Blog post

Covid-19, Tier 3 and the lightness of youth

Recording the pubs of Liverpool during the Tier 3 Restrictions, and thoughts on good memories from my youth.

Myself and good friend Pauline during her leaving do 1985. The Old Fort, Prescot St.

Liverpool City Region was placed into the Governments Tier 3 of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions on 14th October 2020. At this time, many of the pubs and bars of Liverpool were just starting to recover from the general lockdown that began March 16th 2020. As a result of Tier 3 and its focus on the hospitality industry, some of the pubs in Liverpool will emerge from this latest restriction shaken but ready for business, while others will just not survive the financial hardship.

The Old Fort, Prescot St. Scene of many Friday night parties.
The Prince of Wales, now closed, London Road. The next pub down from The Old Fort ..

Born in the late Fifties, and largely based in Merseyside since, I’ve witnessed a lot of change in Liverpool, some might be seen as progress, and some not, but change none the less. The period where I remember Liverpool City centre with most fondness was when I was in my 20’s, working at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, a flat in Toxteth and very much in touch with the city centre, this was the 1980’s in all its riotous glory.

The Central, Ranelagh St., the place to meet up.
Kirklands (now Fly in the Loaf) Hardman St., the height of sophistication back then.
What was Chaucers (and Plummers next door), many a great band played here.

When I walk around Liverpool now, looking for places to spark those memories, what do I find? Well in this latest lockdown, all the pubs and bars restricted to alcohol sales are closed, as you might expect, they appear shell like, but many of which shells contain the promise of what was. Sadly, I found that some of the bars and pubs my friends and I used to frequent were not much like they used to be, and indeed some had disappeared altogether, like the Royal William on Crown St, The Stags Head on Pembroke Place and The Triton on Paradise Street. Obviously, things have to change, and you can’t expect things to remain static, but those memories of the good times, they can stand us all in good stead during the bad times, just like we’ve all experienced in 2020.

The Philharmonic Dining Rooms, Hope St., famous for its toilets, remembered for the good times.
The Roscoe Head, Roscoe St. Tiny pub, massively friendly atmosphere.
The Blue Angel or The Raz, Seel St.. Oh my, if the night ended here, it was a good one.

Given that some of these pubs and bars have already disappeared, whether they’ve been re-purposed or gone the way of the developers, its logical to assume that more will go the same way. It was with this thought in mind that I was prompted to start recording those places, and furthermore to record them on a survivable media like 35mm film. It also felt apposite to start doing it during this time of threat to the hospitality industry, and to begin with those places that contain all those great memories from my youth, when everything felt light.

The White Star, Rainford Gdns., the place to go to sample Bass bitter.
The Grapes, Matthew St., Beatles memorabilia of course, and more memorable toilets

All pub portraits taken with Nikon equipment on Kodak Tri-X film.

© Copyright owner Steve Starr, first publication 22nd October 2020.

By photieplace

Analogue photography, always learning

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