Walton Park, a road gone mad

I had occasion to stroll in the glorious sunshine to a city farm in Walton just off Rice Lane, Liverpool.  But this isn’t about the city farm.

I’m guessing that at one time this part of Walton, especially a quiet tree-lined road called Walton Park (despite it not actually being a park), was a lovely area with huge houses built with great character and individuality, proudly looked after and kept to a very high standard of presentation by the live-in servants.  I guess they originally stood in their own grounds, probably with fine gardens surrounding them, some distance apart from each other and housed the long lost middle classes without whose wealth and hard work the lower classes would have not had employment in the docks of Bootle and Liverpool itself.

The original occupants and the original purposes for the houses has long gone.  They are now all but shells converted into flats and bedsits and surrounded by the usual filth and unkempt trappings of the scum that now inhabits them.  Ok, that should maybe be ‘student scum’ that inhabits them, as this is an area that makes easy money out of the great unwashed attending the mainly pointless courses at the various Universities in Liverpool. Students make a mess, that’s what they do, having always been cleaned-up after by their parents in their previous life at home.  They have no concept of keeping a place clean, and this shows.

Over the years since the original occupants made their rapid exit, the land associated with each of the older houses has been then used to build further huge tenement blocks or purpose built flats, all nicely sectioned off into student accommodation.

In some parts smaller terraced houses squeeze themselves inbetween the more imposing structures.

Thus walking down the road gives a constant change between the old and majestic and the more modern, but functional, or even the quite cute and picturesque.

In theory it’s potentially still quite nice, although not as nice as it once was.  An interesting side issue is the obscure and confused house numbering scheme. It’s completely random.  As new buildings have sprung up they’ve been allocated a number that may or may not be part of the normal sequence you expect in a road.  My sympathy for any postmen or delivery people trying to service this area!

If it wasn’t for the tress, to the north one could see the imposing and scary unbroken high wall of Walton Gaol, recently renamed Liverpool prison.  This, unfortunately, sets the scene for the whole philosophy for the use of this previously beautiful and peaceful area.  Apart from students, the area is full of criminals, ex-criminals and mad people.

Quite a few of the gigantic old houses have been snapped-up by the local authority or by its agents in order to house people who are being introduced back into society after their spell in prison (not necessarily the one that casts a shadow across the area), have extreme self-inflicted drug or drink problems or mental illness.  The bottom line is that, along with the students, all residents are basically anti-social.  What a terrible thing to do to such a lovely area.

So, with students and those with drink, drugs, and mental issues all living alongside each other it’s not surprising that it’s impossible to walk far without the air being full of the stench of skunk, or various forms of extremely loud music echoing out of open windows.  There was even somebody teaching himself how to use his drum kit.

Because everything is so confused around this area, it’s quite easy to be anonymous.  Hence why it became pretty obvious that the tell-tale smell leaking from at least two addresses that looked otherwise a bit unloved no doubt housed skunk farms.  The extreme heat radiating from the heavily curtained windows confirmed this.

I’m not an architectural anorak, but I do like the look of most of this area, even the newer builds without much character.  It’s potentially so peaceful.  Well, apart from the noise from the students and the screams and scary noises that fill the air from the mentally ill or socially inept.

Why oh why are the normal people that live here forced to be surrounded by the misfits and anti-social sum?  It must be a living hell for the normals.

It seems that those who take take take from life are given all the advantages.  The average person couldn’t afford to live in one of the more beautiful homes here or to stay in this area unless funded to so do.  Why are we funding these people to live here and destroy it? 

5 comments

  1. Those with mental health problems are not mad. Many are struggling with illnesses that are just as real and overwhelming as more noticible problems such as severe physical disabilites.

    The physically disabled have moved on from being termed spastics however those with mental health problems are derided by ignorant people who do not even understand the basics.

    That many end up in the types of accomadation you describe is not surprising even within the NHS mental health often remains the poor relation to other illnesses.

    I have met so many people with mental health problems that on the way to recovery are held back by ignorance and the stigma put on them by those who are simply uncaring or damn right hostile (easy target for bullies).

    J Fox.

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  2. this actually made laugh you got all this from just walking down here the once? i lived here in a seven bedroom(rented it) for over five years, most of what you have said is a load of rubbish, i was close too nearly all the neighbours could tell you most of their business and if there were anyone growing anything they shouldnt have been id of known! we all knew eachothers business wether you wanted too or not! i have old pictures of this road from the 30s and yes it was more picturesque and yes there was a park hence the name walton park!!! the smaller houses were built by my old landlords father who owned most of them in the road but he has sold most of them off or made them into flats. i can tell you nearly all of these residents have lived in them a very long time, yes they have now put a halfway house in the road hence two owners once who is a nurse whos husband owns his own business not really scum as you put it…..whose now selling up. you seem very quick too judge would love too see what your home is like! having the pleasure of living in this road was bliss with hardly any trouble all the residents look out for eachother we always said it wa slike a cut off from the area, miss this place alot…still in touch with all of them. and as for the music playing the only one i could think of would be by the pathway too the station!

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  3. what a load of crap, i lived in this road for over five years and the people who live there are lovely and friendly all hard working, yes there now is a halfway house which there in the midst of campaigning too get rid, doubt it will be there much longer, what and ignorant rant so you got all this from walkin down there the once i suppose??? and the houses youve taken pictures of and posted, the mustard one is home to a business owner and his wife and two children the second is flats too two old gentlement who are all pleasant, i know all the residents in this bend as we call it. i know the lnadlord who owns or owned most which yes he made some into flats and sold some off and his dad built the smaller ones which were once tennis courts, oh also too the cannibis farm your hinting at alls i have too say too that is bulls*it, i miss this road loads was such a cut off from rice lane brilliant place too live! would like too see what road you live in??? what an ignorant artical.

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  4. I have an auntie who lives in this road and has for many years, before she lived there, her husband and his first wife lived in the property. The house is beautiful, the garden is well cared for and she has lots of nice neighbours. Yes, there might be some who rent in the area, like in any other street, who might have problems, but, I have never seen them when visiting. The road itself isnt as grand as it was years ago, but I think you have made it sound awful with your comments. I also have another friend , who lives in the road with her family and has a large beautiful happy family home. My first impression of the road was it was a bit spooky, especially at night, but not all the things you described.

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  5. You remind me of the Monty Python sketch where the house wife sees a black person… and shouts “Black? There goes the neighbourhood”

    Narrow mindedness like yours thankfully died out in the 1980's – what rock have you been under for the last 30 years?

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