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Transcript of 'People's City'

Chair: Janet Dugdale
Speakers: Ray Costello, John Belsham and Frank Carlyle.

Janet Dugdale: Welcome to the third in a series of public forum about some of the subjects and themes we will be covering in the new Museum of Liverpool. It’s great to see so many people here this evening, as we are getting up to different festive seasons, depending on people’ backgrounds and beliefs. Good to see so many of you. I’m Janet Dugdale, I’m director of urban history for the Museum of Liverpool project. We’re really excited about this project we’re building a brand new museum for the city. Our ambition is that it will be one of the leading city history museums in the world, and that it’s one of the best places for creating a museum about a city, and about the people of the city is Liverpool because it is a prime example of the huge range of stories and histories in term of world history. We’ve looked at some of the other areas that we are developing the museum around in terms of themes. We’ve looked at Port City and Global City, and our final discussion and debate will be on 20th February when we look at creative City. But today we’re focusing on People’s City and we’re really keen to have your input into the themes. The speakers we’ve got here tonight – Ray Costello, John Belsham and Frank Carlyle, there’s information on your sheet about all of them. We’ve asked them to come here in a personal capacity and to pick a subject that links to the theme and talk about it for ten minutes or so. And the idea is to get us all thinking and responding. So they are here in a personal capacity. We haven’t told them what to say, although we would be interested to know as we’re really interested in what you’re saying. And one of the things I’d like you to think about and help us with, is we’re creating a gallery about the people of the city – how can we make sure that social history is different, that when we go into this museum, and part into this gallery you really know you’re in Liverpool. So bear that in mind as you think about questions and discussions we’ll have later on.

One of the things we’re going to do just after that is just to take you through the gallery itself, and some of the broad themes we are covering, just so you have an idea about how we are starting to look at the subject in the Museum of Liverpool. And if anyone wants to know about the project, we’re happy to talk to anyone at the end of it. We’re building on the site at the moment. The lift shafts are at full height and some of the steel work is starting to get into place. The whole building, from the outside, will be finished at the end of 2008, beginning of 2009. Then we’ll be fitting out the inside of the museum, and then end 2009, during 2010 we’ll be installing all the exhibitions. We’re aiming for around 9,000 objects. There’ll be a lot of items from our collections as well as a lot of words, photographs, films and stories, and oral testimony about the city.

Right, Ray, what makes a Scouser?

Ray Costello: Well that is a question, what makes a Scouser? Right, the three of us gave been given 10 minutes each. But somehow, I’m looking at Frank [laughing] don’t think you’ll do it in 10. God job we’re good friends.

