Category Archives: Events And Notable Dates
2010-12 is the celebration of 100 years of Girl Guiding in the UK. In 1962 I, a young teenager and enthusiastic Girl Guide, made a Log Book of the Movement which drew heavily on The Guider magazine which came regularly through our letterbox, and also more personally includes photographs of my mother, Peggy, as a Girl Guide in the 1930s. The log covers the period from when the Girl Guides first formed until the year of my birth. Here in all its unedited school exercise book glory it is…
Princes Boulevard in Toxteth, Liverpool, was once a bustling avenue, the home of wealthy merchants and many townspeople. Then local fortunes took a desperate downturn, the nadir being the Toxteth riots in 1981. But more recently things have begun to look up, as demonstrated for instance by The Gathering of May 2008, and today’s Big Lunch in this historic setting.
The 8th of March is International Women’s Day, an occasion to look both back and forward. We have here some photos and text reminding us gently how grim life was for working class women and children in the mills (and often for their mining menfolk too) a mere century ago. Happily, Wigan Pier and the canals are now a tourist destination alongside a modern Investment Centre; but around 1910 a different story – not least about the uses of water – was being told. The challenge remains to secure the same progress as we’ve seen here, in ensuring healthy and constructive lives for women and their families everywhere across the globe.
Here’s the text of this notice, displayed by the towpath at Wigan Pier:
When cotton was king
as told by a cotton worker circa 1910
It’s hot int’ mill wi’ lots o’ noise. On a nice day, we’ll take our lunch ont’ towpath an’ eat snaps* from’t snaps tins.
It’s a 5-and-a-half day week for us cotton workers, that’s 12 hours a day and half a day on Saturday.
We’ve all got nimble fingers , especially the Piecers’. They’re mainly children, who nip under the spinning machines to tie the broken cotton back together again.
Some of us work on the spinning machines and some on the carding machines. The mill takes a raw bale of cotton, cleans it, twists it and spins it into fine yarn.
The humidity in the mill keeps the cotton damp so it’s easier to spin without snapping.
There are five floors of machinery – all powered by the Trencherfield Mill Engine.
The noise is deafening – we stuff cotton from the floor in our ears to protect them. We communicate using ‘Me-Mawing’ – a mixture of sign language and lip reading.
We work in our bare feet because our clogs could spark on the concrete floor and set the cotton bales alight.
We wake early doors to the sound of the Trencherfield steam whistle summonin’ us t’mill for another day. But as they say – England’s bread hangs on Lancashire’s thread.
[* a snack favoured also by the men of Wigan, many of them miners, usually bread-and-dripping, with cold tea, carried in a flat tin called a snap-can – see George Orwell‘s The Road to Wigan Pier]
And here is the towpath which a century ago provided fresh air and respite for those mill workers as they ate their lunch-time snaps:
[Public display boards by Wigan Heritage Services]
The power of water
And so, strangely, we come full-circle.
Water – the canals, the steam – was the power behind the early production of textiles, employing many women and children in horrendous conditions, as the full logic of the Industrial Revolution took its vice-like grip on the emerging economies of what we have come to know as the ‘developed world‘; but even now in other parts of the globe water remains both a critical force potentially for good, and often an almost unattainable resource.
Women as water workers
Vast numbers of women and children in the developing world continue to toil many hours a day just to obtain water to sustain their very existence.
Life in places like Wigan was harsh and short for women and men, alike, a century ago. It remains, as Oxfam tells us in the topical context of International Women’s Day, particularly harsh even now for women in places such as Iraq, where water continues to be inaccessible for many.
The gendered meanings of sustainability
This is where we begin to understand what ‘sustainability‘ is really about…. the just and equitable distribution of basic physical resources and accessible socio-economic opportunities, for everyone, women as much as men, the world over.
In terms of future global sustainability and equity, as the Gender and Water Alliance also reminds us, water remains a critically gendered issue.
Read more about Gender & Women and about Sustainability As If People Mattered and Water; and see more photographs of around Liverpool & Merseyside.
Liverpool’s great St George’s Hall offered a splendid setting for the event at which Andy Burnham MP, Secretary of State for Media and Culture, offered thanks and encouragement to the people who had made such an effort to deliver the 2008 European Capital of Culture programme. Volunteers and officers alike congregated to hear the Culture Secretary say well done, and to muse on the challenges of 2009. This he opined, as do many of us, is only the beginning…
We were delighted this evening to attend the Private View of Joel Phelan‘s JoelBird paintings (acrylic on canvas) in the Coach House of Calderstones Park, Liverpool. Joel, a locally-born artist, is also a talented musician (JubJub / Eto The Band). He has created wonderfully life-like yet ‘designed’ impressions of birds which we see in our local parks. It would be great if these works inspired other younger people in the city to observe more closely the natural world around them.
Read more web reports on Liverpool, European Capital Of Culture and see more photographs of Locations & Events.
