Archive for the 'Bold Street News' Category

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 and

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 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 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.


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

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

Finished! (And this is just the beginning)


We uploaded a new set of images to Flickr. Not the best photography but hopefully some sneak preview/ behind the scenes / work in progress shots of pulling together an exhibtion in install week. The install week shots and a few of the best from the Private View (which we all thoroughly enjoyed) are on Flickr. We’d love to see your shots there too!

So after months of preparation The Bold Street Project is live and ready for visitors. Initial feedback was great - and I think Laura will be writing more about that soon. If you’ve seen it, please share you thoughts here on the blog and your photos online and help us make it even better.

The Future of Bold Street…

Over the course of the past six months many people have expressed concern and interest in what the future holds for Bold Street. Having transformed from residential street to wealthy shopping avenue, ghost town to haven for independent traders, the street has constantly evolved. On June 26th 2007, local filmmaker John Scotland hit the street to find out what the people think lies next ahead for Bold Street……

Click here to watch


Top Ten

10 Interesting FACTS about Bold Street to dazzle your friends, you’ll be a hit in your local pub with these pearls of wisdom.

1. Bold Street was laid out in the 1770’s
2. The street is named after Jonas Bold a local slave owner, merchant and banker.
3. The Lyceum was built to house a gentlemen’s club and was the first subscription library in Europe.
4. Number 100 Bold Street was built to house Louis Daguerre’s Diorama and opened it’s doors in 1825.
5. C.Ferranit, father of Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti innovator in the development of electrical engineering was born at 130 Bold Street in 1864.
6. Phillip George Barraud developed the idea for the famous HMV logo His Masters Voice whilst practicing from 92 Bold Street
7. During the 1980’s, a development plan known as the Shankland Plan proposed to totally cover Bold Street in glass thus making it an indoor shopping area.
8. There are a few apparent secret passages underneath the pavement in Bold Street, one has been discovered running from Foners to an unknown location – the reasons for this are unknown.
9. Bold Street is the first place Doris Mercer (project contributor) saw a poodle.
10. Famous bands including, The Beatles, The Smiths, Maximo Park, the Stone Roses, The Swans, New Order, Midge Ure and Echo & The Bunnymen have all played on Bold Street.

Contributors and Supporters


So many people have contributed, collaborated and supported this project, they are in no particular order:

Debbie and Simon from National Gas Archives, Joseph Sharples, David Lewis
Steve Binns, Everyone @ FACT, Trudy & Lesley from Madam Foners, Douglas from Puscka, Sean Halligan, Dave Woods, Simon Robertshaw, Mandy from News From Nowhere, Liverpool Record Office, Lancashire Record Office Preston, Kate Cowie Utility, David from David’s hair design, Gordon from Minskys, Doris Mercer, Doreen Preston, Liz Gould Greenpeace, Peter Gorman, Audrey Thomas, Roger Hill, Roger Phillips, Annie Davies, Karen Jeff’s of Bold Street, June Ross and Tina Emma Bridal Wear Bold Street, Margaret Peter Kay photography Bold Street, Gordon Hill, Jim Flinn, Amy Deegan, Agnes Curnow, Mrs Gorman, Stewart Watts F.A Welch, John from Radiant House, Margi Clarke, Peter Blaze, Colin Wilkinson, Mrs Brown, Mr O’Donnell, Mrs Doyle, Lesley Cantor, Jean Carlow, Jean Grant, Jo Abley North West Film Archive, Stephen Blundell., Florence Gurston, Katie Chadwick National Museums Liverpool, Pamela Raman Lord Mayors Office, Mark Jones Mardi Gras, Bold Street Bill, Phil (Busker), Barry(Busker) Jeff Davis Probe Records, Johnathan Helga (Shed KM), David Cafe 53, Keith Fireside World, Bernard Fallon, Ambrose Reynolds Urban Strawberry Lunch, Jed Oxfam, David J Colbran, Kate McNichol Merseyside Police, Jayne Casey, Patrick L A Productions, Joanna Rowland National Museums Liverpool, Ramsay Campbell, Anne Gleave National Museums Liverpool, Liverpool Medical Institute, Looks Leather Goods, Arabella Stewart, Victoria Skeet & Emily Burnigham The National Trust, Sean Hawkridge, Jegsy Dodd, Frederick Jones University of Liverpool, Alun Parry Busker of the Year, Brian Beamish, Bren O’Callaghan, Doreen Potter, Lesley and Ian at the League of Welldoers, Ron Formby at Scottie Press, The Down Memory Lane Group at the Lee Jones Centre, Karen Sampson at Llyods TSB group archives, Bernard Fallon, Ken Marsden, Frank Green artist , Fred O’Brien , David Charters at Post and Echo, Mark McNulty, Olivia Greenberg, Radio Merseyside, Ciara Moloney, Jonathan Swaine, all of our Flickr friends, Sarah-Jane Langley, Dolly, John, Vera, Kath, Mark H, Mark D, Steve, Warren, Mavis, Steve and many many more.

And obviously a big thanks to everyone on Bold Street past and present.

If we’ve forgotten you, we’re sorry!