12th December today, only 6 days after St Nicholas’ Day. Day of special significance to Liverpool because the old way of judging a Scouser was to say ‘a person born within the sound of St Nicholas’ bells’. A person born within St Nicholas’ bells would be called a Dickie Sam in the 18th century, rather like Cockneys are those born within the sound of Bow bells. That lasted until sometime in the 19th century – not sure when and we’re not quite sure when Scouser came in. That would be a smashing competition you know! The Oxford Concise does that – when did you first hear, where can you get the first reference to a Scouser? A competition I would love to hear. Now, the building of the canals in the late industrial revolution brought in a population growth – Liverpool was a sleepy little village then – to the thriving township, something nearer towards what we know today. It happened really about the beginning of the 1700 with the onset of the slave trade, and its this growth that I think presents me with an interesting slant, because if this is the case and it certainly is from an economic point of view, then people of African descent in the city, Scousers, are amongst the first. Those Black settlers had fought in every one of Britain’s wars since before the American War of Independence. French wars, American War of Independence, Waterloo, Crimea – I’ve got Black Liverpudlians fought in the Dragoons at Waterloo in my records. Certainly we’ve got Black Liverpudlians born in Liverpool since the 1750s. And an example of a Dickie Sam of African descent is on the front page of St James’ records which is a segregated front page, very convenient for the likes of us who do this sort of research. One is given an address called the Old Dock which is now Canning Place, and the dockland around there was the first dock in the city, probably Frank will be talking about that for all I know, was George the son of Mercurious Stevens from Antigua, baptised 6th August 1795. A Dickie Sam born within the sound of St Nicholas’ church, a true Scouser. Another is Thomas, the son of Jack Brown, an American described as a native of Savannah, Georgia was baptised August 26th 1785. Most of those early ones were really Black loyalists, those people who had remained loyal to Britain at the time of the American War of Independence. What happened was they were actually shipped back with the British troops when Britain lost its colonies. And they settled in London, but in order to get to London where do you come through? You come through the western seaboard port of Liverpool, among others including Bristol. And it’s from there that we really get the build up of a Black population, anything like a small Black population. Now, you can find references to sailors in being born in Liverpool in Board of Trade papers down in the Public Record Office, parliamentary papers, Williamson advertiser, local 18th century newspapers, broadsheets at the time advertising runaways now living in such and such a place. And what they do is, if you had a slave or a runaway servant they frequently go to where they know they’ll be safe and that is why probably you did have a build up of a Black population in those early days. I’m not saying that with great emphasis but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case because that was the way things were. there another later Dickie Sam, John archer. John Archer until very recently was thought to be Britain’s first Black mayor, born 1863 in Blake Street just behind Lime Street station. He became Britain’s first Black mayor in 1913 – I thought like everyone else he was the first one but in actual fact he wasn’t. You can’t be finite about these things. Up to now he is the second, there was one 9 years earlier but you can’t be certain because so few people have actually studied the history of the Liverpool Black population that you keep on making mistakes, keep on saying ’oh gosh, that wasn’t the first’. Now, John of course, people didn’t realise that you could get Black Scousers, so you find out at the time he was actually elected as mayor, mayor of Battersea down in the London area. You find that newspaper were calling him - because he was mixed race as well which confused things more, didn’t look entirely like an African – was he born in Rangoon or is he Burmese? Was his mother born in Rangoon? But the Daily Express recorded and interviewed John and recorded Johns’ reply to the wild conjecture in the media about his ethnic origins:
“I’m the son of a man born in the west Indian islands”, he said. “I was born in England in a little obscure village not heard of until now called Liverpool.” he was being facetious because it was the second city in the empire at the time. “I am a Lancastrian, born and bred”, don’t forget that we were part of Lancashire in those days. “My mother, well she was my mother. She was not born in Rangoon, she was not Burmese. She belonged to one of the grandest races on the face of the earth. My mother was an Irish woman. [laughs] so there is not so much the foreigner about me after all”. Older Black Scousers have been confused since these times. Even quite recently they’ve come under the egis of immigrants, then illegal immigrants, then asylum seekers, then illegal asylum seekers, then migrant workers, but they are none of those things. They are a 250 years old, 300years old population that is unique in this city. Doesn’t exist anywhere else in this country or in Europe. That long.

The seamen’s strike of 1905-11 threw up some problems, because there were parts of Liverpool that did not know there were Black Scousers, so you find the seaman’s strike confusing Black Liverpudlians with the fact that it was said that foreign seamen from Mauritius etc and Arab seamen were actually paid at a lower rate. Wasn’t entirely true but was thought to be the truth. Black Scousers weren’t, they were paid the same rate of course but it caused a rift between poor white and poor Black at the time and we see have a little bit of that going on now. But it led to the alien restriction act of 1925, lasted until 1935. And what happened was, if a policeman found a Black person on the street or a person of colour as they were politely known on the street they were put in the local Bridewell – that’s the little prisons, cells attached to police stations. or sometimes freestanding Bridewells like the one on Cornwallis street if they didn’t have a pass book, because in order to keep a check on who they were Black seamen, Black Liverpudlians, males were forced to carry a passbook, like the do in SA. Imagine the terrible feelings they had about that as they were sometimes 10 and 12 generations old in Liverpool, since some had family born in 1750 they soon had a problem with that. Now, the reason why this happened was they were not legally supposed to do so, but they kept on being picked up by the police and pt in the Bridewells. So what the local bobbies, who knew them all by name in those days, ‘Aye Jimmy, why don’t you just register for one of those things. If you keep on getting picked up by the lads… Why don’t you register yourself as a seaman and you know, so you don’t get hassled, get this book to produce.” Now, that did happen so people still felt tremendously angry at having to carry them when they were more Scouse than some people, say, of Norwegian descent or other descent who had come in later, towards the end of the 19th century say. Now this Scouse humour comes through, certainly in the Black community but there’s one case I was told of by an old person who actually remembers these passes. His white mother, because it’s a mixed race population in the 300 years, turning up at the Bridewell, bored and rolling her eyes saying, “Can we have our Tommy back now, his tea’s ready”. [laughter] she’d done it so many times before.

