Hidden Liverpool, the Lyceum and other stories…

A few months ago I was contacted by a lady developing a new project for a company called Placed in Liverpool: Hidden Liverpool. Hidden Liverpool is a year long project supported by the Heritage Lottery which explores Liverpool’s empty buildings and how memories of the usage of these buildings could go someway to informing the reuse of them in the future. Amongst the buildings selected are Woolton Baths, the Tate and Lyle Sugar Silo, Liverpool School for the Blind and the iconic Lyceum Building on Bold Street.
The Thomas Harrison designed Lyceum has been empty since being vacated by its last tenants around 4/5 years ago and the marks of neglect are already starting to show. On last inspection I noticed parts of the steps had fallen away Its shocking that in a city that trades so much on its heritage buildings like the Lyceum are just left to rot whilst in the care of big corporations with little care clearly for the social and historical importance of the buildings in their care. Lets not forget that this building (reputably) housed the first lending library in the world, that the building of it in the first place was a sort of political statement made by dissenters and abolitionists William Roscoe, John Lightbody, John Currie and the Rev’d John Yates the signatures of whom you can find on the original deeds for the Lyceum kept at Liverpool Central Library Records Office. It was visited by Herman Melville (author of, amongst other things Moby Dick) who was promptly kicked out for looking too scruffy and if all of that is not enough it was completed in 1802 - making it 212 years old - all important reasons for the reinvention of this majestic Bold Street icon.

The exhibition will be on at The Colonades in the Albert Dock until 29th April read about it here http://www.albertdock.com/2014/04/peoples-history-exhibition-opens-albert-dock/

Seeking a Fuller’s lady from the 1950’s

Fuller’s was a cafe on Bold Street in what is now Look’s Leather Goods. The business by all accounts was well known for its delicious cakes and I think a large stuffed bear in the doorway if I’m not mistaken! It was also the workplace of Martin’s relative - he writes about her below. If anyone has any information they would like to pass on to him you can either comment and I will pass it onto him or email me at laura.yates@fact.co.uk.

We are often told that life is a journey. Well my personal journey recently took an unexpected turn which landed me in Bold Street! Those of you familiar with Bold Street may not find that surprising as reading  the various articles and posts on this site it is apparent that Bold Street has been and remains a focal point for the local community. As a Mancunian however (please don’t hold that against me) I didn’t, up until a few weeks ago, know anything about Bold Street it was, I’m afraid, just another address, a name in the Liverpool A to Z a set of  coordinates on a sat nav. So how did I end up here?  I recently discovered whilst doing some family research that a relation of mine had been employed as a waitress at Fuller’s Café on Bold Street. Her name was Veronica Joan Chambers and it appears that she worked at Fuller’s for approximately 18 months in the early 1950’s. I am desperately seeking information about Joan, the time that she spent at Fuller’s, and any other details of her life from around this period. So even though I may be a stranger in these parts I would be more than grateful if anyone who knew of Joan could point me in the right direction on my journey.

Martin Kay

Some interesting banking stories

Some of the posts on the Bold Street blog attract much more conservation than others. Places like The Mardi Gras, the beautiful cafes and restaurants of Bold Street past (La Bussola, The Kardoma, Fullers and Reeces bringing up the most vivid memories) and of course, the Banks. Bold Street was a veritable who’s who of banking during the early part of the 20th century and right up until the 1970’s.

Liverpool Savings Bank (now Tesco) was once the place to go and get involved with your finances and has evoked many memories including these from Gordon below.

“Regarding the TSB `coin`, I believe I have one somewhere. I joined the Liverpool Savings Bank from school in 1953, and spent over 37 years in the TSB, latterly Lloyds TSB of course. I would think that the souvenir would be worth a few pounds to a banking ephemera collector. I have a recollection that they were issued in their thousands though to everyone who made a deposit in an account during the special week, being regarded more as a sort of medal than a coin.

