Last week we had the good fortune to travel to Liverpool in Merseyside. We had never visited before and was there to take a look at the places covered in the novel, 'The Finding of Martha Lost'. Let us start by saying that one day does not do Liverpool justice. We so enjoyed the time we spent there, but we wish it had been longer.
We started off by visiting the Victorian station: Lime Street, Liverpool.
The main character in the novel, Martha Lost, lives and works within the station. In fact, she hasn't ever left since she was found there as a baby. Thus, nearly all of the story is based in this building. Of course, it had to be the first port of call. However, the time setting for the story is 1976 and it's clear that this station has been extensively updated since then.
One thing that has probably not been changed is the roof. In the book, it is described as 'a single curved roof' which was 'made of iron and glass'. You can see this in the photos below.
Even though this is a station, it's quite pretty.And there are lots of people (especially with the Scouse accent) that you could find a seat and people-watch (and eavesdrop on) all day.
The station has been modernised but there are still parts that can be seen which are from an earlier era, for example the red pillars below.
Like all large city stations, Lime Street station is busy. There are plenty of food shops for travellers on the go, including Costa, M & S, Burger King, The Pasty shop, and Upper Crust.
And then, without warning, you come across these two bronze figures!
Liverpool's famous icons of Ken Dodd and Bessie Braddock are honored on the station concourse.
Ken, a home-grown comedian, carries a suitcase and his famous 'tickling stick'. Bessie, a Labour politician, carries an egg in one hand in recognition for her part in having the Lion standard mark put on all British eggs. We must admit we'd never heard of her before our visit but it was a great history lesson.
In the book, the author, Caroline Wallace mentions the 'huge clock' in the station. Is this the one she was referring to?
Martha Lost works and lives above the Lost Property office. This left luggage office is as close as we got to Lost Property. According to British rail's online information about the station: 'Items handed in at the station are kept in the left luggage office'.
Hurrah! We had found Martha's home.
Unfortunately, we weren't as lucky when it came to finding the coffee shop run by Martha's friend, Elizabeth. Nowadays, there are many choices.
There were no independent cafes or restaurants so we plumped for Costa. We ordered hot chocolates and brownies and took a seat to watch all the commuters go by. We did say 'Thank you' but not in French and, surprisingly, we didn't spin over to the table. Confused? Then you'll have to read the book yourself. :)
Come outside and see what other things there are to discover on a day trip to Liverpool.
Across from the station, stand buildings of great architectural beauty and they hold Liverpool's cultural gems. There is the City Hall, as well as a museum, the central library, and an art gallery.
These buildings were fabulous. There was such attention to detail. Even the lamp posts were ornate. We would have loved to spend more time just in this area but we ventured in the opposite direction, in search of other places mentioned in the novel about Martha Lost.
We went through the city centre, and up the road in search of the Adelphi Hotel and a certain Dickie Lewis.
Maybe some Liverpudlians were wondering why we wanted to take a photo of a nude man, but maybe they're used to it. Our excuse is, it is mentioned in the book. So, there you have it: Dickie Lewis in all his glory.
Lastly, you can't have a review of Liverpool without showing a photo of the Liver Building complete with Liver birds. Martha is the liver bird of Lime Street Station. Don't believe us? Read the book.
We continued my journey around Liverpool. Part Two looks at some mysterious tunnels that can be found under the streets of Liverpool. Join us there.