Liverpool was a proud city once. Rightfully so.
King John founded Liverpool when the Magna Carta was still just a twinkle in the Baron’s eyes. 1207, if you are interested. The Wirral was a Viking stronghold – even today, 50% of the men of the Wirral have Viking DNA. There is something to be said for inbreeding after all.
Liverpool raised tough men. They built ships, they dug canals, they manhandled stone to form the Docks, and some truly extraordinary buildings. Herman Melville wrote:
“Previous to this, having only seen the miserable wooden wharves and shambling piers of New York… in Liverpool I beheld long China walls of masonry; vast piers of stone; and a succession of granite-rimmed docks, completely enclosed. The extent and solidity of these structures seemed equal to what I had read of the old pyramids of Egypt. In magnitude, cost and durability the docks of Liverpool surpass all others in the world… for miles you may walk along that riverside, passing dock after dock, like a chain of immense fortresses.”
By the time of the First World War, 40% of the world’s shipping trade went through Liverpool.
When Europe exploded into War in 1914, at a time when German bombers couldn’t reach Liverpool, Liverpool men proudly joined the ‘King’s Liverpool Regiment’ to help to protect the womenfolk and children of other cities.
They prayed on the beaches of northern France before entering the trenches. 13,000 of them never returned. The Bishop of Liverpool’s son was one of those. Noel Chavasse. The only man in the entire British Isles to win not one, but two, Victoria Crosses for his extraordinary bravery during that conflict.
The womenfolk were scarcely idle. They raised money, and staffed, entirely with volunteers, the ‘Liverpool Merchants’ Hospital’ at Etaples in northern France, immortalised in C.S. Lewis’ book ‘Spirits in Bondage’.
So Liverpool has much to be proud of as a city, that should be remembered during this centenary of World War 1.
On Saturday, they mounted their ‘remembrance’ of all this bravery and ‘told the story’ of World War One as it was experienced in Liverpool.
100,000 people lined the streets to learn of their ‘proud heritage’.
A 25′ high marionette of a grandmother walked the docks in search of her granddaughter. Much hilarity followed ‘when her head came loose whilst breaking wind’ according to the BBC. With her head fixed back on, she was put in a wheelchair (What! No mobility scooter?) and taken through the Chinese Quarter (inclusivity!) to Newsham Park, where she was reunited with her 25′ high marionette daughter and the mechanical dog Xolo (a great hit with the children, the BBC reports).
There, the little girl sat beside grandmother to listen to her tell a story involving meteors and killing dinosaurs.
There were complaints about all this, naturally. The Anarchists were beside themselves.
They were offended by the capitalist running–dog lackeys appearing in their city offering ‘official merchandise’.
Stock up on Giant goodies at World Museum. We have a selection of merchandise for sale which commemorates this magical weekend including mugs, books. official programme and gorgeous prints. Gifts are also available online including this amazing little girl giant coaster.
The people of Liverpool seemed to enjoy this spectacle:
Eileen Schofield, from Leek, said it was “so lovely to see the people of Liverpool embrace the Giants”.
“The highlight for us will be the grandmother spitting, farting and drinking.“
I can’t follow that. Raise a glass to the memory of Noel Chevasse. Victoria Cross holder, twice over.
He gave his life for the freedom to be remembered via a French puppet ‘spitting, farting, and drinking’.
Lest we forget indeed.