Following our day out in Liverpool (see here for relevant post) our friends arrived onsite and we took the car to visit Port Sunlight (an obsession of mine for some years since seeing it featured on various TV programmes).
Port Sunlight is a model village (not ‘miniature’ model, but ‘ideal’ model) conceived by Lord Leverhulme to house the workers for his Sunlight Soap factory (much like Bourneville was built for Cadbury workers). The houses and surroundings must have seemed like a little slice of heaven for those who were lucky enough to have the opportunity to move there!
Lord Leverhulme also believed in work/life balance (he was years ahead of his time!) and as such provided numerous leisure facilities for his workers and their families – there were schools, social clubs, parks, sports & recreation areas and even an open air swimming pool. There was (is) even a pub, The Bridge Inn, although no alcohol was initially served here. This rule was overturned after a referendum was held – it is believed that Lord Leverhulme assumed the women would vote against the motion, but he stuck by the result when they proved him wrong 🙂
Our visit was not a disappointment (I was a little worried that it might prove to be…); instead I found out so much about the village and it’s history and really enjoyed a wander around the village followed by lunch in the pub 🙂 – I think the others enjoyed it too….!!
The museum is well worth a visit at £4.50 each (including access to a typical cottage, dressed for a typical occupant – although there were many different styles built by numerous architects). There is a wealth of information on show with exhibitions that change regularly.
We discovered that The Beatles used to regularly play at Hulme Hall; in fact it was where Ringo Starr played with them for the first time. We also discovered that BBC News Reader (and Antiques Roadshow presenter) Fiona Bruce was actually born in Port Sunlight.
As well as the Museum, cottage and pub you can also visit the church, art gallery and Bridge Cottage. There’s even a holiday cottage available to let!
If you would like to discover more about the fascinating and uplifting history of Port Sunlight please visit their website here.
After a pleasant lunch in The Bridge Inn we moved on again, this time to visit ‘Another Place’, Anthony Gormley’s sculptures in the sea at Crosby.
If I’m honest we were only doing this as we felt we really should as we were in the area… As you approach there are numerous signs to the sculpture; you really don’t need to follow the 1st one – remember this is a sculpture of 100 cast-iron, life size men placed in the water facing out to sea. It is ranged along the whole promenade. We ended up at the northern end of the beach and walked south while the tide receded…
Yes. We arrived when the tide was fully in! At first we were really disappointed, thinking that we weren’t going to see any of the sculptures. But actually I think this gave a wonderful perspective, as we saw figures emerging from the water head first before being submerged time and again. My take was the fact that we are able to absorb so much, always emerging from the darkness; always looking ahead, although a little bit of us is lost with each wave. (I know – bit deep for me!) Anyway, I found it really quite moving and was surprised by my reaction 🙂
Each sculpture is modelled on the artist himself, made from casts of his own body (not sure about those nipples – though I suppose it is cold in Crosby in the water much of the time!!)
Heading back to the car we noticed numerous memorial benches sited along the promenade – some of these were really sad and poignant.
We were also privileged to witness a murmuration of starlings (although the following video doesn’t do what we saw justice as I had to grab my phone quickly and only got a short snapshot 😦 )
To complete our day Steve directed us towards the resort of New Brighton on the north-west coast of The Wirrall. Sadly the fort that he remembered so fondly from his childhood was now locked up and inaccessible. We watched children crabbing in the harbour, saw them solve the problem of retrieving lost sticks and listened to parents loudly communicating with their children and each other as they headed towards the arcades and fast food outlets.
There is certainly plenty to keep a family occupied in New Brighton but we didn’t dwell and headed on back to the campsite for a game of Sequence and a few drinks 🙂
Next time I post it will be dealing with our upcoming trip (next week!) to France and Spain 🙂