All Saints Church
Speke, Liverpool, UK
Village to Estate
Speke has been through some rough times in the last 20 years, but now things are changing for the better! Here are a few photographs to show you what's happening. Whilst there are still problems to be overcome here, Speke is working hard to improve itself and the fruits of our labours are just beginning to show! I've taken photographs around Speke to show the changes but they all look rather empty as I waited for people and traffic to clear thinking the pictures would look better!
Each photo will enlarge if you click on it except for the 8 slightly larger ones in the Industry part and 2 in the Housing part.
The Parklands school replaced Speke Community Comprehensive in Central Avenue which was demolished to make sports fields for the new secondary school.
On the Speke Park site between Conleach and Ganworth Roads is a new complex named Parklands which includes Parklands Community High School, Speke Library, South Liverpool Housing Group and various community groups.
A new superstore, Morrison, and 25 smaller shops were built in 2008 with a feeder road leading into the complex from the Ford Road (Speke Bouelvard). There is a petrol station and car wash on the site and the buses now go straight into the complex. Several bigger shops are on site including TK Maxx and Iceland.
For those of you who remember the Sugar Bowl in the middle of the old Parade, it was moved after a campaign by the late Bill Smaje and was placed in the middle of the car park on the new site. This new 'Speke parade' has given the morale of the estate a huge lift along with all the other changes mentioned above, and gives us renewed hope for the future.
The bottom of the Sugar Bowl which gave it its name sadly couldn't be moved and a new one has been built, complete with flower beds. The top however, is the same, complete with pigeon!
The shops that were left at the old Parade moved into new premises alongside Morrisons and appear to be thriving. You can find the florist, Riverside Credit union, the Card Shop, Sayers and the Chemist amongst the familiar faces along with some new ones.
At the end of the shops is the back of Parklands School, the City Learning Centre and the new Speke Library. This building is also home to various other facilities including the Speke Community Centre and the Leeson Centre, LCC One Stop Shop and SLH Group.
Our neglected and run down Speke Parade of shops was a blight on the neighbourhood and the community campaigned long and hard for improvements. These were not forthcoming and in the end, the City Council bought the land from the owners to use as school playing fields for the new school and used the site of Speke Park for a new shopping area.
At the end of 2008 the old Parade was demolished and prepared for the sports pitches to be laid in March 2009. I have mixed feelings about this as it was sad to see the Parade go after so many years service, but it was a relief in the end as the buildings had been badly neglected by the owners and it spoiled all the regeneration that was going on around it.
I am taking photos at different stages and will add them here.
These were taken from the Post Office looking towards Central Way in the east. Opposite this was the Opticians and Colin Sykes who has moved to the other end now and still remains with Liverpool JET Services, Jacques the Barber and the Bookies!
From the Post Office we are first looking towards the old Library which is now home to Five, Families and Children's Trust. The market used to be here but now lives at the Morrison Complex outside Speke Library. Secondly, the view towards the remaining shops.
Many new business have moved onto the old MFI Retail Park on Speke Boulevard, opposite the Old Airport sitebringing with them jobs for local residents. In the last five years, unemployment has dropped from 22% to 11% and is still going down.
B & Q was the first retailer to move in here, and was quickly followed by Powerhouse, Comet, Boots, WH Smith, Next, Gap, JB Sports, a new MFI and many others.
PC World and DFS have recently opened here too, and followed by Currys, Argos and CFS.
The Old Airport has been lovingly restored by the Marriott Hotel group although it is now owned by Crowne Plaza, and is fully booked well into the future, to accommodate passengers at the Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
If you drive along Speke Boulevard from the old Airport, towards the Speke estate, you will come to a new roundabout which leads left into the B & Q site, or right into the Estuary Business Park.
As you drive into the site, you will see a beautiful canal along one side where local workers often take their lunch and watch the swans and ducks floating by. On the part of the estate is DHL, Classic Couverture and other new firms.
Here are a few more photos of the Estuary Park showing it as it develops. You can click on these to see bigger versions.
Doubling back along Speke Hall Avenue towards Speke Boulevard you will see a striking sculpture outside the new Halifax Bank of Scotland building. Built on the new Estuary Business Park, in the furthest corner of the old airfield this was the first building to go up here.
As we continue along the Boulevard to the Ford Road, you will notice the huge amount of greenery that has been added to the area recently to make our surroundings more enjoyable.
