We’re Keeping You
Liverpool acts as a powerful magnet, drawing diverse characters from all over the world. They come here to work, to study, to live a better life, or for love and family. But they stay for all kind of reasons and we never tire of hearing them.
These adopted Scousers often become our strongest allies, championing the city and offering an alternative viewpoint about what makes Liverpool great. In our five years, we’ve come across many people who fit the bill; people who contribute to our city’s profile, culture, passion and community and will forever be linked with Liverpool, no matter where they were born.
To recognize these people, we’ve rounded-up our honorary Liverpudlians. Being Scouse isn’t about your birthplace, it’s a mind-set. When we asked on social media for people’s stories we were inundated with responses. Here are some of the best ones.
Lucy Byrne, Dot Art Liverpool
My first visit to Liverpool was a University Open Day with my mum. When we’d had a tour of the campus a lovely lady suggested we head to the Everyman Bistro for lunch and then down to the Walker for the afternoon. I was hooked. For a teenager growing up in a sleepy Warwickshire town, here was a place filled with art, culture and independence, a city which had everything I could ever want, but that I could still walk across in half an hour. I knew immediately it was where I wanted to be.
However, I never intended to stay. I had been lured by the promise of lectures in the Tate and the buzz of city life, but I (and my friends and family) always assumed I would return to the Midlands once my degree was over. In fact, the reality of Liverpool as a student did not always live up to my expectations and I was spending more and more time away from the city. But, to my surprise it was getting under my skin. I have a very distinct memory of being at a party in Southampton and hearing a soft scouse accent across the room. It sounded like home.
When I finished my degree l had no grand plan, but I did know I wanted to work in the arts. Liverpool, well it had just been awarded European Capital of Culture. It had a Tate and a Biennial and a Walker; it had all the things that made me come here in the first place. So I stayed. Filled with naivety and determination, I decided to create myself a job in the arts, in this city.
I have been here 17 years now, and Liverpool is my home. I did create that job (and eventually a few others) but I can’t say it was easy and it took a long time. Friends and family thought I was slightly mad for a while. Now they visit and see the city that I do; one that is vibrant, exciting and friendly, that is full of culture and life. They see the quality of life we have, with world class visual art, theatre and music on our doorsteps, affordable places to live and work and a great work / life balance.
Mike Stubbs, Director of FACT
Liverpool: aware of its proximity to water and the world. People of candour and warmth. Deeply cultured in the vernacular and an amazing city for the finest arts. Green spaces abound and the air is clean. Came from Melbourne so called most liveable city, for FACT and can think of few places more lively than Liverpool, my home.
Damon Fairclough, freelance writer and critic for Northern Soul
I moved to Liverpool in early 1995 because I got a job as a creative writer at Psygnosis – a subsidiary of Sony that was developing games for the yet-to-be-launched PlayStation.
I’d been working in the box office at the Sheffield Crucible for a couple of years and doing a creative writing MA at Sheffield Hallam, but felt ready for a move and was cockahoop to get that job. Had I not left Sheffield then, I can easily imagine that I’d still be there. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – it’s where I grew up after all – but I loved Liverpool almost from the off, which is why I’m still here.
What did I like about it? It was the differences between Liverpool and Sheffield that really appealed. Sheffield is landlocked; Liverpool has its wide-open waterfront. Sheffield’s default setting is undemonstrative, ‘not fussed’; Liverpool’s is… well, you know. Sheffield city centre was on its arse in ’95, and while Liverpool had clearly taken a beating in the previous decade, it was still exciting and animated and had those fabulous relics of bygone wealth.
I don’t know that I really imagined being here for over two decades, but by the time I get a job in Manchester in 1999, I was determined to commute rather than move there. So I took the bone-shaker train from Mossley Hill for about 15 years until I went freelance last year. Of course, this was financial madness – over those 15 years I must have spent an average of £240 a month on my train season ticket – but by that point, I was dedicated to being part of Liverpool and didn’t want to get sucked into Manchester.
Sheffield remains my creative muse – or rather, a vanished early 80s version of it – but Liverpool is most definitely home.
Che Burnley, Comedian and DJ
I came here to study as I wanted to be the physiotherapist for my football team Oldham Athletic, my uncle had already studied here so I already knew the city from visits as a kid. When I got up here I had to get a job at JD Sports and all the staff showed me the sights, such as The Penny Farthing The 051 and The Buzz. Needless to say I’m now a DJ and do stand up, I still have a season ticket though.
Dan Findlay-Belfield, South West Trains employee –
Chinese – Singaporean/ Indonesian/ Scottish/ Burmese/ Guyanese hybrid.
I moved to Liverpool in 2012. I’ve wanted to move here for such a long time. It truly is testament to Liverpool’s rich history, cosmopolitan nature and great social life that many people come here to study,and stay after they finish!I moved here because I love the accent and the people. Simple as that. I feel much safer here than in London. I actually took a long time to come here because I moved via the West Midlands and stayed there a few years. But Liverpool was always on the cards. I even spent a few years in Wigan. When I finally did move here, it felt so nice because I had waited so long. I can definitely see myself buying a house here rather than down South. Want to settle here for good.
Marianne Heaslip, Architect
I came to Liverpool in 1998 to study architecture at uni. I left in 2001 for a job in London but came back in 2002. I went to Sheffield 2003-2005 for postgrad then came back again. It helps that my sister followed me to Liverpool too (she’s a UX bod at Shop Direct), and my partner is here (he’s a teacher). I work for an practice in Manchester, but I would never live there. I love Liverpool for its topography ( the views you get) and being near the sea. For its grand architecture and modest liveable terraced streets – plus the parks and the prom. And because it’s big enough that there’s loads of interesting stuff going on and you can find people to make common cause with. But small enough that people give a crap and it isn’t dehumanising/overwhelming. And cheap enough that you can afford to do interesting stuff, not just serve a mortgage (was part of the motivation for getting out of London – could see that staying there would be staying on a treadmill, and wanted to have more options).
Simon Jones, Ariadne Associates
I moved to Liverpool for a job initially. I worked for Royal Mail as a graduate trainee in Manchester – there was an internal vacancy for an HR Manager in Liverpool in the middle of 1987. I applied and got it. (I later found I was one of only 2 applicants for a nationally advertised position – no-one wanted to come to Liverpool at the time because of its “reputation”)
What I like about the City
1.The people – even in the dark days of the late 80s there was still a friendly atmosphere. Although it’s a real cliché to say the sense of humour, I do like the fact that people here can find something funny in almost any situation and don’t take themselves too seriously
2.The look of the city – architecture, buildings, the waterfront etc. People born and brought up here often don’t appreciate what a beautiful place this is – not just the City Centre but the inner city and suburbs too.
3.It’s just “big enough” to have a vibrant nightlife, arts scene, and plenty going on, without being too big, impersonal and crowded (like say London)
Why I stay
The regeneration period from the mid 90s to 2009/10 was a really exciting time to be here. Watching and being part of a City reinvent itself was fascinating, and there was a real sense of purpose and pride in making Liverpool “great” again. It was the natural place to start my own business and now I have a family here.