35 things from growing up in Liverpool that you don’t see anymore
Everyone has something they’d love to bring back from their childhood that you don’t see anymore. Whether it’s your favourite chocolate bar, a lost landmark or a once popular pastime, it’s easy to get nostalgic when you think about just how much has changed. We asked the members of our Liverpool History and Memories Facebook group back in May last year to tell us the things they haven’t seen since their childhoods.
Their answers included everything from the Alpine man to Trebor choc sticks and Liverpool’s lost tram network. This list also includes some more recent changes in the city from the closure of Woolworths to Liverpool’s lost cinemas. READ MORE:‘Scouse lad’ tries his luck dressed as a woman to get into Glastonbury
Here are 35 things you don’t see in Liverpool anymore. If there’s something you think we’ve missed off the list let us know in the comments below. 1.
Kardomah Cafe branch
Kardomah Cafes were a chain of coffee shops which featured live entertainment provided by string quartets. The company was born out of Pudsey Street in Liverpool in 1844, initially started as the Vey Brothers teadealers and grocers. With branches across the country, Liverpool’s Kardomah Cafe gained popularity for the 1983 song ‘Kardomah Cafe’ by The Cherry Boys.
This branch was also used by the Beatles, and the many Merseybeat groups of the 1960s, who played in the nearby Cavern Club. 2. Proper snow
Ice and snow on Sefton Park lake in January 1963 (Image: Mirrorpix)
It’s long been the topic of discussion why Liverpool’s weather is so mild – rarely do we ever have high winds, freezing temperatures or heavy snowfalls.
One group member recalled ‘proper’ snow days from his childhood, rather than the thin blanket of snow that never really settles which many of us will recognise from recent winters. 3. The knife sharpener
It’s been a long time since anyone will have seen a knife sharpener knocking on doors in Liverpool’s residential streets. The knife grinder would come round the streets and sharpen all sorts of blades, not just knives. Back when blades weren’t made of the stainless steel material we recognise today, they would blunt quickly and needed to be sharpened regularly.
Knife grinders would often cover a large area, travelling travelled on foot with equipment on a handcart. They would offer their trade around the streets, standing in the road and calling out to residents: “Any knives or scissors to grind?” 4.
Hot tar bubbles Plenty of people will remember popping hot tar bubbles on summer days during their childhoods. Despite the warnings from adults to stay away from the tar, it was always a satisfying thing to get to do.
5. Milk on the doorstep Of course, plenty of people still choose to get their milk delivered from one of Merseyside’s beloved dairies – but it’s admittedly a much less common site these days.
Interestingly, Mortons Dairies saw customer numbers soar during the Covid lockdowns as more and more people returned to what the firm described as the “original subscription service”. The business now delivers to more than 55,000 customers from seven depots across the Merseyside region – two in Liverpool with further hubs in Maghull, Chester, Wigan and on the Wirral. 6.
The Alpine man The Alpine Soft Drinks man used to come round in a sort of converted milk float every week and sell these street by street back in the mid 70s. Alpine Soft Drinks came in the most vivid colours and left you hyper all evening.
Alpine Soft Drinks came in the usual flavours – Orangeade, Limeade, Lemonade, Cola, Cherryade and of course Dandelion and Burdock. 7. Swings on lampposts
It’s probably not deemed to be entirely safe any more, but it was fun while it lasted 8. The coal man
Another thing you don’t see any more is the coal man bringing round a sack of coal to fuel your home. Coal fires providing smoky chimneys, air pollution, and big lumps of soot floating about on wash day are thankfully a thing of the past. 9.
White dog poo A bizarre choice but one that several group members mentioned when asked. It might seem like an odd thing to mention but white dog poo is one thing you certainly don’t see in Liverpool anymore.
Due to a change in dog’s diets from meat and bones to tinned food, dog poop is no longer white in colour because there is less calcium contained in the food itself. One ECHO reader, Alex Benson, previously pointed out this fun fact : “You don’t see white dog poo anymore because there’s no bone in the food people are feeding their dogs. Unless they are on raw food.”
10. Mosquito sprayer trucks Trucks used to drive through the streets spraying the pesticide, leaving a thick fog behind, but you certainly don’t see this any more.
11. The overhead railway
The Overhead Railway Bridge in Liverpool 1955 (Image: Mirrorpix)
The Liverpool Overhead Railway is remembered by the whole city with fondness and regret that it isn’t still here. The views from the train carriages were truly breathtaking across the River Mersey with its packed docks, or the city itself.
What’s more it was cheap too. A 13-mile round trip cost as little as 1s.
8d. first class and 1s.
4d. third class. 12.
Cups and saucers While some traditionalists still favour the good old fashioned cup and saucer when pouring a brew, it’s fair to say most people are likely to reach for a trusty mug instead. 13.
The rag and bone man For those who don’t know, a rag and bone man collects unwanted household items to sell on themselves. Known for travelling on a horse and cart, the rag and bone man would collect anything and everything that homeowners no longer wanted.
14. Silver Blades Ice Rink
Liverpool Palace ice rink, also known as Silver Blades (Image: Sunday Echo)
When The Silver Blades Ice Rink opened its doors in 1935 it was the place to be in Liverpool. Originally called the Palace Ice Rink the site was used for roller skating but re-opened some years later, changing its name to Silver Blades in the 60s.
Despite its popularity with locals, Silver Blades was closed down on July 4, 1986 as it was deemed financially unviable. Yet more than five decades on the memories of the much loved rink are ones Scousers will never forget. 15.
