Sociologists in the University of Liverpool are attempting to contact members of the 276 families who were interviewed in the Low Hill and Abercromby wards of Liverpool in 1978 and 1979. Professor Moore and Marya McCann hope to examine the progress of these families over the past 25 years and to discover either how they see the changes in inner Liverpool, or how they have fared as a result of moving away, perhaps from Liverpool altogether.
The results will be a snapshot of change in Liverpool, as seen through the eyes of the members of particular families over a period of one quarter century.
|Ms.Marya McCann||(0151) 794 3022||Fax 794 2997|
|Professor Robert Moore||(0151) 794 2985/3009||Fax 01352 714456|
The importance of such studies in capturing priceless anecdotes of local history is evident after, reading through some of the past studies. Despite time moving on it seems that many family traits are universal and never change:
- when a husband and son were asked how they voted and what they earned, they answered that they didn't know. The wife interrupted that she would answer for them as she took care of those type of things.
- one head of household, recently released from prison, commented that there was no possibility of 'going straight' as he had the welfare of his family to consider. However, this could only be safeguarded by another stretch in prison, where he had many business matters to attend to......
The late 1970's studies followed two previous projects in Abercromby and Low Hill wards in 1955 and 1962. Many households then had more than one wage-earner, but in spite of high family incomes remained committed council tenants. Many people living in these inner wards nonetheless wanted to move away, to improve their circumstances - for example only half of households had piped hot water in 1962. Others hoped for a brighter future for themselves and their children in the new industrial areas then developing around Liverpool.
The population of the areas studied had more than halved by the time of the 1978/79 study and many, of the remaining people were still dissatisfied with the area:
"District gone down, not so friendly"were just two of the comments made by women living in the area.
"Too many prostitutes hanging around"
Although many features of the area remain, there have been changes: widespread housing demolition and some rebuilding, the decline of private landlords and the rise of the housing associations, and the renovation of Georgian housing in the Canning areas.
The timing of the studies was also significant as they came shortly before the Toxteth riots which caused widespread changes to the area leaving their mark to the present day.
Of the original respondents some will still he living at their old addresses, but many will have moved, perhaps right away from Liverpool. How do those who remain see the changes in inner Liverpool? Has life changed for the better or worse since their earlier interviews? Did those who moved find the good life, with better career prospects, good schools and more adequate facilities? If they did, where are they now? What difference did moving make? The occupiers of the remaining houses of people interviewed will be contacted shortly to see if anyone remembers a survey. Others will be found through the press, radio and TV. The researchers even hope to contact some who may have emigrated, either through relatives or through the Liverpool newspapers read by 'exiles' overseas.
Where contact is made, the researchers will ask permission to re-open the original research files and will then explore with people who contact them the changes that they have experienced since the late 1970s.
University researchers have been conducting social surveys on Merseyside since the 1930s, making Liverpool one of the most, studied cities and famous for its social surveys. Copyright Sociological Research Online, 1996