Not sure if I can lay my hands on the medal, which from memory was about the size of a florin (2/- piece). They were issued I think to commemorate 150 years of Trustte Savings Banks, the first such bank being acknowledge as Rev. Henry Duncan`s in Ruthwell, Scotland, although I believe there is a case for the claims of an earlier bank in Edinburgh(?) which did however have a slightly different modus operandi and rules. Duncan`s model was perhaps nearer to the way the banks that followed were set up. The little medals/coins were neither silver or gold colour, but something between the two, sort of dull brass as I recall”

This bank was also the location of one of my most recent Bold Street experiences. Walking up the street I noticed that the door to the upstairs rooms of the old Liverpool Savings Bank was open and peering inside I noticed a rather impressive cast-iron staircase stretching some 40 feet up into the upstairs rooms. It turns out that these impressive rooms are now being renovated and turned into a short stay apartment.

I was shown round by the owner of the apartment Lawrence who had discovered some interesting artefacts whilst in the process of renovating the rooms upstairs, probably once offices and board rooms. The finds included a bank receipt for the withdrawal of £28,000 in 1918 and glass slides depicting child-like scenes probably used in a magic lantern as a toy.

It made me curious as to the origins of this building, its grandiose appearance and its now multi-use as Tesco and apartment. The apartment is actually called ‘The Masonic’ which alludes to its original use as a Masonic Lodge (and the reason the staircase bears a star motif?) which remains a popular members organisation in the city.

I am not sure when the building as transformed from a Masonic Lodge to a Bank but I have records showing it as a bank in 1875 so it must have been a pretty long-time ago, either way it now stands as a testament to a Bold Street that had a very diverse daytime activity and withdrawals of vast amounts of money.

Thank you to Gordon for sharing his pictures and memories with us and to Lawrence for letting us have a look inside the bank. You can see pics from this recent visit on our flickr here you can see more memories of the savings bank in other locations on the blog.

Memories of Phillip Berger Fur Coats

I was contacted by Irene a lady I work with in the North of Liverpool with a lovely story about her sister in law who now lives in New Zealand who once worked on Bold Street:

“She worked for Phillip Berger who sold mink coats the year was 1967/68.The T.V. celebs of the day used to come in to buy them and also the “Winter Brothers” came in to buy their wives coats and would give the shop assistant a great tip.Next door to the shop was a great Deli which also had a great cake counter in it.On friday we would cook Mr Bergers lunch always sausage and eggs.There was also a paper/magazine stand at the bottom of Bold street.My memories of Bold street is that it was a very attractive street with lots of really nice shops especially jewelery shops.”

Thanks so much for Irene for this story, I’ll keep my eye out for anything related to the shop.

Recent interesting Bold Street emails.

I was recently contacted by a couple of far-flung readers of the blog who wondered if I had any information on their family members and possessions.

As I couldn’t find much out I thought I’d post it here to see if there is anyone who knows anything they can share.

The first is from a Dr Whittingham whose enquiry was related to his Mum who once sold copies of a radical pamphlet in Bold Street. The pamphlet was called ‘White, Orange and Green’ and was sold from an empty shop which was described as a ‘big, bare, shop’ by the Liverpool Echo at the time (1936)

Bold Street has long had a history of radical activity, from protest to one of the first vegetarian cafe in the country so this discovery has really helped to reinforce this.

The second is from Victoria in Toronto who bought an antiques chair in Canada in 1974. She later discovered that the chair was made or sold in Bold Street and was branded with the name Hughes, Read & Co 45 & 47 Bold Street, Liverpool. According to the Gores Street directories I have which only go back to 1892 this is the location of the Liverpool Union Bank, now Pizza Pronto, Mr Chips and the sweet shop by Subway. The suggestion is that these chairs pre-date that. If anyone has any information about Hughes Read and Co Victoria and I would be really interested in hearing from you.Have a look here for images of the chairs.

Thank you to Dr Whittingham and Victoria for their contributions.

Stone of Crows! Its the Mardi Gras!

I have had a request for information from someone completing a bit of trivia about the Stone Roses who would like to know what date in August 1986 they played at the Mardi Gras, if anyone has anything about this please let me know and I can pass it onto Ed for his project. Thanks!

Ponchos + pendolinos revisted

I was contacted by Tony recently who ran the Bold Street Virgin shop in the early 70’s. I had thought that this was the first site (which I must admit did seem unlikely to me!) but Tony put me straight. Below is Tony’s account of the year he ran virgin Bold Street which makes a great addition to our growing archive of all things Bold Street.

