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I was born at Mill Road maternity hospital at the end of August 1962 into a Great Britain under the charge of Harold McMillan. The No1 song in the hit parade at the time was Frank Ifield's yodelling classic, 'I remember you', The Beatles debut single 'Love me do' was still over a month away from release. The stars of the Silver screen that week were Omar Sharif and Peter O'Toole in 'Lawrence of Arabia' and Gregory Peck and Mary Badham in 'To kill a mocking bird'. Marilyn Monroe had just been found dead, naked in bed at her Hollywood home, controversy ensued.
I was brought home to 39 Holly Street, the family having lived previously at 94 Seel Street and 150 Field Street. The Holly Street flats were built in 1912 in the style that were so prevalent in that pre WWI era, similar blocks still exist at Eldon Grove in the Vauxhall district.
By the age of 6, our family were moved to nearby 98D Thurlow House, part of the Gerard Gardens/Crescent tenement development. Thurlow House took its name from the earlier Thurlow Street which was named after the then Lord Chancellor. Holly Street was being demolished to accommodate the new St. Anne Street Police headquarters which was to replace the old Rose Hill Police bridewell.
This flat was where most of my childhood memories were sewn as I played out in the square and surrounding areas while attending Bishop Goss primary school together with St. Joseph's church, both in Grosvenor Street. Later, I moved up to St. Gregory's Roman Catholic Secondary Modern in nearby Prince Edwin Street.
During the early 1970s, our family were on the housing list for a bigger flat as a third bedroom was required as I was reaching adolescence while my older brother, Joey, painted the town red, coming in at all hours. In 1976, the family moved to 8D Gerard Gardens, where incidentally, I had done most of my 'hanging around' anyway, my cousins and best mates living just across the way. This flat was situated just above the architect statue that adorned the wall over the Christian Street archway and was one of only two flats in the whole complex of nearly 400 that had a room with windows looking out into the square and on the opposite side of the room, looking out into the Street below, the other flat being the one situated directly above the hod carrier statue on the other side of the square looking out onto Hunter Street.
I was only here for just over a year when my dad, who worked for the council, along with my mam and brother, were offered a caretakers flat as part of his promotion, which was down in Trueman Street off Dale Street. Such was the close proximity of the new place to the square though, that I was back up there like i'd never been away. Well, that's it in a nutshell but of course every picture tells a story, so to fill in the gaps I have extended my biography with one of the aims being to unearth some previously unseen photographs which also feature some of my mates from the past, who themselves, will not have ever seen these photos before. Taken between 1963 and 1978, some of the backgrounds may be interesting too, in fact more interesting to most than the subject matter :) So look on and enjoy.
The first one that exists of moi was taken in feb 1963 when i'm 6 months old, my brother Joe (though not a monk) is seen propping me up at home in Holly Street. So taken was he by that wallpaper, he now has very similar stuff today - no, only kidding. The next pic, taken by my dad, as most here were, shows my mam holding me outside No.39 Holly Street some time in 1963, that's our Joey again leaning on the lamp post (nowhere near the corner of the street though). Later that same day, Joey stands guard over me, or the pram at least, in St. Johns gardens with the port hole windows of St. Georges Hall behind.
Joey looking extremely gorptuous and no, it's not a spelling mistake, mind you, i'm looking extremely girlie. This was taken just after Joey's birthday on 19th March 1965 in Jeromes studio, London Road. I'd be just over 3 and a half. Also shown here is a pic of me and my mam on our doorstep at 39 Holly Street. Next, i'm sitting on the cold steps on the corner of Holly Street and Christian Street - explains the recurring piles problem :o( Behind, (get it), you can see the flats on Peover street. To give you a better idea of how Holly Street looked, here next is a Harry Ainscough pic taken around the same time showing some people sitting on those very steps. You can relate this pic to the one top/middle too.The Wagon is coming out of Gaskell's potato merchants, the pubs is the Royal Standard on St. Anne Street aka 'Kings' and you can just see the Piggeries on William Henry Street in the distance.
You might see yourself on one of these here. Scotts bakery was situated on the corner of Rose Place and St. Anne Street and had this red replica bread van of theirs up on the wall. The bottom two pics were taken by Mr. Joe Neary who worked there (thanks Joe). The other pics show me by the swings that were on Christian Street, later I would pass the site of these when disused on my way to senior school which was St. Gregs, up on Prince Edwin Street. For the grand finale, my dad mustered up a crowd of locals who were milling around to see what was going on.
