Toxteth Tales: Growin’ up in Liverpool 8

(1 customer review)


Ken Hayter’s warm, funny, poignant tales of growing up in Toxteth will strike a chord with anyone interested in the social history of Liverpool, whether they are old enough to remember how it was. or want to have a peek into the past.


Liverpool in the 40s and 50s: a city of safe, cosy little streets – except when Hitler’s Luftwafe couldn’t find the docks. A city of two-up, two-downs, where two or three generations lived within a few doors of each other, and often behind one door. It was a time when many of the men were away in the armed forces, strangers to their children, and when the women’s lives seemed to be filled with washing, shopping, cooking and cleaning. They were always at work, except for when they gathered on doorsteps to gossip, to talk about anyone who wasn’t with them; about who was getting more from the butcher than their ration book allowed. All of them talking, and none of them listening.

Families struggled in desperately poor times, but for a child, life was an endless round of playing out. A paradise of sixpenny matinees at the Tunnel Road Picturedrome. Of ‘penny returns’ on the 5W tram to the countryside of Woolton, or much rarer tu’penny return ferry trips across the river, to the seaside and fairground at New Brighton. Not that you needed money. There were always the weekend adventures in Sefton and Prince’s parks, the inventive games on the streets, and on the bombed sites that littered the city.

About the Author

Ken Hayter’s warm, funny, poignant tales of growing up in Toxteth will strike a chord with anyone interested in the social history of Liverpool, whether they are old enough to remember how it was, or would like to have a fascinating peek into the past.

• Warts and all account of life growin’ up in postwar Liverpool
• A true Scouse social history
• Includes a great Scouse Thesaurus!!

Author: Ken Hayter
Imprint: Palatine Books
Binding: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-910837-13-9
Extent: 208 pages
Format: 234mm x 156mm
Illustrations: c. 40
Pub. date: 15 November 2017

1 review for Toxteth Tales: Growin’ up in Liverpool 8

  1. Liverpool Family HIstorian

    Ken Hayter’s book gives the reader a child’s eye view of life in Toxteth during the 1940s and 50s. Although families were poor the kids found plenty of fun to have: hours spent exploring bomb-sites, or swapping empty cigarette-packs, and where a simple trip to Sefton or Prince’s park was an adventure. If there was a little money to spare you could be off to the flicks for a sixpenny matinee, or with just a penny you could take a trip to the countryside on the 5W tram and every no and then the fairground at New Brighton was a welcome distraction.

    This was a time when extended families all tended to live together, just streets or doors apart from one another. Perhaps because of this, everybody in Liverpool somehow seemed to know everyone else in the city – or was that just how it appeared to the kids? Many of the dads were first absent fighting the war and then when back home afterwards, were still somehow absent. Ken recalls of his dad: ‘He arrived home one day, sat down by the wireless, turned it on and stayed there for the rest of his life.’ It was the mums who kept everything together, despite their time being filled with the daily duties of cleaning the house, the doorstep and that bit of the pavement just in front of the house, before shopping, laundry and cooking demanded to be done. Yet still there was always just enough time for much to catch up with the neighbours on who was doing what where and with whom.

    The book is a joy to read and the interaction between young Ken and his mates guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Enjoy a fascinating and entertaining look back at 40s and 50s Liverpool with a young lad who lived it.

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