theatre Company’s production of As the World Tipped on 30 and 31 July, performed in front of the Anglican Cathedra’. The cathedral itself stayed open until after 10p.m. and many who had never entered it went in. Others took advantage of the display of the Everyman’s model of its new theatre opening in 2013. There was also an exhibition by the South Liverpool Art Group.

The show itself was attended by hundreds. We found out later that as so often happens many people didn’t know it was on. Food for thought: perhaps you have to be, by habit or circumstance, linked in to publicity, e.g. through the internet or being on mailing lists or reading a local paper or popping in to the tourist office. Perhaps there are those who do none of these things but would love to attend events such as this.

The show begins with a depiction of negotiations at the Copenhagen Climate summit. Millions of words, lists of extinct animals, rhetoric, paper, disagreements, stalemates – then the stage begins to tilt and the boxes of files and the desks and flags disappear into the abyss while those taking part scramble up to the now vertical top edge of the stage holding on for dear life. Then begins a wonderful aerial display with brilliant image projections.

The start of this video is a bit shaky but bear with it as the quality improves. Part 2 is below

As we’ve said, September 18 will be a marker of our project. That’s the day of the annual Hope Street Feast described on the organisers’ site as  the urban village fete of the Hope Street Quarter, full of the music, dance, theatre, art and great food, drink, local produce and learning that characterise Hope Street’s special contribution to Liverpool life. 2011 will be the 6th Hope Street Feast. At the site you can see video, images and reviews about last year’s festival.

Among the food and fun the Philharmonic is joining in with an Open Day:  a chance to get an insider’s view of the venue and experience some fantastic free live music. Drop in throughout the day for music and fun activities for all ages, with free performances from a range of ensemble, artists and bands, tasters of our learning programmes, chamber, jazz and folk music, films, stages and stalls all along Hope Street, and lots more surprises on the day.

The “Phil” will be featured in several coming posts – such as Harold Hikins’ and Co’s 1965 live poetry events called Fill the Phil.