You can have adopted Scousers of course, people like Roger Phillips. I was saying yesterday on [BBC Radio] Merseyside that he keeps telling us he’s an adopted Scouser. People like James Clark, Black Scouser, adopted one. Arrived as little boy, Street called after him down in the Eldonian area. Famous swimmer. Also a person who challenged the local authorities to putting swimming on the school curriculum in the same way that Kitty Wilkinson plying her grass roots action forced the authorities to actually take up the issue of cleanliness and free water for everybody, and wash houses and those sorts of things.

Another legal active group of Liverpudlians are well behaved Liverpudlians. a lot of Liverpudlians are well behaved. If you look at anagrams on the net as I did a few days ago you’ll find one anagram is ‘Liverpudlian’ ‘eruptive’ [indistinct] and ‘villains’. Another one is ‘Dick, run, all thieves’. Another one is ‘villains, prude’.

My mum’s old uncle, William James was born in the 1800’, Black Scouser. Said, “you know what it is? When I go on the ships everyone is jealous of Scousers. We’re just a little bit too quick for them, too quick witted”, he said. “I don’t know where they get them from. You get from the sticks, back of beyond. But he was convinced that everyone was sort of slightly missing something simply cos they weren’t a Scouser. I don’t know what the final ingredient to being a Scouser is but what I do know is when you do meet one you certainly know you have. Thanks very much. [applause]

Janet Dugdale: Now John’s going to talk about how this place impacts on identity

John Belsham: Thank you very much. I’ll start off by saying if the wind is blowing sufficiently strongly I would qualify as a cockney, since I was brought up in West Ham. But it does take a fair old breeze to do that but I want to argue passionately against identity and place being seen as some sort of essential link because I think that is terribly wrong. What I want to argue really is that Liverpool really acquires its distinctive identity in the 19th century. Now it becomes really very, very exciting and interesting and cosmopolitan way the 20th century, alas it throws all that away. And it becomes a city with real image and identity problems. So I say this as a starting point being a 19th century historian, and it is the period that I love, but if we think about what’s happening in the late 18th-19th century, huge population rise all around this part of northern England and so on but most places become really rather monocultural places, really rather boring places. If you live in a sort of Lancashire village, you move into Manchester. If you live into the West Riding you move into Leeds. So Manchester becomes a little bit more like south eastern Lancashire, Leeds becomes a little bit more like the West Riding. Liverpool’s growth is completely different. Liverpool grows through long distance migration. So it’s not simply moving there to reinforce your regional character, but you have to create something distinctive because it is a city of in-migrants. Which is why I don’t like the notion of saying, “look a Dickie Sam is someone who must have been born within a certain space”. Actually, while I thinking about that do have a look at the 750th celebrations. I don’t know if we did a particularly good job with our 800th thing because the correspondence columns of the daily Post in 1957 were full of letters about eh origins of Dickie Sam and also the origins of Scouser. And according to the editor, well he brings and end to it because it’s becoming too overwhelming, and decides that in spite these notions of a Dickie Sam being a gang leader or relating to some pub landlord, it actually meant ‘imitation American’ and it was a reflection Liverpool’s highly special relationship with those people across the pond,. And similarly it identifies the use of Scouse coming in, surprise surprise, in Scotty Road just after the First World War, so that lobscouse really is Irish stew by any other name.

