Liverpool Then and Now

Written by Daniel K. Longman
The History Press, paperback, £12.99

Reviewed by Tom Bottle

Sometimes you've just got to bring something to the party to get the best out of a book. Daniel K. Longman has come up with a simple but effective format which ad me laughing then crying with nostalgia for places I have been to and others long gone and demolished fifty years before I was born.

Photographs of Williamson Square (1921) show a couple of horses and carters getting over another late night at the Star Variety Hall, now the Liverpool Playhouse.

Rose-tinted imaginings of packed houses then give way to Williamson Square today in a run of the mill polaroid and ploddding text listing - Pronuptia Bridalware, Shikers cafe, and BetFred "founded by Salford Brothers Fred and Peter Done."

Williamson Square to me, mid 199s, is hotfooting it from the Adelphi Hotel (manning a Cuba Solidarity stall at a banking union ho-down) to hook up with Doddy (side-kick who only came along for the banker's bin-lid cakes) and the Cuban ambassador. Yeah, Carlos had come up from London, and when his eyes started glazing over talking shop, I gave Doddy the nod to show him around town. I caught up with them in Ladbrokes, Williamson Square. Then we advised Carlos, buying a pair of shoes in Clarks on the corner.

The photographs are all there - tram railed London Road, Church Street, St John's Gardens, and the Children's Infirmary on Myrtle Street.

The book lacks the details - whether it's Daniel K's or not - to bring it alive. That's where you come in.

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