Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Liverpool: Home of the Liver Birds - and the Lambanana!

The Beatles, Liverpool
Let me start by saying that yes, we went to Liverpool, but no, we didn't do a Beatles tour, and no, we didn't go into the Cavern Club. It isn't that we hate The Fab Four or anything, but we had no particular need to see where they lived and the Cavern Club isn't the original one, so just doesn't feel the same.

We did walk down Penny Lane - simply because it was right next to where we were staying in our Airbnb, and we did take a photo of a statue of them.

Ronald Wycherley, Liverpool

Talking of The Beatles, we also took a photo of a statue of Ronald Wycherley, although I suspect he is rather better known by his stage name.

What is the connection? Well in 1960, The Silver Beetles, as they were then known, auditioned to be the backing group for Ronald. They got the job too, but only if they dumped Stuart Sutcliffe; they refused and turned it down.

I'm guessing that they weren't too worried about that, as The Beatles had their first hit a couple of years later.

So, if we didn't spend our time on The Beatles, what did we do? Well for one thing, Nic was also quite happy to watch a Liverpool match in a pub here, where the other supporters actually had Liverpool accents!

Port of Liverpool Building, Liverpool

But aside form that, we pottered around some of the sights. Liverpool is quite a nice city just to wander about in, as it has a good variety of architecture, including lots of Georgian buildings.

Albert Docks, Liverpool

One fairly well known sight in Liverpool, is the Albert Docks; I never watched it myself, but the docks were made famous by the programme This Morning, and the floating weather map.

Albert Docks, Liverpool
It is apparently the largest group of Grade I listed buildings in the country. The docks were built in 1839, and where most docks were built of highly flammable wood, this was the first enclosed dock warehouse in the world, that was non-combustible.

The docks closed in 1972, but were repurposed and reopened in 1988. These days it is largely touristy stuff, but we did go in the International Museum of Slavery. I'll do a separate post on that, but it is worth a visit.

Piermaster's House, Liverpool
Liverpool was badly hit during WWII, being the second most bombed city after London. One house that survived, was the Piermaster's House.

Built in 1852, and the only one of the four houses that remains, it would have been the home of the Piermaster and his family, so that he was on site to deal with ships coming and going at all hours.
The house was restored back to its WWII days in 2003, and makes an interesting place to pop in to while you're here.

Lambanana, Liverpool

Further along the riverfront, we came across some of the Lambananas. No, I'm not making it up, they really are called that - when you look at the pictures, you can see why. These statues are smaller versions of the original yellow Superlambanana created by Japanese artist Taro Chiezo in 1998.

Lambanana, Liverpool

It was apparently "intended as a fusion of thoughts about the future and the past at a time when Liverpool was leaving behind a rather troubled recent history to become a centre of excellence for medical science and hi-tech engineering."

Don't ask me why that should be achieved by a lamb with a banana shaped tail, but the Liverpudlians took to it, and now there are little ones too.

Royal Liver Building, Liverpool

And of course the riverfront is where you find two more traditional symbols of the city, the Ferry across the Mersey, and the Liver birds on top of the Royal Liver Building.

These particular 18 foot tall birds, called Bella and Bertie, were made in 1911 by Carl Bernard Bartels. One faces the city and the other the river, and legend says that they protect the people of the city and those coming into port respectively.

Of course the Liver Bird is much older than these 1911 ones. They actually go back to a unique seal that was created for 'signing' documents after Henry III allowed the city to be self governing in 1229.

Liver bird, Royal Liver Building, Liverpool

Of course at some stage, we needed to stop for some refreshments, and one of the places that we happened upon, was a nice bar called Jenever, which specialised in gins. The guy there was great, and helped us work our way through a decent number, before we felt we really ought to move on, rather than just spend the rest of the day here. I know, that doesn't sound like us at all, does it?

While I'm on the subject of food and drink, we tried out a few places, and I'll just mention a couple of the ones that we liked. We found a great little cocktail bar at number 48 Berry Street, which is called Berry and Rye. This is one of those places that doesn't have a name, or any indication from the outside that it is a bar, so you have to know it is there, and even then, you feel a little bit anxious as you walk in, pushing past the heavy curtain just inside the door, just in case you've got the wrong place!

Sailors' Gate
Rather easier to find, were East Avenue Bakehouse on Bold Street, which was good food, and gave us a free loaf of bread when we left, and Salt House Tapas, which is by the Sailors' Home Gates on Paradise Street.

The gates, which were made in 1850 by Henry Pooley, used to be at the entrance to the old Sailors' Mission, which was nearby, but were at some stage moved down to the Midlands. They were brought back to Liverpool in 2011. They are said to be the first architectural piece to show the famous liver bird.

Gents' loos, Philharmonic Dining Rooms, Liverpool

Another place that I have to mention, which was find for a quick meal, but is more interesting for itself, is the Philharmonic Dining Rooms. the pub was built around 1900, and has some pretty lavish decoration, including some particularly impressive gents' loos.

Get a guy to make sure they are empty and pop in to take a look - I think the staff are quite used to that happening.

Oh, and one last thing. Ronald Wycherley was better known as Billy Fury, who had a number of hits in the 60s, with the best known probably being Halfway to Paradise.


Sailors' Gate

Albert Docks, Liverpool

Albert Docks, Liverpool
Albert Docks, Liverpool

Jelly Bean art, Albert Docks, Liverpool

Albert Docks, Liverpool

Piermaster's House, Liverpool

Piermaster's House, Liverpool


Lambanana, Liverpool


Cunard Building, Liverpool

George's Dock Ventilation and Control Station, Liverpool


St Luke's Church, Liverpool

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