Tagged: Scotland Road

The media’s fascination with Liverpool is not a recent phenomenon. It used to really annoy me back in the 1980s when London-based newspapers continually featured pictures of Liverpool to illustrate urban deprivation in Britain. I particularly remember the Sunday Times leading with a photograph of the Pier Head shot from Birkenhead. In the foreground was a car breakage yard – the cheap headline being Liverpool on the scrapheap!.
For years, Liverpool was the target of television and newspapers features seemingly revelling in the spiral of decline the city was facing – but then, in 2008, it all started to disappear as the realisation dawned that it was no longer such a soft target. However, one interesting legacy is that future generations will have no shortage of images to illustrate those hard years. In a similar way, the city attracted press coverage in the 1930s and the photograph of Byrom Terrace was used to illustrate an article in the Daily Herald with the caption: The terrible conditions under which people live in the slum areas of Liverpool are strikingly illustrated by this picture of Byrom Terrace.
No doubt the image annoyed many people in the city – who maybe felt such photographs gave a distorted view of Liverpool (and I would have been amongst them had I been around at the time). But you cannot have it both ways – and the photograph is a valuable reflection of what life was like for a sizeable number of citizens back in the 1930s. Poverty is poverty and pretending Liverpool is just about fine buildings and great tourist attractions is no real answer.

Time to take a short break from Lost Liverpool to look at Liverpool’s darker past. The above two photographs are from a set of lantern slides I purchased from Frank Lenhan (whose own photographs I published in My Liverpool). Frank explained that he had inherited them from his father, who was a friend of the photographer N. Stephen, and that they had been used in Band of Hope temperance meetings to highlight the evils of drink. Frank remembered helping his father project the slides at meetings in the 1930s when he was a young boy.
By coincidence, I was recently researching the educational uses of lantern slides and came across a reference to the Church of England Temperance Society. Apparently the Society had commissioned hundreds of photographs (to be turned into lantern slides) of children in the streets with bottles/jars of alcohol – all taken in Liverpool. I have started looking into whether these slides are archived anywhere – but to no avail so far. Perhaps these photographs taken by Stephen around Scotland Road c1895 (I have about 20) were part of that collection – or does anyone have any further information that can help ‘rediscover’ these important images of Liverpool’s social history?