“I saw your article on the website about the Virgin Record Store in Bold St and felt I should reply. I opened the shop in about 1971 and was the first manager for about a year. This was the 3rd Virgin shop as the first was opened in Oxford St in London although we had run as a mail order business for cut price records some time before this. Brighton was next and Liverpool shortly after.

I arrived on my first day from London to find a carpenter and we proceeded to build the fittings for the shop including the counters and shelving, all do-it-yourself in those days as money was very short and we were fighting the big record companies to break the monopoly on record sales and provide customers with discounts. The shop had been a women’s clothes/bridal shop before we took it over and was very large with lots of room upstairs. I think it was number 90 Bold St but can’t be sure. I lived in the shop for some time before eventually finding a flat locally. We kept a rabbit at the time and sometimes she lived in the shop but had to be moved when she started chewing the alarm wires and setting it off in the middle of the night.

Most record shops of the time made you stand in a small booth to listen to records and limited the time you could spend there. Virgin’s philosophy was to give people a comfortable environment and no limit on how many records you could listen to hence the cushions. Richard had decided to sell waterbeds and at one point we  had one as well as the cushions but this did not survive visits from the Scottie Rd School kids who delighted in sticking pins and knives into it until we had a very soggy carpet.

There wasn’t a doorman in my day but if anyone was seen taking drugs they  would be asked to leave as it risked the closure of the shop by the police. We were raided by the police once who arrived with dogs, plainclothes and lots of uniformed officers. They closed the shop and searched everyone there but nothing was found except a mess on the carpet by a police dog.

Sadly I do not have any photographs of the shop at this time.”

If anyone does have any photo’s of the Virgin Shop Bold Street we would love to see them. Thanks so much to Tony for this.

Contributions to the Bold Street Blog

Apologies for our blogging silence over the last couple of months, Boldstreet’s mother project tenantspin has taken up a lot of our time of late with some amazing projects which have helped us to spread our community TV wings into one of the cities most famous and influential gallery spaces (apart from FACT that is!!) Check out our other projects at www.tenantspin.org and www.tenantspinontour.com.

So, for my first post in a while here is something sent to me recently, from Mark Shepard called Street People:

Street People March 1978

Come into the silence of the crowded street

There are some faces I’d like you to meet

The ones that look like locked doors

Concealing what’s inside

The ones who don’t reveal to you

The music of their minds

That man knows his beer glass

Like a jeweler knows his jewels

Another man knows his empty pockets

Like a school boy knows his rules

And the young man who just passed us now

Is searching for a friend

Who understands his solitude

And knows how to make it end…


Stand inside the echoes

Of this cold concrete

It’s like an ever moving photograph

Never to be complete

Hold the silence in your hand

Feel that it is wise

Assemble all your senses

and place them in your eyes

That girl knows the sidewalk

Like a songbird knows its cage

She’s a year from home and tired

Of lying about her age

The business men who know her best

Don’t know her very well

They’re too caught up inside themselves

With what she has to sell


Stand inside the echoes

Of this cold concrete

It’s like an ever moving photograph

Never to be complete

Hold the silence in your hand

Feel that it is wise

Assemble all your senses

and place them in your eyes

See the old man with the spaniel dog?

He loves it like a son

And sometimes in his room at night

He dreams that he is young

Some “victim of society” just stole a lady’s purse

He eats the ground with his strong legs

And accelerates in bursts…


Stand inside the echoes

Of this cold concrete

It’s like an ever moving photograph

Never to be complete

Hold the silence in your hand

Feel that it is wise

Assemble all your senses

and place them in your eyes

See more of Marks work at www.markshepard.com. Thanks to Mark for submitting this poem.

Maggie May’s and James William Carling


We recently attended the opening of a new gallery on Bold Street dedicated to the work of James William Carling in an upstairs room in our favourite Bold Street eatery, Maggie May’s.

The gallery has been months in the planning, the vision of dedicated people such as Ron Formby (Scottie Press) John Lea (owner of Maggie May’s cafe) and Michael Kelly (author of Liverpool’s Irish connection) and includes a selection of works on paper by the pauper artist now the property of The Poe Museum, Richmond, Virginia USA.