These two were taken in the mid 60s in the backie of Gerard Close on Hunter Street (now the Scotland Road to Islington - Eastbound, widened section of the road) My Auntie and Uncle, Josie and John McGreal lived in this block at No.2, Upstairs lived my nin and Uncle Johnnie Higgins - at No.2b. Here are two of my cousins Vincent McGreal (with the tank top) and Robert McGreal (with the glasses) and their friend Charlie Shea. Vinnie and Robert have two older brothers John and Joe.
These must have all been taken around the same time, either that or I never had that ziggazig ah jumper off. The first two are in Water Street with the Royal Liver buildings as the backdrop - one with my sunnies on, one without. Another is with my dad's cousin's wife and lad - Johnny Yeatropulus, known to us just as Johnny Yeo. His dad Louis was my dad's cousin and as youngsters they would go on long bike rides. My dad would recall how he'd be behind Louis and all he could see was a rear bike wheel and a haversack above it. They enlisted into the army together in 1937 but my dad was underweight. Louis stayed but after the outbreak of WWII, my dad enlisted into the Royal Navy in 1941. On another occassion, whilst both working at Cammell Laird during the building of the Ark Royal in the 1950s, they decided to throw a sickie and went to Stanley Park to get a boat out on the lake and bathe on the grass in glorious sunshine. My dad fell asleep and woke up to find his eyelids were nearly stuck as they were so burned. He told me his boss somehow didn't believe him next morning that he'd been sick. The next three photos show me at Crosby beach with the baths in the background on one of them.
Again, a mid 60s shot, Lil me with Lil Daly and her mate, Lil was our Joey's mates sister. We are at the Steble Fountain in William Brown Street. The County Sessions House is clad in scaffolding and buses makes their way up Islington. Rushworth's piano stores has just been demolished but some of the old property still sees out its last few months. Sitting in St. Johns gardens, the cranes in the background are building St. Johns precinct. The colour one on the same day captures a ribble bus ascending William Brown Street.
Crosby beach again. My dad and Louis, certainly not dressed for the part in their shirts and ties. Johnny and I play shop on an old wooden crate with some woodbines and a plazzy drinks cup. En route to Louis' near Newsham Park, I turn into batman. Some say the masked one of me is one of my better shots. Look at that old cast iron lamp post.
This is Walton Hall Park, known to us as Wally Hall. My dad would take us all there by bus, it'd be on a Sunday and this is around 1967 as we got a pendant showing the new cathedral which was consecrated on the feast of pentecost in that year. Our Joe is with me on one pic and on the one bottom left is accompanied by Joe Daly and John John Mitchell - both of whom lived in Gerard Crescent. The group pic shows our Joe and Joey Daly standing at the back as well as from left to right: Robert Bigley, John Woodhouse, Stephen Rigby, John John with the ball, Tony Tremarco and Willie Judge.
1968 and apart from a double exposure showing me half in a park and half on the landing in Holly Street, i'm also pictured at Chester Zoo - the spotty thing at the back is a giraffe, the spotty thing in front is me. My mam is there too and I remember that turquoise chequered coat. There was one with my dad on it too but he ripped it up, and the negative as he didn't like it :)
1969 and I go back 200 yards from our new place - 98D Thurlow House to take a look at Holly Street tenements being demolished to make way for the new St. Anne Street police H.Q. - Rose Hill bridewell coming to an end. The next scene is looking along Christian Street. The gable end wall of the Pontack pub can be seen as well as the rear of the childrens library and Clare Street wash-house and its chimney. New on the horizon in the distance is the Midland bank on Norton Street and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Here, my trike and I at the top of Hunter Street with Gerard Gardens in the background, I believe that is John German too. As the city bound flyover was still under construction and so not yet opened, I was afforded a test drive on it.
