McCartney Times

There are statues I remember

There are statues I remember

There are statues I remember
July 08
08:26 2020

There are statues I remember
(article by Dr. Angie McCartney)

On looking through The Guide, Liverpool, it occurred to me that I had the privilege of meeting several of the original people who are memorialized as statues in Liverpool.

Firstly, John and Cecil Moores, the brothers and founders of the famed Littlewoods Pools, Stores, and many other places of employment.

I worked for Littlewoods Pools, which formed a very important part of my life, not only in the experience of working from my early days as an office Junior at their Edge Lane facility, then for Mr. Parry, Personnel Manager at Walton Hall Avenue, but also in the Personnel Department on Cases Street. That’s where I got my first taste of Secretarial training when I had the opportunity to learn shorthand and typing. They trained me on Pitman’s shorthand, which I still write to this day. It can come in very useful when you don’t want observers to figure out what you’re jotting down at meetings.

It was also my jumping off ground for lunchtime nips across town to The Cavern Club on Mathew Street. And we all know who I first saw there  –   yes, The Beatles, Billy J. Kramer, even Cilla, and The Fourmost (including the never to be forgotten Billy Hatton), The Merseybeats and many many more who would go on to fame, and become the backbone of the British Explosion which took the world by storm.

Ken Dodd, our dear departed “Doddy” who made me laugh until I cried. Ruth and I were friends with Reflections, a singing and dancing group. One of their members, Tony Kemp, was hired to choreograph a Doddy Christmas Show at The Royal Court Theatre and we were invited backstage on several occasions to be part of late night celebrations. I always remember going into Doddy’s dressing room one time, and he had stacks of big tins of Crawford’s (or was it Jacobs’?) biscuits piled up against the wall. Evidently, he had played a charity party for them, and they had sent him home with tins of biccies, presumably for the cast and crew, but that was the nearest they got to them.

Of course, Doddy, though dearly loved, was known to be, shall we say “frugal” in his habits, and was probably saving them for a rainy day.

I remember Tony telling us that when he was summoned to Ken’s home in Knotty Ash for a preliminary meeting about the upcoming show. He was shown into a freezing cold front room of the house, and managed to squeeze himself on to a couch, amidst big bundles of old newspapers and magazines. When, after a considerable wait, the man himself came into the room, he remarked on how cold it was. Whereupon, he leaned over and switched on the light of the little gas fire, but NOT the heating elements. Ah well, you gotta laugh!

On my last visit to Liddypool, I saw a fine statue of Billy Fury, whom I also met at one of our late night suppers (not candle lit, I regret to say). Billy was one of the earliest to make the grade in the music business, and was an inspiration to many who followed him.

Oh, and then, there was the indomitable Bessie Braddock. When I found myself homeless, after the death of my first husband, Eddie Williams, I frantically searched for a flat, or a furnished room for Ruth and I. I was desperate, and sleeping on the couch at 3 Carr Lane, my Mum’s Corporation house in Norris Green. Unknownst to me, Mum wrote to “Battling Bessie” as she was fondly called, and told her of my predicament. I knew nothing about this, until we got a letter from her on House of Commons headed paper, saying that if I presented her letter to the Liverpool Housing Office, they would find me a place to live. And indeed they did. It was a one-bedroomed flat on Quernmore Walk on the Kirkby Trading Estate.

Once I was settled in, I made a trip to see her when she was in Liverpool, and she was most gracious as I tearfully told her of my gratitude.  Ruth and I lived there until I met and married Jim McCartney in November 1964.

And a little while after that, I was overjoyed to be made a welcome guest at the Portland Place home of Cilla Black and Bobby Willis. They threw a party after the Premiere of How I Won The War, starring John Lennon. I remember meeting Mama Cass in the lift that night. She had just hit the headlines for being accused of taking a blanket from her London Hotel. To the acute embarrassment of Jimmy Mac, Paul greeted her with “Hello blanket thief.” She took it in great part and laughed it off,  but Gentleman Jim was mortified.

And no trip down memory lane would be complete without of course mentioning the wonderful Beatles statue at the Pier Head. I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing it face to faces, but look forward to the day when we can all travel again, and I can experience it personally. I know from several friends that it is an amazing piece of work.

Of course, one of the most iconic and most photographed statues is the Andrew Edwards  masterpiece at the Liverpool Pier Head of John, Paul, George and Ringo. Liverpool’s famous wartime babies.

My first meeting with Paul was on the night that Jim had asked me to marry him. Paul, after phoning his Dad, drove up to Rembrandt from London, arriving in the wee small hours of the morning. After a memorable first meeting with little Ruth, who broke the ice by saying, as she woke up sitting on his lap: “Oh, I know you, you’re on my cousin’s wallpaper.” Truly, a conversation starter.

I first met each of the other 3 boys when Jim, Ruth and I made a trip to London, and Paul took us to the homes of each of them. I remember being utterly overwhelmed when we entered Kenwood, which seemed like a castle to me. Cyn and John made it most welcome, and once we had gone beyond the suit or armour and massive bench in the entrance hall, we calmed down somewhat when we all sat around the inevitable pot of tea, and chit chatted.

Our visit to George and Patti was to their psychedelically painted bungalow in Esher in Surrey. A somewhat less imposing building, but nevertheless, welcoming and comfortable. It was a lovely sunny day and we sat out in the garden doing – what? You’ll never guess – drinking tea.

Funny how tea always seems to have played a significant part in my life.

Our time at Ringo and Maureen’s house in Weybridge was a happy one too. I made it my business to cajole Ringo into convincing Jim that I really needed a dishwasher. Bless him, he took us on a tour of the house, and when it came to the kitchen, he did a bang up job of explaining how this magical machine worked and saved Mo so much time. Jim was sold. When we got home, he called Brown’s of Chester and set things in motion for me to get a magnificent dishwasher, and boy, did my life change. Remember, this was in the days with Mike (McGear) would often come home with a posse of friends after a gig, and when refreshments were the order of the day, no matter what hour it might be, day or wee small hours.

All these years later, it’s interesting to reflect on the fact that our own Pete Price was the instigator of Liverpool statues with his early on push for a statue, eventually created by Arthur Dooley, of the famous “Four Lads Who Shook The World” which stands proudy outside of The Cavern Club. He was the original mover and shaker in the statue world of Liverpool.

Good old Liverpool always makes it worthwhile to get out and about and remember much of the history of this great city.

Dr. Angie McCartney

 

(Source: McCartney Times)

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Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

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