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Workin the World The 4 month trip that lasted 5 years .. all the adventures from Workers final year o/s and the trip back to Oz.

Life in a Northern Town

UNITED KINGDOM | Wednesday, 6 June 2007 | Views [17284] | Comments [4]

Another weekend has passed us by and, as my time to leave the UK gets closer, I do what most antipodeans do; try to cram everything I could have done in a few years into a month.

This trip would once again be about family, in particular visiting the roots in the old country. My father was born in Bromley, Leeds. He caught the boat out to Australia with his parents and 6 brothers and sisters as part of the £10 ticket offer after the war. In fact they were the biggest family to emigrate from the area at the time, they even managed to knock the Queen off the front page of the local rag!

Now to me Dad was always an Aussie, he didnt have an English accent and  followed Australia in all things sporting. In fact he developed a hate for the English that you would normally only expect from a true-blue Aussie.

Personally, I had been to Leeds once before, however I spent the entire weekend drunk and felt no real ties to the place, so this time would be different ... or would it?

Arriving Saturday afternoonon the outskirts of Leeds the anticipation was building, especially after putting up with traffic on the M1. However I had no map of Leeds so pulled into a servo where I actually managed to jag an AtoZ for free, a saving of £5.50, a good start I thought.

After driving through the heart of Leeds we arrived at Bromley and located the house (as shown in the pic above). Whilst standing out the front a lovely young gentleman (read derelict covered in tatts) poked his head out the window as if to ask 'what the f*ck do you want', so I kindly gave him a wave. This brought him downstairs and out the front just as his skinheaded mate rolled up with a 6 pack of beer.

Side of Dad's Place

Having explained my reason for being there he quickly went inside and grabbed his mother who came out and invited us in for tea. It is quite amazing to see how the hardest nuts act/melt in front of their mothers. Anyway it was really special, she remembered the Matthewmans and regaled me with tales of the local area including:

- She remembered seeing the Matthewman children playing in the front yard on her way to school
- There were only 2 houses on the street in those days, the rest were fields, which from the pics you can see is no longer the case
- How the front fence got taken away when Dad lived there so the metal could be used for the war effort (although it turned out to be the wrong metal so got thrown in the sea, which apparently was quite common),
The changes they have made to the house (which incidentally is over 200 years old) including knocking into next door which used to be a local store
- How my Dad's family lived there, all 9 of them, in 3 bedrooms - one just for for the parents

After hearing this (and complaints from the son's mate how he wished he'd been sent out to oz for stealing a loaf of bread 'because the weather and women are better there') I really, for the first time ever, felt some connection to England, to these people in Leeds.

Next we went off to Dad's old primary school, which is now apartments, via a local tavern. However given we were not local (and by local I mean our parents did not bring us a home made pizza into the pub for our dinner) we aroused a few stares and so we chopped our beer and left.

Boys entry to Dad's Primary School

That night we spent wandering Leeds, which is a beautiful city. You can see it was once very wealthy from the cotton trade, amazing buildings and architecture everywhere.

The Corn Exchange

Leeds Markets

Old Mall

A few things about Leeds by night:

For the men

  • Hens nights abound
  • I have not seen a town with more night clubs anywhere in my travels
  • Short skirts are in and I mean short
  • Boobs are out
  • Chicks are everywhere

For the ladies

  • Stag do's are everywhere (although they are British so slim pickings)
  • Drink specials are all over the place
  • The shopping is sensational (Soph's feedback)

Owl in Millenium Square

Soph Millemium Square

Next morning we awoke and hit the road to Liverpool, I was really sad to be leaving Leeds, disappointed I have not spent more time there. Liverpool was quite a contrast, being European Centre for Culture 2008 I was surprised to see what a dump it is. Sure there is a heap of work going on to tart the place up but it is dirty, run down and depressing, probably why they have given birth to so many musicians.

Having said that Albert Dock is fantastic, full of cafe's overlooking the Mersey and the city definitely does have a very strong vibe about it. We began here by heading over to Anfield, the Kop, to check out one of the worlds most famous stadiums. Now I dont particularly like Liverpool but the stadium is as impressive and imposing as their fans, memorials are up for the Hillsborough tragedy and a steady stream of fans is flowing in and out covered in red. Despite the season being over every tour is booked out. However this didnt stop me from sneaking into the museum, if you ever want to get into the museum for free simply ask to use the toilet and save yourself the £10.

Outside Anfield

Houses next to the Stadium

Hillsborough Memorial in the Museum

Next stop was the Beatles Tour where we drove past the houses for the Fab Four, learnt about their early history (for example John Lennons Mother was killed crossing the road outside his house), down Penny Lane and past Strawberry Fields, winding up at the Cavern where they used to play every lunch time when they first came together. A pretty cool tour, quite surreal to see the very modest backgrounds of the four men who changed the world.

George Harrison's House

Srawberry Fields - used to be an Orphanage

John Lennon's House - his mother died out the road where the pic is taken

Soph out the front of Paul McCartney's house - now a National Trust House, where over 100 Beatles songs were written (because John Lennon was not allowed to play the guitar at home - his Aunt's place)

Guess where this was taken ....

The Cavern Entry

Stage at the Cavern

So all in all a great weekend, if you have never been up North do it, the people are nicer, the beer is cheaper and the culture somehow seems more 'British'. London is fantastic for the melting pot it is, but even they will acknowledge people are unsure what British is any more, in fact they are now talking about having a Britain Day, modelled on Australia Day, which really is Britain Day anwyay ... how ironic!

Tags: Family



Worker you are so cool. I wish I was you ... hang on I am

  Max Power Jun 7, 2007 1:37 AM


Did you manage to see Marge Simpson's original letter to Ringo in the Beatles museum?

  O Jun 7, 2007 10:07 PM


Pfft ... it cost £10 to get into the museum and as I mentioned above, unless there is a way to sneak in for free via the toilets then it's a no go!

So in short, no.

  Worker Jun 7, 2007 11:22 PM


Hey Worker your blog is rocking my world. Not wanting to sound gay or nothing i miss you and love you even more than that xxxooo

  Burger Jun 11, 2007 10:48 AM

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