The Light of Other Days: Reflections of Liverpool

John Hussey

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  • Paperback: 315 pages
  • Publisher: Countyvise Ltd (3 Nov. 2009)
  • Published: 2009
  • ISBN-10: 1906823227
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906823221
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 2.3 x 27.2 cm

John Hussey examines the motley legions of philanthropists and eccentrics, rogues and chancers, savants and merchants, blackguards and bankrupts, the dedicated, the feckless, the trustworthy and the devious who have at various times left their mark on the city of Liverpool and its fascinating history.

The book begins where Liverpool itself began – on the wterfront. It then moves outward to the city centre and beyond, just as the city itself expanded, and after mandering along various byeways, it lingers in Liverpool 7, before moving out into the suburbs. Topics include Liverpool’s role in the slave trade, the city’s wartime experiences and the history behind Liverpool’s impressive architecture.

For reasons yet to be discerned, the city of Liverpool has always been in a state of flux, reinventing itself again and again, in a pathological desire to attain some unfathomable metropolitan nirvana. Intervals of comparative quietude are followed by frenzied building schemes in which buildings old or new, valuable or worthless, are casually discarded like worn-out toys, in order that the latest technological marvel can take their place.

All too often, the new buildings cannot hold a candle to what went before, but Liverpool has always succumbed to the siren voices of carpetbagger architects and usually paid a high price for its frailty. In a less enlightened age, buildings have been demolished with a staggering insouciance and most Liverpudlians of a certain age, have sighed for the loss of the Overhead Railway, the Sailor's Home, St. John's Market, the Dive, the Duck, the Magic Clock, the Spanish Winehouse, the Custom House, St.Peter's Church, the Baltic Fleet Chandler's shops, the fondly remembered Trams and so many other landmarks which marked out the city's uniqueness.

Despite the chequered history of architecture and the mistakes of the past, there is still a great deal to be proud of throughout Liverpool - what would London give for Dale Street, how they would love to get their hands on Princes Boulevard and not even the fabulous wealth of the capital could afford the transfer fee for St George's Hall or the Albert Dock. The city is today on a vast learning curve and while it must be conceded that the world moves on, there is a dawning discernment that the buildings and architecture of our city are the objects of quiet pride by its citizens and the very existence of venerable buildings and the familiar furniture of the streets provides tangible evidence of stability and continuity in an often frenetic world. There has also grown up a realization that the value of the Georgian and Victorian heritage left by our forebears is actually priceless beyond measure.

Born and bred in Liverpool,John Hussey's books are taken from the rich history of the city. Many of the subjects are previously unpublished and John attempts to resurrect histories of events which have vanished off the radar. John fills every book with meticulously researched images.

Cruisers, Cotton and Confederates is the story of Liverpool's involvement in the American Civil War and the ships which were built in Merseyside shipyards. The book traces all of the Confederate agents who lived and worked on Merseyside and details where they lived and worked with most of the buildings still standing.

The Confederate Years is a slightly quirky take on the events of 1861 to 1865 in Liverpool. The book unearths some strange facts and previously unknown players in the Confederacy in Liverpool and is lavishly illustrated with the oil paintings of Confederate ships by his friend, the artist Ted Walker.

Finding Margaret is a search for the painter of Fantine which has been in the Walker Art Gallery for over a century. Margaret Bernadine Hall was the artist and the book provides the only published picture of her.

John Gibson R.A, The World of the Master Sculptors is the biography of Gibson whose sculptures can be found in the Walker At Gallery.

The Light of Other Days is polarised around the areas of Liverpool 7 and Liverpool 15 and is a must-read for anyone from Edge Hill and Wavertree.