THE LEAVING OF MISS BROCKBANK - BISHOP GOSS - 1968
Three different years are photographed here which featured in the Catholic Pictorial. The front row consists of (from and including the 5th lad along - James Howie (known as Barney Hall), John Colfar, Myself (Fago), Brian Buchannan (Buey), David Collins, Brian Farrell, (later at No.1 with 'Our Kid') Francis Tasker (Yacky), ? and Paul Swann. (Swanny)Christine Molloy is behind the 4th lad along and next to her behind James Howie is her cousin and friend Paula McHaron. The girls behind Buey and David Collins are Janet Swann and Margaret Lester who were equally inseperable. Behind Janet is Bernadette Bow and next but one is Maria O'Brien. Immediately behind me, looking down at Buey is Theresa Childs. Carol Hughes is on the 4th row back from John Colfar, Karen Barton is to her left but one as we look and Shirley Miller is in the white behind her to our right. Joan Welsh is on the near end with the glasses. Some of the lads just to our left of Miss Brockbank are Francis Sedgewick (aka Franny Fay), Paul Cokeley (Coke), Mick Gallagher and Paul Higgins (Higgo). In front of Coke is John Bird (Birdy) and in front of him is Frank O'Shaunessey. Some of the lads from our right of Miss Brockbank are Brian Connor (Bounce), Terry Woods (Woodsy), Mark Crowley, Tony Lynch, Tony O'Keeffe, Tony Grierson (Totchy), John Grierson, Franny O'Hara, Stephen Littler, Joe (Boo) Clements, Michael Farrell and on the end, Brian Woods (Terry's twin). Other pupils from around that time would be Elaine Miller, Elaine Melia, Maria Mulchay, Maria Miller, Francis Childs, Billy O'Donovan, Martin Tallon, Philly Allen, Charlie Birkett, John Wallace, James (Dean) O'Brien and Terry Tremarco but I'm struggling to match the names to the faces - Help!
OUR DAY OUT. GERARD CRESCENT - 1969
Featured in the Catholic Pictorial was a picture taken from the landing of Gerard Crescent as the local priest (centre towards the back) arranged a day trip to Southport for the local children. Have fun spotting amongst others, David Sudbury and Vincent McGreal at the front then moving further back there is Con Parry, Tom Tallon, Jane Wallace, Steven Vaughan, Franny, Paul and Brian Sudbury, Joan Daly, Stephen Ryan, Peter Taylor and his mum. Also pictured are Mary Parry, Janet Birkett, Franny Birchall, Franny O'Hara, Gary Wallace, Margaret Birkett, Jackie Donohue, Paul Birchall, Paul Woodhouse, Teresa Birchall and one of the other organisers, Marie.
Sunday 8th June 1969 and it's 1st Holy Communion day. Two different years of Bishop Goss pupils celebrated theirs, those aged 6 and those aged 7. The procession ran from St. Josephs church, Grosvenor Street and down Chaucer Street, along Comus Street and back up Peover Street - not a half marathon by any means but I only had little legs you know. Afterwards was a table spread with goodies in the backie of Gerard Close where the pic top left was taken, god, what's going on with the hair, on this my special day? I'm also pictured by the Steble Fountain again and in a park.
Brian Connor in Grosvenor St outside St. Joey's church and also with our other friend and my cousin Paul Higgins. Charlie Birkett is on the right. They too were taken on 8th June 69 during our 1st Holy communion. See below for my write up on these great friends of mine during my childhood. The colour pic shows those knitted V necks we all seemed to have. The last pic with his longer hair is how I remember him best - the rebel - with a cheeky dimpled grin - and wooden soled shoes that hurt when in contact with your shin.
That table spread must have cost a bit as our next reel of film is back to black and white. On the step with my mam, top landing, first house of Thurlow. Then, with my brother Joe again who is impersonating a trogolite. My dad leaning against the wall of the landing, the tower is only newly opened here and we went up it soon afterwards. Well before Bob the builder was ever thought of - here's Ged the builder. Again, with my mam.
It's 1970 and i'm standing on our back veranda with Totchie (Tony) Grierson who lived in one of the bottom flats on our block at No.94 Thurlow House. I don't know why i'm looking at him like that on the 2nd pic but that crane behind me is building the extension to the Technical college which is now the John Moores University, Byrom Street. I'd look at at the 2 big tysons cranes doing the construction and then replicate it with my lego and matchbox cars on the table in the kitchen. Note in those days, we called the living room the kitchen, the cooking was done in the back kitchen. I remember my dad taking Totchie and I to the circus in one of the parks by bus and Totchie who got travel sickness was a bit worse for wear.
