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.


A sealed iron coffin used as protection against grave robbers

As authorities in Scotland tightened up on the activities of grave robbers, notoriously Burke and Hare who sold corpses for anatomy lessons, the body snatchers moved further afield. The above picture shows a sealed iron coffin in Scotland demonstrating how far people were ready to go to protect their loved ones’ remains.

Number 8 Hope Street became a safer base for the grave robbers. In 1826 John Henderson of Greenock rented the cellar claiming it was for the storage of fish oils. He sent three barrels to the docks ready to be shipped to Leith (Edinburgh’s port). The following day on board the Latona, sailors noticing a horrible stench opened the barrels and found eleven bodies in salt. Then 22 bodies were found in the cellar. Perhaps the workhouse across teh road provided a convenient source of cadavers.

The site of the Number 8 became the convent and college of Notre Dame opposite the Everyman.

Synagogue, pub, restaurant, fancy dress hire...


The building that was once the home of O’Connors Tavern which we’ve mentioned, as the venue of 60s poetry and music especially associated with Liverpool Scene and The Scaffold. It began as a synagogue in the early nineteenth century which then moved to Hope Place (next to the Unity Theatre). As time moves on, so many buildings have changed their function like this  one atthe corner of Hardman Street and Pilgrim Street. Time has a more immediate effect too. The picture below is of parts of the building that have fallen off. Be careful when walking past!


Visit Liverpool – Tourist Attractions and Things to do in Liverpool.

This is a video from the official visitliverpool site of Hope Street. See what you think!

One of the new attractions of Hope Street is the installation of a full sized multidemnsional model of the street. It’s located precisely upon the street itself. Unlike conventional models this one models real time and movement, thoughts, actions, minds and souls.

It was developed by artists from Peru, Bolivia and Lichenstein working in conjunction with the Arizona Institute of Complexity and Emergence. It employs techniques developed from quantum mechanics and biosemiotic communications.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, urban myths have already begun circling about the installataon (which runs from September 7 to 3 March, 2912, admission free). One of the most popular is that some people who have gone to view the model have disappeared and never been seen again, the claim being that they confused their virtual selves as encountered in the model with their real selves.

Panic 60/30

Posted: September 8, 2011 in Representation
Tags: , ,

Not one for kids. This has an 18 certificate! We shot the pictures last year as an experiment in ‘stop motion’ photography. Soundtrack just mixed from a sound effects CD. We’ve spoofed ‘artistic’ presentation titles to make it into an art form. If there’s a serious point – we think there is – it’s that the composing, framing and editing of sounds and images can create of the ‘reality’ of Hope Street and environs something which disturbs other presentations which, although they may not acknowledge or be aware of it, are equally one of infinite representational possibilities.

Not much we can add. A very small tribute and holder of memories.

Look forward to the new theatre’s opening. In the meantime we’ll be looking soon at the brilliant, though less generally wellknown, theatre work going on in  and near Hope Street such as Hope Street International Creation Centre and Liverpool Network Theatre

Something of a spoof perhaps from our Ged! How close to the ‘truth’ of tourism? Is Liverpool only known for its famous images – the Beatles, the ferries, the football, the waterfont, the scouse sense of humour? Do people just want to quickly see the famous places and move on quickly to ‘do’ another historical site or place associated with a famous person?


Do we glance in passing at history or stop and go deep? Adrian Henri wrote in his poem “I Want to Paint” the lines I want to paint…. Enormous paintings of every pavingstone in Canning Street. (Canning Street is in the Hope Street area or ‘quarter). Funnily enough, on Inspidered last year we did a ‘short history of pavements’!  There are infinite possibilities of ‘doing’ a history of Hope Street. We could present a formal. ‘touristy’ version, a straightforward history of the street’s development, concentrate on the residents, orexamine the pavements of Hope Street as a ‘way in’ to its history. Actually, we shall be mentioning pavements in the near future. The £2 million plus refurbishment of the street’s pavements is of historical significance.

Liverpool Brownlow Hill Workhouse

We shall be returning to the main Liverpool workhouse on several occasions in future posts. For now, note that it is located where the present RC Cathedral now stands. You can see the Medical Institute and Hope Hall (later Everyman Theatre) at the top of Hope Street. It remained open until 1928, housing some 5,000 people. It was virtually a small town. As well as providing a home for ‘paupers’ it also provided infirmary services for the poor. The history of workhouses is dense and goes back hundreds of years, so we will refer to sources we come across which deal with this history, and only select a few specific points on our own site. A good starting place is the brilliant site. The site contains details of the Liverpool workhouses including the main one shown here. Some of the workhouses became hospitals, such as at Toxteth (Sefton General) and Walton. Closely related to the workhouses, in the context of the poor and sick, was the development of industrial schools and infirmaries. For instance, at Broadgreen, facilities for epileptics and TB patients eventually became Broadgreen Hospital. There is an excellent article by Mike Royden on the development of workhouse infirmaries and how this laid the basis for the hospitals that followed.

We shall be concentrating on the Brownlow Hill workhouse. Many individuals were involved here such as Florence Nightingale, Agnes Jones and William Rathbone. Their reforming work in many ways anticipated the modern welfare state. Several sites in the Hope Street area are connected with them.