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The following story was sent in by Jack Stamper.


My Liverpool of which I remember starts during the mid thirties. When I was a young boy, I lived in 67 Byles Street, off Park Road in the Dingle. The houses were to be demolished before the first world war, as they were built in the 1840s. They were two up two down, sink in the back yard, with a tiny back kitchen with an iron washing boiler, with a fire below. The kitchen (living room) had a flaggered floor. We had rag mats, made from old coats. Cooking was done by the overn alongside the fire and the house was gas lit. But we were happy, as we knew nothing else. As kids we made our own games. Footie, Ollie's, whip and top, the local cinema would show cowboy films, there were also silent films shown. These were the lean years of unemployment and there was plenty of poverty about. My father was out of work for eight years.


We were re-housed in 1938, to Brunswick Gardens at the bottom end of Northumberland Street, near the Dock Road. They were tenements consisting of five blocks, three blocks were four landings, and two smaller blocks. We lived on the first landing. We were amazed at this switch on the wall, which gave us electricity. No more buying gas mantles, we were on the up, my father bought an electric wireless. This was prior to the second world war, which came in at 1939. Living in this environment, as there were plenty of kids living in the tenements, this meant we got up to all kinds of problems, as we lived near the Dock Road where there were many different types of goods being carried on wagons, and also as this was war time they used horse and carts. If they had bags of peanuts on the cart, we would have a penknife to slit open the bag, using your jersey as a pouch you filled your jersey with the nuts, and done a runner, they also carried brown sugar. The Dock Road was our playground, we became experts at jumping on moving lorries. Some wagons were steam wagons, which carried a second man to keep the boiler lit, the wagons were made by 'Sentanol'. Our meeting point was the 'Custom House' steps at Canning Place (before it was bombed). This was a beautiful building, on par with the 'St George Buidling'. Canning Place wrapped around the building.


A great site was the 'Liverpool Landing Stage', during the summer time. I remember there were five ferry destinations, New Ferry, Birkenhead, Wallasey, Egremont, and New Brighton. The stage would be heaving with happy people having a day out, waiting for the New Brighton boat. As the boat was tied up, there would be a crash of the gangway on the stage floor, the people surged forward on to the ferry. Also alongside the half mile stage would be a liner, taking on passenger's for New York. At the far end was the Isle of Man boat, which had very large cues, taking people fir a weeks holiday in the Isle of Man. These were exciting times on the waterfront.


Living in Brunswick Gardens to play football we would play in Caryl Street, which had the tenements on one side and the Cheshire Lines warehouse opposite. As the park was quite a long was to go to play football, we played illegally in Caryl Street. There was a look-out for the police, many got caught and paid the summery 10/- fine. I now look back and am glad I experienced the times I lived in.


The war came in 1939. Times were certainly changing. The council built a large air raid shelter on our playground area. The first bomb dropped in Liverpool was in Caryl Street. It hit the Cheshire Lines warehouse, opposite our house, there were many thousands of psople sight-seers who came to see the small hole in the ground. The Lord-Mayor Sir Sydney Jones came to view and he spoke to us. One past-time was collecting shrapnel after a raid. May 1941 would live with us, as Liverpool had eight nights of blitz, we never went in the shelter as it smelt badly. We took a chance and slept in our beds. A bomb did fall in the Park Street block, 14 poor souls lost their lives. More people lost their lives in Liverpool outside London during the way. This is part of the things that went on.


But you may ask why I love Liverpool. This city had turned the corner, from black drab buildings, to a beautiful city. There has been a huge remodel of the city, a city can be on par with other city's throughout the world, we have thankfully retained the Victorian buidlings. As I am now in my eighties, I will not see the plans come to fruition. But most of all, it's Liverpool people who make this city.


That's why I love Liverpool.


Jack Stamper




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This story was added on 26th April 2011

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