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.







Ormskirk. Hot Soup On A Cold Day

It was Thursday which meant it would be market day in Ormskirk. I needed to get out of the house for a few hours as I had a couple of errands I needed to sort out and as I hadn’t been over that way for a little while I thought it would make a pleasant change.

Ormskirk is a market town in West Lancashire, an area of broad flat plains stretching out to the coast and the Irish Sea. The resort of Southport is only a few miles further on. Its a farming area with a rich dark soil. The market is held on Thursdays and Saturdays and straddles through the pedestrianised centre around the clock tower. Its a general market so it’s probably got whatever you are looking for.

The weather had been reasonable when I turned out but as I stepped off the train the rain decided to visit Ormskirk as well. I quickly sorted out the bits of business I needed to and after a short look around the stalls getting colder and damper, I decided I needed to warm up somewhere. I’m a great fan of cafes, something I inherited from my parents who were great people watchers. Ormskirk has quite a wide choice, it’s my mission to try a different one on each visit, on this wet market day I picked Cobble Coffee.

I found a window seat so I could watch the world go by while I had my very pleasant bowl of hot soup and my coffee while outside in the unfriendly weather the Thursday shoppers scurried about getting everything done, while the stallholders put on the brave face and did their best to keep warm.

(PS. The soup was a excellent, lightly spiced Parsnip, perfect for a cold, inhospitable day )






Market Day

I live in the North West of England and I am a great fan of local markets, the mix of goods for sale and the conversations that bounce to and fro between stallholders and customers are two of the experiences that make a visit to the market such an enjoyable experience for me. Also they are a constantly evolving business as tastes and customers change, reflecting the increasing diversity of their customers backgrounds and heritage. and of course they are the perfect hunting ground for the photographer out on the hunt for the candid image.

LANCASHIRE, Ormskirk. The Saturday Market.

LANCASHIRE, Ormskirk. the Saturday Market.

There are generally two types of market, the market hall, the header pic is the fine Victorian market hall in Darwen, Lancashire, built with civic pride and confidence and dating from the 1880’s. These are generally open for most of the week, sometimes with extra stalls opening up outside on particular days. The other is the open market, opening on one or two days a week and featuring stallholders who travel from venue to venue. The picture above of Ormskirk Market shows this second. The market is open two days a week, Thursday and Saturday and is held on the pedestrianised main street, adding a colourful hustle and bustle to the town’s atmosphere. Everything from fresh meat and vegetables to bedding and shoes can be found, plus plenty of opportunities for a candid image.

CUMBRIA, Keswick. The Market

CUMBRIA, Keswick. The Market.

The Cumbrian town of Keswick also has a fine example of the open market, again opening on Thursdays and Saturdays, the mix of goods available, rare breed meats, handcrafted cheeses, artisan breads etc as well as the more regular items reflects Keswicks place as a popular tourist destination.



Out in East Lancashire you will find the fine and imposing market hall at Accrington, its frontage an exercise in Victorian pomp, with clock, columns and statues representing the various bounties that nature provides. For all their almost otherworldly elegance the places are not museums but are a vital, vibrant, functioning part of the local community.

110212 ACCRINGTON Market Hall wrought iron roof

This interior shot of Accrington market shows the simple but elegant ironwork that supports the high, clerestory roof. It’s one of the things I admire about Victorian architecture, function wasn’t enough, there had to be style and elegance as well. Also as can be seen the largely uncluttered floor space allows alterations and modernisations to take place relatively easily.

01/05/15 BURY. The Market.

BURY. The open market, Brandwood Farm Meats.

North of Manchester you will find Bury and it’s market, spread over two halls, one dedicated to fresh meat and fish and the other to general items. Sprawling between the two is the network of alleyways and stalls of the open market, where you can shop until you drop. 


Bury Market, Cafe Plaza

Should you feel shopper’s fatigue coming on don’t worry every market has a cafe, or a selection of them. I find them perfect places to spend a while with coffee and cake or  bacon roll ( usually all three to be honest ) and just let the world pass by.

11/07/13 HUDDERSFIELD. The Market, fruit and veg.

HUDDERSFIELD. West Yorkshire. Huddersfield Market, fruit and veg

Bustling Huddersfield in West Yorkshire is another favourite destination, I watch in fascination as stallholders bounce from customer to customer without a break in the rhythm, a dance set to conversation and chatter instead of music. I had some of the apples by the way and one of the melons. They were good. 

23-10-12 BOLTON.  The market, Take Away

Last but not least, what is almost my local market, at Bolton, Lancashire. It’s on Ashburner Street, not too far from the excellent Octagon Theatre.  Not too long ago it had a bit of a refit which has worked really well, the strengths of the market were recognised and left untouched, with skilfull improvements, a food court with a real ale bar, adding to the atmosphere. There is a cheese stall that exerts an almost magnetic attraction for me, I must have been a mouse in a previous life. So that’s a brief tour around part of my northern and photographic heritage and influences. So next time you go to the market, take a camera as well.