A streaker being led away by police (Image: Mirrorpix)
A streaking craze swept through Merseyside and across the country in the 1970’s. Streaking was a bizarre trend which started on college campuses in the United States before coming to the UK. It arrived in Merseyside in 1974 and soon became a trend at sporting events and with runners, who took to the streets wearing nothing but a pair of trainers.
In Southport, a naked man carrying nothing other than a brolly and a briefcase was seen streaking down Lord Street that year. He is reported to have been stopped by police and charged with public decency. HMP Liverpool, then known as Walton gaol, became the first to see streaking among inmates, with three running around the yard for exercise wearing nothing but shoes and socks.
They were fined 75p each and lost seven days remission as a result. 16. Trebor choc sticks
Popular in the mid 60s, plenty of newsagents and confectioners would stock them. The twisted rope part was made of hard toffee and the centre was filled with chocolate. They were good value for money because of how big they were, (the full size of a sweet jar), which meant they lasted ages.
17. Dundee biscuits One group member recalled buying big Dundee chocolate biscuits in a four pack.
The simply chocolate dunked shortbread treats were a childhood favourite for many. 18. The rattle of metal bin lids
These days the iconic purple bin is the signifier of a Liverpool postcode (and Scouse status, depending on how you classify it). But back in the day, bin men had to pick up and carry big metal bins down the street to the van. The only sound of rattling metal bin lids has been replaced by the rumbling of plastic bins getting dragged along the pavement.
Number 49 Tram on Penny Lane (Image: Livepool Echo)
Liverpool’s last tram 293 ran on Saturday, September 14, 1957, as part of a procession to mark the end of trams in Liverpool. Car 293 is now kept in a warehouse at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine, USA.
20. Kids playing football in the street In a city as football mad as Liverpool, you’ll never stop seeing children playing football in the street.
But one Facebook group member pointed out that it’s a much rarer sight these days. 21. New Brighton Ferry
22. Proper seasons of hot summers and snowy cold winters 23.
Lewis’s department store
Sales assistants at Lewis’s (Image: Mirrorpix)
David Lewis arrived in Liverpool in 1839, aged 16, and served his apprenticeship with a firm of tailors. He set up his first small shop at 44 Ranelagh Street in 1856, selling men’s and boys clothing. By the time of his death in 1885, the Ranelagh Street site was the largest department store in Liverpool and he had established other new stores in Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham.
They sold tea for just 2s and claim to have been instrumental in making it the national drink. It suffered huge bomb damage during the Blitz, but the store relaunched in swanky style in 1953. All the stores were bought by Owen Owen in 1991, which was then bought by BHS billionaire Phillip Green.
But by 2001, Liverpool was the last remaining store and in 2007 Owen Owen went into administration. The store’s new owners Vergo Retail announced it was closing in February 2010. 24.
The Futurist Cinema in Lime Street in 1959 – the ticket desk, seating and prices and the lift to the circle
Over the years, a number of vintage cinemas have all but disappeared with the advent of multiplexes and increasingly sophisticated ways of watching movies at home, which were almost as good as watching them in the cinema. Lime Street was once dominated by three ABC cinemas – the large one overlooking St John’s shopping centre and the mainline railway station, along with its two smaller cousins, the Futurist and the Scala. 25. ‘The Cocky Watchman’
Based in a shed-like building in the park, these wardens were known by many kids as “the cocky watchman”. 26. Handcarts
27. Racer bikes with Chopper front wheels on them 28.
The Walton Festival This event would feature lorries decorated to look like scenes from Snow White or the Wizard of Oz. The streets would be decorated with flags and banners and it was a real occasion for residents both young and old.
29. Putting 50p in the gas meter 30.
Coopers on Church Street
Coopers coffee & food shop, once a Liverpool favourite on the corner of Church Street and Church Lane, in February 1972 (Image: Liverpool ECHO)
Coopers is remembered by many shoppers for the distinct smell of coffee running through the air. The butchers and bakers come green grocers, was a popular spot with shoppers and had a second home on Bold Street. 31.
The Cazzy Cast Iron Shore was a name given to the banks of the Mersey in south Liverpool due to the presence of an iron foundry. St Michael’s Church, opened in 1815, was known as the Cast Iron Church because of the extensive use of cast iron in its construction.
Cast Iron Shore is mentioned in the Beatles’ song “Glass Onion”. 32. Scouse mouse in the paper
Scouse Mouse was a firm favourite of many back in the day as a popular comic strip. The cartoon character was the brainchild of cartoonist George Nicholas who first drew him in 1983. He appeared in the comic strips in the ECHO for nearly 15 years, alongside friends Chaz the Chicken and Sconned.
It has been nearly 20 years since Scouse Mouse appeared in the ECHO – but he is remembered fondly by our readers. 33. Stanley Dock Market
Heritage Market, Stanley Dock, Liverpool, 25th September 1988.
Stanley Dock Market sadly closed its doors back in December 2011 after being based in the same building for thirty years.
The popular market moved location when the waterside site underwent a huge development. 34. Woolworths
Staff stock up new Woolworth’s Store, London Road, Liverpool, 14th November 1962. (Image: Mirrorpix)
It was the end of an era when Woolworths closed over 800 stores between December 2008 and January 2009.
St John’s Shopping Centre, London Road and Bootle Strand were among places where you could find Woolworths in Liverpool. Known to many as “Woolies”, the iconic store sold everything from Ladybird clothes for schools to books, games and of course its legendary pick and mix stand. 35.
Blockbuster ceased operating at the end of 2013 (Image: Elmbridge Titles)
Long gone are the days when you could go to Blockbuster to rent a video a film night with friends. Although Netflix has replaced the store for many people, others still look back fondly at the video days. The DVD and games rental chain fell into administration in 2013 and decided to close down all together later that year.
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