Monday 8 August 2011

18: Rent Collecting In Speke

This is a song by Pete McGovern, who's perhaps most famous for writing the song "In My Liverpool Home". I don't know whether he wrote the music as well, or just the words - if anybody can place the tune as taken from another song, or knows that it's a composition of McGovern, I'd be interested to know. Like Back Buchanan Street, it is another tale from the period of slum clearance out of the heart of Liverpool and into the brave new world of planned towns. As city-dwellers were relocated there, Speke's population boomed from 400 to more than 25,000 by the end of the 1950s. It quickly got a reputation for being rough, run-down, and smashed up, and this song plays on that reputation. There's a recording of Pete McGovern singing this in the BBC documentary The Singing City, which tells the tale of how urban regeneration changed the face of Liverpool and its music making. Before McGovern sings the song, Ken Dodd remarks of these estates: "If you pay your rent two weeks on the run, a policeman comes and finds out where you got the money from."

The picture that I'm using above of the sadly underused South Parade in Speke comes from Geograph, and was taken by Sue Adair.


  1. I've just found the Liverpool Folk Song A Week website from a link on Neville's website.

    What a great idea and what a treasure trove of great Liverpool-related songs.


  2. Hi Colin. Thanks for the kind words, I've been enjoying the project so far, and there's a load more songs to come. I'm a big fan of Nev's blog, I know him from the singarounds he organises at The Lion Tavern.

    I somehow doubt that singing folk songs is going to ease our troubles in these riot-stricken times, but a bit of pride in the city is no bad thing amidst the mess.