Day 2 Exploring Liverpool

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May 16th 2008
Published: May 16th 2008
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Though we all planned last night to leave at 1 so that we could all sleep in and get lunch before we left, I definitely did not sleep in. I woke up at 8 am to my flat mates singing and playing the guitar. Danica and Katie are very good though.

Around 11:30, I got a facebook message from Katie (Dill) that she was at the library and would be going to McColls in a little while if I wanted to go with her. While I was walking to the library, I ran into Jessica, who screamed “American”! Apparently she had been wandering around for at least an hour looking for an American, because everyone else was still asleep. She ended up coming with me to the library. At the library, we ran into Dr. Scho, and we talked to her for a few minutes before heading over to McColls. We were unable to get cash back using our credit card because we didn’t have the correct image on our card (?), so Jessica showed us where the hole in the wall was. She also showed us the bar where she hung out last night and met her new hottie Steven apparently.

Heading back to the dorm, we ran into Alicia and Megan, who also told us about their night. We had plans to get lunch at 12:30, and after talking to Alicia, Megan, and Jessica for a little while, I went back to the room and called the parents. ☺

While I was talking to my mom, I realized that Katie had left her keys in my room when we had come up here to use the phone. Erin had called me using Skype and asked me if Katie’s keys were there, and, instead of me going down the three flights of stairs, we decided that I would just throw Katie’s keys out the window so that she could get back in the building.

After lunch, we were very excited for our Beatles tour that left at one. We had this awesome Irish taxi driver who’s name was Alan. He picked us up at the Security Lodge, and from there he took us to see all of the famous Beatles locations. The first place Alan took us on our tour was St. Peter’s Church. There was also the grave of John Lennon’s uncle, Uncle George Toogood Smith, who was more like a father to John. He was called Toogood because of his jazz playing skills. Eleanor Rigby’s grave was also in this cemetery. Eleanor Rigby was from a very well to do family. She chose to become as a musician, and she ended up on the streets. John was always warned by his mother that she would end up like Eleanor Rigby. Next, we stopped at the building where John and Paul first met on 6 July 1957. Alan said that normally we would be able to tour it, but the man who gave the tours was not there today.

At the first stop, we told Alan that we would be teaching in some schools in Woolton this summer because he asked while we were here. When we told him that some of us were at St. Mary's and some of us were at Woolton Junior School, he said good luck to who ever was teaching at St. Mary's. It appears that I might have some troublesome children at St. Mary's.

Alan has two children of his own and one foster child. He has two girls, one who is fourteen and one who is 9, and his foster son is 15, who has been living with them since the past October.

Next, we went to Strawberry Fields. Originally, it was a Salvation Army children’s home in Woolton. There was an annual fete, which Aunt Mimi and John Lennon attended every year. After the first time he visited the orphanage, John kept returning even though he was forbid him to go back there and was grounded anytime he was caught. The children’s home was closed in 2005, and it is now a church and prayer centre. On 12 May 2000, the 100-year-old wrought iron gates that led to Strawberry Fields were cut down and stolen.

Next, we visited the house where John Lennon lived for most of his life with his aunt and his uncle. His mother was never able to take care of him. The bedroom in the top left was his. The house was known as Mendip, and he referred to his Aunt Mary as Aunt Mimi. Aunt Mimi only allowed him to play his guitar in the front porch, where he composed and rehearsed songs. Alan told us which songs, but I don’t remember. In 1963, John Lennon and his family were forced to move out of this house because of all the paparazzi. John’s mother had also been killed on that street. She was standing on the street next to the speed limit when a cop hit her. The impact threw her body into the air, and she was pronounced dead upon her arrival at the hospital. The cop said he was only going 35, but the impact would not have thrown her body into the air if he had been going 35.

The next place we visited was the McCartney family home. Paul McCartney and John Lennon both went to the same school for boys, which was where they met. After the death of his mother, Paul’s father first bought him a trumpet as something to take his mind off the pain of losing his mother. Paul said he did not like the trumpet because he couldn’t sing while playing. Next, Paul’s father bought him a guitar. He fell in love with the guitar and spent much of his free time playing. John and Paul met on the bus to the Liverpool Academy for Boys. In this house, the Beatles met, rehearsed, and wrote some of their earliest songs.

