Have you ever wondered what the lives of the people who lived in your home before you were like? A new BBC2 programme explores this concept for a particular house in Liverpool with a rich and varied history. 62 Falkner Street, a Grade II listed terraced house in the Georgian Quarter of the city, was chosen for A House Through Time out of many houses across the UK for the wide range of stories it possessed. It’s certainly a house that has seen its fair share of ups-and-downs.
Using historic records and contemporary documents, the residents’ lives are explored – from the house’s first owner, customs clerk Richard Glenton to a trader in slave-produced cotton, to the dockers who lived there during the Liverpool Blitz. All sorts of intriguing tales are told from the rare Victorian rags-to-riches story of servant, James Orr, who side-stepped the strict social hierarchy to gain the equivalent of 1.5 million pounds in today’s money, to the sad and disturbing tales of domestic violence and the abandonment of children to workhouses – the stories parallel the rollercoaster ride the city has been on through its own history.
Among the archival information used by the programme were images from LJMU’s Special Collections and Archives.
Production photograph from The Sea Anchor. Performed at the Everyman Theatre, 1974/75, cast included: Kevin Lloyd, Stephanie Fayerman, Katherine Fahy, Pete Postlethwaite.
"We supplied a number of images which will feature later in the series as it reaches the 1960s and 1970s," explains Val Stevenson, Head of Academic Services (Library Services). "The filmmakers wanted to represent the Liverpool cultural scene during that period and were interested in using images from the Everyman Theatre Archive, Eric’s Club Archive and the LJMU Art School Archive. Playwright Jeff Young was interviewed for the programme at the Everyman Theatre, which is how the production company first came into contact with us. They will also use images from the recent Black to the Future exhibition at Central Library, covering the black music clubs around Liverpool 8, and from Catherine Marcangelli on Adrian Henri and the Liverpool Poets."
Left: gig poster from Eric’s Club, 1970s. Right: cover of Liverpool Magazine 1966.
The visuals bring to life the individual stories and are part of what makes this programme so compelling. Presenter David Olusoga explains the appeal of this subject in his piece for the Guardian: “If walls could talk it would be our homes – not our grand public buildings – that would have all the best stories. The real stuff of human life – love, childhood, vulnerability, intimacy, betrayal, acceptance and pain – is revealed behind closed doors and drawn curtains.”
LJMU’s Special Collections and Archives houses photographs, manuscripts, books and videos in a wide range of subject areas including the arts, theatre, fashion, pop music, counter culture and more. Discover the Special Collections and Archives.