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The capital city of my childhood; MY CITY.


AS A CHILD in the 1960s, I saw Liverpool from the outside - quite literally, in fact - from my bedroom window across the Mersey, in Higher Bebington. Looking out, beyond the roofs of neighbouring houses, the vista of Liverpool spread from the city centre on the left across to Speke on the right.

The smoke-blackened Liver Building dominated the view. The red sandstone tower of the Anglican Cathedral was another obvious landmark - joined, in 1967, by the Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral. In 1969, St John's Beacon was added to the view: a towering symbol of 1960s progress and Harold Wilson's "white heat of technology". On a clear day, I could see aircraft as they came into land at the airport, while oil tankers drifted slowly upriver.

Everyday shopping was done five minutes' walk away on Teehey Lane - weekly shopping in Birkenhead - but when my parents needed to do some serious shopping, that took us over to Liverpool. For a 10-year-old boy, trailing around Liverpool's large stores was an ordeal - but the journey made it worthwhile. I recall my awe when we drove through the road tunnel with its Art Deco-inspired walls, knowing that the murky waters of the Mersey lay above us. Then there were the electric trains of the Underground and a glimpse, perhaps, of Liverpool Central high level station.

But the ferry crossings were best, catching a glimpse of a liner like the Empress of Canada, bound for Montreal, or Blue Funnel ships from the Far East. As a boy, Liverpool - not London - was my capital city.

| David is signing copies of his book, Escaping Suburbia: A 1960s Merseyside Childhood, at Linghams Booksellers, Heswall, from 2pm-3pm today.


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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 29, 2020
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