Sunday, 9 October 2011

Weekend in Liverpool

Liverpool Pier Head (left) with the Liver Building to the right and a murky River Mersey to the far left. Taken from the 2nd floor Museum of Liverpool.

I hope the weekend has treated you favourably?

I've just come back from Liverpool having visited my son Ben at University in his final year. I was with my parents and my wife and had a pleasant weekend in a lovely city. I've waxed lyrical about Liverpool before, so don't intent to again, but the place is so full of life. It did rain and drizzle a lot which made it not so comfortable walking around which was a shame. 

The rain followed us home along the motorway making for hairy driving.

M62 near Manchester, Sunday afternoon

We had to visit Albert Dock again and we bought a painting for our newly decorated front room called Triptych Wave by L Mace. A black and white painting of a beautiful seascape. We also visited the brand new Museum of Liverpool which was under construction when we last visited and it's just adjacent to Albert Dock next to the Liver Building. Just to emphasise, all the museums in Liverpool are free and they are both modern, expansive and highly informative being visitor-friendly in every way.

The modern (and delightful) Museum of Liverpool building with one of many Super Lambananas that you can find in this city (all decorated differently).

We visited one or two other spots we'd been to before but which mum and dad have never  seen (they've never been to Liverpool in all their years) including the statue of Ken Dodd recently unveiled at Liverpool Lime Street railway station and had a night in playing cards at the very nice hotel which was, in part, a converted water mill.

This morning (Sunday) we went to the Williamson Heritage Centre which is one of the strangest things I think I've ever seen as an attraction and forgive me if I spend a couple of paragraphs explaining. Joseph Williamson Born in 1769 was a self made man in the Liverpool area in the tobacco industry. I think it's fair to say he was a philanthropist but also highly eccentric. In the 1820s and 1830s he had built a series of extensive huge underground tunnels (many hundreds of metres long) underneath the Edge Hill area of Liverpool that exist to this day. Some of the tunnels have been recently reopened and are maintained by a local society. 

 One of the shorter tunnels, with Keith our guide in the forefront showing the selection of crockery discovered in the spoil of rubbish exacvated from the tunnels.

Most of the tunnel system has yet to be rediscovered because after his death, the tunnels were filled in with the area's rubbish. The huge mystery is - why did he have them built. He employed men who were previously unemployed, some recently returned from war, along with their families to excavate the tunnels and make bricks for the vaulted ceilings. We had a guided tour with 'Keith' accompanied with hard hats through the tunnels looking at some of the items that have been discovered from the rubbish they've taken out from their excavations. Well worth a visit to this place maintained by volunteers. However it is neither safe nor accessible to wheelchair users.

Just a picture for fun with some more Super Lambananas

For our last meal of the visit together, we went to the Philharmonic Dining Rooms in Hope Street for lunch. This building is the height of Victorian opulence and extravagance. Built in the style of a gentleman's club with panelling throughout, it was used as a meeting place for and complimentary to the Royal Philharmonic Hall just opposite. 

The main dining room which once held billard tables

I hope my photographs do it justice and the men's toilet is a sight to behold, never seen anything like it!  I don't normally take pictures in men's loos, but this had to be the exception! 

Have a great week ahead!

Chat soon



  1. I can remember that they used to do guided tours of the Philharmonic gents' loos for ladies.... Are the two bars still called Brahms and Lizst?

  2. I want to LIVE in that mans loo ! Thanks so much again for the tour Rare, I must admit all I knew about Liverpool was how the Beatles got their start there.

    I must get off this farm more

    Also, could you send me one of those Lambananas ? I think it would look fab here in the hog pen.

  3. Well, that's a first for me - going in a mens' loo! Still, at least there was nobody there. I love Liverpool - used to go a lot at one time but haven#t been for years. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Hi MorningAJ
    Yes they are indeed - it's a shame that visitors not in tune with our rhyming slang may just miss the joke.

    Hi Donna
    I've never seen a loo like it and they do encourage ladies to have a peek! The Lambananas are indeed lovely and a real talking point. I'm not sure what the hogs might think!

    Hi Weaver
    My pleasure - a lovely city improving all the time.

  5. your review of TINKER, TAYLOR SOLDIER SPY is so much better than mine!!!

  6. I don't think there's much mystery why Joseph Williamson built those tunnels.

    Being a little eccentric myself, and unashamedly proud of it,and understanding philanthropy, I suspect he was following a time honoured culture of providing work to small holders who lost their livelihood because his propensity to follow the tradition of his peers to get a nice view from his windows.

  7. John
    I am grateful to you for your kind comment. Our reviews were very similar, patience, enjoy it but listen carefully!

    Hi Wheelie
    I think you are almost certainly right. He was an eccentric philanthropist. I think it's a trend to look for conspiracies and weird and dark reasons people do 'odd' things, but in the absence of any other evidence (and I haven't done hardly any in-depth research), my gut feeling tells me you are right - and I trust my gut instinct.