Stormy day in Liverpool as Carters remembered

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Joe Magee at the Carter’s event in 2018

The rain poured and the wind blew – storm Hannah had arrived with a mighty roar. However this didn’t put off around 60 people who came to our ‘Remembering the Liverpool Carters’ event on Saturday 27 April at the Museum of Liverpool. We started with a tribute to one of our Retired Carters Group, Joe Magee. Joe passed away on Good Friday and will be sadly missed by us all at the Museum. He was a lovely man, full of great tales about the carting days and his love for the working horses.

Joe started work straight from school at 15 and worked for James Addy who did all the Higson’s Brewery work. He then drove off Carter’s Corner (where you picked up casual work) and was 17 when he first drove a team. Another of our original group, Albert Hilton, said to him ‘you’re now a carter Joe, you’re driving a team of horses,’ and he was very proud of this. He worked with horses until 1956 when they were beginning to be phased out but retained his passion for his former profession throughout his life.

Lindsay Gavan from the Merseyside Police Mounted Division then gave a very entertaining and informative talk about the Police horses, how they were selected and trained and how their different personalities suit them for different roles. Throughout the event we made flowers and admired the amazing models of local carts made by Frank Short.

Following a talk from myself about the history of the carters and the new material that has come into the museum lately we decided we couldn’t go outside to decorate ‘our horse’ – it was far too risky in the wind and rain. We rescheduled until May Day and decorated the Liverpool Working Horse Monument in traditional fashion. Liverpool carters made an immense contribution to the economy of Liverpool and the monument and events at the museum mean their memory will always live on.

RIP Joe, my lovely friend.