But like some of the Irish influx is really indicative of what I’m getting at, Liverpool grows initially through its command of that private inland sea, the Irish sea, which is why we get Irish, Welsh, Manx, Scots – an incredible Celtic compound here. It makes Liverpool of the 19th century fantastically interesting because it’s the most un-English of the English cities; that makes it a place apart, because Liverpool undeniably is a place apart but it’s a place apart not because it has its own indigenous natives – no – it’s because it is always attracted people into it. It has always been a place of movement, it has always been a maritime place. You come in with the tide and go out with the tide. So we get the immigration starting through the Irish sea. As we move further into the 19th century as party of that very, very necessary rebranding that Liverpool has to go through after the abolition of the infamous and horrific slave trade, Liverpool begins to see itself not just as a port that can command the Irish Sea but the port than can command the Atlantic and the oceans beyond, hence it does build up that relationship with America and we become the Dickie Sams. But then Liverpool becomes the great transhipment port, the great place, the place which links the old world and the new, I mean really. It seems to me that Liverpool landing stage, that tremendous cosmopolitan place, is the Ellis Island of the old world, the last place that some people see. But then of course there are people who are hoping that will be last place of the old world they see but in fact they wind up stuck there, because there are many people in that human traffic of migration throughout the 19th century who through hard luck, misadventure, whatever sheer ill fortune, end up stuck in Liverpool unable to make the progress beyond, their intended movement into the new world. You might say there are some who get to Liverpool and say, ‘why should they go anywhere else – it’s so bloody fantastic’. I’m sure there are ones like that but you do get this very, very interesting mixture in the 19th century of not only that terrific long distance Celtic migration, but all these moving Europeans and others, some of whom are here temporarily, others who are transient and others who stay, whether intentionally or not. So we get Liverpool then, it is a genuine melting pot in a way you couldn’t possibly describe Manchester, Leeds or other provincial cities. That’s part and parcel, I think of what is leading Liverpool to have these great second metropolis, second city of empire pretentions because being the great sea port it’s also the great centre of commerce, and commerce is something that is placing it above nasty, dirty industry and manufacturing, the stuff that places away from here do but a Liverpool gentleman would never do. Now that cosmopolitan image is what is attracted Charles Dickens, what attracts a whole range of people to say that Liverpool has as a distinctive cosmopolitan culture. Liverpool is this great contact zone between different ethnic groups.

Why does it not stay like that? It has this tremendous advantage over where I was bought up, in the sense that if thinking about London and you wanted to see something a little bit different you had to go down and out into darkest England, you had to make the great journey to the east end to see the docks, whereas Liverpool has docks as city centre, Irish settlement all banged together so that’s what makes it so demographically significant and different from other places. You’ve got everybody encountering people. but the further you move in towards the 20th century that changes. What made Liverpool distinctive alas does not persist. And the Liverpool develops the most segregated pattern of housing and residence that I can think of. And you can see this in all sorts of ways, You can see this in the fact that Toxteth becomes known as the new Harlem of Liverpool. You can see it also not just between what we might call, forgive me for the use of language which is incorrect, between races but you can even see it within a common, supposedly ethnic group, You know you get tremendous divisions between what is Orange Liverpool and Green Liverpool, but you are also getting a division between what is Black Liverpool and what is white Liverpool. Now this was a nonsense in those great cosmopolitan sailor-town days of the 19th century , and its seems to me that what I very, very much hope that Liverpool is going to do as its about to enter to European Capital of Culture year is it will try to recreate some of that cosmopolitanism which was once there. I think it is totally fraudulent to say Liverpool is the whole in one city, the strapline which actually got us European Capital of Culture. It used to be and let it be again but alas with all the problems and difficulties it has Liverpool went from being cosmopolitan city to being segregated city, and as segregated city issues about how place relates to your identity become very contentious and very nasty. So think in part I would rather when I think about Liverpool, forgive me for saying it, relapse into being a Victorian historian because I think I prefer Victorian Liverpool to 20th century Liverpool. I’ll leave it at that.

Janet Dugdale: Thank you, Frank Carlyle. Is there such thing as Liverpool spirit? Not much time to cover a lot of the topic and get people talking so over to Frank.

Frank Carlyle: My legs are stiff. [laughter] That’s all that I know. Is there any spirit in these. First and foremost, have to thank Ray and John because they mentioned jealousy before. Their kid said ‘they’re jealous of us’. John mentioned Celtic because we are so diverse from anything that the country has to offer. We got the European Capital of Culture - I’ll tell you how we got it, and it was the spirit of Liverpool. It was the spirit of the people. That what’s got it. Have we got spirit? We have. We’ve got bags of it. We’ve got tonnes of it. I’ll tell you for why.

