I woke up at twelve thirty in the morning a while ago. Through our open window I heard the sound of the last train from Melbourne pulling into Hughesdale station, and from thereon to Oakleigh. The sound, to my sleepy ears reminded me of late nights many years ago, and the once familiar sound of a number fourteen tram rattling down Townsend Lane. During the first ten years of my life, double decker trams took workers, shoppers and revellers from one part of Liverpool to another. In those days of post-war austerity, car ownership was still a distant dream for so many of the families living in our city. Sunday mornings in summer, saw long queues forming at our local tram stop at Breck Road. Families packed up with bags of sandwiches, flasks of tea, buckets and spades, all in readiness for a day at New Brighton or West Kirby. If I try hard enough I can hear again the impatient cries of the children, and the patient pleas from their mother to "behave", and I can see the father, open-necked shirt, newspaper under one arm, venturing out into the road looking for signs of the expected tram rattling up Townsend Lane.

From the perspective of a child's eye, I thought of the trams as the most wonderful objects; they were my transport of delight. With their livery; dark green with cream trimming; the crest of Liverpool displayed proudly on their flanks, they came to be lovingly known to all as "Green Goddesses". The crackle, and the vivid blue flashes from above as the trolley passed along the power lines, all these elements added to their mystique. I look at faded photographs of the trams' interiors and see the brown leather seats that could be reversed to face the direction of travel. They look so much more cramped than I remember. Of course I was younger and smaller then, and everything was big, and everywhere was far away!

The Green Goddesses glided the length of tree-lined avenues through the leafy suburbs of south Liverpool. They rattled their way along Scotland Road, it's mean streets running off either side; endless terraces of grimy brick buildings that sprawled into the smoke and grime down to the waterfront. Journeys began at points throughout our city's boundaries. Destination names displayed above the drivers window sounded magical to me; Cantril Farm, Southdene,Gilmoss, Longview,Fazakerley, Litherland and Seaforth, Old Haymarket, Bowring Park. Places all within reach of my parents, but which to me sounded remote and exotic. Wherever the journeys origin, each tram had the same destination; the Pier Head. All roads in Liverpool led to the Pier Head, and our mighty River Mersey!

A tram journey with a family member was always something to look forward to. Mum always took me with her into the city for Saturday shopping. We always travelled in the tram's lower saloon known to one and all as "inside". Mum would endeavour to get us seated close to the driver standing at the controls of the tram. Nanna took me with her on her shopping trips up Breck Road. Granddad had a particular fondness for Manx Kippers and the best were available at Charles' the fishmonger on Breck Road. We would board the tram at the junction of Pinehurst Avenue and Townsend Lane near the railway bridge. From the trees and gardens of the Pinehurst estate we were transported along Townsend Lane and up the long incline to Breck Road with its shops. Nanna clutching her shopping bag limped from shop to shop with me in tow.

The Fishmonger, Greengrocer, and Butcher all knew my dear Nanna, each having a friendly word for her. I can almost hear once again the happy laughter that echoed from each of the shops we visited. Happy memories.

(Continued in part 2)




By daveyblue daveyblue

This story was added on 1st January 2011

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