James was born in Addison Street Vauxhall 150 years ago and soon discovered he had a talent for painting and drawing, specifically street scenes and portraits of local places and characters which caught his imagination. The interesting thing about these images are that they capture the spirit and atmosphere of Liverpool during these years from the perspective of the ordinary working people.

Carling also cut a familia character particularly on Bold Street were he was seen most days in his childhood at work on chalk pavement representations of scenes around Liverpool and beyond begging for money from the wealthy patrons of the fashionable street.

After a 4 year spell in America Carling returned to England with a view to attending the Royal College of Art in London but this was not meant to be and he died at aged 29 from drinking related illnesses in poverty in Liverpool and was consequently buried in a paupers grave in Walton.

His work will be exhibited in this gallery above Maggie Mays cafe in Bold Street alongside other works throughout the year.

Click here to read more about Carling.

For more information about the gallery call into Maggie Mays or email laura.yates@fact.co.uk and I will be glad to pass on your enquiries to Ron or John.

Maggie Mays serves a selection of traditional dishes as well as some very good scouse/Irish sausage from a local butcher which we were privaledged to taste at the opening morning on St. Patricks day.


Port of Culture

“Liverpool is more than just 2008.”
Indeed, and local photographer and Bold Street Project contributor Pete Carr shows us how.

Pete contributed many amazing images of Bold Street to the Bold Street project - viewable on Flickr and at the time, in the exhibition at FACT. Now he’s got his own show “Port of Culture” on the Albert Dock (Unit 18, next to the Tate). Well worth the trip we reckon; Pete’s images are stunning!

In his own words:
Port of Culture is an extension of a project I have been running for over 3 years called Vanilla Days.  It’s a photographic site featuring a new image each day.  I have been using this site to document Liverpool over the past few years from key events to cityscapes to simple images of life on the street.  Port of Culture is a showcase of the best images featuring dramatic scenes from protests to classic local architecture.  I wanted to show people that Liverpool is more than just 2008. The idea behind the name is basically that Liverpool’s new import / export is culture.  The city was once a huge port and while that may have dwindled the city’s level of culture has grown.  2008, as the Capital of Culture, means that we’re now exporting everything that has made Liverpool great all over Europe.  Our music, architecture, art, and people are all being exported for people to see.  Liverpool is now a port of culture. The exhibition couldn’t have been held at a better location, the Albert Dock.  A once popular dock back in its day and now a great place for artists to exhibit and perform.  This exhibition is my contribution to 2008, my way of showing how great Liverpool is as the year starts. 

The exhibition runs till March 9th  http://www.portofculture.co.uk/

New Year’s Revolution!

As part of the New Year’s Revolution free event at FACT, join international artist Shu Lea Cheang and tenantspin in the Ropewalks Square soup kitchen as they serve up free scouse along with sound machines!

Eat Scouse, meet your neighbours, discuss what revolution means to you, share your aspirations, your doubts and your hopes for 2008.

This event continues FACT’s three-year BOLD programme of projects committing to finding new and meaningful ways for artists to work collaboratively.

Net-streaming live from Ropewalks Liverpool, UK at www.stream.fact.co.uk

Bold Street memories.

 When I was 11, it was the only place I was allowed to go shopping with my friend on our own…we felt so grown up. Her Mum would drop us off there & we were not allowed to go outside of Bold Street all day, we used to buy fake cigarettes from a little joke shop that puffed out some form of talcum powder and we’d sit on the benches trying to look older, pretending to smoke. 

 Years later Bold Street’s Café Tabac was the meeting place for my friends and I at the weekend before going on to Macs & the Mardi …what great nights out we had then. I had my 18th Birthday at the Four Seasons which was awful but cheap to hire and as I was too drunk to remember much of it, it’s of little importance where it was held.

I still love Bold Street, I can spend hours in Rennies, it’s like a second home to me. 

Thank you to Carol Ramsay at the Liverpool Biennial for her memories.

From ponchos to pendolinos….!

Many people had spoken to me about the Virgin music shop on Bold Street during the 1970’s but I hadn’t yet had a full account of the interior of the shop.

That all changed when I received an email from Murray Greenberg who remembers the shop well and sent me the story below to bring it back to life.

I and three long- haired other friends who attended the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys from 1965 to the early 1970s (now Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for
Performing Arts (LIPA) ) would ‘escape’ and go down to Rushworth’s in
Whitechapel where you could listen to records in separate booths.