Sir Jeremy Isaacs, one of the judges who came up to Liverpool, with Tessa Sanderson and a few others. Now don’t forget these people have been to Cardiff, Oxford, Birmingham, up to Newcastle,. And Jeremy Isaacs said “I’m going for a bevy” That what he said. And he went on his own. And he went into a pub, just a pub, and he said, “Have you got such a beer?” Now he’d asked in Newcastle, Cardiff, Bristol – did I mention Oxford? Did I? And these other wonderful places that were vying for the European Capital of Culture 2008. Not one of them, not one of these pubs in any of those cities, those wonderful cities could supply him. So he walked in and he asked. And the barman went, “What is it?” and he asked, mentioned it named, it. And he said “I’m sure we’ve got some of that in the cellar, we’ve got them in here”. Now don’t forget, these cities were vying for the European Capital of Culture. These were four people who had come all over, not just around the world but from Europe. And he said, “I’ve got one of them”. So he goes away and there’s two fellas at the bar, two ordinary Liverpool lads, and you know what we’re like – “What’s that you’re asking for mate?” They didn’t know who he was. He said “I’ve asked for this beer” “What kinda beer’s that? Never heard of that.” So anyway the barman came back and he went “Here ya go, that’s it isn’t it?” And he went “That’s great!” And the lads went “Ah mate, we’ll get that and give us another 2 of them. they must be good”. That’s what you call spirit. That’s what you call communication. that’s what you call warmth, Friendliness. And that’s what we’re renowned for. I’m going back to this time of the year in 1565. December 28th. And it was known as The Great Storm. The Great Storm. In fact it was a hurricane. Think about this. It’s the Tudor period, everything was built from wood. And this storm devastated this little town. Devastated it! Everything was blown away including the jetty that went out into the Mersey. And John Cross who was the mayor at the time, came out, seen the devastation – this was everything gone, everything except that tower down the bottom of Water Street. That was built for Lord Derby because Lord Derby wanted a castle. He said “I want one of them”. You know the castle that we had. We did have a castle you know? In Castle Street [laughter] some of the councillors didn’t know we had a castle in Castel St believe you me. And that was left standing, the tower was left standing, the little town hall that was given by John Cross Senior – his granddad in other words in 1515, “Here you are mate, use that as a town hall to do all the business instead of the castle” – that was left standing. And the beacon, Everton beacon, that was left standing so they were made from stone. and the lads said, John Cross, he got them all together. These people were devastated, this was Christmas Eve, and he went “Right lads, from now on everything that we are going to build is going to be built from stone.” So Liverpool became the very first stone township. And it was great. Everything was built from stone, and with hindsight, with the great plague of 1665 then the great fire of 1666, the people down there specially merchants said, “sod this, I’m up to Liverpool cos it’s stone up there so nothing can burn”. So they all came up here but that 1650-65, that was true spirit because those families, those lads they built it, they built this little township, they built it from stone. They said “nothing will be blown away again if we have another Great Storm”. But today we’ve got the great dig [laughter]. Shoulda seen me trying to get here tonight, it was impossible. Mind you, it’s spirit.

Now you might think that with this spirit you can go back to the 90s, let’s got back to the 90s. Only the last 10 years, and Everton Football Club was struggling, they were struggling. And they needed to beat Wimbledon, and they were getting beat 2-0 at half time. 2-0. And they needed to beat them – no draw, draw was no good. Yet there was Liverpool lads in that team, Liverpool lads and they looked around and went, “we can’t let these people down, the fans. The ordinary fans”. And they went out and they beat them. They beat them and scored 3 goals in the second half and they survived.

You can go back to 2005 and Istanbul. Istanbul. I was there. And I couldn’t believe it. But you see the spirit of the fans, singing – never heard singing like it in my life. “Come on you Reds, you’ll never walk alone, we’re here for you. We’re getting beat but we can pull it back. Come on!” And I never smoked. Packed up smoking. And at the end of the game, it was 3-3, and the penalties came and this fella was at the back and I went, “Can I have one of them” and he went “yes, all right”. I couldn’t look at them penalties. It was thousand of miles, I was knackered. If you can imagine me. I was like a bag of rags. And these other fellas came up to this fella “Can we have one” And he went, “we’re in Turkey – they’re dead cheap. Go and buy some.” [laughter] But that was the time. That was the type of spirit because we won it, and when we came home you never only had the Liverpudlians with the red scarves, you had the Evertonians. That was the spirit of Liverpool . The great Bill Shankley said “Liverpool, I’m proud to be an adopted scouser, proud it’s for you people.” And I’m very proud. And I’ve got spirit. Dr Ray Costello and Dr John Belsham they’ve got spirit. Because we all have spirit, and we proved it with the European Capital of Culture, and I’m very emotional about my city. You know, we’ve got a wonderful Pier Head. And when they come in the sailors, when you talk to the sailors, and they see the Liver Building and the Liver Bird, they’re home, they’re home. Home to their spiritual home.

