Vauxhall and Kirkdale

The FACT Older People’s Digital History group have been researching the heritage of Liverpool (and especially North Liverpool) as a core group for 5 years now so Tagging Communities marks the realisation of a dream!

Working in collaboration with film maker and script writer James Shaw the group have worked with photography, video, script writing and audio to reanimate the rich history of Liverpool’s dockland and shoreline areas, Vauxhall and Kirkdale.

Vauxhall and Kirkdale are ancient settlements with history running back to the Domesday Book and beyond. It’s first settlers are thought to have been Vikings who named the area ‘kirk’ ‘dale’ either literally meaning the church in the dale or the road to the church which probably referred to St Mary’s, Walton-on-the-Hill.

Later, Vauxhall and Kirkdale became home to thousands of Irish migrants who, fleeing the potato famine in Ireland, found themselves in Liverpool. Some saw Liverpool as a stepping stone to a new life in America, others chose to make the city their home and others just simply got stuck. Whatever the circumstance, by the end of the famine in 1851 approximately 90,000 Irish born people were living in the city, many of whom migrated toward the Irish Communities springing up in and around Scotland Road. We took a walk with Irish Historian Greg Query to discover the history of these communities which you can access in the Vauxhall and Kirkdale section of the app.

We have explored the significance the dock road by investigating the life of the prominent dock engineer, Jesse Hartley, played by Alan, and the more recent experiences of local people, through the lively pub scene which was part of the fabric of the neighbourhood from the rise of the Northern Dock complex in the mid 1800’s.

Local landmarks have inspired us to look deeper, uncovering unsolved mysteries discovered in bombed out buildings and tragic tales of exploding munitions ships. We’ve been working with the inspiring Rotunda on Great Mersey Street, learning about the celebrities of Scotland Road, and the theatre which gave its name to the centre. We talked to people about their Vauxhall and Kirkdale memories of the factories, canals, lost communities, regeneration and demolition which made this place what we see today.

So go download the app from the 5th November or you can check out the video content via our projects page here

We have 3 trail options to explore Vauxhall and Kirkdale if you are using our app

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     Irish History Trail                           Vauxhall Trail                                Canal Trail