This is one of Totchies younger brothers, Christy. At the park here with one of those fly away balls that used to have the name of each of the 1st division football teams printed in the white hexagons. For the square back home, it would be the orange Wembley trophy ball, the one that came in its fitted green box that you couldn't wait to tear open. I also remember having a very bouncy rubber football when if dropped from the top landing, would bounce back up to the 3rd. Christy went to Holy Cross school, the square was about 50/50 - St. Joeys (Bishop Goss) and Holy Cross. Jimmy his dad and Kayo his mam were friends of my mam and dad as they'd worked together. There were quite a few of them in that flat, James(Greek), Maria, Terry, Tony, Christy, Michael and Paul. I remember that our dads went to Peggy Gaskill who ran the Pontack pub to take receipt of 2 boxer dog pups, The Griersons called theirs Pele - the 1970 World cup was on, ours was Sandy and we used to let these two dog brothers fight each other (playfully mind you) in the Griersons yard.
Rose Hill bridewell had just closed so here was I left to keep law and order in the district. Our chute for the bin never did shut properly, you can see it's ajar on the landing there. Our house was painted orange for some reason around 1971 and I remember the Queen coming to open the Kingway tunnel that June and she had an orange jacket and skirt suit on as she passed along Christian Street in her limo, hope she didn't think it was painted especially for her. You'll notice my orange cords too and my snazzy snake belt in the next pic at Egremont. The one thing about my dad was, as soon as he finished work at 5pm at the Walker Art Gallery in the summer with the light nights or at the weekend, he would take me and my mates out somewhere and it was all public transport, us having no car. Here I am with Johnny Melia, my dad was his mam and dads mate (Rosie and Johnny) - they lived in Gerard Crescent too. Here too is Paul Muscatelli, known to us all as Paddy after his mams dad. His dad Joe was one of the very few people in the square with a car, now I always get mixed up between the two but it was either an Austin Cambridge or a Morris Oxford - very alike. I remember him taking us to the Liverpool show at Wavertree mystery and there was an air show.
This is me sitting at the top of the stairwell on our block - Thurlow House. The walls were done in the corpy colours of County Cream and dark green with a skinny black line between - must've took them hours. Notice the white painted border on the floor that would go down the stairs - usually to tart the place up a bit if there was a wedding on the landing or something. As you'd walk down the stairs, passing other landings en route to the square, girls such as Shirley or Elaine Miller on the 3rd landing or Maria Mulchay or Karen Daly on the 2nd would be playing two balls up against the wall - reciting mantras as they went. The square below would be a hive of activity with football matches that were 20 a side going on until dusk, girls playing hopscotch and gutters too. The next shot sees me on the ferry, I remember the trips on the Royal Daffodil to New Brighton pier up until its closure in 1971. The ghost train was on the pier itself as you disembarked from the ferry. After a day on the fair, we would get the blue and cream 31 or 32 bus back through the Kingsway tunnel. One of my other very good friends at this time was Brian Connor. His parents Brian and Maureen were originally from Cuerdon Street (behind the Museum) and Reading St, Kirkdale, respectively but they'd moved out to Old Swan. Brian junior though was never away from the square when he could and how devoted was he to make the trek down to school each day from the Swan. Luckily for me he would sometimes stay at his uncle Tommy's and his nans at 18B Gerard Crescent. I remember his dad taking us to New Ferry baths over the water at Rock Ferry - the open air one. I couldn't swim so clung to the sides but it was still great. Also a day trip on the Royal Iris where whilst Brian's mam and dad enjoyed a drink, Brian, his sister Lorraine and I made noisy havoc playing hide n' seek and tick on the boat. Happy days. The pic bottom left is Billy Gosling, one of my dad's 'Walker Art Gallery' work mates from Langsdale Street and his son Steven- the last pic is of me and Johnny Melia again, offering some crabs up to be photographed - when crabs were just little crustaceans. At New Brighton, you would venture down to the rocky outcrops on the beach, careful not to slide on the slippy green moss. Move one of the rocks and as the murky water cleared - you might be presented with a whopper crab to put into your bucketful of Mersey water. Your bedroom would smell like the mersey for days as you hoped you would'nt wake up one morning to your pet crabs floating on their backs - dead. They always eventually did though - so down the lavo and flush the chain.
Another very good friend of mine throughout those very impressionable growing up years just so happened to be my cousin too - Paul Higgins. We were all good friends together really, Brian, Paddy, Paul and others like John Grierson. Paul's dad Charlie is my mam's brother and they lived in 15D Gerard Gardens - everyone knew everyone in all those tenement communities. I'm first seen here with our cat 'Blackie' - he was to grow up with me - lasting about 15 years. Notice the multi coloured landing - some nice Orange, yellow, white, blue and green there. Paul is pictured here too over the water where we'd race our bikes along the prom for hours - sometimes Charlie and Pauls grandad Thomas Warburton would take us over too and they'd have a drink at the pub half way along the prom whilst we enjoyed ourselves round about - no need to worry about nutters and the like. Those bikes were our very reason for living at one time as nothing else mattered, frequent trips to Cundles on Pembroke Place for chequered handlebar tape, drinks holders, handlebar grips, speedometers, front and rear lights, stickers - you name it we had it. We'd also go on bike rides and often have races around the square - one going one way and one the other - you'd know at the half way stage if you were ahead or not, either that or we'd race around the perimeter paths in St. Johns gardens.
