Tuesday 30 January 2018

Edge Hill and Wavertree

I started today's trip in Edge Hill at the former Spekeland which seemed to be boarded up every time I tried to visit.  Since then it has become the Nags Head, but it's still boarded up!

On to the Boundary:
This imposing building looks increasingly worn as the years pass, but inside the magnificent ceramics and woodwork remain.  A handful of blokes constituted the custom on a Tuesday afternoon, we were all in the bar side as the larger and more spectacular lounge side was closed off.  The background noise was chit-chat and BBC news from the telly.

Oddly, as I was about half way through my Guinness, a group of four or five lads came in and formed a noisy group at one end of the bar.  The incumbent older clientele promptly left en masse.  Aggro?  I don't think so, everything was amicable and some of those leaving called "See you later" to the lads.  It was more like a shift change.

Next, just a short distance down Smithdown Road took me to the Newstead Abbey:
The door on the main road was shut but happily I was able to gain entry round the side.  A traditional street corner boozer this one, quiet apart from the racing on the telly, with half a dozen customers watching the horses or chatting at the counter.  Just one bar, plus a back room in darkness.  As always nowadays, the place was clean, tidy and well cared for.

A very elderly bloke struggled to leave, hardly able to walk with his stick, and immediately one of the regulars helped him and carried his shopping out.  I hope I have a local like this when I'm that old.

Off down a side street to cut through to Earle Road, and the Earl Marshall:
I've not been in here since 1999, and it hasn't changed much since then, although it's obviously been well looked after in the intervening years.  Actually, my notes say it spent some time boarded up (That's perhaps why it was missing from my otherwise comprehensive survey of the area in 2003.) but it's back now.

I notice a skillful salesman has sold them some of those "retro" lightbulbs, there were various bulb shapes with spiral or zigzag filaments all suspended from the high ceiling.

A small amount of original decorated glass survives around the porch, but the majority of the decor is plain and recent.  Customers were about ten, all male except one, and the background noise was quiet conversations and Sky Sports News.

The Earl Marshal or Earl Marshall, an hereditary title held by the Dukes of Norfolk, is responsible for organising major state occasions such as the State Opening of Parliament.

Next, further along Earle Road to the Ashdale Inn:
Long before micro-pubs were invented there was a previous generation of shop conversions, which in Liverpool comprised a chain called Oak Lodges.  They could be found all over the conurbation, all having identical fake traditional pub decor and no real ale.  They were also fond of split level interiors, often arranging a few steps up between the front and rear seating areas.  Many have disappeared but some carry on, although there is now no hint of the Oak Lodges brand.  This is a classic of the genre, including the split levels.

A handful of regulars were chatting with the barmaid or playing pool, and here the background noise was mainly a music channel on the TV.

My next target was the Waldeck:
As you can see I was some months or even years too late, so I carried on past the long-closed Railway, and finished at the Wellington on Picton Road:
It was too dark for a photo by now, so this one is from 2003.

Behind the splendid ceramic exterior is a pleasant plain knocked round one bar boozer.  A few original features remain, particularly the wood and glasswork of the porches, but most of the place is comfortable modern plain.  The customers were a few blokes (four including me) and a couple of young girls whose main interest seemed to be programming the juke box.

There were a couple of handpumps on the bar, one with a turned round Doom Bar clip, but I bet they haven't done real ale for some time.

Contradicting my comments in previous blog entries, I can report that all the pubs today were comfortably warm inside, despite it being another chilly January day.

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