Author Topic: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties  (Read 14107 times)

Offline WOOLTONIAN

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Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« on: September 25, 2005, 01:23:23 PM »
Today sees the start of our new series, Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties, where Wooltonian takes us back 80 years to a time of flappers and dockers, The Jazz Singer and The Great Strike, and a team called Liverpool winning titles.

Preface

Liverpool was a black, dirty place in the 1920s. The intense concentration of soot produced by domestic coal fires and heavy industry shrouded the area in its opaque blanket. Garston Gas Works was a noted landmark which generated sufficient gas for many surrounding districts, including Speke and Woolton. Not only was the atmosphere in Garston heavily polluted with smoke and smog, it was also rank with the smell from the tanning yards. The stench on a summer's day meant smelling salts were totally un-necessary if anyone fainted in the heat.

Garston also was the centre of Liverpool’s coal trade. The docks were where the banana boats came in. I kid you not, my family probably saw a banana before most families in the UK, although working out how best to open one was a complete mystery and many still used a knife.

Britain's first birth control clinic, which opened in London in 1921, was in its way almost as important to women as the suffragette movement which had campaigned for the vote over the previous ten years. This clinic was founded by Dr Marie Stopes (not a physician but a fossil botanist, would you believe), whose book "Married Love" caused a sensation when it appeared in 1918. She aimed to give free consultations to poor women overburdened by childbearing, large families being the norm. For many years Marie Stopes was considered less than respectable and she faced a lot of opposition from clergymen and doctors.

Meanwhile in the Brodrick household, under the bridge in Garston, Margaret was coping with the demands of her 11 children. William and James Joseph the eldest pair had just returned from the first World War, William being mentioned in despatches by General Allenby for his bravery.



This was the arena into which my grandfather Peter was born and brought up.

The city and outlining districts were noisy with the clanking of trams, the rattling of horse drawn carts on the streets, the cries of coalmen, rag & bone men, paper boys and factory hooters which marked the different shifts.

"Peter, quick, grab the bucket and follow that horse"



"Peter, get a shift on lad follow the coal man". It was common back then for children to run after the coal delivery man and collect any coal which fell off the back of cart. It was my G's (great grandfather William) job to bring home the "cock wood" (long story).

Liverpool had a fine transport system. It had an excellent overhead railway and work on the forthcoming Mersey Tunnel, with its distinctive smell, was started in 1925 to alleviate the long queues which had started to build up at the Mersey Ferry Terminal. The whole area was covered by an extensive tramway network. Folk could clank along from Garston to the Pier Head by tram for a modest fare. Other destinations included Anfield, Wavertree and as far as Childwall. As the song has it :

'You can't go to heaven in a no. 3 car
'Cos a no. 3 car don't go that far'


(though when you consider the number 3 went to Anfield, I think the lyrics may have been just a little bit wrong)

The trams had spiral staircases and a driver's cabin at each end. At the terminus the driver changed the points, the conductor changed the seats, the two men then changed ends and the tram set off in the reverse direction. Notices posted inside screamed 'No spitting allowed'!, as the habit helped spread TB (tuberculosis) which was a major health risk. It might seem strange these days but spitting was both commonplace and a necessity, as it helped clear the airways of the dust and the soot. Other diseases such as ephysemia, asthma and bronchitis were also a constant menace.

The outskirts of Liverpool were much greener than now; Hale Village and Speke, for example, were surrounded by green fields and Woolton and Gateacre were old fashioned little villages nestling amid farmland. Many people moved in from these country areas to dwell in the city tenements and became adopted Scousers.

Tenements were all rented and the procedure for young married couples was to start where they could afford. This was usually in a 'single end', a one apartment flat with an outside communal toilet. The wash house and boiler were shared on a rotational basis and washing was done with a scrubbing board. People then moved up the social ladder to the luxury of four or more rooms and kitchen with an inside toilet. (But not in our house, we never saw an inside loo until we moved to Woolton in 1965.) The kitchen had an old fashioned range; 'interior fires' were still to come.