I make DVDs. Has anyone bought them? Shows you how popular I am doesn’t it? But when they go around the world they go “it’s great!” There was a fantastic email from a young girl in high school in Florida, and she was doing a project on a European city, and she decided to do her grandparents’ city which was Liverpool. And somehow she got hold of the DVD, and she said, “that fella who’s on the DVD is a proper scouser because he speaks with the accent”. And that made me feel so proud, and I’ll give you one more spirit, and it was only last night. I was at a function with Roger Phillips, and Pauline Daniels, and Peter Grant of the Echo, and who was sitting there? Who was sitting there? Ricky Tomlinson. Now Ricky Tomlinson had 4 by-passes a few weeks ago. Four of them! And yet he shows up. He could have easily said, it was for the Lily Centre, and he showed up. And you know, people were amazed and yet he showed the spirit because the Liverpool Lily centre needed him. Didn’t need me or Roger Phillips or Pauline herself, albeit she organised, but they needed him to show the spirit.

I’ll finish on this, it’s what Ray said actually. And he mentioned a fellow by the name of James Clark. And James Clark came into Liverpool, now where he landed was in Vauxhall Road and kids had never seen… They’d just seen this young 14 year old who’d jumped ship from British Guyana. And they jumped on him because, it wasn’t as Professor Belcham said, in the 19th century, this was 1900, it wasn’t like racism as racism, they found him different. Anyway, a Crawford family went “Ay!”, slap! But that James Clark, what he became, he was an unbelievable man because for leisure, as Professor Belcham said, the working classes just swam in the Liverpool - Leeds canal. That was for leisure – there was no leisure at the turn of the 20th century. And unfortunately lots of kids drowned, and he seen this and he was a fantastic swimmer and he saved lives, he saved lives this lad! Not only that, and why I’m talking about his fellow is because my uncle Dominic, he was a boxer and started boxing this fella. And he was a great boxer but the most important thing of all, the most important thing of all he was such a fine man that he found his niche here with the spirit of Liverpool. He found it. And he loved the place. And he used to be a synchronised swimmer! I didn’t even know they had synchronised swimmers then. But he used to go to the bottom of the pool, put a bucket over his head and sing “Oh My Darling Clementine” [laughter] so you can imagine that particular scenario, absolutely wonderful man. He was that wonderful colour, race or anything, what ever you want to call it didn’t come into the equation cos they named a street after them, like you name other streets, like William Brown Street like where we’re here. And that people, is the spirit of Liverpool. And when people say, “is there a spirit in Liverpool?” Dead right, whether it’s buildings, but the most important thing about the spirit of Liverpool is you, these fellas here, this lady, the camera person, those persons there, and hopefully myself. Thank you. [applause]

Janet Dugdale: Ok, I know you’re going to have lots of questions. What we’d like to do now is take you very quickly through the themes for this gallery in the Museum of Liverpool, the People’s Gallery. So Liz Stewart and Josie Sykes are going to do that – part of the team working on the project.

Liz Stewart: What am amazingly difficult act to follow, all these three guys are. I think you’ve just started to get a glimpse of the range of stories and numbers of people’s stories and all the things that go to make Liverpool, and that’s one of the things we’re hoping to respond to a lot across the whole People’s City gallery at the Museum of Liverpool. So, all we want to do is talk you through the gallery a little. it sits on the second floor in the Museum of Liverpool, at this end and will look out over the Pier head buildings. And because there are very large windows at the end of the gallery it has a close relationship with the city itself and what you can see outside. Just gives you a bit of background information. We’re working with Redmond Design Company on the development of this gallery. It’s quite a large space, 850metres square, and we’re envisaging that at least half of that will be temporary exhibition space because there are so many stories to squeeze in that we’ll have to do it over a period of time. So there are key things we want to tell all the time, and some of which will be in temporary exhibitions, many of which we will develop working with community groups working with our community curator.

So, this is it, what it looks like at the moment [shows an image of the outside of the building when finished]. Josie, want to talk a little bit about the introduction?

