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Issue:- 09/1710 September 2009

The Secret Life of Smithdown - Uncovering the story of a South Liverpool community

NATIONAL Museums Liverpool is opening a mini-exhibition this week as part of a new project to uncover stories about the Smithdown Road area in South Liverpool.

Culminating in a special exhibition in the People’s City gallery of the new Museum of Liverpool, The Secret Life of Smithdown project will explore how over time, local shopkeepers have helped shape the neighbourhood.  The mini-exhibition will open at Oomoo Café, 349-351 Smithdown Road, and will run throughout September. There will be special drop in days starting Saturday, 5 September 2009 from 10am to 4pm.

Kay Jones, curator of community history for the Museum of Liverpool said:- “Smithdown Road is home to many different vibrant and diverse communities, including students from Liverpool’s 3 universities.  People across the city are really fond of the area and the quirky independent shops that span the length of the road. Just looking at the popularity of the Facebook group we’ve set up for the project, shows how much people have taken it into their hearts.”

The Museum of Liverpool team are currently undertaking historical research of the area utilising newspapers, trade and street directories, maps and old photographs to discover how the road has changed over time, and continues to change today.  The team have worked with local photographer Stephanie de Leng to capture Smithdown shopkeepers at work, in or outside their shops with their staff and families, producing a photography display in the mini-exhibition that works retrospectively alongside old images of the road.

The mini-exhibition has been set up so that local residents can find out more about the history of the area, and contribute to the development of the exhibition by sharing their own ‘Smithdown Stories’, photographs and opinions.

Kay continues:- “It’s been fascinating to study old photographs and compare them to the images we’ve collected of Smithdown Road today. In some ways the area’s been developed and changed a great deal, but it’s interesting to know that a lot has remained the same, and different generations have been able to share memories of the same places.”

Curators and researcher Joanne Lacey have also interviewed 19 shopkeepers from a cross section of both established and new businesses on Smithdown Road, in order to use their personal stories to investigate the opportunities and barriers associated with their livelihoods, and the wider social roles they play within the community.  Their stories will be included in the mini-exhibition at Oomoo, and will go on to become part of the Museum of Liverpool’s social history collection and The Secret Life of Smithdown display.

The mini-exhibition at Oomoo will be open every day throughout September, and people are welcome to come along to the drop-in sessions to chat to the Museum of Liverpool team, share their opinions and memories and bring photographs along for scanning.  3 special evening events will also take place on 15, 22 and 29 September from 7pm, providing opportunities to learn more about the history of the area and the new Museum of Liverpool.

For further information on the project and dates and opening times of the mini-exhibition, please visit:-

Diabetes could be linked to hearing loss

OLDER people with Type 2 diabetes could be more likely to have hearing loss than those without the condition, reveals leading health charity Diabetes UK.

A study of more than 1,800 people, of whom 210 had Type 2 diabetes, found that 50% of the group with Type 2 diabetes had age-related hearing loss compared to 38.2% of the group without the condition. This was independent of other hearing loss risk factors including being male, low education attainment, smoking and working in a noisy environment.

Dr Victoria King, Research Manager at Diabetes UK, said:- “Previous research has revealed conflicting evidence about the link between hearing loss and Type 2 diabetes and this study in older people suggests further that a link could exist. However, at this stage, investigation in a larger group of people would be needed before we can come to any firm conclusions.  Explanations for this possible link between Type 2 diabetes and hearing loss could be explained by genetic factors or diabetic neuropathy, which is when there is damage to the nerves that transmit impulses to and from the brain and spinal cord, to the muscles, skin, blood vessels and in this case, the inner ear. This study, however, does not explore these factors.”

The study was led by Dr Paul Mitchell at the Centre for Vision Research, University of Sydney, Australia.

There are 2.25 million people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the UK and another 500,000 who have the condition but don’t know it. If untreated, the condition can lead to fatal complications such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Type 2 diabetes can be undetected for 10 years or more, meaning 50% of people already have complications by the time they are diagnosed.

To find out if you are at risk of diabetes visit


RNID is calling on science fiction fans in Merseyside to fulfill their fantasy of zooming through the air like a flying saucer by going on a breath-taking skydiving mission to raise funds for the charity’s essential work.  The national charity is inviting people inspired by the recently launched District 9 to sign up for tandem skydiving at an airfield in Cockerham on the weekend of your choice and enjoy the exhilarating experience of falling through the sky from 10,000 feet.  Places will be awarded on a first come, first served basis to fundraisers who pledge to raise £390 for RNID’s work creating a world where deafness or hearing loss don’t limit opportunity, and where people value their hearing.   Louise Phillips, RNID Events & Community Fundraising Executive, says:- "If doing nothing on your weekends is an alien concept to you, sign up now for a RNID skydive and you can have fun that’s out of this world, while raising vital funds for our life changing work!"  As places are limited, anyone who wants to take part should register their interest as soon as possible. Parental consent is required for 16 and 17 year olds signing up.  For more information about RNID’s skydiving, visit:- or contact Louise Phillips on telephone / textphone:- 0845 634 0687 (local rate) or emailing:-

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