Domestic and street lighting was by gas and 'Lankie' the lamplighter came round at night. Hot peas were sold in the streets, roasted chestnuts in season, and the rag and bone man came round with his cart offering balloons for the children.  It was at this time my family ran a soup kitchen on the corner of Raglan Street. It was used by the Dockers on the way to and leaving work at all hours. My great grand-mother Margaret was not the best business woman though and she probably had the longest slate in Liverpool.

There was much horse transport still; coal lorries and carts with beer barrels trundled slowly around, adding to the dirt and dust of the cobbled streets.

Holidays for most people were confined to the 'Fair' when factories shut down for the second fortnight in July, or to the circus that visited Garston Park once a year. For some, holidays were spent at home where people could enjoy strolling in the parks, playing with boats in the ponds and feeding the ducks, sitting in the bandstands listening to brass music and enjoying the fun provided by, dare we say it, the 'Black on Black Minstrels'.
 
The more affluent enjoyed a holiday down the Mersey at New Brighton, West Kirkby or even Southport for the very rich, but the silting up was going to stop the Southport ferry in this decade. Travelling on one of the many steamers to one of the numerous holiday resorts where the attractions were abundant was a rarity due to cost. No one even dreamt of going abroad at this juncture in time.

Back in the city, Ma Egerton's tea rooms, with their famous plush interiors, flourished at all seasons of the year. Another famous eating venue was Cooper's in Church Street.

Despite all the dirt and poverty Liverpool was a lively vibrant industrial city making an apparent good recovery from the Great War. Part of this recovery was helped by great football players of the time which included Chambers, Forshaw, Hodgson and dare I even suggest it the legendary Dixie Dean.

Without these players lifting the doom and gloom of everyday life I would suggest most people would have given up on their pitiful existence. I kid you not, but "meat" (in whatever form it came) was a "treat" and a premium many families just simply could not afford. Scragg end of lamb was the best cut most could afford and so the legendary dish of Scouse was most people's favourite dish of the week. Steak egg and chips was a bloody long way off in my family's future. Nowadays my kids sneer if their Mam offered them anything without a slice of cow or pig on the plate.

Replica tops were also in the distant future, but if you could persuade an ex-player to part with one, this is what they would look like:



Not bad are they? Perhaps after this series they may become popular enough for a manufacturer like Toffs to produce.

So the story begins.

1920's Liverpool, rickets diphtheria pox and TB were the main threats, but the Liverpool forward line looked just as dangerous when in full flow. This five part article will contain twelve match reports from the days when there were "Goals Galore".

© Wooltonian 2005

Part 2 of Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties.
Part 3 of Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties.
Part 4 of Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties.

In the next part Wooltonian takes us to our first Merseyside derby of the twenties as Liverpool take on Everton in front of 55,000 at Goodison, and then it's the mighty Preston North End who visit Anfield.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2006, 03:05:40 PM by Rushian »
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Offline Rushian

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2005, 12:51:26 PM »
This is the start of Karl's cracking new series on Liverpool in the 1920s. Loads more to come.
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Offline Jim Price

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2005, 12:55:11 PM »
Really enjoyed reading that. Thanks Wooltonian.

Offline gjr1

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2005, 01:02:42 PM »
Great read.

Being born in Preston myself, my mother was born in 1926 so I will look forward to the rest of your stories :)

We have to be like Rocky

Offline gjr1

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2005, 01:03:38 PM »
Ah you took out the bit with the part 2 preview :P

We have to be like Rocky

Offline groundhog

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2005, 01:21:47 PM »
A fascinating read.  Thanks very much.

Offline TRF

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2005, 02:08:04 PM »
thanks waiting for next part :wave

Offline Red-juvenated

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2005, 03:02:37 PM »
That was a good read, really look forward to Liverpool in the Roaring 20's Part II.
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Offline tomred

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2005, 03:44:05 PM »
Excellent piece that, really excellent.

Offline Brimag

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2005, 05:45:50 PM »
Brilliant as usual Karl, especially as I was born in Garston. I always enjoy reading about the place.

I’m almost positive that my mate has got that old top, been trying to scrounge it off him but he won’t be on.
Will ask him were he got it from next time I see him.
A Liverbird upon my chest
We are the men, of Shankly's best
A team that plays the Liverpool way
And wins the championship in May

Offline Jonno83

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2005, 06:07:19 PM »
great read mate
We will rise again...

