Friday, 26 October 2018


(Terraced houses in Hughson Street)

An official photo, taken around 1963 by the City Council, prior to the properties being purchased and subsequently demolished under a Compulsory Purchase Order.

Hughson Street in Toxteth, Liverpool was where I spent my formative years, up until the age of seven years old. 

Number 25 in the street had been the home of my grandparents, William and Elizabeth Welsh, prior to my birth. Following this, my parents, brother and I also lived in the same property, which only had two bedrooms - one front and one back - and a small back kitchen and front reception room on the ground floor. My aunt slept on a pull-out couch downstairs, while my grandparents had the front bedroom. My family, the four of us, all slept in the rear bedroom. 

There was no bathroom in the house, an outside WC being supplied instead which had been situated at the bottom of the back-yard. A large brick coal-shed also stood outside in the yard. This had formerly been built as a bomb shelter and used by our family during WW2 when German bombers attacked the city during the Liverpool Blitz of 1941. The gap between the two blocks of houses to the right of the photograph was where numbers 27 and 29 once stood. 27 took a direct hit from a bomb and 29 had to be demolished as it had been too badly damaged to repair. The subsequent 'bommie' which was created, (the bulldozed area of land where the houses had once stood), then became a play area for two generations of our family. 

This photograph brought back so many memories for me when I found it posted on one of the Liverpool Facebook pages, but it was to surprise me even further when I enlarged it and looked at the image more closely.

The front door of number 25, next to the bommie is open and there are children playing outside. The boy outside our home looks suspiciously like my brother Gary.  

Amazing to think that the official council photographer chose that particular moment to record the properties which were to be demolished in just a few years time, as well as recording my brother and his friends at play.     

Friday, 19 October 2018


For some time now I've been wondering what could be going on in this photograph.

It shows my great-uncle Henry Seaman, his wife Rose and some of his family. It would appear that they are enjoying a warm sunny afternoon in the back garden of their home with their two dogs. I only know the identities of the couple because of their names written on the rear of a couple of other photos I have of them. Of the boy and the woman drinking her beer straight from the bottle, I don't have a clue.

I have tried to find other information on them from time to time, but seem to draw a blank when I do. It is a classic 'brick wall' in our family tree. Perhaps it is. Or maybe it just means that I should do what a few of my teachers used to write on my school reports... 'must try harder'.

The fact is, this is what I like so much about family history research-- discovering the unknown details about our relations, checking out the facts, filling in the gaps. Playing the detective and bringing our forebears back to life again. But in the end, just keep in mind that there's no such thing as a brick wall. You only need the determination to keep looking and find the answers, with perhaps an element of luck being required along the way.

Oh... and maybe a large sledgehammer to knock the bricks out if they're stuck a bit too tightly might help from time to time as well!

Saturday, 13 October 2018


A tiny, grainy photograph of my father and a colleague in their 'office' - a cinema projection room in Liverpool.

Charlie Seaman (pictured left) spent his entire working life working in the cinema's of the North West, and I'm lucky to have a small selection of his photos in our collection to remember him by.

Dad was first employed as a trainee projectionist, aged only 16 years old. He worked initially in the Magnet cinema, which was situated in Picton Road, Wavertree and we have several photographs of him sitting on the roof of the cinema in the sunshine with some of his colleagues.

He went on to work in the Gaumont, Dingle-- along with my mother and aunt-- and I have many happy memories of attending the matinee shows which were played there.

He then went on to work at the Hippodrome in Everton and also the Odeon, Stanley Road, Bootle.

During one memorable Saturday, my father was full of flu and felt awful. He took me into work with him (I was around 16 years old at the time) so I could run the show for him, while he sat at the back of the projection room, reading his newspapers and drinking lots of tea.

During his time working as firstly a projectionist, and then as Chief Projectionist in the cinemas, Dad covered work at several of the key cinemas in the north-west including the main Odeon branches of Liverpool, Southport and Chester.

After more than 25 years service he finally retired from working for the Rank Organisation and obtained a projectionist job in the newly built Studios 123 in Mount Pleasant, Liverpool during the early 1970's.

The picture featured above shows Dad and another operator, identified as Jimmie, standing alongside one of the big projectors used at the Trocadero, Camden Street, Liverpool.

Friday, 5 October 2018


William Henry Laite was born in Liverpool on the 11 December 1915. He was the brother of my grandmother, Margaret Eleanor Graham Laite.

William is seen here in his uniform when he was serving with the East Lancashire Regiment. The date on the rear of the photo is 11 February 1945, alongside a simple message - 'To My Darling Wife with Love - Love Bill'   

Uncle Bill, as I knew him, had married his wife Madeline Milne in 1939. The couple helped look after my Dad and his siblings following the early death of my grandmother in 1947.

I remember them as a lovely couple. They both had rather deep gravelly voices and also had a keen sense of humour and laughter.

Bill, in particular, had the most hearty chuckle on him - I can just hear him now as he shared a joke with my Dad during one of their visits!