Sunday 15 May 2011

6: Back Buchanan Street

Another song for a changing Liverpool; this one was written by Harry and Gordon Dison for a BBC song writing competition in the mid-1960s, and was one of the entries selected to be peformed on TV.

It quickly found popularity around the city, which was in the midst of a 'slum clearance' programme moving people away crowded conditions in the inner cities to the nearby new towns of Kirkby, Skelmersdale (affectionately(?) known as 'Skem'), and Speke. In spite of the promise of improved living conditions, for many people there was an acute sense that communities were being broken up and that people were losing their homes and being ripped away from places they loved. This song gives voice to that sense of loss. (Given the present-day tearing down of swathes of Edge Hill, it has a new resonance.)

A recent article in the Liverpool Echo gives some of the context for this song: "Over 100,000 people began to leave the spiritual homes of their forefathers, bulldozed into the suburbs in the name of progress and slum clearance. The city’s skyline across its most visible and historic inner city districts would never be the same again. But this wasn't just about the loss of hundreds of famous streets as the Swinging Sixties dawned. It was about the separating of families, relatives, friends and neighbours who had lived together for a lifetime... These words struck a heartfelt chord with those who were now disappearing to the outer limits."

The photo used above is taken from the fascinating Lost Tribe of Everton and Scottie Road website (associated with the book of that name by Ken Rogers).


  1. Another lovely song Richard. I must add that in addition to the songs I very much enjoy the intelligent and interesting commentary you provide, and the great photos as well. Keep up the good work!


  2. Just stumbled across this blog/site when searching for a copy of Stan Kellys Romeo and Juliet ... I can't find out anything about "Richard" - who are you? Please point me to how I can find out
    Thanks - JacquiM

    1. Hiya - you can e-mail me at rdgi2ATcamDOTacDOTuk (substituting the appropriate symbols for AT, DOT and DOT, you know the score, just don't want to get spammed by putting my e-mail up here) happy to try and get in touch and see if I can answer any questions you have!

      I work darn sarf but I'm up in Liverpool every couple of months and when I'm in town I'm often found at the singarounds at The Belvedere pub on Thursdays (2-4) or the monthly Shanty Session at the Baltic Fleet.