A few months ago I had a fabulous loitering experience in Liverpool with my friend Theo. He mentioned that Manchester is home to a group called the Loiterers Resistance Movement which is formed of locals who regularly organise together to wander around the city. They describe themselves as
‘a Manchester based collective of artists and activists interested in psychogeography, public space and the hidden stories of the city. We can’t agree on what psychogeography means but we all like plants growing out of the side of buildings, looking at things from new angles, radical history, drinking tea and getting lost; having fun and feeling like a tourist in your home town. Gentrification, advertising and blandness make us sad. We believe there is magic in the mancunian rain. Our city is wonderful and made for more than shopping. We want to reclaim it for play and revolutionary fun….’.
So after reading this description it seemed necessary to set up a similar group in Liverpool. The idea of Liverpool Loiterers (nice alliteration!) is to explore abandoned and wild places within Merseyside and the surrounding area. I think that Liverpool is such an easily underappreciated city and that’s a real shame. So this group intends to enjoy it and prove that you don’t have to travel far or spend a fortune to find adventure in life.
Henry David Thoreau, in 1862, wrote about his walking or sauntering ‘which word is beautifully derived from “idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretence of going à la Sainte Terre,” to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer,” a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander.’ He claimed that real saunterers go to the Holy Land in their walks or experience a similar sort of pleasure. So we aim to saunter just as much as loiter!
We’ve had two successful trips so far: one to the Mersey at sunrise, one along a section of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal returning by the northern docks, half-demolished warehouses and metal refineries. There were some amazingly desolate views of the urban decay and industrial heritage of north Liverpool. It really allows you to imagine what the area would have been like in the 1800s at the height of industry; the docks bustling with workers and ships, the canal barges transporting coal, guano, timber through locks, the practically-named tobacco warehouses being filled.
Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse, the largest in the world
partly demolished warehouse
So far, the group has had lots of positive feedback and suggestions for amazing places to loiter. I’d like the group to link to other organisations full of like-minded urban explorers such as foraging and abandoned places groups. I hope that the group will continue to grow and both newcomers to the city and hardened scousers will be inspired to join us for future adventures!
north Liverpool docks
‘Walking’ by Thoreau – http://www.bartleby.com/28/15.html
Loiterers Resistance Movement’s blog – http://nowhere-fest.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/hello.html
Liverpool Loiterers group- https://www.facebook.com/groups/735645286483447/?fref=ts