The history of Liverpool never ceases to amaze and surprise me, there is always something more to find out. A few readers have commented that they learned something about their home city from reading Under The Bridge. This process is going on all the time for me, but for many, including Vinny in the book, ‘history’ is not academic, it’s not a school subject but part of our lives, and knowing it changes us.
History isn’t one solid thing. What we think of it depends how, and what we are taught, or uncover.
At one point Anne is driving with Vinny through Allerton.
They were passing Penny Lane and would soon hit Menlove Avenue.
‘Do you like it here?’ Vinny was looking out of the window.
‘I don’t know. I like where I live. I like my job, especially now I’m getting to do a bit more. Why are you asking?’ Anne asked.
‘Sometimes it just feels like there is so much history here. I can’t look at anything without seeing what’s behind it. I don’t know, the ghosts of the past,’ Vinny said.
She pointed out the window. ‘Okay, so what’s out there?’
‘Calderstones Park,’ he answered.
‘Secret history?’ She probed.
‘I was being serious, it’s not a game.
‘Okay, but…it can be a game too.’
‘An old manor, now a park, obviously. Full of American trees.’
‘Yeah, the place was sold to the council by a family called the McIvers. The family were partners in the Cunard shipping line. They traded with America, owned the Lusitania.’
‘I’ve heard of that.’
‘Sunk by a U-boat in 1915, hundreds died, the crew was mainly from Liverpool.’
‘Why is it a problem…you knowing this stuff, I mean?’
‘Like I said, ghosts
Where ever we look in Liverpool we find two things, the history of slavery and Liverpool’s connection to Ireland. A mate of mine, a big Liverpool fan, has being going the match for decades, followed them all over Europe was surprised this week by this from the picture above;
‘…Anfield derived from the old townland Annefield in New Ross, County Wexford. The name had been bestowed on this area of Stanley Park by famous Wexford shipbuilder Robert Samuel Graves who had moved from Annefield in the late 1850s. Graves was later appointed mayor of the city.
The other big football related news recently was Everton’s move from Goodison to Bramley Moore Dock. It wasn’t long before the history of Bramley Moore’s business was connected to slavery.
Is it important? Somehow these two themes dominate the unspoken history of our city. I think it is a good thing that this history is being uncovered and spoken of.
To know who we are, we need to know where we came from, so we can work out where we are going.