Offline hooded claw

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2005, 08:25:30 PM »
Told you before Karl- you should be getting these into book form! A cracking read.

Offline Roger

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2005, 08:31:06 PM »
Thank you. Will be looking forward to the next installment.

Offline koolkamal

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2005, 03:47:24 PM »
Thats a really good read, looking foward to reading the next one.
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Offline Walt

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2005, 04:07:37 PM »
Top read there, I like that top wouldn't mind getting one of them... :)
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Offline WOOLTONIAN

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2005, 09:59:54 AM »
I know this looks like there is no football content in this series, but I can assure you there is 70 pages (A4) of football to follow.

posted for the curious
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Offline Jim Price

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2005, 10:09:38 AM »
I know this looks like there is no football content in this series, but I can assure you there is 70 pages (A4) of football to follow.

posted for the curious

I'd be just as happy reading about the history of the city. Maybe there's two books in ya!

Offline Olly

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2005, 11:08:18 AM »
I'd be just as happy reading about the history of the city.

Me too.

As always Karl, superb.
If you keep one eye on the past, you are blind in one eye. Yet if you forget the past, you are blind in both.

Offline red_ong

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2005, 02:37:08 AM »
Great info, especially for us in the Far East!  Thanks!
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Offline WOOLTONIAN

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2005, 11:21:27 AM »
I'd be just as happy reading about the history of the city. Maybe there's two books in ya!

Wrote a book once.....

it was shite, informative but could have done with a better author
Greatest European Story Ever Told
covered all the shenanigans of European games from 1964-2002/3

Needed re-writing or editing every year by new author to cover seasons that followed.
No one ever took up the challenge.
Olly covered last year, needed someone like John Mac to do a season and then others every season.

Good Idea, but never took off
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Offline Jim Price

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2005, 11:42:17 AM »
Think I missed out on that, great idea for a book though, been some cracking Euro away reports on here in recent times, just need pulling together, sounds dead easy  ;D

When I read this the other day I was reminded of some books I used to have as a kid, I think they were a series called Scouseology? Published the Echo round about 1986/87, and sponsored by Whitbread, who I suspect were trying to compensate for killing off Higsons. They were like an encylopeida of the City with some good stories in them, like the mysterious murder in Menlove Avenue.

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2005, 12:01:31 PM »
Menlove Gardens East / West Murder you mean ?
The one where the Doctor supposedly went to an address that never existed, while his wife was butchered
Used to court a Girl from Menlove Gardens...

Thanks for yet another memory jog
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Offline Jim Price

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2005, 01:30:55 PM »
Menlove Gardens East / West Murder you mean ?
The one where the Doctor supposedly went to an address that never existed, while his wife was butchered
Used to court a Girl from Menlove Gardens...

Thanks for yet another memory jog
Yes, that's what I meant. Had to be the doctor that.

You can't libel the dead can you?

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2005, 05:06:57 PM »
didn't John Lennon have a connection with Menlove Avenue?
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Offline Jim Price

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2005, 05:10:03 PM »
didn't John Lennon have a connection with Menlove Avenue?

He had an alibi  ;D

Yeah, he used to live on Menlove, number 251 I think.

Offline jc2002

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #25 on: September 30, 2005, 08:08:54 PM »
If you're talking about the murder of Julia Wallace her husband was an insurance salesman not a doctor. He certainly went to Menlove Gardens. If he was guillty he went to establish a false alibi. If he was innocent he was lured to look for a non-existant address to keep him away from home while the murder was taking place. He was convicted in court but the Law Lords broke with precedent & overturned the verdict not on a point of law but because they felt that there was insufficient evidence to convict.
 I think most people who've looked at the case since reckon he was probably innocent.
The jury were probably the ancestors of Wednesday night's ref.

Offline Socratease

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #26 on: October 13, 2005, 11:40:35 PM »
In the twenties my grand parents, on my mother's side, where in their youth and Liverpool was very attractive to to them, they both would talk about Liverpool, she about new life and fine people, he about the best darned footy Team in the world! Nothing like a fella's perspective hey! ;)

My grandmother was a district nurse who would do her rounds on a bicycle in Armagh, my grandfather was a lighthouse keeper who joined the Merchant Navy,from Cork. They eloped to England just before World War Two and arrived in Liverpool.

