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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Jess Molyneux

Liverpool streets that were a children's 'playground' in the 1960s

Over the past few years, one of Liverpool's most popular streets and nearby historic parks has been through a period of transformation.

Today, Lark Lane is a popular home for independent shops, restaurants, cafes and bars and Sefton Park continues to attract thousands of visitors every week for a stroll around, events or to admire the Palm House, which was restored around 20 years ago.

But for a generation who grew up in and around the area, their childhood and life around them looked very different to what we know it to be today. Marie Orr, 70, grew up in Ivanhoe Road and remembers life on Lark Lane and nearby Sefton Park decades ago.

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Growing up with best friends Moira and Maureen in the 1960s, who lived on Marmion Road, part of her childhood was captured by her grandad, who was an amateur photographer. Marie told the ECHO: "Ivanhoe Road, that was my playground.

"We used to play in all the roads, it was just so safe then. There were hardly any cars and we’d play hide and seek in someone gardens and you wouldn't get people chasing you out like you do now.

Marie Orr and her grandad Herbert in their garden, Ivanhoe Road, Liverpool (Herbert Robinson/Marie Orr)

"We used to play knock and run on Ivanhoe Road and get the old tin bin lids and tie them to people's doorknobs. It sounds like we did it all the time, but it was only now and again when we were bored. It was always the three of us together."

They would spend a lot of time on Lark Lane, before it was a haven of shops, bars and restaurants that we know today. Marie remembers the era of Mods on their scooters up and down Lark Lane and the Rockers walking through with their long hair.

What are your memories of 1960s Liverpool? Let us know in the comments section below.

Marie said: "We always talk about those days in Lark Lane, how we used to swing around the lamppost. There used to be the old fashioned gaslights and we’d throw a rope over and swing.

"It didn't have junk shops and bars, the only bars was the Masonic and the Albert. The rest was Bobs the butchers, the laundrette.

"There was nothing like wine bars or restaurants. You didn't have restaurants when I was a kid, I never had the privilege of going to a restaurant because there wasn't any.

Marie Orr on Sefton Park boating lake, circa 1960 (Herbert Robinson/Marie Orr)

"There was a chippy on the corner and when my mother would go to the chip shop and I would go with her, I was only little, they always gave me one chip in a piece of paper."

Like many families in the area and beyond, Marie spent time in Sefton Park and still has fond memories and stunning photos of her childhood playing there. Marie's grandfather, Herbert Robinson, was a keen amateur photographer and captured family life and the area back in the 1960s - rare photos that not everyone at the time would have taken.

Marie said: "We were always in Sefton Park on our roller skates. Sefton Park lake used to freeze over and we’d skate on it.

"The photo of me in the front garden with my grandfather, he did that himself with a timer on his camera. He pressed it and said watch the bird and my head is on to one side thinking, how is that taking pictures when there's nobody behind the camera. I remember that feeling.

"I'm absolutely thrilled that he did that. I feel so privileged because my friends Maureen and Moira, the only photographs they've got are their school photographs. I've still got my mum's Brownie camera and my grandad's camera."

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In recent months, Marie, Maureen and Moira returned to the area they grew up to reminisce and also mark their 70th birthdays - and 60 years of friendship. Maire said: "The three of us stood there saying remember when we used to play kick the can here in the road when there were hardly any cars.

Marie Orr and friend Maureen returning to the area they grew up as children in the 1960s (Marie Orr)

"We used to have a huge skipping rope and sometimes the mums would come out and line the skipping rope for us and we’d all join in. They'd run out with their pinnies on."

Returning to Ivanhoe Road, Marie said the road hasn't changed too much, but inside the houses have. She said: "12 Ivanhoe Road is now all apartments whereas when I lived there it was 12 bedsits.

"If you went to the very top of the house you could go to the next house, you could go through. There was like a tunnel that went through all the houses.

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Childhood best friends Moira, Marie Orr and Maureen who grew up near Lark Lane/Sefton Park (Marie Orr)

"It was very dark, we were terrified to go through, but if we wanted to we could go through every house on that road through the attic. They all had cellars and the one we were in, it used to be owned by a shipping company.

"They had servants so in the cellars were still bells for each room. As you pushed the button a bell would ring in the cellar for a maid.

"We used that as a coal house then because we didn't have gas fires, every toom had a coal fire. The coal man used to come every week."

Life has changed a lot since the 1960s in the city. But memories and photographs like Marie's offer a window into Liverpool's past and remind us of how things used to be.

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