Tag Archive: River Mersey

Sparkles on a river

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A view of the River Mersey from the first floor of the Tate Liverpool gallery; prettier than the pictures indoors.

…but after less than a day my companions not only stopped laughing at my witty pun but, tellingly, they stopped complaining too. It also has to be said that the song, “Ferry cross the Mersey” (by Gerry and the Pacemakers) became a bit of an ear worm. That was partly due to it being used to punctuate the commentary on the said ferry crossing the River Mersey from Liverpool.

The ferry trip was one of the highlights of our couple of days in Liverpool as part of a post-Easter break. The weather was kind (mostly sunny) and there was a good view of the cityscape. As we had taken the first ferry of the day we found a place near the front in the open top deck and simply enjoyed being out in the open on the wide river.

Something that struck me about the commentary on the ferry and also on the sightseeing bus: they both mentioned slavery. Much of Liverpool’s wealth in the 18th century (and early 19th) was derived from its status as a busy port. Its cargo included human beings; i.e. slaves. I noticed that the acknowledgement was made without either excuse or sensationalism but as a bare fact.

We also heard about the history of the Liver birds which sit atop one of the buildings. Apparently the commission was for two eagles but the designer got them confused with cormorants. The results are those two unique Liverpudlian birds. The ferry service (but not the particular vessels of course) pre-dates the city. Hundreds of years ago the river was wider and the banks marshy and muddy. The ferrymen found a convenient pool on the bank where they could pick up and set down passengers and their cargo. The pool is long gone (round about the police headquarters which is at least 100 metres from the current river front) but that muddy pool lent its name to the city.

As we were there only a couple of days – one full day really – there is much we didn’t see and only scratched the surface so to speak. We did visit the spaceport near the Seacombe ferry terminal. We were not terribly impressed – possibly making unfair comparisons with the National Space Centre in Leicestershire for instance – but it did not help that several of the buttons etc on some displays did not work (not even an “out-of-order” apology notice. Yes, we did let the staff know before we left. Having said that, there was a sci-fi exhibition including various “Doctor Who” monsters and characters. It was curated by a local fundraising organisation and well presented. I couldn’t resist this photo of the “TARDIS”.

front door of the TARDIS! mind the floor

front door of the TARDIS! mind the floor

We visited both Cathedrals, Anglican and Roman Catholic, as well as the Liverpool Tate gallery and the Maritime Museum – for the slavery exhibition. Our accommodation was in the Youth Hostel in a family room, which was OK. It suited our needs to dine there of the evenings too. Below are some photos from our ferry crossing and our brief sight-seeing tour.

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