More information on Joel Phelan’s work: JoelBird
HOTFOOT 2008, in Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall on Sunday 7 September [NB: 7 pm], is the twelfth such annual concert. Promoted as ever by HOPES: The Hope Street Association, the theme for the city’s 2008 European Capital of Culture year is ‘Cafe Europe‘, with music devised by local children working alongside professional musicians from HOPES.
The RLPO finished their season in style this evening, with a sell-out BBC Proms concert in London’s Royal Albert Hall. There was a real excitement as the audience departed after the performance, matched by the sense of achievement RLPO players derive from working with Principal Conductor Vasily Petrenko. This is surely how professional orchestral musicians like to feel at the end of a year’s hard work.
A date at the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms is a highlight of the season for any orchestra, and this was no exception for the RLPO, an orchestra with a distinguished history. Vasily Petrenko and the RLPO‘s programme for the evening was the World Premiere of Graven Image for Orchestra by the RLPO’s Composer in the House, Kenneth Hesketh, Beethoven‘s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Minor, Opus 45 (soloist Paul Lewis) and the Rachmaninov Symphonic Dances, Opus 45, with Mussorgsky‘s Gopak as an encore.
And happily even those who couldn’t join the Proms audience in person were able at absolutely no cost to do so, as for every Prom, live via BBC Radio 3.
Reviews for the concert reflected the enthusiasm on the night.
But now the players are off for a well-earned break, applause still ringing in their ears….
See more of Hilary’s photographs: Camera & Calendar
and read more about Music, Musicians & Orchestras
Liverpool’s Operation Black Vote programme was launched today in our Town Hall. This ambitious movement intends to establish an emerging generation of politicians of all ‘races’, cultures and faiths, who have been mentored early in their careers by existing councillors. The event this evening demonstrated that OBV’s aim is shared by all our civic leaders, and that they believe they will indeed deliver.
Further information on Operation Black Vote.
Social Inclusion & Diversity
Camera & Calendar
2008 sees a new location for Monday Women in Liverpool. For a few months we’ll be meeting in El Rincon Latino, by Roscoe Street and Oldham Street in the new City Gate development at the top of Renshaw Street. It’s free to come; all women most welcome, first Monday of every month, from about 5.45 to 7.30-ish p.m.
El Rincon Latino is located on the corner of Roscoe Street and Oldham Street just one block up the hill from Renshaw Street. It’s immediately across from the multi-storey car park behind Leece Street Post Office, on the town side of Leece Street but still near St Luke’s, the ‘Bombed Church’. You can also get there via a very short walk up the hill opposite the main entrance to Rapid Hardware on Renshaw Street.
The address and postcode are Roscoe Street, L1 2SU (map); tel: 0151- 324 0454.
All you pay for is your supper and drinks, ordered as you wish from the bar, if / when you’d like some – but no obligation. (There’s a photograph of a sample menu below, right…) Our Chilean host, Francisco Carrasco, is also Director of All Things Latin (ATL) and tell us the cafe aims to serve food from across Southern and Central America, as the head chef is from Ecuador. The venue has many cultural links with Latin America.
If you have ideas about anything you’d really like to discuss or do when everyone meets, you can of course join the Monday Women e-group (absolutely free, quite voluntary) and suggest things beforehand. Other than that, the format of each Monday Women event is decided by those who are there – drinks and chat, debate, even this year perhaps post-meeting salsa classes… It’s your choice! Dates for 2008 are below.
Monday Women meeting dates for 2008 (all first Mondays of the month, 5.45-ish to approx. 7.30, please just come and go as you wish) are:
December 1st (special event, the annual Christmas Do!!)
To check any particular date please call the venue on 0151-324 0454.
Do join us. No need to book, just turn up whatever time you can; and bring your women friends as well…
We’d love to see you there.
Find out more here or visit the Monday Women message board.
Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture Year is finally launched.
First, we went to the pre-launch of the Liverpool Echo Arena on Friday 4 January.
Then we went to St George’s Plateau for the ‘People’s Opening’ on Friday 11 January, where after much frenetic construction all day Ringo Starr sang from a box on the roof of the Hall and we saw some fireworks and lights.
And finally we found ourselves in the Echo Arena again on Saturday 12 January for the formal opening of that venue and Liverpool’s 2008 events. The Arena ceremony offered a colourful performance of Liverpool – The Musical by artists ranging from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with Vasily Petrenko (who all played valiantly throughout the show) to performers such as Gary Christian, The Farm, Sense of Sound, Ringo Starr, The Welsh Choral Union and The Wombats.
And so began our city’s European Year of Culture….
Everyone worked very hard to make it all happen. The preparations were no doubt complicated and frantic, the general mood was convivial and fun, and the outcome was by and large convincing and festive.
This was certainly not the weekend to be negative; though it has to be said that there is a lot still to do. Watch this space….
(But after this posting we shall, I promise, begin once again to acknowledge the world outside Liverpool 2008.)
For more photographs please see also Camera And Calendar.