Liverpool. Passing Through Lime Street Station.

I had a day turn up where I had nothing that I really needed to get done, so rather than waste this unexpected bonus I decided on a trip out on the train. My ‘free’ day was a Thursday which meant that it would be market day in Ormskirk, a market town not too far away in West Lancashire. The journey by rail involves travelling into Liverpool and back out again. That’s not as complicated as it sounds as there are excellent services in both directions. Readers of my blog, if you are one, thank you, will know that I visited the Cobble Cafe in Ormskirk for a bowl of hot soup a little while ago.

15/02/18  LIVERPOOL. Lime Street Station. Concourse.

LIVERPOOL. Lime Street station, the concourse.

Lime Street station sits at the end of the Liverpool to Manchester route created by Stephenson. The original terminus was in Crown Street, which while it was easier to construct in engineering terms, was a little too far out from the city centre to be either convenient or competitive. This lead to the building of Lime Street in 1836. Construction was not without it’s challenges, the principal one being the steep gradient down from the junction with the Crown Street route at Edge hill on the City’s outskirts. Now a steep sided cutting the route was initially a dark, satanic tunnel cut through the sandstone ridge. Something which must have tested the nerves of those early railway passengers.

The traveler’s destination is a grand terminus under an arching roof, one of the oldest functioning termini in the country. The frontage, facing St. George’s Hall sitting loftily on it’s plateau, was an imposing hotel which is now given over to student accommodation. I wonder what they think of living in a building that on it’s opening was described as looking like Dracula’s Castle.

15/02/18  LIVERPOOL. Lime Street Station. Concourse.

LIVERPOOL. Lime Street station, the concourse, main line platforms.

 

The station is home to a large array of main line and local services, plus tucked away in their own tunnels beneath are parts of the Merseyrail suburban network. Currently a rebuilding program is in progress with a view to adding more capacity and bringing the promise of direct services to Scotland in the next year or so.

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Liverpool. Calderstones Park.

Like every other photographer I am always on the lookout for images, seeing if I can find  one with the elusive spark that tingles down the spine. For me it doesn’t have to be a dramatic scene, just one where the elements fall into place. Where there’s a sense of place. It’s a constant search as I look for material for the photobooks I produce.

This shot is from a journey I made into Liverpool, to Calderstones Park to the south of the city. The park was once a grand estate and house with the various elements which went with a house of that period. The open parkland surrounding the smaller, more intimate gardens nearer the house. I visited early in spring this year, it was still cold and new growth had yet to make it’s presence felt. Wandering around the Old English Garden I found this row of gardener’s outbuildings tucked away behind a high hedge. There was something in the quiet, unassuming, workaday scene that caught my eye, so the shot was made. With the starkness of the trees so early in the year I decided that a black and white image would be the way forward, to emphasise the coolness of the day and bring out the regimented lines of the brickwork.

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Liverpool. A Very Particular Gallery.

A few days ago I finally made my way to a place I’ve been meaning to visit for some time, the Victoria Gallery & Museum, part of Liverpool University. I had kept coming across references to it and had made various plans to visit but something had always come up and got in the way until the Saturday when I finally got through the door.

The Gallery is located on Ashton Street, off Brownlow Hill. It stands opposite the modernistic Metropolitan Cathedral, the warm, red brick of the gallery building is a stark contrast to the brash concrete and angular shape of the cathedral.

LIVERPOOL. Metropolitan Cathedral.

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

This isn’t the largest museum or gallery I’ve ever visited but it more than makes up for it with character and quirkiness. The interior of the building is largely unchanged from its opening, when the top floor, now the Tate Hall, served as the University’s library. It is a marvellous time capsule of Victorian design and style of that period. The magnificent entrance hall, now a excellent cafe, is dominated by a wonderfully tiled fireplace from which elegant stair cases lead off up to the higher floors.

LIVERPOOL. Victoria Gallery & Museum

The Entrance Hall Cafe.

LIVERPOOL. Victoria Gallery & Museum

Stairway to The Upper Floors

LIVERPOOL. Victoria Gallery & Museum Owl Skeleton

Owl Skeleton On The Stairs.

Some of the displays are contained within individual rooms, which I found helped, I was able to focus more on specific items rather than be overwhelmed by larger displays.

The top floor of, the original museum library, now the Tate Hall named after Sir Henry Tate one of the University library’s benefactors, is a large and airy space with a beautiful beamed ceiling. This part of the gallery contains a wonderfully quirky mix of displays, one end has exhibits charting the part Liverpool University played in nuclear research, for medical uses originally and then how that changed with the onset of WW2 and then with the coming of peace developments with lead to the building of the Large Hadron Collider. At the other end of the room however there is a display of dentistry through the ages with a reconstruction of a typical Victorian era Dentist’s surgery and a collection of dentures form around the world.

LIVERPOOL. Victoria Gallery & Museum Tate Hall.

The Tate Hall.

One final aspect which made my visit so enjoyable was the staff, they are amongst the most friendly, approachable and well informed that I have met, only to happy to discuss the museum, its history and displays. Treat yourself to a couple of hours away from the rush of the city centre, next time you are near or in Liverpool, pay the Victoria a visit.

