August, 2012 Archives

I have avoided writing about football so far (apart from a post about match day in 1953). Today’s photograph is more about the phenomenon of the travelling supporter. During the 1970s, an increasing number of young men/boys took to following their teams around the country. Some were hell bent on trouble, fighting and shoplifting, but to many it was the excitement of being independent, seeing Britain with a group of mates.
The photograph was taken by Jim Carter, well-known in railway circles as the ‘Footplate Photographer’. He took a camera wherever he went, although this photograph is not one of his usual subjects. Tantalisingly, he has not dated the photograph but the platform is the London-bound/arrival at Lime Street, so the supporters could be returning from a London match (although it looks too light a day for that) or arriving from London for a match at either Goodison or Anfield. It is interesting to note that team colours were out of favour at that time, so identification is almost impossible. Note also, the policeman peering out from a carriage (with the door open).
There is a vast number of photographs out there which reflect society and its preoccupations. Sport, particularly football, is a dominant one in Liverpool and it is interesting to see the activities of the supporters rather that the action on the field documented in this way.

Lander Road is a short road between Linacre Lane and Webster Street, not an area I am well-acquainted with. I was about to make the ill-judged remark that the school had probably long-gone but a check on Google satellite revealed that it is still there, although probably in a new building. I have commented before that an illustrated book on Liverpool schools would make an important addition to the bookshelves of those interested in local history – after all, we have all been through the system and most of us have happy memories, particularly of junior school. Looking at the top photograph, there is, perhaps, one girl who is not having her best day.

I can’t imagine her parents wanting to shell out for a print! What is noticeable is that the children are dressed in their best and a look at my 1910 Gore’s Directory reveals a solid aspiring working-class area with joiners, plumbers, mariners, tram guards, carters, tanners and dock gatesmen among the trades represented on Lander Road. Even the teachers have made an extra effort, particularly in the bottom photograph of girls exercising in the school yard.

Dingle Station, Park Road c.1910

The terminus for Liverpool Overhead Railway at Dingle

Two recent events prompted me to post this blog. On July 25th, the BBC reported a tunnel had collapsed in the Dingle and people in nearby streets had been evacuated. At the same time, I received a copy of The Times for February 6th 1893 from www.historic-newspapers.co.uk with a full account of the opening of Liverpool Overhead Railway by the Marquis of Salisbury – a coincidence I could hardly fail to avoid blogging about.
It is ironic that the Overhead Railway started (or finished) its route underground at Dingle station on Park Road and doubly ironic that the only surviving section is down below street level. In 1901, Dingle station was the scene of the Overhead’s worst disaster when an electrical fire on board an incoming train got out of control and, fanned by the tunnel draught, quickly engulfed the terminus. Six people died and such was the devastation that the station was closed for more than a year. Sometime after the Overhead closed in 1956, the disused tunnel was taken over by a car repair company and used to store dozens of cars. There are quite a few interesting photographs of the tunnel on the internet such as http://www.forgottenrelics.co.uk/tunnels/gallery/dingle.html. The extent of the collapse of the tunnel has not been reported but it would be a great shame if this last relic of an important part of the city’s history is not repaired and made safe for future generations.
I also acquired another newspaper from www.historic-newspapers.co.uk – an account in The Times again in February 1830 reporting the ‘Dreadful Accident to Mr Huskisson’ the first victim of the railway age: ‘Mr Huskisson, who was in a weak state of body, and was a little lame of one leg, either fell down in the agitation of the moment, or, which seems more probable, was, by the sweep of the door, knocked down on the road. He fell on his face, in the vacant space between the two lines. His left leg, which was extended, touched the rail on which the Rocket moved and one of the wheels catching it ran obliquely up the limb as high as the thigh, mangling, or rather smashing it in a shocking manner.’ They don’t report like that today in The Times!