Liverpool’s Hope Street Celebrates The Queen’s Jubilees And The 2012 Olympics

Hope Street in Liverpool has long been a place for celebrations.
The street, deservedly famed for its music and theatre, links Liverpool’s two cathedrals north-to-south, and its universities and colleges, east-to-west. It is inevitable therefore both that the Queen should visit Hope Street many times – not least in 1977 for her Silver Jubilee – and that the Olympic torch should be paraded along Hope Street (today, 1 June) as part of its three month tour of the UK before finally reaching the 2012 London Olympiad.

 A few days earlier (17 May 2012) the Queen had been in Liverpool to mark her Diamond Jubilee, and she took a trip in the rain on the famed Yellow Duckmarine; but today (1 June 2012) people who awaited the Olympic flame saw visitors travelling in that strange vehicle blessed with brilliant sunshine:

In 1977 the Silver Jubilee was a more elaborate affair, initiating as it did the first Hope Street Festival, a programme of events led by Andrew Burn with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, alongside original Hope Street visionaries such as Adrian Henri and Paddy Byrne.

Our personal roles in these events of thirtyfive years ago, long before our dreams of the re-birth of Hope Street became a reality, were modest. We had come to Liverpool when Tony (Martin Anthony Burrage) joined the RLPO as a violinist on Decimal Day 1971, and he was therefore a member of the Orchestra for the performance of Malcolm Williamson’s specially commissioned Pageant for the Queen; and I, a student teacher at the time, spent an entire week somehow constructing ‘sheep costumes’ for thirty small children who comprised a tiny proportion of the two thousand school pupils involved in the Pageant.

 And so to 1 June 2012, when the occasion might be different but the opportunity for some to wave the Union flag arose yet again.  The bunting came out and crowds began to gather by the Metropolitan Cathedral at about 4pm. By 5pm there were thousands on the street.

The wait was lengthy – a confusion somewhere about the expected time of arrival of the Olympic torch bearer from Knotty Ash, we were told- but with the usual local exuberance entertainment was on hand…

… and eventually the assembly of (sponsor) vehicles and zany processionists arrived to alert us to the approaching Olympic flame bearer.

The handover outside Philharmonic Hall was over in a moment, with many keen to ‘help’ the transition from one runner to the next.

Then the torch was once more on its way, drawing together the communities of Liverpool whilst, as we have witnessed many other times, we followed the ceremonial linking of our city’s two great cathedrals.

And so it was all over. What to do next?

We had the perfect solution.  In an atypical moment of true English-style nostalgia we went with my Mum to Hope Street Hotel for afternoon tea.

Posted on June 1, 2012, in HOPES: The Hope Street Association, Liverpool And Merseyside, People And Places, Photographs And Images, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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