Thursday, September 26, 2013


I was born in Liverpool and lived there until I was 10 when my parents decided to move to a 'new town' that had been developed partly to rehome a growing Liverpool population that had outgrown it's pre-war housing stock. Part of their decision was based on my ever worsening asthma, they thought that moving to the 'green' new town would be a benefit.

It’s actually a very old town, the castle is believed to have been here since the 1070s. There is also a lovely priory that has become the largest archaeological dig in Europe.

And that's the problem - it's a small, old town, which had to suddenly take in 1,000s of new comers. 40 years on there is still resentment here. I joined a 'local' group on Facebook and quickly had to leave again as it regularly had posts bemoaning the 'incomers' and likening them to locusts. There is a fairly strict divide here. The 'Locals' tend to live in the Old Town and the incomers in the 'New Town'. Just to be contrary, I've mostly lived in the Old Town.

When we originally moved here with my parents, we lived on the divide between the two halves of the town, there was literally a six foot high, concrete fence segregating us from the Old Town. In the summer holidays and at weekends, at pre-arranged times, gangs of boys from the Old Town would meet gangs of boys from the New Town on the field next to our house and kick seven shades of crap out of each other - before going home, to meet again the following week.

My father used to have a market stall in the Old Town, which I helped out on at weekends and school holidays. We had regular customers from the Old Town, who were so insular they'd never even crossed the bridge that would take them to the next town over. They had everything they wanted, right where they were.

My parents were Irish, so my brother and I didn't really have strong Liverpudlian accents when we moved here, we were able to go to a local school, without too much bother. We know people who were bullied or beaten up for being 'scousers' (similarly, locals will tell you that they know people who were bullied or beaten up for being local) - it was a weird situation.

As for my parents' idea that New Town was a better place for asthmatic Tilly - yes, New Town has lots of green spaces, but it is also heavily industrialised. Local people suffer from permanently drippy noses, probably caused by the many chemical plants about.

Our town centre is a ghost town. There are lots of terraced houses, all crammed in on top of each other. It is full of charity shops and fast food outlets. There is a shopping mall type of set up in the new town, but while it used to have the big names, it too is now becoming a bit of a white elephant, with lots of empty units. There is high unemployment here, and the shopping centre is often full with groups of young men or women, with really thick 'plastic scouse' accents. They've never lived in Liverpool, but have tried to hang on to this bit of 'heritage' by talking the way their parents did, resulting in a weird hybrid accent that bears no resemblance to the real Liverpool accent.

A growing number of people are choosing to do their shopping out of the area, and then moan that there is 'nothing' in their own town - instead of spending their money locally and helping to develop their own environment.

The New Town that was built over 40 years ago is now showing its age, and is being redeveloped - money is being spent here, but I fear it's not enough. I don't know what's going to be here for Mini Mint when he leaves school.

I was tagged by the lovely Clara, you can read her original post here:

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