Since becoming involved with the FACT Digital History Group , I have learned an enormous amount about the many uses that digital technology has, as well as the layers of history that make up the story of certain areas of Liverpool. I have also enjoyed meeting, and hearing the different stories and experiences of the people who make up the group.


It's been very interesting listening to the experts that group captain Laura Yates, and the Digital Crew that assist her, have invited in to help the group with various technical, technological and research projects. Like the rest of the group, I look forward to the group meetings, as I always learn something I didn't know that morning.


I am currently trying to take what I've learnt at the group and make a short film about a neighbour's time in the Merchant Navy, and also to capture some of the music he still makes at the age of 75(!), not so much for him, but for his grandkids. I am also trying to interest other members of my sheltered accommodation community, to learn how to do the same for themselves.

- Andy Crombie 


After some work at the library, the only records that were available to us are maps that showed ‘Kirkdale Township’ 1817 - 1843, Kirkdale being bordered by no less than five other townships before it became the place we know it as today - Linacre, Bootle, Walton, Vauxhall, Liverpool. I’m mentioning Linacre because it was a rural village tonwship before integration with Bootle. Also, we found that there are no known sites of a church, but this could mean the road to the church which could have been the old parish of Walton on the hill rather than there being a ‘Kirk’ in Kirkdale - Walton-on-the-Hill was the motherchurch. There was an asylum on the edge of Kirkdale and two ‘forgers’ which I presume served the coach and horse trade, blacksmiths and wheelwrights.


Nicolas LeBlanc was a French physician and chemist who in 1791 discovered and was responsible for the manufacture of soda (soap made from common salt). Alkali, used in these chemicals was vital in the blending and manufacture of textiles, glass and paper. Potash, from the bark and sap of trees and plants, ‘kelp’ or seaweed were used in the early years. LeBlanc one the first prize for his chemical knowledge in France but did not receive it because of the French Revolution. It was his process that was used by James Muspratt in his chemical works in Vauxhall which subsequently led to him being prosecuted for polluting the local environs in the 1840s. Vauxhall was the first place in the UK to use LeBlanc’s method to manufacture sodium chloride but this was at the expense of the health of the people of Vauxhall.

- Hugh Grahame


Once upon a time the tango's passion and pace

Was frowned upon. Such tight, intimate embrace

Shocked society to its very foundations
As all the young dudes, their ladies, and their gyrations

Filled every dancefloor in London, Paris and Buenos Aires
And the big bands played on. The time was truly theirs
The tale is told of a barefoot boy from Liverpool
No home, no parents, never went to school
Perchance he heard the Tango played by a sailor down at the docks
And straightway lost his heart. Maybe he even thought: "This music Rocks!" ?
There's some who really could sell coal to Newcastle on Tyne
And unwary Yankee tourists have 'bought' London Bridge a thousand times
Believe me, I've met a smooth­talking salesman
Who sold ice cream to Eskimos, persuaded Arabs to buy sand.
Well, it seems our Scouse street urchin had similar talents
He turns up next in France, following music's genie wherever it went
Shoes on his feel now, he blows a mean horn:
And in a backstreet nightclub in Paris, the European Tango is born
Maybe he dared to dream an Impossible Dream
A few short years later – unlikely as it may seem
The Tango explodes in Buenos Aires: and the name on everyone's lips
The same shoeless street urchin who once jumped ship
With Tango's seductive rhythms filling each corner of his mind
Leaving the hunger and poverty of his home town behind
This Rags­to­Riches story (for all its fairytale glory)
I can assure you: every detail is true!

- Paul MCDermot


William Gordon Masters was born in Eldon Place Liverpool in 1887, of Jamaican, Irish parents. He entered show business at an early age as a singer and dancer with The Eight Lancashire Lads, whose members included the great Charlie Chaplin. In 1908 William was found to be leading the native Jamaican choir at the colonial exhibition at St Georges Hall Liverpool. Sir Alfred Lewis Jones had brought this choir to Liverpool. The Jamaican Choir is photographed outside St George's Hall. William is seated front row nearest the door.


He then went on to play with his orchestra for high society in London. He also appeared in London's west end shows. William was the toast of Paris cafe society during the JAZZ AGE, of the 1920s with his orchestra Syncopated Six. William is listed in the publication Who's Who of Jazz.


Some time during the 1920s he relocated to Argentina where he continued his musical career with his Symphonic Jazz Orchestra. He was the first British born jazz musician to take jazz to Argentina. He composed music with Argentina's Great Tango Artists of the time.


William was a British Jazz pioneer and was one of the jazz artists responsible for the internationalisation of Jazz. He was one of the first jazz artists to record on early disc. He was a member of one of the first jazz trios to play jazz music for dancing in Britain. His compositions, musical career are held by institutions across the globe, but here in Liverpool he is unknown. Not bad for the little barefoot boy on Liverpool's famous Steble Fountain photograph.

This is just a brief outline of William's life. My aim is to have his great talent recognised by the people of Liverpool.

- Jeff Daniels


Tagging Communities is a new heritage community project about six neighbourhoods across Liverpool focusing on the last 150 years. The project will create a blog and a mixed media app which can be used by anyone living or visiting Liverpool presenting an alternative history told by the community residents.