Standing all day in the one location makes you very aware of your surroundings. I reckon I discovered more in one day than I’ve done in my previous two trips to Liverpool. Liverpool was the first city we visited when we arrived in Britain but I went back once to see an exhibition at The Tate last year.
Today, I was fundraising at the Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool. As well as chatting to dozens of people about canals, I found out some fascinating history.
Locks of Love
Hundreds upon hundreds of padlocks line the Albert Dock, attached to the chain railings. It’s not tolerated in many countries but it’s certainly a unique and interesting way to create unusual point of interest in a city.
It is believed that the tradition is to have started over one hundred years ago in France during the first world war. Women would write the names of their loved ones on a padlock in the hope it would protect them whilst they were fighting.
One of the biggest names in British music history but not that well known is Billy Fury. Born Ronald Wycherley in Dingle in 1940, after leaving school he taught himself guitar and songwriting. By age eighteen he was signed to a record label and he changed his name. His total record sales were on par with the likes of The Beetles, Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard. Billy died in 1983 from a fatal heart attack after many health problems. He was just forty-two.
The locals are known as Scousers. Like the Welsh, they have their own English language which is many cases is impossible to understand. I’ve had many a conversation with Scousers and I’ve had to ask them to repeat themselves several times.
Scouse (lobscouse) is actually a stew which originated from Liverpool as it was popular with the sailors of seaports in the city during the 19th century. It’s ingredients at sea were simply dried meat (usually cuts of mutton), dried ship’s biscuits and hot water. On land, scouse developed into somewhat more of a nourishing meal, and included potatoes, onions and carrots. Scouse without any meat was called blind scouse.
It was a poverty food and quite popular given how much poverty there was in Liverpool in the late 19th and early 20th century. Liverpool has adopted scouse as its signature food and many pubs and cafés in the city still serve it today.
Liverpool people became known as Scouse-eaters or Scousers, and the name attached to the distinctive accent.
There is much more than meets the eye in this wonderful city. Sure, you can go to the museums and they’re fascinating but now I’ve been to Liverpool for a third time, I’m beginning to discover just how wonderful this city really is by simply being on the ground and observing my surrounds. AT