THE WELSH STREETS TOXTETH LIVERPOOL 2006
59 Powis Street Liverpool Artist in Residence Moira Kenny
Powis Street after the Decantation and before redevelopment
Moira Kenny was commissioned by Plus Dane Housing and LCC in 2006 as Artist in Residence to work in The Liverpool Welsh Streets with the people in the area to help them through a process of change and loss. Based in a house 59 Powis Street, the aim of the residency was to work with the Anti-Demolition and Pro-Demolition groups to bring them together as there was a problem in the area with the two groups animosity towards each other and to work through the arguments of the demolition of social housing stock. The house was designed to reflect the social history of the area. In the 1940' and later 1970's the front room of the house had been a local shop. The artist decorated each room with a theme to work through the process of change, upheaval and decantation of the people from the area. The front room became a shop with a neon sign depicting the words TALK TO ME. A glass cabinet housed the keys from the occupants of houses who had already been decanted and the house 'tinned up' and a shop depicting vintage goods and tins with labels designed to explain the reasons of Blair's Government housing initiative had decide to demolish their homes. Who, What, Why and When.
"It repeated the much-derided rehousing policies of the 1960s – the crude condemnation of houses as “slums”, the failure to see inherent value either in building stock or in the communities contained therein, the belief that social ills could be cured by attacking their physical fabric"
"I made a short film of the residents who were in the process of losing their homes. I asked them how they felt about moving away from the area that they have lived in for many years and made home. The music is a sole trumpet playing 'Sentimental Journey' the title of the the debut studio album of the English rock musician and former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, the album was release in 1970. Ringo Starr lived in Madryn Street one of the Welsh Streets as a child. This led to the pro-demolition group and government using the argument that the anti-demolition groups felt Sentimental about the area that was scheduled for demolition. Many people in this film had no idea what the future would hold. They were too old or unwaged to get a mortgage. Some accepted the small amount of money they were offered to vacate their homes not realising the consequences. Some people wanted to move and moved to new build houses".
This video has had 67 shares and 8.3K views on my Moira Kenny Facebook site.
This image was designed based on Ringo Starr's Sentimental Journey Album Cover. The Empress pub is situated in High Park Street, which runs from Prince's Road to Park Road adjacent to the Welsh Streets. The large format design was displayed in the Ringo Room in 59 Powis Street as part of the residency.
The aim of the visual was to bring the main activists of the Anti-Demolition and the Pro-Demolition together in a work of art that was installed in one of the bedrooms in 59 Powis Street. The work was completed at risk of the residents disapproving of being in the art work, however, the response was successful and started a conversation about the two groups and the residents started to talk about the process of leaving the streets.