The Bold Street Project in Metro

An interview with Katie Lips about The Bold Street Project, Metro, Wednesday 27 June 2007.

Metro 27.6.07

I’m Sticking With You!

Just gone to print are these Bold Street Stickers - a perfect addition to your laptop, jacket, bag, phone or fridge, the stickers will available on Friday in Ropewalks Square from 5.30.

These stickers are the new black and are set to be a must have this summer, don’t leave home without yours.

The Day they shut Bold Street

January 18th 2007 was a very windy day. So windy in fact, that they shut the street! More images of a closed Bold Street are now on Flickr.

Bold Street on the TV on Flickr

We’re uploaded more of our 15 minutes of fame pictures to Flickr. As Patrick blogged a few days ago, the Bold Street Project Private View Invitations made it all the way to the Hollyoaks set. So if you’re a Hollyoaks fan you might spot the Bold Street Project on the TV in a few weeks’ time. More of our Hollyoaks pics are now on Flickr, where we’ll be adding more of our amazing news stories!

Bold Street on set…


Our Bold Street Postcards have been in circulation for several weeks now and some have turned up on the set of popular soap opera Hollyoaks.

Keep an eye out for Bold Street material in the background of episodes being screened in July. Big thanks to Lime Pictures for supporting our project.

Take a closer look at the set picture above…..

Thank You!

Following yesterday’s Radio Merseyside Interview with Pete Wylie, we have been receiving a high volume of calls from the public telling us their Bold Street Stories.

We had over 40 phone calls yesterday alone and the BBC Radio Merseyside Switchboard was a blaze.

Please keep your stories coming, the number again is:

0151 324 1555 

Bold Street and the historic story of Nipper


This is Nipper, famously known as the dog in the “His Master’s Voice” painting by Francis Barraud, and more famously known as the icon for HMV. Nipper sadly died in London in 1895 so how is he linked to Bold Street, Liverpool? Well, it would seem Nipper listened to his owner Francis Barraud’s phonograph and ‘appeared curious as to where the sound came from’. Some three years after Nipper died, Francis Barraud painted the scene of Nipper listening to the phonograph and called his work “Dog looking at and listening to a Phonograph”. He completed it in 1898.


According to this website, Barraud (above) then decided to rename the painting “His Master’s Voice” and tried to exhibit it at the Royal Academy. He was turned down, and many people he showed the painting were confused as to the scene. Following some thought and alterations to the original picture, The Gramophone Company bought the painting and the image appeared in the Gramophone Company’s advertising in 1900.


And the rest of the story we know; “His Master’s Voice” eventually turned into “HMV’ the ubiquitous Music Brand (also now on Bold Street in Liverpool). Erik Ostergaard tells the full tale via is website and further commentary is available on the DesignBoom website. In our own Bold Street research however, Laura has managed to uncover yet more on this tale.

This is from an essay enclosed in a letter from Philip Barraud to David Chandler Esq. at the National Portrait Gallery in 1985.

“Another Barraud photographer who is perhaps not so well known was Philip George (1859-1929) in Liverpool, a very much younger son of Henry and brother of Herbert. Born in 1859 he does not seem to have done much in the business line until he became engaged to his future wife, Amy Ingham. Eventually he started business as a photographer in Bold Street, Liverpool. Certainly he was in business there when his older brother, Mark Henry died in 1887, because his brother Francis James (who followed Herbert at Mayalls in London;) went to Liverpool, taking with him his dead brother’s dog “Nipper”, the subject of the painting “His Master’s Voice” which became the trademark of H.M.V Gramophone Co. It was in the photographic studio in Liverpool that the dog listened to the phonograph and the idea for the picture of born.”

So there we have it, even though Nipper lived in Kingston Upon Thames, it was in Liverpool, in a photographic studio on Bold Street that Nipper first listened to the phonograph!

For more information see:

Nine Inch Nails meet Bold Street Bill

The sleeve of this Jonas Thomassen & JT Scam CD - on which they cover NiN’s hurt - appears to show Bold Street Bill. Title of the CD is “Bold Street” …. anyone know anything else?
Jonas Thomassen & JT Scam

‘Portobello Road’ plan for Bold Street

Bold Street has been in the news again this week. Jessica Shaughnessy writes a lively piece for the Liverpool Daily Post on plans to transform Bold Street ‘Portobello Road’ style.

“Under a programme of events being put in place by the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, the city could see a series of small festivals, including in Concert Square and the Albert Dock as well as a gay parade.” 

Read the full article on the Daily Post’s website.

Farewell to Asha


“When I first came to Liverpool, nobody had even seen an aubergine and hadn’t heard of things like green chilli or coriander”
is perhaps one of the quaintest statements I have read in association with Bold Street since I started working on this project. But sadly, whilst I like the idea that Bold Street introduced aubergines to the diners of Liverpool, the news article this is taken from has a somewhat sadder tone. Asha, Liverpool’s oldest restaurant a Bold Street institution is set to close. You can read Caroline Innes’ article and interview with Asha’s Dipak Choudhury for the Liverpool Daily Post here.

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