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Look what has happened here; Jade Wright discovers a history website that gives power to the people.

Byline: FOUNDERS: Eileen Barlex and Ben Tunstall

A REVOLUTION ARY new website is history in the making. Taking memories from local people, whatwashere.com is a ground-breaking new website designed to chronicle Liverpool's rich past and preserve it for future generations.

Huyton historian Eileen Barlex is working hard to get as many people as possible to log on and record their memories in time for the city's 800th birthday next year.

"It doesn't matter whether it's something big or just a little anecdote' if you know something that happened in Liverpool, put it on," says former Broughton Hall schoolgirl Eileen.

"I was brought up on the Longview estate and I remember growing up surrounded by fantastic stories. I remember my mother telling me that Edward Lear had written the Owl and the Pussycat at Knowsley Hall which wasn't far from us. It was the first time I'd thought about things happening near where we lived - that history had happened there."

Eileen studied at Ethel Wormald teacher training college before completing a masters degree in education. She now works for the Design Council and lives in London with her husband and two daughters.

She is now working to promote the site, which has been designed by Ben Tunstall and is based around the hugely popular Google maps. It lets people instantly publish the stories that matter to them on the spot where they happened.

"Users can discuss other people's stories,

use the timeline to go back in time, make connections between big and small events across the map," says Eileen. "It's a new way of using technology to chronicle and explore citizen history.

"It's a way of taking another look and saying what would it be like if history wasn't written just by historians, but by everyone? What would you write?

"Liverpool has such a rich and varied past and this website gives people the opportunity to post their own unique memories.

"You can contribute words and i photos to the site and associate them with a new or existing marker on an embedded Google map. From there it's easy to wind

back time and see what records are available for any century or decade."

The pilot started in Walton in March and expanded to the whole of Liverpool in September. In the New Year, Eileen and Ben plan to expand to the whole of the UK.

The site is full of interesting little quirks. When you're waiting for your query to take place, a nice little message tells you to "please wait - there's a lot of history to tell".

"We hope this is the beginning of citizen history, a more democratic approach to telling the stories of the people of Liverpool. History tends to be thought of with a capital H, a dusty school subject which doesn't happen to ordinary people. What we're looking to do is reclaim some of those stories and preserve them for future generations."

To find out more and add your own stories, log onto www.whatwashere.com

FormbyPoint, 1939-45

Home Safe I REMEMBER in the earlier days of the war standing on the beach at Formby Point watching the convoys come in to Liverpool from the Atlantic run. It was quite moving to see the grey embattled ships steaming intothe mouthof the Mersey, some still smoking form a torpedo attack, some listing and others down by the head. The attendant destroyers gave their distinctive siren whoops, safe for the moment at least, and obviously very glad to be home a

Trafalgar Dock, 1939-45

Awartime feast

AFTER the air raids had quietened down, when I was about 14, our local air cadet corps went to the docks (I know, don't ask me why air cadets were going to the navy) to visit the cruiser HMS Mauritius which was in a dry dock having a check over - although it didn't seem to be damaged.We had a great time aboard, being shown round the ship in all the nooks and crannies, and ended up being given dinner in the mess. In those days of rationing it seemed like heaven! What appeared was great mountains of food and a great atmosphere. I nearly pledged all egiance to the sea cadet corps. I remember thinking how little the bombs had affected the actual docks. The ware houses behind seemed to be the main victim.

Goodison Park, 1971

Alan Ball Breaks My Heart

AND just before Christmas too !When a nine-year-old boy gets his dream present -a pair of white footy boots, just like his idol's, only to see the flame haired genius become a Gunner. I'll admit it - I cried (and I think quite a few adult Blues did as well.)

Mulliner Street, 1973

I planted this tree

IT was as part of the national 'Plant a tree in 73' campaign. I was at Earle Road county primary school at the time. I vaguely remember a competition to draw a poster. I won and got to plant the tree - to be honest Bill the caretaker did most of it. It was a sycamore and it reached a decent size. Sadly the school was demolished around 2001 and the tree went with it.

Cadogan Street 1960

GROWING up in Piggy Muck Square, I can't remember what the square's official name was. It was bounded by Carlyle Street, Chichester Street, Cambridge Street and Cadogan Street. In the summer the older women would get a chair out of the kitchen and sit on the pavement outside one of their houses pretty much all day, drinking tea, chatting and knitting. All the houses were tiny two up two down terraces, with no bathroom and an outside toilet, and I doubt if many of them had running hot water -we didn't.

Moor Lane, 1959

Gulley Suckers

ON Moor Lane there was a council yard which is now built on When I was a kid in the 1950s, the gulley suckers that were used to clear blocked grids and drains used to drive in when their tanks were full of sludge. The tank on the back of the lorry would be raised up and all the sludge from the drains and grids would pour out on to the floor and be left to harden. As soon as the lorry drove a way, me and my mates would run out and start sifting through all this horrible smelly quagmire.We were after ollies - it was the graveyard for marbles! Another thing you found was money. I remember finding two half crowns and feeling like the richest boy in Walton. There was also a sand pit in the yard and I remember finding a rabbit burrow in it - I took a baby rabbit home for a pet and its mother followed me home to Breeze Lane

Orrell Lane, 1960s

Orrell ParkBallroom

DO you remember the Orrell Park ballroom?Its entrance was next tomy mum's hairdresser shop in the 1960s and I went to a few dances there when I was a teenager. It had those a wful ultraviolet lights which made white things (including your underwear) glow in the dark.

CAPTION(S):

ALL TOGETHER NOW: Toxteth Co-operative Society shop and staff, Windsor Street, taken in around 1900 ' BEDREST: Award in Fazakerley hospital for consumptives from the medical officer of health's annual report, 1910 ' ACTION STATIONS: ARP rescueparty training at Dove Street, Liverpool, January 1939 and right, a Luftwaffemapshowing Garston docks asatarget, May 1939 ' ONTHE PROM: People walking between the Old Dockand New Dockat Garston in 1 ' SPUD-U-LIKE :Old Swan potato market, 1937
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 16, 2006
Words:1255
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