Then something happened !

About 1970 on the way down Bold Street we noticed that this new store had
opened. Virgin offered something different. As soon as you walked in you
could smell and see burning joss sticks. There were several sets of large
head phones and the ‘hippyish’ staff would gladly let you hear whole
albums. It was here I discovered Deep purple, Black Sabbath and Emerson
Lake and Palmer. You get imported albums, unavailable in the UK and albums
were up to £1 cheaper than in the other record shops. Then they expanded
and opened the upper floor. They sold flared jeans , loon pants and
;”Afghan” coats - big suede coats with sheepskin edging. Then the shop
got too small for the stock - the Virgin empire was growing and the shop
moved to the St Johns Precinct shopping centre

We are all in our 50’s now but the memory is as clear as yesterday!

The shop is now Maggie May’s cafe and has swapped beanbags for beans on toast! It is a favorite spot for refueling over a cup of tea and is soon to be the new venue for the William Carling Gallery. (more about that in another post!)

Thank you to Murray for his tales of the early Branson endeavors.

Maggie Mays

Al Peterson, protest, art school and coffee!

Al Peterson contacted me recently with a great story of radical Bold Street. Protest is in the fabric of Bold Street and so to have a story of one such event really crystalises this, thank you Al!


“Bold Street became my gateway to my involvement with Arts & Music ever since 1955 when I started to attend Liverpool Junior School of Art in Gambia Terrace and
Liverpool College of Art Hope Street (1960–1965) as well as visiting my late great friend Adrian Henri who resided at 21 Mount Street.

After Junior Art School we used to meet up with girls at the El Cabbala in Bold Street and there experienced my first taste of Espresso Coffee and Spaghetti Bolognese.

In 1977 my band 29th & Dearborn’s Sound Recording Studio was established at No 2 Mount Street.

My most recent escapade in Bold Street was with the Merseyside Stop the War Coalition to protest against Starbuck’s being the main supplier of coffee to the guards
and the other psychopaths that run that anomaly known Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
As you can see from the photograph we have adopted the much publicised fluorescent orange jump suits that the inmates are forced wear.
The protest lasted about 40 minutes before we were asked to leave by the manager accompanied by a security guard who had informed the police.

Merseyside Stop the War Coalition is a non-violent protest group that has organised numerous marches in London, Manchester and Liverpool.
They helped organise the largest Anti War Rally against the Iraq War that Britain has ever witnessed in London on the 15th February 2003.
News from Nowhere is the organisations main outlet for tickets and books for the various rallies and Anti-War information.”

Al also remembers El Cabbala coffee shop mentioned to me many times by different storytellers. This was obviously a really important venue for the youth of the 50’s & 60’s and deserves a blog of its own so watch out for that coming soon! (I am still trying to find an image of it!)

Al’s views are not to be confused with the views of FACT, tenantspin or The Bold Street Project.

Even more comments from the gallery

“I think the future of Bold St. looks good.”

“Bold Street belongs to all people, past, present and future”.

”Bold street is great there’s always something happening, it’s tradition for me and my girlfriend to come to town every Saturday and go to as many shops on Bold St as we can. Forbidden planet, Home Bargains, Waterstones, HMV, Soul Cafe, etc. We wouldn’t know what we’d do with ourselves without it. The busking is great too.”

“After moving to Liverpool from the Wirral soon discovered Bold street as the place to meet people. It is much more bohemian than any other part of the city centre and as you walk down the street your would feel cultured by all the unique shops surrounding you.
I always seem to bump into somebody I know as I walk down the street and yet that doesn’t happen to me anywhere else like it does on BOLD STREET.”

More comments from the gallery

“When I was a teenager, I would hang round on a Saturday around Pryre records and the Palace and look at all the cool records and clothes we could’nt afford. When I was older I used to take Mondays off work and while everyone else was working I would buy books from ‘News from Nowhere’ and read them on St.Lukes steps with a rostie and a cake from Sayers. Now it’s been my high street for two years and I walk down it nearly everyday.”

“Bold street has never been far away from my life
-Dragged around the shops by my mum when i was a kid.
-In and out of the clubs in my teens and twenties.
-Now working in the new offices behind FACT.”