The next place Alan took us was Penny Lane. He told us that they stopped using the original metal street signs because people kept cutting them down and stealing them. He also told us that his uncle had one of them hanging on his wall that he had stolen. Alan told us that the city had then tried painting the street name on the wall, though people would just come by and paint their names over it. Finally, the city installed the theft proof street signs that are there today. Alan gave us each pence to place on the Penny Lane sign, as it supposedly brings good luck.

Alan then drove us down Penny Lane and showed us some of the locations that were included in the song. The first building we saw was the Penny Lane fish and chips.

Next, he showed us Dovedale Towers. Dovedale Towers has been used for many different things. It was originally a rich ship owners home. The building has been an orphanage, a Russian embassy, Barney’s Dance Hall, and various pubs. John Lennon and the Quarry Men had played here on several occasions in 1957.

Alan then showed us the place where Paul bought his first Elvis Presley album. Paul was a huge fan of Elvis Presley, and he said that there was nothing before Elvis Presley.

Alan then took us to see Sgt. Pepper’s Café. It was originally a tram stop, inspector’s office, and a toilet. After the building closed as a transport facility, it became a café and a restaurant that was decorated with Beatles photographs, artwork, posters, and memorabilia.

Next we went into the barbershop where some of the Beatles used to get their haircut. Alan had said we could have taken pictures in the chairs, though the hair stylists were all doing their hair and makeup and wouldn’t actually get out of the chairs. We did get some pretty cool pictures inside the barbershop though.

Alan then took us to the house where John Lennon was conceived. His mother had married a sailor, and three weeks after the marriage, he left to sail around the West Indies. He only came back to convince John’s mother to give John to his sister, Mary. Soon after, John’s mother had a breakdown. At one time, she was dating an American sailor, whom which she had a baby girl. She gave the baby girl up for adoption shortly after giving birth. John’s mother reappeared in his life when he was fourteen. John’s father showed up again when he was twenty-six, but John wanted nothing to do with him.

Next, Alan took us to George Harrison’s boyhood home. When asked what name he gave when he went to a hotel, George said Albert Grove. Albert Grove was the street that this house was on.

After seeing George Harrison’s boyhood home, we went to Ringo Starr’s neighborhood. Alan made a special stop on the way to Ringo’s house and took us to see the Palm House at Sefton Park. George loved to garden, and he often went and sat in the Palm House after fighting with his brothers. When George Harrison returned to Liverpool, he was shocked to see what horrible shape the Palm House was in. He donated 4.1 million to the city for them to return it to its former glory. The city of Liverpool is planning on knocking down all of the houses on George’s street, though the Liverpuddlians were upset about George’s house being lost. Therefore, they are going to take apart George’s house brick by brick, move it to the new museum that is being built, and rebuild it piece by piece.

When we arrived in Ringoland, Alan showed us the building that had been featured on the cover of his solo album, Sentimental Journey, with his family standing in the window. After showing us the Empress, Alan took us to see Ringo’s house. When we got to Ringo’s house, I was surprised to learn that there was a lovely old woman who lived there and actually let people in to see one of the rooms of the house. All she asked was that we donate to the American Cancer Society. Her name was Margaret, and she had grown up on the same street as Ringo when they were children and had actually known him. She devoted the one room in her house to all of the Beatles, however, since the other two houses were owned by the city and you could not take pictures in them. She knew so much about the Beatles, it was extremely impressive. I loved everything about the room, and she was one of the nicest people. She even had a bear with an Indiana University scarf in the room. That was not one of the coolest things in the room, but it was definitely extremely interesting.

I don’t think she and Alan got along, however. She kept saying that taxi drivers don’t know anything, and for the rest of our tour, Alan kept saying that we shouldn’t listen to anything he says because he doesn’t know anything.

