A step back in time……….The Cavern’s swinging 60th.

Fantastic week in Liverpool city centre around the Cavern quarter, the heart of the city’s musical heritage and well known across the globe, with hundreds still flocking each day to pay their tributes, now 60 years since it opened.

Celebrations began with a performance last week at the Philharmonic Hall, featuring sixties tribute band The Overtures leading the line-up at ‘The History of the Cavern’ with funds raised going to BBC Children in Need and Radio City’s Cash for Kids.

Thoroughly enjoyed the packed out show which crafted the clubs vibrant music scene through the decades and featuring tribute acts like the Rolling Stones, Yardbirds and Queen much to the delight of the audience.

With a magical history and a music venue that is still attracting prominent names, the Cavern will shortly be releasing a 60th anniversary documentary and book.

2016 saw the club welcome the likes of blues-rock star Joe Bonamassa and Big Country perform on the iconic stage and the recently published 2017 list includes some big names with the likes of soul singer Geno Washington, Simple Minds drummer Mel Gaynor and guitarist Albert Lee.

The unveiling of the Cilla Black statue outside the original Cavern entrance provided a media frenzy with masses vying for a selfie. The Liver Birds may be Liverpool’s most famous sculptures but from their lofty perches, these watchful avians have witnessed countless others spring up across the city over the years. This statue is certainly a diamond in our city attracting a cult following second to none.
Our grand city plays host to more statues than any other in the UK outside of London.

You can now add Cilla to a whole fleet of sculptures across the city, and together, when arriving at Lime Street station with a “Harry Dazzy Boreal” greeting from Doddy, you can put together a walking tour that spans the St Georges Hall plateau with Wellington, Victoria and Albert, past Eleanor Rigby, through the narrow enclaves of Matthew Street and then onto the John Lennon Peace monument at Kings Dock.

This year marks a number of our culturally renowned city’s most popular and prominent venues prepare to mark big birthdays in the months ahead, so keep an eye open for some visually, entertaining and exciting events during this cultural milestone year.

Learn about Liverpool’s history with new Central Library course

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A BRAND new course is on offer for anyone who wants to uncover their family tree and learn more about the history of Liverpool

For the first time, Liverpool Record Office is running a special five week course, which starts on Monday 13 February (2-4pm), to give people all the know-how they need on how to trace their family tree, giving them a guide to how to use Liverpool’s Record Office including accessing school and housing records as well as giving access to amazing archived Liverpool images.

In My Liverpool Home will be delivered by Central Library’s experienced and knowledgeable team, it will give people the opportunity to view and understand how to access archives which date back to the 13th century, and will also provide a rare chance to see behind the scenes and visit the purpose-built repository and conservation studio.

Taking place on the fourth floor of Central Library each week of In My Liverpool Home will cover:

  • Week One – A guide to the Record Office and its unique resources and how to use them.
  • Week Two – Learn about school records which also includes industrial schools which were for children who had lost one, or both, parents.
  • Week Three – Look at the impact of the workhouses in Liverpool.
  • Week Four – This will introduce people to the resources available at the library for discovering the history of houses and the conditions most working class people had to live in.
  • Week Five – This will give people the opportunity to see a photographic history of Liverpool, dating back to the 1850s.

The course will take place each Monday from 13 February until 13 March and each session costs £25. If anyone signs up to the entire course they only pay £100.

Advance booking is essential and this can be done either by emailing archives@liverpool.gov.uk giving your name, contact details and stating clearly which week you’d like to attend or whether you would like to take part in the full course. Applications can also be made via post to: In My Liverpool Home, Record Office, Central Library, William Brown Street, Liverpool, L3 8EW. Enquiries can also be made at Central Library. Payments can be made on the day of the course.

A cultural year of seeing inside the creative process.

This year has been one of the busiest I’ve ever had and the city has continued to make massive strides; just a nocturnal walk around the city centre will show at no other time of the year, the city’s most potent powers of enchantment and persuasion, all giving the visitor an unforgettable and magical time…..and I don’t mean Shrek and the DreamWorks lights lantern experience…..but that spectacular does help!
It grabs the attention of travellers as soon as they get off the train and channels them into some of the city’s more bigger and culturally versatile attractions.

Events like this at St George’s Hall and others in and around the city, propel the city forward and pave the way for bigger and better entertainments that will enliven the future 2018 big show, a show to say that after ten years of culture we are still going strong.

Despite working abroad on a “connecting classrooms” educational project that took me to Belgium, Holland, Eastern Europe and just before Christmas…Spain, I managed to view ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at the Everyman and then ‘Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf’ at the Unity.

Addicted to the Everyman’s panto every Christmas, the regular writers Sarah Nixon and Mark Chatterton never cease to please with their witty portrayal of an old favourite that will ‘Simply be the Beast.’ Certainly enjoyed this one. So dig out your laughing trousers, break out the glitter and wave your flashing wand as the legendary Rock ‘n’ Roll panto shakes, rattles and growls at the Everyman till Sat 21st Jan 01517094776.

Supporting one of Liverpool’s smaller theatres, the Unity produced a funny, inventive Christmas show filled with music, dance and song. Audience participation will definitely get you out of your seat, onto the stage and having a howl of a time……. so book asp http://www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk until Sat 7th.

Sifting through some old newspapers, I found an advert for ‘A Christmas Carol’ performance at the Dome and this was an added bonus just before the shopping madness and the big day.

But, with all this festivity flying about, there became a time, just after the sherry and mince pies, for quiet reflection upon all the years activities. My work in education is one side, involving reviews, evaluations, data, travelling, projects, funding, bids, and planning to name a few of the behind the scenes activities working with local schools.

For the cultural experiences, I thank all the organisations this year for support and time in allowing the team to pursue their interest in supporting and helping to make Liverpool one, if not, the best city in the UK.

A lot of my time is spent developing the education opportunities for some of the twenty+ International schools in Merseyside. This work has on many occasions linked up with the Mayor during the past year where we both share a passion to develop a forum where diverse communities can come together and share their stories and experiences and rich culture, whilst socialising and creating awareness of the beauty and wealth the diverse culture of Liverpool brings to the city, to promote integration, inclusiveness and community cohesion. These are the Supplementary Schools that strive to obtain a Quality Framework Mark with evidenced Code of Practice good governance and detailed management, teaching and partnership work. These schools and communities have a lot to offer.

On several occasions this year, I have been involved in the academic discussions in Liverpool about ‘culture’…….but they never involved the other culture….Yes Liverpool has the museums, art galleries, buildings, statues, parks and zones of academia but let’s not forget the importance of the people’s ‘culture’………the culture of the thousands here that bring that touch of magic to the carnivals of L8, the Arab Festival and Brazilia to name. These festivals are delivered on a shoe-string to a massive audience not unlike the Giants and Queen’s but some events command huge expense and are delivered to a miniscule audience without the full engagements of the communities. The role of the Culture Champion is to knock on the doors of the hard to reach and open up the world of ‘culture’ to them. Today, there is a greater proportion of society in a cosmopolitan world and their world needs to lead the cultural focus to get more involved and without the added expense.
The Chinese New Year can do it! And it’s done in a big way. I’m sure there are many more cultural communities in Liverpool that if given the chance, would relish in the engagement.
Thought for 2017.
Happy New Year.

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