It was while in Liverpool my grandfather was recruited by the Royal Navy and he qualified as a deep water diver - in those days it was a big metal helmet that had an airline from the surface and huge heavy leaded boots, all sealed in a one piece diving suit! Just after he qualified they married and she gained a nursing post on the Wirral, and they established a home there in Birkenhead (then Cheshire). Within the year my uncle was born, and not much later she was pregnant with my mum.

The pay was (comparatively) good for my grandfather and it allowed my grandmother to concentrate on the young family, when an alert went out that a submarine - HMS Thetis - had left Cammel Laird's ship yard and was having difficulties just outside of Liverpool Bay in the Irish sea. HMS Thetis was undergoing sea trials for the Navy with some of their officers and Cammel Laird engineers & technicians aboard.

It soon became clear that an urgent rescue operation was needed and the Royal Navy mobilized to rescue their troubled virgin new born craft and the men that sailed in her beneath the waves. Many a time my grandfather said to my mum as a youngster, - at the time of the incident she was still in gestation and not born yet - that as they sailed at high speed, he and the rest of his surrounding crew watched the Liverbirds fade into the distance as they rushed to the scene a couple of hours away. There was a determination that they would bring those men back along with the submarine HMS Thetis (Thetis was a Greek sea-goddess,daughter of Nereus and Doris, she wed Peleus and bore Achilles to him).

They did their utmost in retrieving the men once it was obvious, after many strenuous attempts against the sea, that it was not going to be possible to raise HMS Thetis herself. My grandfather was down there in very precarious conditions both to himself and his surface ship - tapping morse code on the hull with a heavy wrench/adjustable spanner  in the darkness knowing that their air was running out and hearing the responses become more and more faint as their air supply was running out. At this time with the depth of his dive and the pressure of the depth of the water, he was under extreme duress as those above the waves were struggling with the weather conditions trying to figure an airline to the submarine and/or a possible extraction procedure for the men trapped to escape the depths.

My grandfather had far outstripped the limits for the duration of such a deep dive as he kept signalling 'No' for his time of retrieval. He could no longer hear any more bangings from within the submarine. He said to my mother, when the war was over, that he did not even consider it possible to weep under water.

His commanding officer signalled to him, in the depths, that he MUST come up NOW! He did not give any answer. He said to my mum that he didn't want to answer, and that he was beginning to hallucinate and his emotions were amok! If he was not retrieved when he was, he would have died along with people he was trying to help to rescue. He said to her it was beyond despair, to leave those men lying there in that deep watery grave.

There was a film made about this incident that pre dates the ones of the Kursk (a nuclear submarine,just off Murmansk in Russia) with some famous British actors. It was in black & white due to when it was made and when I watched it for the first time I found it totally overpowering!

My grandad, in a major ceremony, recieved the George Cross from the King at the time, but he never boasted about it.

Whilst with the Navy in WWII, he got sunk by the German Navy four times by their U-Boats, but he was happy -'Liverpool Won the Battle of the Atlantic!' He would shout with great pride!


YNWA grandad.


.


« Last Edit: October 18, 2005, 12:32:12 AM by Socratease »
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Offline Jim Price

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #27 on: October 13, 2005, 11:58:25 PM »
Powerful stuff that mate. I recall reading about that incident when I was a kid.

Offline Socratease

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #28 on: October 14, 2005, 12:02:24 AM »
Thank you Jim Price. :thumbup
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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #29 on: October 14, 2005, 12:45:35 AM »
I've just spoken to my old mum (she's down in Cambridge now) from up here in the north east(I'm a scouser, not a Geordie btw!), and she said 'Never sell this medal from my treasure box, son, you are my first born and I depend on you to keep it safe. This medal has the memories of my Dad and those poor men from  Birkenhead and Liverpool and the Navy, I met their families many times being a nosey person, and they made me feel proud  of my Dad!'

What can I say? My response is limited here as I have to be off to work in six hours!

