Liverpool's Penny Lane
neighbourhood in 1960's looked at in new book
PENNY Lane and All That by Ann Carlton, published this
week, is a celebration of growing up in Liverpool's Penny Lane neighbourhood,
during the same era as the Beatles and Quarrymen.
Ann grew up at Penny Lane during the 1940's and 1950's. Her father, the late Sir
Stanley Holmes, rose from poverty to become Liverpool's Town Clerk and later
Chief Executive of the short lived Merseyside County Council. This background
gave her unique insights into both poverty and affluence in the City at the
From 1st hand experience she describes the Penny Lane area itself, the squalor
of the City's slums and attempts to clear them, the treatment of needy children
and unmarried mothers, stays in early NHS hospitals including Alder Hey, the
glamour of civic events and the cultural diversity of the City. "To be
born and grow up in Liverpool is something special. It can provide you with a
sense of humour as well as a dogged determination to fight for fairness and
justice. I hope this book gives a sense of that and perhaps of the reasons why
the City is so special." said Ann.
Ann also mentions the redevelopment that took place in central
Liverpool during the 60's and her experience of eating in the revolving
restaurant which was then at the top of St Johns Beacon.
She points out that:- "Liverpool was multicultural before that term was
invented' and describes her own Welsh heritage which included visits to concerts
given in the Philharmonic Hall by the Liverpool Welsh Choral and conducted by
the great conductor Sir Malcolm Sargent. Another source of the City's strength
comes from the local people's awareness of their togetherness. If you belong to
Liverpool, you belong to Liverpool with other people' explained Ann, 'Liverpudlians
tend to stick together and fight for justice. The Sun newspaper found this out
in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, when it made false allegations
against Liverpool football supporters. Liverpool, as a City, showed what its
people thought of that newspaper and its then editor Kelvin MacKenzie when, en
masse, they refused to buy the paper."
After studying sociology at the London School of Economics, Ann had a career in
politics and journalism. She was one of the 1st UK Government Special Advisers
and, for a time, a Western Mail columnist. She lives with her husband, Denzil
Davies, in Pembrey, Carmarthenshire; a seaside village in her husband's former
"It is not by chance that Liverpool Football Club has as its anthem the song:-
'You'll Never Walk Alone.' That song is a reflection of a City's sense of
community and Liverpudlians' concern for 1 another. Laughter, compassion, a love
for other human beings and a vibrant cultural life unite the City of Liverpool.
This book is a reflection of that attitude, as I experienced it while growing up
in that very special City, during and soon after the 2nd World War."
Penny Lane And All That by Ann Carlton (?9.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.