Pitt Street remembered at Waterfront event

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Thirty two members of the St Michael in the City Church Group attended an event at the Maritime Museum this week to mark the close of six months of fact-finding in partnership with the Museum of Liverpool Global City gallery team.

Attending the event were those who grew up around Pitt Street and Cleveland Square, whole streets that were flattened in the May Blitz of World War Two. This area was once a hub of activity for Seamen from all over the world, their families part of a vibrant community that would form the foundations of Liverpool’s Chinatown as its known today.

Ted Lates, a member of the group at St Michael in the City said: “Chinatown used to be packed… early 50s that I can remember. Just full, like going into town now and seeing everybody out. It used to be like that, knee deep with people."

Those who attended the event included Elsie Kuloi, who in the 1930s starred in one of Edward Chambre Hardman’s most memorable images of Pitt Street. Now in her 80s, Elsie vividly recalls watching from her parent’s first floor flat as an incendiary bomb hit a fatal blow to the original St Michaels Church.

As well as being interviewed, attendees also spent many hours looking over a collection of over 200 photographs in Maritime Archives that dated right back to the 1920s. Unidentified by curators, members of St Michael in the City not only recognised their childhood homes, but their mothers, brothers and sisters.

Following an upbeat talk by demonstrator Dave Brown on the Blue Funnel Shipping Line the group were invited to tea and cake in the Maritime Dining Rooms.

People drinking tea

Members of St Michael in the City Church Group enjoy tea and cake at the Maritime Dining Rooms

Interviews conducted by the Global City gallery team will feature in the special exhibition China, Shanghai and Liverpool which will open in the Museum of Liverpool next year.
For more information on China, Shanghai and Liverpool please contact assistant exhibition curator francesca.aiken@liverpoolmuseums.org.uk