Coming through the storm
Plus: a new exhibition on migration at the Tate, a report into racial discrimination at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and the rest of the weekly briefing
Dear readers — we hope you’re safe and dry. Today’s briefing covers the three storms that hit over the weekend and caused the tragic death of a man in his 50s in Aintree. We also have some recommended things to do as the weather is expected to brighten, including Liverpool International Jazz Festival and life-drawing at Unity Theatre.
In case you missed it, last week we published:
An investigation into Prospect House in Hoylake, where unwed mothers were sent to have their babies in secret. “The one thing that Joan always remembered vividly was the cruelty. She told Michelle of being called dirty, being told that she was naughty, and days spent washing up pans and pots, scrubbing floors,” Mollie writes. In this long read, we meet the women who are still searching for answers.
An in-depth story about the educational black hole in Knowsley, which still has no A-level provision six years after the last sixth form closed. “Clearly, the problem of lack of A-level provision in Knowsley is a thorny problem that is decades in the making and can’t be easily solved by the local authority. But while reporting this story, I haven’t sensed a huge amount of urgency about fixing it.” Members-only.
A story about the fourth-generation of a family tending to the largest collection of snooker memorabilia in the world in a museum on St Anne’s Street. “He can remember back to a Liverpool filled with working mens’ clubs, innumerable pubs and how games like snooker dominated the everyday pursuits of working-class men in a northern city.” Members-only.
A warm welcome to the handful of new members who joined us recently. If our work resonates with you, please consider subscribing to support a new chapter for quality journalism on Merseyside. It’s just £7 a month, or £65 a year.
The big story: Three storms, one week
The top line: Three storms — Dudley, Eunice and Franklin — have caused at least three deaths across the UK and inflicted chaos on key services. A yellow weather warning was in place on Merseyside and the Met Office issued a warning there was a “risk to life” and advised against travel.
Mersey Ferries suspended services today due to high winds and high tide.
A male passenger in his 50s died on Saturday after debris hit the windshield of a van at Switch Island junction near Aintree. The driver was not injured.
Ormskirk School asked children to work remotely today and five schools in Skelmersdale closed, saying it’s not safe to travel in these conditions.
Ports in Liverpool temporarily suspended operations due to high seas.
The strongest winds were in coastal areas and saw huge waves striking the piers and sea walls. A local man who went out to photograph the waves said: “It probably looks a bit more dramatic than it actually was! There were literally dozens of people on the prom that day, I can assure everyone the kid was not in any mortal danger of anything more than getting a bit wet.”
Services are resuming: TransPennine Express has restarted services across northern England but warned customers “to consider if their journey is necessary and to avoid travel if possible”.
This week’s weather: The Met Office says the weather over the next week will remain unsettled but gradually get warmer. Winds are expected to drop this evening.
Local news in brief
A report into race equality at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine found issues of racial discrimination by line managers and a high number of people of colour on fixed-term contracts. The LSTM director responded that he was committed to becoming “an actively anti-racist organisation”. More here.
Essential repair work has begun on Everton Library, after £92,000 was signed off by Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet in December to save the building. It was once named as one of the top ten most endangered Victorian and Edwardian buildings in the UK.
Warrington Council told the Financial Times its portfolio of investments and loans will deliver a £20mn net return this financial year. The council faced scrutiny over their income generation strategy when one of their assets went bust. An LSE professor said: “It is hard to tell from the outside but Warrington may have done relatively well.” More here.
A child was removed from the UK despite concerns they were at risk of abuse. Savera, a charity that tackles “honour-based” abuse, told the Echo they met with the child, who then retracted their initial statement. A Savera caseworker said: “Those little lost opportunities don’t go away. They stick, and for me, for that case in particular, it was a case of that should have been dealt with better.” More here.
Paper Cup Coffee, a not-for-profit café offering training and employment to homeless people, opened this morning in Queen Square. The first trainees will join at the end of March. More here.
