Mersey Beat, Liverpool Streets

For the final leg of our circular tour of the North West of England we travelled down the Irish Sea coast from Southport to Liverpool. Emerging from the underground platforms of Liverpool Central Station, we pulled our cases down to the River Mersey and the Port of Liverpool. By chance, my northern eye for a modestly priced hotel meant we stayed next to the old Wapping Dock, named after the nearby street ‘Wapping’.

We last visited Liverpool last year when we had made a trip to see Anthony Gormley’s Another Place, (which is located between Liverpool and Southport), but our stay in Liverpool had been brisk. So, given we would be staying the night, what better to do in Liverpool than visit the Beatles Experience? Well actually, we were walking to get a coffee and did it as a spur of the moment thing, albeit one that cost us £13 a head.
The Beatles experience is interesting, although it lacks any real passion for the music of the Beatles, rather it focuses on the history of the band and its chronology and line-up. Excusing some genuinely atrocious waxworks, it’s an interesting insight into the back story of the band, but the real message was the importance of Brian Epstein in manufacturing a pop band that began to dissolve when his guiding hand disappeared prematurely. There are some nicely designed rooms and some memorabilia, but nothing on show really excited me. There’s an audioguide, but I imagine in busy periods, this could feel a very tedious experience.
After resisting the lure of the gift shop, we grabbed a coffee and pootled around the Albert Docks (the warehouses of which were the first buildings to have no structural wood rendering them effectively fireproof) before heading back to the hotel for a quick nap before venturing out for some enjoyable but pricey Indian food at the Spice Lounge in the Docks, let down by a very strong draught and the distinctive feel that a can of tomato soup had gone into the preparation of the paneer makhani.
Having escorted @potoft back to the hotel, I headed out for some night photography, albeit sans tripod. I was doing ok until a group of hens thought it appropriate to harass a lonely photographer minding his own business.
The next morning, we had breakfast at Duke Street Espresso, who use Square Mile coffee beans, but didn’t quite get as much out of them as Notes in London used to (before roasting their own), but it was an enjoyable coffee, made very pleasurable by the fact I had skippy peanut butter on toast.
Liverpool is one of the great port cities of the UK, up there with Glasgow, and is keen to reinvent itself in the post-industrial age. Its citizens could try harder though – the first shop we entered we were witness to an attempt at shoplifting a bottle of rosé and a hospital size container of washing detergent. Two doors down we then watched a security guard pretend to accuse a member of staff of a shop of shoplifting – all very bizarre for first thing on a Saturday morning. We wandered across the town to the Walker Art Gallery where we took in a temporary exhibition on early David Hockney sketches, many of which were very ‘naive’ and were used in preparing for some of his most famous works, though these were notable by their absence.
After taking the opportunity to dress up as David Hockney (basically think of a fat Mike Flowers if you can’t imagine a fat David Hockney) we wandered the streets of Liverpool and mooching about the shops. After lunch by the docks we headed to Lime Street Station for our train home. Lime Street is a bit odd. Firstly it has a statue of a man with a feather duster (Ken Dodd – unfortunately my photo is a bit wobbly), but more strangely all of the cash machines are halfway down platform 7. Platform 7 meanders out of the station and into the distance and by the time you’ve finally spotted the front locomotive, you feel like you’re practically in Widnes.
We boarded the train and pulled out of the station. As we crossed the Mersey, to Runcorn the fog rolled down and the rain began to fall.

If you’d like to read about the train journey, try this poem.

Wapping Quay

Wapping street sign

Wheel of Liverpool

Birkenhead

Metropolitan Cathedral

Recreation of the outside of the Cavern Club

Worst waxworks I’ve seen in a museum in a long time.

Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Inside the yellow submarine

Albert Dock with This Morning weather map.

Liverpool Echo Arena

Wheel of Liverpool

Albert Dock at night

View across to the Three Graces
(Back to front: Royal Liver, Cunard and Port of Liverpool buildings)

Boats converted into serviced apartments.
The Yellow Submarine was in The Hunt for Red October

Mersey Lights

Metropolitan Cathedral in the distance

Salthouse Dock as I was attacked by a gang of hens

Salthouse Dock take two

Sculpture on the edge of the Ropewalks district

Ceiling of Duke Street Espresso

Skippy on toast

Duke Street Espresso

69 Hanover Street, AKA the Bling Bling Building

The abandoned picturehouse

Walker Art Gallery

St George’s Hall

View across to Lime Street Station

St George’s Hall

Radio City Tower

Main concourse, Lime Street Station

Bessie Braddock MP

Fiddler’s Ferry Power Station 
The South of England

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