Tagged: Netherfield Road

Netherfield Road North/York Terrace, 1975

John Bagot Hospital, Netherfield Road, 1973

Netherfield Road/Robsart Street 1975

My post of September 12th. was about my favourite City Engineer’s photograph – taken of the amazing stepped terraces leading to Everton Terrace. Today’ s post visits the same territory some 50 years later. Here are the last remnants of a once busy road – with the graffiti (Protestant Boys) pronouncing the road’s allegiance. Within a decade, all these buildings would be demolished, removing any memories of the road’s often turbulent past.
One of the reasons for publishing the images is the many requests I get for specific streets. Two recent requests were for John Bagot Hospital (from Pat Johnson, who was a patient there in 1940)
and for Robsart Street from Charles Jones, who added this wonderful description:

I lived in 81 Robsart St from my birth in 1952 till we were moved out to ‘better housing’. The house was on the corner and, at one time, it was a corner shop. I remember a large glass front shop window and a counter just inside the front door. Just up the street were a number of blind courts and I recall climbing the very high back wall to get into the next court. The wall was not quite vertical but must have been 30′ high – or so it seemed to a nine year-old.
Down the street was a real corner shop and everywhere around were ‘ollers’ and ‘bombies’ the local names for open spaces and bombed out houses. Both gave us the local urchins hours and hours of mischievous play.
The street was very steep and ideal for ‘steeries’ which everyone knows is the shortened term for non motorised wooden boards capable of holding up to 6 kids and a driver (usually the owner). I don’t know what speed they hit but without brakes and with a full load I don’t believe elf and safety would allow it now.
Penny lemonade drinks diluted with water, two penny drinks neat, top shelf sweets 1 shilling and 4 pence per quarter, catapult fights sticky lice liquorice root (yellow and horrible) and sticky toffee apples from ‘Dirty Mary’ once a year.

This is what my blog is about – not just the photographs but the memories they evoke. By the way, the pub on Robsart Street is the Old Stingo.

I have deliberately avoided selecting photographs from well-known sources such as the City Engineer’s Collection in the Liverpool Record Office. Today’s selection does come courtesy of LRO but I hope I can add an additional dimension to what is my favourite photograph in the whole CE archive.
The role of the CE photographers was to document their department’s work. They did not see themselves as artists but they were skilled at using the plate cameras as well as being able to deal with the attention their presence would always attract. Setting up a camera would take enough time for all the kids in the neighbourhood to appear – it was an event and they wanted to be part of it. Fortunately for us, the CE photographers clearly realised that it was easier to humour the crowds and include them in the photograph rather than spend futile time chasing them away. As a result their earlier photographs (until the 1940s when they had largely switched to 35mm), are full of animation.
Why I specifically like the Netherfield Road photograph is because it has three distinct areas of interest.

What a fabulous image of Ms Barkers shop with the boys looking enviously at the sweets on display. Isolated from the main photograph, it stands up as a brilliant image in its own right.

Here we have those strange landings (leading to Everton Terrace at the back) with a group of children gathered to have their photos taken.

Finally, possibly the weakest image but fascinating, nevertheless, as another group stand watching the proceedings and a small boy follows his mate up to the first landing. How much do you want in one photograph!