My mam and dad weren't getting away with being photographed either, and here are three different occassions. I'd love it if we got to the lanny and the passage to the ferry was dead steep as it meant that the tide was out and a quick glimpse over the water would reveal the sandy beach all along Wallasey up to New Brighton. Some of the backdrop here includes the three ugly sisters at clarence dock power station and the newly completed sandcastle building with the Isle of Man boat berthed alongside the lanny.
Here we are again Paul and I. Sometimes my dad would take us to Old Roan, catching the 59 Ribble which although stopped outside Gerard Gardens, we would board down at Skelhorne Street Ribble depot amid the atmospheric hustle and bustle though not too friendly diesel fumes. Upon arrival at the Old Roan depot, we would be taken over to the little parade of shops on Altway where fishing nets would be bought for us - there'd be the obligatory sandwiches and pop too and a day spent trying to outdo the sticklebacks which were usually too quick for us. It's 1976 on the last photo as Paul is wearing his Montreal Olympics sweatshirt. These were some of the summer activities - others included traipsing around the Walker Art Gallery (where my dad worked so could get us into John Moores exhibitions for free) or the Museum - following girls endlessly around but never having the bottle to chat them up aside for embarrassing giggles at each other. Sometimes, a crowd of us from the square would go to Burroughs baths, across Scottie road.
In 1977 Joe Neary carried on his trend of capturing the city as it developed including its two football team's homecomings with the spoils. I was amazed to find my mate Chris Baccino and I captured on this shot showing the reds en route to a civic reception at the Picton Library. Having just missed out on the treble after a deflected Jimmy Greenhoff goal at Wembley handed Manchester United the F.A.Cup, Liverpool's very first European Cup to double up with the 1st Division League title was some consolation. To us blues, that Wembley defeat went some way to compensating us for the debacle caused by referee Clive Thomas, who in the semi final had disallowed a perfectly good Bryan Hamilton goal for Everton versus the reds and we were subsequently thrashed 3-0 in the replay. And to prove we weren't really bitter blues, Chris and I - though not decked in red, made the short trip from my tenement block (seen in the background) to clap them through. As the bus passed under the elevated walkways, we made our way up a crushing William Brown Street just in time to see the team come out onto the platform and raise the cups - however what was to follow caused uproar amongst those many blues who had turned out to see the city's first European triumph when Emlyn Hughes chanted 'Liverpool are magic - Everton are tragic na na na na - na na na na. He was later made to make a public apology. Just in case you can't find us, I'm actually wearing the same shirt and tank top seen in the pic above, outside the Old Roan pub - what a meff? Also below you can see how Chris and I looked during this time which should make it easier to pick us out. Chris, with his wavy and wiry red hair looked a lot like Nicholas Ball who played Hazel on the telly around this time so was afforded that
nickname occassionally. Here are the rest of Joe Neary's pics here
Look out for these two shady bods above. I'm wearing this (again) 'Middle part' Chris aka Fanny head is to my right
Here are the rest of the shots in the sequence as captured by Joe on that late spring evening.
The open top bus makes its way down Scotland Road with Fontenoy Gardens on one side (Arden House sally army in the distance) and the Technical college on our right (now JMU). The next is just as the bus turns into the bottom of Hunter Street and the walkovers (then cue to the main shot with Chris and I on) - the last shot is of the curly bit of the walkover near the back of the museum where the bus would park and the team alight. Notice the old landing stage bell that stood in the museum yard for years.
William Brown Street, St Johns Gardens, Lime Street, London Road, Commutation Row, Old Haymarket would all be thronged with fans, I remember families in our square with Italy flags and Rome banners draped over the landing, especially the Miello's who were obviously of Italian origin in this one time 'little Italy' area. The police would put barriers out in front of the library that would be attached into the ground to prevent crushing then it would be all over in a flash and the vibrant memory and adrenalin rush would cause you to race into the square where a spontaneous footy match would break out.