What an amazing time we had on our Liverpool Residential back in June. It was action packed all the way, non-stop from getting up each morning to writing up our diaries at night!
The YHA staff were great hosts. They ensured we had a good breakfast and good dinner each day, and they also packed us a scrumptious lunch!
We walked to every attraction from our accommodation down by the Albert Dock. We explored the Maritime Museum and Museum of Liverpool. Our visit to the Mosque was one of our favourite; we were given a warm welcome and explanation of the importance of the Mosque and Islamic traditions to the local community in Toxteth. The Mosque was quite beautiful and we were encouraged to dress up in traditional clothes and shown very modern, state of the art facilities where worshippers had to wash their hands and feet before worship. We discovered that all of the differing religious groups within the area worked together for the good of the community, sometimes sharing Worship. The educational officer explored the 5 Pillars of Faith which are important to the Islamic community. Respect and looking after everyone is important to the Islamic people, we shared with them our golden rules and our school prayer. We had a very open question and answer session and learned that famous footballers like Pappis Cisse came into the Mosque to worship. They were treated like everyone else and had to stand shoulder to shoulder, like all other worshippers. The education officer complimented us on our thinking, questions and good listening; she said that we would be welcome back at any time.
The Metropolitan Cathedral (Paddy’s Wigwam) was very interesting. It had a unique circular shape, and the art work was just beautiful. We all left comments in a special book in the children's section of the Cathedral. The Ferry Across the Mersey was something that had to be done in Liverpool! As was the Big Wheel, we could see for miles when we were on it..
After our Big Wheel Ride, we toured historical Liverpool and identified common features of the old buildings, the brick work and the sculptures. We walked up to the Old Town Hall and discussed the carvings and sculptures on the sides which provided proof of a link to Africa, the Caribbean and the Slave Trade. We then discussed the sculpture 'Reconciliation' , which depicted the slaves and the Trade Triangle. There are identical sculptures in Benin, Africa and Richmond, Virginia. We questioned the sculptor’s intentions, the message they were trying to convey. We compared architecture and how the architects tried to demonstrate wealth; some of the buildings are decorated very ostentatiously. We learned that Liverpudlians call the White Star Line building, the streaky bacon!
Our visits to the Tate and Walker Art Galleries on the Friday were amazing. We worked with education officers and teachers, discussing art work and what message the artist had for the public. On floor 3 of the Tate was a real life parrot; he didn't want us any where near him. We drew our favourite piece and discussed why we liked a particular piece of art.
The finale was the visit to Liverpool Football Club at Anfield. We actually got to visit the dressing rooms. What surprised us most was that there were no state of the art facilities in the dressing room, just wooden benches and a massage table. There is a room with a few shower cubicles attached, but no Jacuzzis or steam rooms. This was down to a manager Mr Bill Shankley who felt coming to play each Saturday was the equivalent of going to work. This conveyed to the players that they were team players, workers committed to fans of Liverpool. He wanted no additional facilities, only essentials. This work ethic has been shared by subsequent Liverpool managers.
The tour included a visit to the press room and to the football museum. We sat in the managers’ chairs next to the pitch and sang 'You'll Never Walk Alone." A fabulous day. At the end of the journey we thanked our volunteers Rev Rachel, Mrs Hodgson and Mrs Rainsley who worked very hard for 3 days (and nights!)