Then and Now: 1980s Liverpool Bands And The Day The Titanic Was Sunk.
Above Photo: Reflections on another age. 40 Penny Lane, Liverpool in 1912.
As mentioned in my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!, during Liverpool’s vibrant musical period of the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was always conscious the buildings where bands rehearsed, played, ate, drank and hung out, had been built in another age and belonged to another time. We were only temporary inhabitants, after which the world moved on and these same buildings then hosted other bands, people, companies and ventures.
That thought occurred again, when I saw the above photo of a shop and the one below on a Facebook page. They show the same shop, at 40 Penny Lane, Liverpool, separated by a distance of over one hundred years. Of course Penny Lane is more famous for being mentioned in a Beatles song than for anything else, but I was fascinated by these photos.
Back in 1912 the shop was a newsagents and tobacconists (it’s displaying headlines broadcasting the loss of the Titanic in February 1912), and I like some other headlines in this photo.
For example, I wonder who the ‘Pious Poisoner’ was, and I would dearly love to know just one of the 1,000 ways to make a fortune. I also look at the well dressed woman in the shop doorway, probably the wife of the proprietor, and wonder about her life story too.
In contrast, the same shop front in the modern-day looks less glamorous, although I was interested to note the pebble dashing on the first floor is the same in both photos, and the entrance way seems to have been raised.
But the shop itself is still going, having withstood Titanic disasters, the ravages of developers and two World Wars; much like the buildings that were band hangouts in Liverpool city centre back in the early 1980s.