Do you remember the old Lockheed factory that bordered Fords? Well this is it now! Evans Vaccines is the first firm you will see on the Boulevard Industry Park, and opposite is the Lear Corporation, the first of many factories supplying the new Jaguar plant on the old Ford site.
Along this road which the Jaguar cars are often test run are Coughlin Logistics, Conix and TDSE with three other factories opening soon. Behind them, on the old Ford factory site is the Jaguar factory and the sign shows all the major investors in Speke at the moment.
Further along the Ford Road is our Partnership for Learning building which runs courses for local people to enable them to improve their training and education, and help them into new employment.
At the bottom of Blackburn Street in Garston, a Coastal Walk has been made to allow walkers to stroll along to Liverpool Sailing Club and Speke Hall. This is where it starts and you can see the sailing club in the distance in picture 2. This walk borders the Estuary Park and is accessible from the Speke Hall grounds.
Liverpool Sailing Club at the edge of Speke Hall has been rebuilt in a very modern design and is home to a lot of boats.
You can now walk from the sailing club up to Speke Hall lake which is absolutely beautiful at any time of the year. You can walk along the bund from here too but don't go into the grounds at the other end though as you'll have to pay to get out!!!
These houses are on the old Dymchurch estate, now known as Phoenix Park which has been completely refurbished. The residents are taking a pride in keeping it looking pristine!
The rest of the Council housing on the estate was taken over two years ago by South Liverpool Housing Corporation (now known as SLH Group) who have instigated a huge improvement plan which includes new double glazing, central heating, roof, cavity wall insulation, electric wiring, bathroom and kitchen for every tenant. SLH are also trying to help improve life in Speke for everyone by being very involved in many community matters.
New homes have been built on the site of the old Speke Fire Station and private landlords are building on vacant plots around Speke.
Sadly a lot of the old properties around Speke have disappeared in recent years, some for no apparent good reason. We've tried to photograph some before they go but we're not always quick enough.
Oglet Farm is no longer a working farm, but still a home, and Oglet Farm outbuildings, converted into two new homes are owned by Peel Holdings (Liverpool John Lennon Airport) who can empty and demolish them at any time.
Pear Tree cottage, hidden away at the bottom of Dungeon Lane only became vacant recently after being a happy home for many years and sadly it was also snapped up by Peel Holdings. We suspected this would happen and quickly took photos to record it which was just as well. This week (1st in August) we were saddened to find it demolished like to many other cottages and buildings of old Speke for no other reason than it is near the flight path where it has been for many, many years without causing problems.
In Bailey's Lane, just off Dungeon Lane was another cottage, and Overton House which had been made into flats. Further along was a large family house on one side and 4 terraced houses on the other. They've all gone. All were lived in up until they were sold.
The Dove and Olive public house on Hale Road, by Eastern Avenue bought by Peel Holdings and demolished. Nothing in it's place so far. Just an empty space.
The Pegasus public house on Hale Road near Western Avenue bought and demolished by guess who in 2006 to make way for a car park seemingly too expensive for people to use. Visitors and airport staff now park along Hale Road and surrounding roads instead, often blocking access for residents and inviting vandalism when left unattended for days on end.
The Fox Public House in Hale Road near All Saints Church has been made into the new Dunlops Sports and Social Club and was not bought by Peel Holdings! They had to move in here because their land, next to the pub has been bought for warehouses.... by the airport. Sadly to the right of the new Dunnies the open land has also been bought by Peel Holdings who are building a monstrosity of a hotel on it, despite a vigorous campaign by local folk who objected to it.
Oglet Shore or Oggie or Onk!
What most now remember with the above names is actually Dungeon Point but we won't quibble over that!
This might seem an odd section of photographs.... but in recent years we have noticed a change in the shoreline here and were hopeful at one point that a sandy beach was returning after years of thick, black, smelly mud! After World War 2 bricks from many bombed out properties were dumped at Dungeon Point and nature gradually grew over them creating a grassy bank. The bay completely filled up with mud and weeds and this stretched far out into the river creating a narrow gully where the tide came in and out.
We noticed the mud was washing out again when this gully was getting smaller a few years ago and was exposing ancient, baths, trolleys, cars and motorbikes as well as a bit of sand and millions of bricks!
Without realising, we had taken photographs of the change and took a few more to see what happened next! (Sad, I know!) The sand did come back for a short while but the tide that was washing out the mud also took the sand and everything that was in it. The change has been quite drastic but sadly, to date it hasn't been an improvement. We live in hope! Have a look for yourself.
And here are a couple of the pyramids for those of you who remember playing on them!