Next, Alan took us to see the university where John Lennon had attended. He never did graduate. He thought it was much too strict a school. We also saw the Liverpool School for Boys, which is now the Lennon School of Performing Arts. In front of these two buildings, there were also two piles of suitcases. One represented the travelers who come to Liverpool, and the other represented all the traveling that the Beatles had done.

Alan then took us to see the maternity hospital where John Lennon, as well as himself and his oldest daughter had both been born. It is not a maternity hospital anymore. It was bought by the University of Liverpool and is now used as flats for the students. The hospital was opened on 30 September 1926. We also saw the Lennon Studios, which is now a part of Liverpool University.

That was the end of our Beatles tour, and Alan suggested that we all pile on top of his car for a picture. Heather and I got on the roof, Erin was on the boot, and Kyle and Katie were in the car.

After taking the picture, he dropped us off at Boots so that we could finally get Heather the adapter for her to charge her computer. Heather was very happy about that.

After getting Heather her adapter, we just started wandering. We ended up at St. George’s Hall, which we did not go in, but we are planning on returning there.

We found this awesome fountain where Katie decided she wanted to jump off the fountain and get a picture of her jumping. After she took the picture, the rest of us decided we wanted pictures like that as well. While we were outside at the fountain, we saw a copper wearing this bright yellow jacket, and I just had to get a picture of it. ☺ After playing around on the fountain, we saw that we were right near the Walker Art Gallery, which Danica and Katie had told us which should visit. To our surprise, it was free admission, which we were excited about. We didn’t stay as long as I would have liked to see everything, but since it closed at 5, we only had about an hour to explore the museum.

We then decided we wanted to go find Matthew’s Street, which supposedly had a lot of Beatles Street. After a lot of looking at the map and debating, we finally discovered which way we needed to go, and we did find Matthew’s Street. On the walk to Matthew Street, Katie saw a sign that said “Magistrate’s Entrance”. She asked me to take a picture in front of it because her mom was a magistrate. When we arrived at Matthew Street, we found the Beatles shop, where Kyle, Erin, and I found some cool Beatles souvenirs, as well as some things for ourselves.

We then came across the original Cavern Club, which had been closed years before. We took some pictures, and then Erin and heather wanted to go into this other Beatles superstore. It was closed, but there was a really cool statue of the Beatles in the shopping mall. There was also the Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds café, which we had wanted to try to eat at, but it was closed, to our disappointment.

We then went and explored the New Cavern Pub. It was cool, and there was a lot of Beatles stuff in there, though I’m sure it would have been even cooler to see the original Cavern Club. Not that this has anything to do with the Beatles, but there was a band playing when we went in the new Cavern Pub, and the singer had a horrible voice. It was so bad that it was hurting my ears and Katie’s ears just to have to be there listening to that. As we were leaving, he started singing Hey Jude, and he totally ruined it.

Across the street from the new Cavern Pub was the Liverpool Hall of Fame, so we stopped and looked at that for a few minutes. By then, it was getting late, and we needed to get Erin food so that she didn’t collapse on the street. We came across this place called the Hog’s Head, and while we were standing outside, we realized that there statues of all of the Beatles on this building across the street. Erin and I then went and took pictures of all of the statues. When we rejoined the group, we discovered that the Hogs Head was pretty much just a bar, and so we went in search of somewhere else to eat. We had seen this Italian café earlier, and we decided to go eat there. Kyle was trying to save money, so he ordered these 95 pence breadsticks that turned out to be just sticks of bread. The rest of us got different kinds of tortellini. Since I never eat all of my meals, Kyle and I ended up sharing my tortellini so that he didn’t have to starve for dinner.

After our dinner, we spent a long time trying to figure out how to split the check, and in the end, Heather, Katie, and I each just put in ten pounds because that was the easiest way to do it, and we said we would figure out who owed what later. We then debated over whether to take a taxi or a bus for a good five minutes while we were walking back to one of the main streets. We ended up taking a taxi because we were not sure of what bus to take.

This was the second day of our adventure in Liverpool, and I had an amazing time. None of us realized that Liverpool was this big and that there was so much stuff to do. I love Liverpool. It is an amazing city, and many of the Liverpuddlians are really nice.


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