“My most abiding memory was when my girlfriend had a flat on Berry St 2003/4. A band were performng in ‘TABAC’ window facing cut onto the street. It looked excellent and like I’ve never seen since.
Has anyone else? (Think it was on August Bank Holiday weekend)”

“We love Bold St keep it going!”

“Michelle - You have masterstroked Bold St. Joseph Cornell had Utopia Parkway-this is yours Thanks for the beauty.”

“Very interesting - great visuals and display… where’s Matta’s? Otherwise brilliant.”

comments from the gallery

“Throughly enjoyed ‘The Bolder They Walk’, great job Kim, Chris and Alex. What can I say? Keep the gowns etc they suit you who is the stalker in the straw hat/pink bag? Started to do my head in a bit-nearly every shot!!!!
Stories of Bold street :-I can just about remember going to a record shop in the late 60s with my elder, hippy/friendly brother (now mid 50s), all beanbags, smelly stuff!!!! And headphone booths to listen to the latest sounds.
Bold street is a beautiful to promenade along to St.Lukes at the top, What a sight. Love it!”

“My memories of lovely Bold street: My mum took me whan I was 9 and a half to the Lyceum Cafe at the bottom of Bold Street. I was so excited. I remember the high backed chairs, the polite waitresses in black dresses with white gowns. We had toasted tea cakes and I had ‘white lemonade’ for the first time.
Later on still age 9 I went on saturdays to ballet classes Sheila Sillist Clark school and would buy myself a bar of chocolate from Thorntons which was halfway up the street.
Later on again i worked for 3 years as a secretary at 66 Bold street where i met my future husband in a quantity surveyors office. Also I bought my wedding dress for £16 in the sale at the shop called ‘M.Rose Laffway’ up on the right hand side”.

“I remember The swans at the mardi- it was so loud I had a nosebleed!
Also I saw Peter Kay at the Life cycle before he became famous.
And the Bhunda Boys at Cafe Berlin.
Wilson’s Healthfood shop -where ‘News from nowhere’ now live.
Characters wandering around Bold street- Pete Burns, Will Sergeant, Holly Johnson,Ian McCulloch, JayneCasey, all the cool Liverpool musicians - Julian Cope etc…
I also remember the 50p shop, the fur coat shop (which we used to campaign against), Cafe society - a really cool clothes shop, and 69A used to live in Bold St as well.
And Nick Cave did a book reading from ‘And the ass saw the Angel’ at Waterstones- it was then situated in Reflex Bar where McMillan’s used to be.
Planet x was once home in MacMillan’s.”

“I have fond memories of the Mardi and MacMillans, where they played great music and I met some great Like minded people. They were places I found I fitted in, where I met the friends I still have and we remember our experiences there and long for them again, these places united us then and unite us still. Meeting anyone who used to go to the Mardi and Macs . Is like meeting an old friend, even if I’ve never met them before.”

“I always thought of Bold St as the bridge between people who came into the city to shop (in Church St) and people who live on the outskirts (such as Toxteth). Once it was the shopping area for the rich and then like the houses on Princes road fell into ruin. Bold St made a comeback and became a fashionable area for the young with 69A, Flip ,Mardi and Liverpool Palace. I didn’t wait to see designer shops + Coffee shops, I’d like to see an investment to bring the shops back to their former glory but a place of Art, Culture, Literature, Retro clothes and music from the people of Liverpool we have a lot to give.”

Liverpool Savings Bank…a living memory.

Liverpool Savings Bank, at one time a prominent and familiar banking corporation in Liverpool once had branches spread all over the city. Bold Street was no exception, many of the Bold Street memories collected over the period of the project mention the bank once at 93, 95 & 97 (now Rapid Hardware Furniture Shop, coming down from the top on the right hand side) which was once the main bank for the depositing of wages by Bold Street workers. It was taken over in the 70’s by Lloyds TSB.

Lesley, a lady I met at The League of Welldoers (Lee Jones Centre) on Limekiln Lane mentioned to me that she had once worked at the Bank and kindly agreed to write a story about the experience.

“I went for my interview at Liverpool Savings Bank Head Office in January 1973 – the letter said to report to the side door – no front entrance for me!!