'Mum, it is'nt going anywhere!'

« Last Edit: October 14, 2005, 08:40:32 PM by Socratease »
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Offline Dickie Sam Cratchet

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #30 on: October 18, 2005, 03:20:55 PM »
Great read Wooltonian.

Offline ElysianField

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #31 on: October 21, 2005, 09:39:59 AM »
Wooltonian/Mr. Brodrick,

Good stuff.

Quick note about what you wrote about playing at Hillfoot with Frank Case. I was in the year below you. Played on the wing. Was Degsy Jones your 'coach' then? Passed away a couple of years ago, unfortunately.

If you reckon there's a book in what your doing get back to me on stegillo@hotmail.com

It's a long and lonely road but once you get the ISBN number lots of doors seem to open...

Great demand on Merseyside for the stuff you're writing but I'm sure you know it already....

Good luck with it & RIP Degsy.

Offline WOOLTONIAN

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #32 on: October 21, 2005, 12:52:34 PM »
Quick note about what you wrote about playing at Hillfoot with Frank Case. I was in the year below you. Played on the wing. Was Degsy Jones your 'coach' then? Passed away a couple of years ago, unfortunately.

Fojo was never a coach of mine, I had Atherton, Fullalove, Love and Howell. what Jonesy did inspire me to do was write, which I will always be greatful for. Did you know he was a Double hitter? Watched Liverpool and Everton at every home game. Quality bloke, knew more about football than anyone I've ever met. Athletics coach was PE / History teacher, unforgivable that I cannot recall his name. He trained me in 440 yds to 54.7 School record never broken.

If you reckon there's a book in what your doing get back to me on stegillo@hotmail.com

Big believer in free reading being availabe for everyone. The only reason I wrote about the 20's is that that was absolutely nothing availabe on the web or in Library. People should be able to access our history without having to fork out. If I ever wrote anything peronal, I'd probably have a think. I love the Etherington books, because he gives you so much of himself and not just footy matches or his opinion on how things are / were. Alan Edge is another who offers up big chunks of himself in his writing. I've always said if I want a match report I'd buy a f**** Echo.

or if you prefer the condensed answer
'no interest really'
  ;D

Great demand on Merseyside for the stuff you're writing but I'm sure you know it already....

All people have to do is go the Library, they can access anything I write FREE
Not sure a 'warts an all' would make pleasant reading, nor do i think I could match the literary talents of others.

Nice to hear from you anyway, always nice to hear about lads from Hillfoot doing well. Good luck in whatever path you choose.

Karl
« Last Edit: October 21, 2005, 01:06:30 PM by Rushian »
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Offline Socratease

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #33 on: November 15, 2005, 12:11:20 AM »
Karl, please keep your hunger for knowledge going mate and keep these historical pieces going!

'People should be able to access our history without having to fork out.' Spot on!

By you posting this history you educate and rejuvenate!

Keep up the good work Wooltonian, if it was'nt for you this history would not have been  posted. The history of this Club is in good hands mate, keep educating us! :thumbup

Socs.
The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.

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Offline WOOLTONIAN

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #34 on: November 15, 2005, 09:18:07 AM »
Thanks very much for the kind words, always nice to know I'm not banging my head against a brick wall.
Sometimes I get the distinct feeling fans think the club started in the 1960's.
We have a brilliant history in this club, if only people took the time to look, they would find an array of colourful personalities and some great achievements.
The 1920's Liverpool were our first side to retain the League Title but little things like that seem to have slipped into oblivion.
Later in this piece you'll find the Kop gets a roof, no more standing in the pissing down rain.
You'll also find historical fact of our first ever 'kop chant', not quite Scouser Tommy, but it was the start of what has today become the famous Kop Roar.
Living descendant of Sir Thomas Brodrick, Vice Admiral of the Red in the 18th Century

Offline Tsar Kastik

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #35 on: February 18, 2012, 08:24:40 PM »
Really enjoyed that, thanks
Plenty well, no pray; big bellyache, heap God

Offline Crow

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Re: Liverpool in the Roaring Twenties
« Reply #36 on: March 18, 2012, 11:22:19 PM »
Really good story my friend, great read!