This week, we made it back to what is becoming one of our favorite cities: Liverpool. I'm not exactly sure what it is, but we really like Liverpool and seem to connect with it. The city centre is compact and easy to drive to (and park). There are plenty of museums. The riverfront, etc. Just a nice place to visit. There's something about the history as well. It's not all Kings and Queens and 500 years old. Liverpool rose to prominence in the 18th & 19th centuries due to sea trade and crashed hard in the 20th century as those dynamics changed. The city is very honest about its history (i.e. fortune on the backs of slaves and later drugs (opium) but also justifiably proud of its perseverance as well). Not sure I can really put a finger on it, but we like it.
FYI, find the blog entry for our first visit here.
Liverpool is about a 1:45 hour drive from Derby. Going via Speke makes it about 2. We left around 9 and got home around 8:30 so not too bad.
link). Initial construction of this wood-framed Tudor-styled manor started in 1530 with the last major addition completed in 1598. According to the wiki link (and backed up by our tour guide):
The house was owned by the Norris family for many generations until the female heiress married into the Beauclerk family. The Watt family purchased the house and estate from the Beauclerks in 1795. The last surviving heir of the Watt family was Miss Adelaide Watt, who inherited the house and returned to it in 1878 at the age of 21 years. She died in 1921, leaving the house and estate in trust for 21 years, during which time it was looked after by the staff under the supervision of Thomas Whatmore, who had been butler to Miss Watt. At the end of this period, in 1942, the house passed into the ownership of the National Trust.
Often times, these type of houses can get into disrepair before the National Trust gets them. That might be true in this case, but this house also had a period of disrepair before the final owners moved in. The lower levels were even used as a cow barn for a time.
Waiting outside before the start of the tour. Quite chilly today (about 1C / 33F).
Note the sign that says this part (the front section of the house) was finished in 1598 by Edwin Norris.
No photos allowed inside, but I did pop into the courtyard and take these. The house was a rectangular ring (like a picture frame) around the courtyard on all 4 sides.
and this one (the fam didn't realize I was lining up a photo)
detailed close up of the ornate carving and genealogy in the Drawing Room
We didn't tour the grounds as we wanted to head into Liverpool proper but we really enjoyed our visit to Speke Hall.
cheaper parking (£5/day on weekends) on the fringe of "downtown" and this view is on our walk from the car park.
The main attraction for the afternoon was the excellent (and free) Museum of Liverpool. We had about 3 hours and could have used another one. As a result we kind of skittered about through the museum to see a couple of short films and tried to hit all exhibits while prioritizing the ones we were most interested in. I've tried to arrange the photos in a more logical order but I'm not sure if I succeeded or not.
Factoid: in the early 18th century ships were at the mercy of the high tidal swings of the River Mersey and would anchor in the middle of the river so as not to touch bottom during low tide. This resulted in expensive and inefficient unloading by smaller craft. The city's answer? They built the world's first wet dock in 1715.
Chinatown in Europe. In the 19th century, trade had picked up with China and many came to Liverpool to work as a result.
Factoid: the British would trade for opium in India and then trade it for silk, pottery and tea (among other things) in China although the drug was officially banned. The Chinese government tried to intervene and the British sent it warships to force them to keep trading. These were known as the Opium Wars. Can you imagine? I guess it's not hard to. I missed (or forgot) that bit of history.
As I said, the museum did not shy away from Liverpool's history at all. Very refreshing.
Gladstone Riot Shield (1929) -- could stop bullets at 5 yards (lots of tension over the years)
Ironbridge and the Enginuity Museum. "Erector Sets" currently sold in the US are actually Meccano sets.
another view -- the Beatles Experience building next to the river on the left
looking the other direction towards Alberts Dock
Well, hopefully I haven't bored you with the details. We really like Liverpool and we still have a few more things to see so we could go back for more. It's not just the Beatles, for sure.