I wandered lonely……into the Victoria Gallery and Museum…


……and came upon the ‘Dorothy Wordsworth, Sister, Writer, Friend’ exhibition, exploring the life and works of the little known sister of one of Britain’s most famous poets, William Wordsworth.

With time to spare, before a meeting at one of the universities Brownlow Hill buildings, I wandered into this magnificent museum, passing the café and then mused over the plethora of diaries, journals, personal letters and memorabilia making up this fine exhibition of material on loan from the Wordsworth Museum Grasmere in the Lake District.

The Wordsworth Trust has certainly compiled a vast collection of artefacts, all on loan here, even with a full museum up north catering for the hundreds of foreign visitors who make a pilgrimage to the homestead of this hallowed literary genius.

I was fascinated by the written pieces on display which dated from the 1800’s and I scrutinized the ink, handwritten scripts, noting the language of text and the words, familiar today and some not so.

The letters gave me an insight into her life and her relationship with her better known brother, William whom she showed an uncommonly ‘strong bond’. Was I trying to find some E L James stuff here, yes I was.

This exhibition is her story.
A story that shows her creativity, but one that has been obscured and overshadowed by her brother. He was a leading literary figure and member of the Romantic movement who transformed British poetry. But didn’t they all then, the Romantics, with an emphasis on nature rather than science, its exponents valued individual experience and intuition sharing a belief in idealism. If you ever get the chance to read some of Byron, Keats and Shelly or better still get your hands on some of the BBC romantic period costume dramas depicting these characters then hold onto your …..its lusty wenches, dastardly villains and dashing heroes will bewitch you and give you a compelling urge to read more.
That’s what this exhibition will do, give you a taste of the literate world of the eighteenth century. Then, if this collection of memorabilia grips you, sign up for the Poetry Workshop, 18th March 10.30-12.30 when Poet Eleanor Rees explores the relationship between poetry and prose and then help you write your own poems and prose inspired by Dorothy’s writing.

I’d have loved to have walked into the exhibition room with the sound of twittering birds, skylarks and finches, all in a chorus of mellow fruitfulness….. giving one the atmosphere of a bright summers day,
but perhaps, that’s the romantic in me!.

0151 794 2348

Resonate. Music in schools? We must sing its praises.


On Saturday, I took my daughters flute to be fixed. Inexpensive when bought, being round about £100, and never having had a service or major problem for years; it has kept her on track with school music lessons until the music exam last week.

She has spent the last 5yrs or so enjoying music lessons, the thrill of playing at concerts which boosted her playing skills and confidence and has provided endless friendships over the years.

Now I must wait for an assessment of the wear and tear damage and decide whether to rebuild or repurchase a flute. Has it been worth it …YES!

She has been playing flute since primary school and we have never had to pay for a single lesson. This is absolutely fantastic and a choice every parent in Merseyside should take advantage of.

The decision to take on board that instrument, was taken in primary school. At the time, classes were full for guitar, which was her first choice, with trumpet, saxophone, flute and clarinet on offer.

It would have been easy to have dismissed the idea, in favour of academic prowess and time spent on ‘doing homework’ instead of playing an instrument.

However, cross-curricular studies, particularly at primary school, are so successful in promoting academic attainment. All subjects have something to offer, but it’s the arts and humanities that tap into what makes us human.

For many years, those who set education policy have been struggling to imbue a generation of young people from chaotic family backgrounds with non-academic ‘social’ skills, self-discipline, awareness of others, teamwork, etc- to ensure that schools are places where people care about each other and work together, where there’s a culture of good behaviour and aspiration to learn.

Research shows that music, arts, drama and sport promote such a sense of ‘belonging’.

Music in my mind, is the ultimate inter-disciplinary activity, stimulating all forms of intelligence, improving children’s academic achievement, concentration and sense of self-worth, to say nothing of the sense of time, history, geography and place that studying music provides.

The day my daughter picked up a musical instrument and started to have lessons, was the day she gained a skill for life, to be nurtured, enjoyed, and provide a route into a thriving national cultural life, for life.

As well as the free school music lessons Liverpool schools provide, there are two new music studios being created in Liverpool, north and south.

Through the superb Liverpool Schools, Resonate Music Studios, Liverpool’s Music Hub at Great Homer Street, Notre Dame Catholic College, children can involve themselves in an after school ensemble, rock band and choir provision.

You can take part in any of these music sessions on Thursday and Wednesday evenings between 4-8.15pm at either Resonate Music North at Great Homer Street or at Gateacre School Hedgefield Road L25.

For £3 a session children can begin to play, train in an orchestra, jazz/swing, rock or just sing -age 8 and above.

Do take advantage of these musical resources on offer inour fantastic city.
You only have one chance, use it at an early age, and reap the benefits in the future.


Fifty Shades of ………utter filth and dirt !!


Yes, you too can enrol in torture and lashings of filth when you take trowel in fist and connect with every crevice, scraping away at decades of history. Be prepared to get wet and roll about on your knees in mud and muck when you participate in in an archaeological dig in the next few weeks.

Archaeologists from the Museum of Liverpool have come to Calderstones Park to share their experiences, with mapping sessions that give you a chance to learn about how they use their maps and how they identify dig locations in and around Merseyside.

Involve yourself in interrogating, Saxon, Viking and Medieval maps right up to todays modern satellite projections of Merseyside landscapes; then find out how you can contribute to the Museum of Liverpool’s Interactive Map of Merseyside.

This Thursday, 19th February, 2.00pm-4.00pm, will help get visitors at the session, trained up and ready to dig.

The event offers the chance to get a further insight into ‘the day in the life of an archaeologist’ where you can learn the tricks of the trade including, how archaeologists prepare for an excavation, what equipment they need, how they choose where to dig and how they sort out finds which have been excavated.

If you are a follower of Time Team or the new BBC ‘Digging for Britain’ then this session and the ones that follow are a definite must for you. At the end of February we will see a geophysical survey of the park which, I can say will be a sell-out!

Following the excitement of the location find, Spring will beckon the ‘Community Big Dig’. This will bring people closer to the park than they’re likely to have ever got before.

Together, over a period of two weeks digging, the ancient history of Calderstones will be revealed and perhaps we will even find things that have never been unearthed before.

As an archaeologist working in the 80’s at Norton Priory Halton; York Viking dig at Coppergate and as an industrial archaeologist at Ironbridge Telford, we were pioneers at the time. We worked with English Heritage, presenting finds and bringing history alive to all walks of life with innovative displays and living history which is now common place today in museum displays.
It would be fantastic to discover and uncover a long lost historical past and transform it into a Liverpool ‘Jorvik’ experience just like York has with its Viking relics. A dream, yes, but who knows?

Today, Tony Robinson and the BBC Time Team have caught the publics imagination with programmes that show how it’s done…….you now have the chance to take part and ‘do it’! You can be trained as an archaeologist and take part in this major dig here in Liverpool.

This is a fantastic opportunity, a wonderful education and if finds are revealing enough, history will be made. The area of Calderstones is ripe with our early history. Bronze age finds have been unearthed and the Woolton’s Camp Hill Iron age fort has produced several interesting exhibits in the past.

Check the website for full details http://www.caldiesbigdig.org.uk or speak to my colleague Richard Macdonald on 0151 729 for a confirmed date and full details of the above events and get involved in the ‘Big Dig’ this year.

This is a unique Heritage event as part of National Museums Liverpool.


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