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Modern choirs for people who love to sing

The Cavern Club turns 60

The countdown to Liverpool has begun! We are very excited about our trip North...I'm not sure it's "properly" North but, as Southerners, anything higher than Birmingham might as well be the North Pole!

In less than 3 weeks' time we will be embracing the culture of Liverpool and walking in the footsteps of many an artist and band: Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Gerry & the Pacemakers, The Wombats, Cilla Black, The Searchers and The La's to name but a few. Of course, we couldn't fail to mention The Beatles! Perhaps unsurprisingly, Liverpool holds the Guinness Book of Records title for being the Capital of Pop. More artists with a Liverpool origin have had a number one hit than from any other location. And of course, Liverpudlian legends The Beatles changed the face of popular music.

This year, The Cavern Club - home to early performances by The Beatles (amongst others) - turned 60! The Beatles played the Cavern an astonishing 292 times between February 9, 1960 and August 3, 1963 but Ringo Starr (then known as Richard Starkey) first played The Cavern in 1957 with the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group. During its history, The Cavern was closed and re-opened in 1966, closed in 1973 and was re-opened again in 1984. Liverpool band Supercharge played the last night of the original Cavern in 1973 and they also played the 60th anniversary on January 16th this year. Before the final re-opening in 1984, more than 100 artists from the Merseybeat 60s era were invited to sign the wall at the back of the stage. Paul McCartney ended the last century by performing a rock and roll set on stage at the Cavern. Thousands of fans gathered in the city centre to watch the concert live on a huge outdoor screen and the concert had an estimated ‘net cast audience’ of 53 million. There is so much to share about this phenomenal venue, it's worth spending an evening reading all about it - possibly a future blog post dedicated solely to this musical hub. If you have the time, the Cavern is an absolute must visit!!

Here is a bit of non-musical history to keep you going until we are Mersey-side!

Created in 1207 by King John, in addition to granting it a royal charter, he designed Liverpool’s original street plan of seven streets laid out in an “H” shape. Liverpool was the "Second City of the Empire" eclipsing even London for commerce at times.

Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral is the largest cathedral in Britain and the fifth largest in the world. It was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott in 1904 and took 74 years to build. It has 13 bells with a weight total of 17 tons, in addition to a monster bell known as “Great George“, which is larger than Big Ben, weighs 15 tons, and has to be rung with a hammer. If you have time during your stay, it is well worth a visit, espeically since the website boasts the intriguing tag line "Liverpool Cathedral is a safe place to do risky things in Christ's service". It's probably worth a visit to find out all about this! More information can be found here. If you're out for a walk, on the other end of Hope Street, Liverpool’s Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King allegedly features the world’s largest panel of stained glass.

Natives of Liverpool are referred to as Liverpudlians and as “Scousers”— a reference to a form of stew was eaten by the people of Liverpool in the 19th century. (Ingredients included lamb or beef, cabbage, carrot, potatoes and onion). The word “Scouse” has also become synonymous with the Liverpool accent and dialect.

Liverpool experienced slow population growth until the late 1600s and early 1700s. The city owes its dramatic growth during this period to the fact that the nearby River Dee became an silted.  Since Roman times, the port city of Chester and the River Dee had been used used maritime trade. When larger ships could no longer sail into Chester, they switched to the port city of Liverpool on the River Mersey. In 1699, the Liverpool Merchant, a slave ship set sail for Africa from Liverpool. Fueled by the profitable slave trade and other West Indies trade, the port city of Liverpool grew rapidly during the 1700s. Although the city was a key part of the slave trade, Liverpool also was home to three prominent men who pioneered the abolitionist movement: Willaim Rathbone, William Roscoe and Edward Rushton.

A completely fascinating city, steeped in history...I wish I was going on the trip next month!!

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