I was shown into a small office right at the back of the banking hall – the space was vast – high ceiling and so many staff, mostly men and all in suits. Voices echoed from the counter although from where I stood you couldn’t see it – there were so many screens and people.

It’s hard to explain the smell – but all traditional banking halls had the same smell – of marble, polish and money!!

After the interview I was taken through the busy banking hall, managing a quick look at the high wooden counters, and then through a door which opened into a large stairwell. A grand staircase swept up to a first floor boardroom and offices, the impact of such a grand sight immediately made you want to whisper if it hadn’t already struck you dumb!!

I passed my interview and was sent to work at Waterloo Branch but as ‘junior’ I would go to Bold Street one a week to pick up the branch ‘bag’ that would contain internal mail - a great way to meet all the other branch juniors! One day Bold Street’s manager called me to one side and asked where my suit jacket was – I explained I didn’t have one – he was appalled, his opinion was that a female in trousers should wear them as a part of a suit (similar to the male staff) – I made sure I was wearing a skirt on all my other visits!

Many years later I actually got the chance to work at the branch although by then it was called TSB plc with the head office in another part of the country. The impressive boardroom had become a staff lunch room but the high wooden counter was still there as were the wonderful staircase and that unforgettable smell!!

I’ve got really happy memories of Bold Street branch even the cellars, which were a bit dank and spooky but held so many secrets. The floor was always a bit damp being below the water basin and much of the paper had water stains and smelt a bit funny but it was an amazing place to ferret around oops I mean tidy up!!”

Thank you to Lesley for this wonderful story.

Quentin Tarantino, FACT, Bold Street and Peter K’s…..


Tuesday 11th September saw Quentin Tarantino come to Liverpool to promote his new film Deathproof. Joan Burnett, the visitor services manager @ FACT was lucky enough to spend an evening in his charismatic company.

“What a guy! First, he wants to re-arrange his promotional trip to the UK to branch out from the usual round of London interviews to include Liverpool and Glasgow, as he said “to go somewhere working class”. Then when he gets here, he wants to sit in the audience to watch the film with them. He then announces he’s really fond of Cains 2008 ale and proceeds to drink a couple of bottles as the evening wears on. Quentin Tarantino, you’ve gone up in my estimation!

Death Proof is a pretty accurate rendering of seventies slasher movies, complete with in-yer-face girls and their not-so-happy endings. It falls into two distinct halves; in the first Stuntman Mike, played with impeccable cheesiness by Kurt Russell, gets his wicked way, while in the second half, it can only be said that girl-power wins out. If for nothing else, you should see this for the best car chase I have gasped at for a while - and as Mr T himself avowed, no CGI or special effects were used - Zoe Bell did all the work herself. Here we have a star turn. Ms Bell is a stuntwoman by trade and in Death Proof she certainly raises this speciality to an art-form. I was practically jumping out of my seat to cheer her on. No one has put a bit of scaff bar to such good use for a while even if I did have to look away…

Mr Tarantino took questions from the audience for over an hour, including some about his politics and his reaction to local protesters who had called him a mysogynist who glorifies violence against women for profit. He’s a great raconteur and obviously understands what makes an audience sit up and listen. It was a rare chance to see someone so lionised by the whole entertainment business talk openly and without pretension about their passion for creativity. he had some good pointers for up and coming creative people and a couple of good stories about his inspiration for the film.

A day later, the man was still in Liverpool and was seen whiling a mellow evening away with a few pints in Peter Kavanagh’s….he obviously meant what he said about wanting to see another side of the UK, away from the bright lights and corporate shindigs of the media world.”

While he was here Quentin was also seen wandering up and down Bold Street much to the shock and amusement of people on the street that day - it seems he was advised to do this by Samuel L Jackson who had the opportunity to explore the city during the filming of the 2001 film 51st State.

eighthundred. One day/eightphotographers/eighthundred Liverpool people.

As part of the celebrations for Liverpool’s 800th birthday a group of photographers got together to capture 800 portraits of Liverpool people. All the images were gathered over one day and features images by Bold Street contributor and well-known photographer Mark McNulty as well as images of Bold Street and her people.

The show is open until Sunday 9th September in the Grand Hall, Albert Dock.

For more information visit www.popcultured.co.uk

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