The Covid-19 case rate for the Liverpool City Region is 352, down 23.7% from the previous week. The case rate for England is 445.2, down 29.3%. Cases are lowest in Knowsley, about 300, and highest in Halton, around 400.
Home of the week
Sunnyside Cottage in Widnes has four bedrooms and is around 300 years old. It’s on the market for £185,000.
🌊 The Waterloo Series, an exhibition produced from sketches drawn around the coastal areas of Waterloo and North Liverpool, is on at INNSiDE on Old Hall Street on Thursday evening. Reserve a free space.
🎷 Liverpool International Jazz Festival takes place at the Capstone Theatre this weekend, with an emphasis on contemporary instrumental jazz and artists from the North West. Tickets start at £11.50.
🗿 A guided walk through Lunt Meadows on Saturday will take you through the Stone Age history of Sefton, led by an experienced archaeologist. Book here.
🎸 Wolf Alice are performing at the Liverpool Guild of Students tomorrow night. Their shoegaze-inspired third album, Blue Weekend, came out last summer to huge critical acclaim. Book here.
🪆 Romantic Russia, a Sunday matinée concert at St George’s Hall, takes you on a journey through Tchaikovsky’s “most abandoned and carefree” symphonies. More here.
✍️ There are life drawing classes at the Unity Theatre this Thursday evening. Basic materials are provided and beginners are welcome. Book a space here.
🖼 The Tate’s latest exhibition exploring migration and colonialism, Journeys through the Tate Collection, opened today. We liked the model of the ancient Algerian city of Ghardaïa, which is made entirely of couscous. More here.
Our favourite reads
We liked this essay in The Double Negative, the arts and cultural criticism magazine that focuses on uncovering talent in the North West. Mike Pinnington writes that the Lucy McKenzie exhibition at Tate Liverpool takes on a broad scope — looking at sport as a propaganda tool, the sexualisation of young female athletes and post-colonial decline in Glasgow.
An interesting piece of commentary in Unherd which argues Labour is wrong to pin its hopes on a generation of graduate private renters when looking to its safest Labour seats. “If you take away the outliers of Liverpool Riverside, Manchester Gorton and Tottenham, the average proportion of private renters in the safest Labour seats is 19% — only 3% more than the national average.”
A great read in The Times Literary Supplement about the appetite of Edward Lear, the father of limericks and “literary nonsense” who learned to paint animals and birds in the menagerie of Knowsley Hall. “All his life Lear enjoyed his food, but meals as social occasions could make him anxious. Hovering uneasily between servant and guest, he was pleased when he was invited to leave the housekeeper’s room and dine with the family. But their grand meals could be agony.”
Letters from readers
Wonderful piece (‘I’m a crazy fanatic of the music’), Rachel Pugh
Highly recommend this long read by Mollie Simpson on forced adoptions (‘The lost mothers and babies of Prospect House’). Grateful that The Post helps me learn about histories, issues, and realities in Liverpool that I (as an international student) may otherwise not get to know, Beate Ringwald
It’s heartening to see things now being covered so openly locally, I’m hopeful that this will grow into investigating the homes on the other side of the water (‘The lost mothers and babies of Prospect House’). The whole system needs a light shining on it, those that abused and those that benefitted, Shippers
This was a great article (‘Want to study A-levels in Knowsley? You will have to leave’). I have a close friend who has gone through this exact experience, he had to take 3 buses from Fazakerley to St Helens. This took him about 1.5-2 hours which was crazy! I hail from Bootle and attended sixth form in Birkenhead, only a 30-40 minute journey by train, but at least Sefton had choices available to me if I wanted to stay local, Ethan James Carroll
I talk about this a lot as I used to live in Huyton (‘Want to study A-levels in Knowsley? You will have to leave’). Everyone is shocked when I say there’s no sixth forms in Knowsley anymore. It’s such a shame and with Shakespeare in the North theatre coming, I was hoping this would change soon, Liverpool Literary Agency