Ferry memories in focus at gallery show

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A large photograph from The Pier Head exhibition at Open Eye Gallery. Pic © Matty Davies.

A treasure trove of memories is on display after the UK premiere of Tom Wood’s ‘The Pier Head’ collection, which is currently being displayed in Liverpool.

Around 100 photographs at the Open Eye Gallery depict ordinary local men, women and children travelling across the River Mersey bon the famous ferry.

The gallery itself is appropriately housed in Mann Island, just a short distance away from the place those pictured aboard the ship would have departed from, and arrived to, all those years ago.

Curator Thomas Dukes said: “For Open Eye Gallery, there is something right about sharing these photos here, showing them in a space just a stone’s throw from where many of them were taken. It feels like a homecoming.”

A new book called Termini was launched in tandem with the exhibition, featuring a selection of images from the display, as well as some specially written text by poet and writer, Paul Farley.

Youtube: Matty Davies

Wood himself lived in New Brighton for 25 years when he was younger, making the journey “over the water” almost every day during the 1970s and 80s.

Barbara Scorah, 50, of Newton-le-Willows, told JMU Journalism: “It’s like looking into a time capsule. My mother and father used to take me and my sisters across the river every summer to visit New Brighton. We used to walk along the dock road from Dingle where we lived and get the ferry. They were wonderful times.”

Kirkdale resident, Mike Boyle, 39, told JMU Journalism: “I was born in 1977, so my recollection of this period isn’t the best, but these pictures have brought some memories back; the clothes, the hair, the way the city looked. I think it’s really good.

One of the display areas for The Pier Head exhibition at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery. Pic © Matty Davies.

“I’m glad it’s free… Scousers shouldn’t have to pay for this. It’s a piece of Liverpool history on display.”

The Mersey ferry itself became known around the world after Gerry and the Pacemakers’ song, ‘Ferry ‘Cross the Mersey’, made the the top 10 of the singles chart in both the UK and the US in 1964.

Whilst the ferry is no longer the singular mode of transport for those making the journey from one side of the river to the other, large numbers of tourists make the short voyage for pleasure, year on year.

The exhibition will run until March 25th. Amongst the other material on display is work from a project called ‘Ferry Folk’, created by the artist Liz Wewiora.

About Matthew Davies, JMU Journalism