The last time I was in Liverpool I uneasily disrobed for a modelling assignment in a hotel room and so it was with great relief at the weekend to return as a regular tourist. I travelled with my husband, Franc and my parents to celebrate mother’s 70th birthday, who actually is big Elvis Presley fan rather than a Beatles fan.
We stayed at the well known Adelphi Hotel which has been offering folk hospitality since 1827. Guest have included royalty, prime ministers, Charles Dickens and Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger. I wouldn’t have fancied the cleaner’s job on that shift. I first heard of The Adelphi when it was featured for 8 weeks in a fly on the wall documentary called “Hotel” in 1997. My only memory of the show is security repeatedly kicking out a determined prostitute in the early hours.
Unfortunately on our arrival new guests were almost queueing out the door for a delayed check in thanks to an earlier raging fire. A non guest had had a cunning plan: set a laundry trolley alight as a diversion whilst I lift the till off reception. Luckily no-one was hurt and the loaded till remained in position.
One old lady here for the week was particularly excited about the “handsome firemen” who had made such a fuss of her. Access had not been properly blocked off and she had wandered into the dangerous area of the first floor, completely unaware of what had just occurred. The fire fighters had rushed to her aid, asking if she wanted a drink, food, a lie down and how were her lungs? Franc said she should have requested a foot massage whilst they were about it.
The posh dining room featured in Brideshead Revisited where it pretended to be part of an ocean liner:
As most of the online reviews state, The Adelphi is grand place full of character but it is in need of much repair which I found to be true in both our rooms (we switched to a quieter room because outside regular sirens prevented good sleep). For example broken drawers, missing cupboard handles, snapped plug chains plus a deep clean would not have gone amiss. On the vegan food front I could not have had a more attentive service, with the chef himself leaving his kitchen to ensure all was well each day. He even gave me a plastic carton to carry away my left over scrumptious tempura and chilli dip for the train home.
Liverpool is situated on the Mersey River which merges into the Irish Sea. Historically it was a ship building city, including slave ships. John Newton was a former slave ship captain who journeyed between Liverpool, Africa and the West Indies between 1750 and 1754. Full of guilt for his part in the cruel industry, he later became a vicar, an anti-slavery campaigner and writer of the hymn “Amazing Grace“. He lived just long enough to see the abolishment of the slave trade in the British empire. He has a memorial on Pier Head but we missed that.
The symbol of Liverpool is the liver bird, a mythical type of cormorant. Here on top of the 1911 Liver Bird building are an 18 foot copper pair. The female, Bella looks out to sea to ensure the boats arrive safely whilst the male, Bertie looks inland keeping an eye on the citizens. Legend says that if ever Bertie and Bella see eye to eye, Liverpool will vanish.
The Port of Liverpool building:
About to board the Mersey ferry:
Wallasey Town Hall from the ferry. It is known as The Town Hall at the Wrong End of Town since it is way out from the town centre.
U-543, the last submarine to leave Germany after WWII is on display at the Woodside ferry stop off. After a 40 year under water search it was finally hoisted up from Danish waters.
I prefer the Yellow Submarine myself.
We got talking to a lady from Blackpool at Pier Head whilst admiring the giant bronze John, Paul, George and Ringo.
This lady had been on The Beatles bus tour a year ago when the vehicle pulled up outside John Lennon’s childhood home. No-one was allowed off the bus so she took several photos of the simple property from the window. On later perusing her pictures she was shocked to spot John Lennon’s ghost hovering in front of the hedging. We saw it for ourselves on her phone and it was uncanny; his hair was in a longer style and he was wearing his distinctive spectacles.
The talented spectre only graced one frame despite the lady taking several pictures in succession. The Cavern (the sweaty pub where The Beatles had first played) wanted the photograph but she refuses to part with it. I like to think mystical John had made himself known to her since she was tightly bound to him in her super-fandom.
The highlight of the weekend was The Beatles Experience, an excellent indoor exhibition which so much interesting information and artefacts. It was an poignant time to be in Liverpool as it is the 50th anniversary of the “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album.
Mop top spin offs.
The orange tinted glasses John wore whilst composing “Imagine”:
To move onto an artist of a different kind, the next day we viewed Tracy Emin’s famous “My Bed” display at the Tate; the first time this art was being hosted in the north of England. As a neat freak I felt most uncomfortable.
“My Bed” is a recreation of how Tracy’s bed looked in in 1999, a sexual yet suicidal episode when she had stayed in bed for several days, existing purely on hard liquor and cigarettes. Amazingly it was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. In 2014 the work was auctioned by Christie’s and sold for over £2.5m. It’s little wonder no-one is allowed to touch the dirty sheets.