Tagged: Orange parade

I had never come across the annual Orange marches until I came to Liverpool. My first experience was when I worked in Seel Street in 1974 and heard an incredible thumping of drums and the wail of bagpipes. Rushing up to Berry Street, I was mesmerised by a long procession of pipers, drummers, baton carriers and serious looking men and women with orange bands all marching in time. Above all was the sight of numerous King Billys (all women dressed up with flowing wigs) with their consort, Queen Mary, alongside them.
This was the Dingle contingent marching to catch the train to Southport and, in the early 1970s, they made up a sizeable crowd.
Sectarianism is one of those unspoken aspects of Liverpool’s history and the violent riots of the early twentieth century have been pushed back from memory. However one views its historical past, I am surprised that the annual parades have not been better documented. They are a fascinating part of local history and judging by recent thinly attended parades, might follow Judas burning and other once common ceremonies into folk lore. Photographs like these two are not about partisanship but about recording for posterity – although I am not sure whether the three girls in their yellow costumes would be quite as keen.