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Waiting On Liverpool Central Station

I had a journey to make and part of that journey took my into Liverpool, not far from where I live. I was using the train to get from A to B and after I arrived at Liverpool’s Lime Street station I took the short walk through the streets to the central station. This is the hub of Liverpool’s Merseyrail network, an extensive set of routes running as far as Chester, up the Lancashire coast to Southport and under the River Mersey to destinations on the Wirral such as West Kirkby and New Brighton.

It was still quite early in the day so the single island platform was relatively quiet. The station at Liverpool Central is an underground one so there is a certain cavern ambience to be enjoyed while you are waiting.

Like all photographer/bloggers I always have a camera of some sort with me, so I was able to capture this shot. The guy was sat very quietly, there was what I took to be an instrument case by his side, a slim-ish, oblong affair, guitar? Keyboard? Don’t know. I’m guessing that he had been out to a gig the night before and this was his journey back the morning after. There was an individuality in his style. The sheepskin coat, black jeans, cowboy boots, together with whatever instrument he played. I quietly took a couple of candid shots, partly because I didn’t want to intrude also there was a completeness about the scene that I didn’t want to risk spoiling.

There was something of an album cover about the whole set up so that decided me to square up the framing and opt for a black and white desaturation with Photoshop elements. The black and white option was made a little easier because as I said, being a underground station the light levels aren’t overly generous and using flash on a live railway setting is highly stupid and unsafe, quite apart from a sudden bright burst of light making a subtle candid shot very much less so.

I still wonder if it would have been worth taking the brave pills and asking for a front shot, I don’t know, it wouldn’t have been spontaneous then, it would have risked a certain artificiality. Who knows I might bump into him again if I’m travelling through Liverpool

early one morning.

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Around Liverpool – Over Coffee

It’s a coolish, uncomfortable day outside so I’ve been busy chopping firewood and then come inside started editing images and generally tidying my little office space.  While I was taking a break  with a cup of coffee  I thought would put together a post and I chose Liverpool, merchant city on the Mersey, named for its Liver Birds which sit proudly on top of the Liver Building, one of the Three Graces which ornament the Pier Head on the river, the others being the Mersey Docks Building and the Cunard Building.

I live about forty minutes train ride away from the city which makes it the easiest way to travel, no hassles with the traffic etc plus being a big kid I do like travelling on the trains and Liverpool’s Lime Street station, with it’s fantastic overall roof, is one of the more impressive stations to arrive at.

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LIVERPOOL. Lime Street Station from St. George’s Plateau.

Its also right on the city centre and everything you would want to see is within an easy walk.  Facing you as you leave the station onto Lime Street is the impressive bulk of St. Georges Hall with it’s majestic pillared frontage.  The hall opened in 1851 as a combined concert hall and Law Courts, I did my jury service there some years back, the courts have moved to a purpose built location nearer the River Mersey, leaving the old courtrooms open as a museum, together with the former cells in the labyrinth of passageways under the hall. 

03/08/13 Liverpool.

LIVERPOOL. St.Georges Hall from St. John’s Gardens.

At the back of St. George’s Hall are St.John’s gardens. Once the site of an infirmary and cemetery which had become full, the area was cleared with the deceased being reburied elsewhere and the gardens were opened in 1904 and now are home to several monuments and statues to local and national notables. It is a quiet oasis in a very busy part of the city, bounded on one side by the Walker art Gallery, Central Library and the World Museum. 

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LIVERPOOL. The Cavern Club.

You can’t mention Liverpool and not mention the Beatles. I won’t try to compete with the real experts but just say that in the Cavern Quarter on Mathew Street is the recreation of the famous club which helped the group make their name.

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LIVERPOOL. The Town Hall

As well as caverns, Liverpool has no shortage of beautiful buildings one of which is the Town Hall, dating from the 1750’s and sitting elegantly in charge on Castle Street. 

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LIVERPOOL. St. James Gardens. The Huskisson Memorial.

Tucked away behind the  bulk of the Anglican Cathedral is St. James Gardens, an area with an intriguing history. Located well below the level of the surrounding streets the gardens were formerly a quarry dating from the 16th century which were in turn laid out as a cemetery by private subscription in the 1820’s. The circular tomb above marks the last resting place of William Huskisson who met his untimely end being hit by Stephenson’s Rocket locomotive at Parkside on the day of the official opening of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. A small spring bubbles quietly from the base of the massive sandstone walls of the gardens, which lying so low are not disturbed by the sounds of passing traffic, which disappear as you walk down the entrance tunnelled through the sandstone near the cathedral’s main door.  

22-04-12 LIVERPOOL Titanic celebrations

LIVERPOOL. Sea Odyssey Celebrations.

Proud of it’s history, in 2012 Liverpool was the setting for the Sea Odyssey performance by the Royal de Luxe troupe with their signature puppets in honour of the 100 anniversary of the sailing of the Titanic, whose owners, The White Star Line where based in the city.  The young girl puppet made her progress through the city from Stanley Park to the Pier Head, meeting her Uncle the Diver along the way.

So that’s a dip of the toe into Liverpool, not a definitive history but an impression over a cup of coffee. If you haven’t visited do, if you have visit again, you will alway find something new.

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