Josie Sykes: So we’ve got quite a large introductory space in this area. The My Liverpool section, John Belsham talked a bit about identity, and we really want to capture that with people from the city. So people will talk about how they feel about the city, how they feel a connection to the place if they do, and we’ll be using Roger McGough’s poem Liverpool. It’s quite a positive poem written about the city so we’re asking people to respond to that in this area. We’ve got this My City area as well where we’ll be talking about the whole city, going back to the Formby footprints up to contemporary Liverpool looking at eight general areas of history, and that’s going to be done with local people who actually live in that are talking about the area and the history. We’ve got a large area called Leaving You Mark, as you can see it’s crammed full of objects, different objects which represent how people have left their mark on the city, so this is going to be a combination of our collections and things donated through our contemporary collecting programme and things donated through people in the city today. And you can see there we’ve got a response area which has the Roger McGough poem in full and an area to feedback. That’s really important throughout the museum, that there are spaces where people can sit and give their thoughts back to us.

Liz Stewart: One key, more permanent part of the gallery is an exhibition called Two Centuries of Social Change focusing on the 19th and 20th century which was a period I think all the speaker picked up on as being a key time in Liverpool’s history. We’re looking at some thematically so we’ll just quickly run through the different themes to pick up on in the exhibition. The first at the top is an area looking at the history of homes and homelessness. Obviously Liverpool has got some of the great firsts in terms of social housing and we want to highlight those, but look at the contrast and difficulties there have been in housing over those two centuries. And one of the key ways we want to do that is though a reconstruction. So in the corner we have a reconstruction of two very disparate houses from the 1860s. One a court house, a courtyard and room off a court where you can see some of the very difficult living conditions, and utterly contrasting with that one of the grand merchant houses, possibly using some of our items form the decorative art collection to reconstruct a room from a individual’s house and tell a bit of that family’s story.

Josie Sykes: see the section at the top, Growing Up and Growing Old, so we wanted to capture what it’s like being a young person, a child in this city. See how things have changed though time. We’ve got brilliant collections relating to experiences including some harsher stuff so we’re putting in collections relating to the NSPCC, so we’re also talking from general experience but also initiatives, organisations in Liverpool which were unique. We’ve got health and Ill health, the big public health story in Liverpool. Employment and Unemployment which is looking at the big employers in the city, what it’s like to work in the city. Looking at Fords and have a Ford motor car which will hopefully be sitting on the top of this exhibition as an icon. We’re going to be looking at politics and how Liverpool is unique in terms of national politics. Attitudes and Values which is still under development but is trying to capture pushing a bit more underneath politics, so how people feel in the city, what they’re passionate about and generally picking that spirit a bit more, what are the values of people in the city. We have society and Social Responsibility, we got rid of that title because it’s quite boring [laughs] we’ll change that to living in the City, so we’re talking about community, what it’s like to live in the city. Also looking at charity in the city and the history of charitable giving, medical charities and the history of crime and the police force.

Liz Stewart: So each of these is a separate pod where we’ll have graphics and text to describe these stories but they are all vey object rich as well, so cases of objects in each of these sections to give good access to our collections. Josie mentioned the Ford Anglia there, which may go on top or may go down, not decided yet. Just switching round, looking at the other end of the gallery now – we’re looking from the window end – much of the rest of the space now is a I mentioned ,temporary exhibition space so there are things in the gallery between two and five years and at the moment the first three opening exhibitions are one about neighbourhoods and homes. we’re hoping to work with 3 different communities across the city and look at how housing has changed in the area and how that’s affected the way live their lives in that part of the city. So really working with groups from around the city to develop that exhibition. Some of you will have seen the Lutyens model of the Catholic Cathedral that was never built at the Walker Art Gallery last year. we want to display that here but rather than telling the architectural story we’re looking at the individual stories of the people who made that, or tried to make that happen and got to the point of raising a great deal of money. And then the story of what came to replace it.

Up here in the more enclosed area at the top is an exhibition about the First World War and particularly on the city of Liverpool so not looking at the story of being in the trenches but the home story of how Liverpool was affected by the First World War, and so particular areas of the city lost such a large number of men in the First World War, had a very, very tragic impact on those area. Just to give you an idea of the sort of collections and the suchlike we’ll be using. And then down at the far end we’ve got the city views where we hope to interpret the buildings you will see out of the window, particularly the Pier Head buildings, the Three Graces and again the stories of the people who worked in those buildings.

Janet Dugdale: Thank you very much for coming. Thank you very much to our three speakers.