by Neil McKenzie

The photograph reproduced on the right - a seasonal scene of Gateacre Brow circa 1970 - was sent to us by one of our newest, and also most distant, members, Mr Neil McKenzie of Penzance. Neil has also sent us the following very welcome account of his Gateacre memories:

"My name is Neil McKenzie, I was born in High Street in Woolton in 1946. The whole of my childhood was spent growing up in Gateacre Village, we actually lived in Sandfield Road. I attended the village school in Gateacre before moving to Childwall C of E. Then I continued my education at Gateacre Comp before attending Riversdale Technical College, and serving my time at Corbishley Garage in Grange Lane. In 1972 I moved away from Gateacre to Cornwall, where I have lived and worked ever since. Now retired from the railway, I still return to Liverpool, as my brother and family live in Aigburth.

What a lovely book of Gateacre & Belle Vale you have produced, which my eldest son bought me for Christmas 2009. Page 15 is wonderful, as myself and my brother are in the pensioners' outing photo. The small boy in the white shorts is my younger brother, Ian, and that is me just behind him. The lady with her hand on Ian's shoulder is our Nan, Mary Radley. I recognise some other faces in the picture but at the moment neither my brother nor myself can put names to faces, nor recall what the destination might be.

Working my way through the book has brought back some personal memories. The Chapel is somewhere I recall fondly, and the youth club that used to be held in the hall in Sandfield Road. My brother and I used to ring the bell in the Chapel for Sunday service, and I was confirmed into the Chapel around 1962-64. With living in Sandfield Road I remember Doris Wyke quite clearly, and two of the ministers that were there, Stanley Butler and Eric Phillips. On page 83, the lower picture of the School mentions a Tom Radley. This could be my Uncle Tom. Seeing Morphet's butcher's shop brought back memories of my Dad. He was Alec McKenzie and was a shop manager for them for many years.

Gateacre Village life was very good: the Chapel, the Youth Club, Post Office, Brooks' shop. I was very interested to read, in a recent Newsletter, that the Chapel Hall is to be made into dwellings, as I have fond memories of time spent at the youth club held there. Just out of interest, I was wondering if anyone had been in the cellar room under the stage. We used to use it as a coffee room, and it had sixties pop posters on the walls.

I have enclosed a photograph of Gateacre Brow and the Black Bull. The white Triumph Herald belonged to my friend Billy Rothwell. I think the picture was taken in about 1969-70."

Neil McKenzie has also sent us the colour picture on the right, which was a postcard of the old Post Office and the Black Bull dated 1905. If you remember Neil - or if you have your own pictures or recollections of life in Gateacre which you would like to share with others - please let us know!

For further details of our book, 'Gateacre & Belle Vale: in old photographs', please visit the special section
of our website.

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Page created 27 Jan 2011 by MRC, last updated 27 Jan 2011