Each December we count down the days to Christmas with the National Museums Liverpool advent calendar. There’s a different surprise from our collections and exhibitions behind each door, with a new theme each year. Throughout 2018 we have been involved with a number of special events in our museums and across the city of Liverpool…
With Christmas approaching it’s time for one of my favourite annual traditions – the unveiling of National Museums Liverpool’s free online advent calendar! Each year we ease you into the festive season with daily treats from our collections and displays, including a few surprises, incredible tales and fascinating facts along the way. Last year’s advent…
Head over to the Liverpool Museums Blog to have fun with this gorgeous online Advent Calendar. It’s become one of the highlights of my day! 😀 Lesley X
Today is International Day of Peace and events will be going on all round the world. I wish I could be at Liverpool to hear primary school choirs singing John Lennon’s Imagine at LIVERPOOL ONE. There are outdoor pianos at College Lane, near Waterstones, and Paradise Street and this will be going on from 11-12pm. I can’t be there, but will be thinking of them and all the people watching and listening.
Find out more about International Peace Day here.
Every one of us can make a difference
Take a look at the Museum of Liverpool’s blog (link below) for news of a project that will be of interest to those interested in family and local history.
Rare picture that all of my siblings and both parents are in as one of us would usually be taking the picture. I still can’t keep my eyes open in pictures! Heritage consultant Heather Roberts will be leading our Tell your story- How to archive workshop on Saturday – the latest of our fantastic free…
A worthy monument to those who died at Hillsborough, described beautifully by Alan.
The tragic events on the 15th April 1989 at Hillsborough Football Stadium, Sheffield are permanently etched upon the hearts and lives of Liverpool.
This memorial to the 96 people who lost their lives was commissioned and sited at the Old Haymarket, near to the entrance of the Queensway road tunnel.
The scene is of an imaginary place populated by figures who are guardians of the memory.
The wreath is made up of spring flowers to signify the time of year the tragedy struck.
Below the wreath is a poem by David Charters.
And so, as one, the hushed crowd turned the pages of the book that held the names of the dead |
And the sound that rose from them was like a great flapping of birds’ wings
Into the dark sky and beyond, it carried the memories of those who had gone – the teachers whose wisdom was lost…
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Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark.
At the end of a storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet, silver song of a lark.
Walk on, through the wind,
Walk on, through the rain,
Though your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart,
And you’ll never walk alone,
You’ll never walk alone.
You’ll Never Walk Alone was written by songwriters Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers for their Broadway musical, Carousel, originally produced in 1945.
Here’s a brief synopsis of the story:-
In a Maine coastal village toward the end of the 19th century, the swaggering, carefree carnival barker, Billy Bigelow, captivates and marries the naive millworker, Julie Jordan. Billy loses his job just as he learns that Julie is pregnant and, desperately intent upon providing a decent life for his family, he is coerced into being an accomplice to a robbery. Caught in the act and facing the certainty of prison, he takes his own life and is sent ‘up there.’ Billy is allowed to return to earth for one day fifteen years later, and he encounters the daughter he never knew. She is a lonely, friendless teenager, her father’s reputation as a thief and bully having haunted her throughout her young life. How Billy instills in both the child and her mother a sense of hope and dignity is a dramatic testimony to the power of love.
Returning to the musical, Carousel, here is the final scene where Billy’s ghost returns. As stage/film productions go, this scene, for me, is up there with all the great weepies, such as Jack drifting away to his death in Titanic, the Von Trapp family escaping over the mountains from the Nazis in The Sound of Music and, of course, when Lassie limps home to her master in Lassie Come Home. Okay, the film clip might seem a tad sentimental to us these days but whether the song is sung by football fans, a pop diva or a gospel choir, it will always be inspirational.
I first saw Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral on the t.v. programme, Salvage Hunters, (aired on 14th September, 2016 on Quest Channel) when Drew and Tee were invited to visit. The Dean showed them round the cathedral and took them down to the crypt to look over some no longer needed items that Drew might want to buy. I was only mildly interested in the pair of rare chairs that Drew acquired, but the cathedral blew me away and, at that time, I never thought it possible that I would soon be visiting it for myself. When I went to Liverpool earlier this year, the Metropolitan Cathedral was the first place I made for.
As I entered the Cathedral, the sight that met me far exceeded my expectations (photographs don’t do it justice) and I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming beauty and ethereal quality of light – blues and greens, with some touches of red – that flooded the interior. Yes, I’d seen it on television, but this was so much better.
Known locally as ‘Paddy’s Wigwam’, the cathedral stands on the site of the Workhouse which had served the destitute of Liverpool since 1771.
Liverpool’s population increased dramatically after the Irish Potato Famine, which stretched from 1846 to 1852. Many immigrants passed through on their way to Canada and America, but a large number stayed and, by the end of the famine, there was a large established Irish community – 25 per cent of the population was made up of Irish. With the re-establishment of the Catholic hierarchy in England in 1850, the need was felt for a cathedral for the Catholics of Liverpool.
The first cathedral (shown above) was designed by Edward Welby Pugin (1833 – 1875), but it was never completed when other pressing needs, such as parish churches, schools and orphanages came to the attention of the diocese. Only the Lady Chapel and flanking side-chapels were actually built, which became the parish church of Our Lady Immaculate. It served as a local parish church until the 1980s when, weather-beaten and structurally unsafe, it was demolished.
The idea of a cathedral was reborn and in 1930 the diocesan authorities purchased the nine-acre site on Brownlow Hill. Sir Edwin Lutyens was commissioned to design a cathedral to contrast with the gothic Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. The constructed building of Lutyen’s design would have been colossal, as can be seen in the above picture and in the one below, which shows its proposed size in comparison to The Houses of Parliament in London.
The foundation stone was laid on Monday, 5th June, 1933 and work on the crypt continued until 1941, when building ceased during the lead up to the Second World War. After the war, the crypt was completed, but the grandiose Romanesque super-structure that would sit atop the crypt was never to be built as it was now costed at an impossible £27 million. Once again, the dream of a great Catholic Cathedral was put aside.
The next step of the journey took place in 1960 when a competition was proposed, inviting architects all over the world to design a cathedral for Liverpool. Stipulations included that it would need to relate to the existing Crypt, be capable of construction within five years, cost no more than a million pounds at current prices and every member of the congregation should be able to see the altar. There were 300 entries and Sir Frederick Gibberd’s design was chosen. Building began in October 1962 and the completed cathedral was consecrated five years later on 14th May, 1967. At last Liverpool had its Catholic Cathedral, a journey which spanned 200 years.
This remarkable place of worship made such an impression on me that I am beginning to see its image in all sorts of objects.
Left: Plastic funnel for adding salt to dishwasher. Right: Portion of toilet roll carton on top of dessert container (it was Tiramisu, for those interested). When I start making models with my mashed potatoes, that’s when I’ll know I’m in trouble!