Each of the English cities I chose to visit on my way up to Scotland had a familial connection. With my genealogy research I have been seeking out locations where my ancestors have lived. I was able to track down and visit a whole bunch of spots. It has been quite the experience to see where my family has come from, and stand in their footsteps. Here is an overview of what I’ve been able to trace so far in England.
1851 - Patrick and Bridget Walsh - Islington, Liverpool
Patrick and Bridget were my 3rd great grandparents, both of whom were born in Ireland and moved to England sometime in the 1840s. The street they lived on in Liverpool is now a park.
1861 - The Markeys - 18 St albans Road, Liscard
In 1861 my 3rd great grandparents Hugh and Jane Markey, and their daughter (my 2nd great grandma) Anna Markey lived at 18 St. Alban's Road in Liscard, England right across the river from Liverpool. I'm pretty certain the buildings that are currently there are more recent, but the address still exists. I also believe that the church at the end of the road was likely their parish.
1861 - The Walshes - High St, Crewe, England
By 1861 Patrick and Bridget Walsh had moved to Crewe, England and had John Walsh, my 2nd great grandfather. Both Patrick and Bridget would live the rest of their lives here, and I was able to find their headstone in the local cemetery.
1849 - Richard Peach - 3 Violet St, Hulme, Manchester
At the time of his marriage in 1849, Richard Peach my 3rd great grandfather, was living in the Hulme neighborhood of Manchester. The location of his old street is now a highway and part of the Manchester Metropolitan University.
April 9, 1849 - Richard Peach and Alice DeRome
My 3rd great grandparents Richard and Alice were married at the Manchester Cathedral, also known as the Church of St Mary, St Denys and St George.
Oct 16, 1826 - Alice Derome - Kendal, England
Alice DeRome, my 3rd great grandmother, was born in Kendal on October, 16, 1826, and baptized in the Catholic chapel in town on October 20.
June 22, 1817 - Thomas & Mary Derome - Kendal, England
My 4th great grandparents were married in the Catholic chapel in Kendal, England. The Catholic Church that stands in that same location today was opened in 1837.
Sept 22, 1768 - Thomas Derome Sr - Stramongate, Kendal
When my 6th great grandparents Mathai and Elenor DeRome had my 5th great grandfather, Thomas DeRome Sr in 1768 they were living in the Catholic community on Stramongate.
After visiting Bristol I spent a long weekend in Cardiff, Wales at the city’s first animation film festival. My close friend Alexis and her husband Scott had their first collaborative stop motion short accepted to the festival. I was in the country, so I just had to go! I got a pass to the festival and spent 3 solid days watching animation. I met some amazing people and got inspired by some amazing art. I didn’t take a single photo and it was great.
I traveled back to England after my weekend in Wales. My end goal was Edinburgh, Scotland, to meet up with two friends for my birthday, but on the way I was stopping in a few cities to explore more of England.
First stop was Liverpool and my Beatles pilgrimage. My hostel was down the street from the Cavern Club. This is where the Beatles played 292 gigs from 1961 up until August 1963 when they were pulling bigger crowds than the club could manage. I didn’t go into the Cavern Club, which is now just a reconstruction of the original, but I liked walking up and down the street knowing this is where the band had so often walked. I took a bus to the neighborhood where John Lennon grew up, and to my delight and surprise went down Penny Lane on the way. We also passed “the shelter in the middle of the roundabout.” I hadn’t realized we were going to pass it, so I didn’t snap a photo, but I recognized it immediately. So I had Penny Lane playing in my head as I got off the bus and walked up to Strawberry Field gate. The orphanage the gate used to lead to is no longer there, but the distinctive red gate has been left for it’s role in music history. It made me so happy to stand there and take it in. Next was John Lennon’s childhood home where he lived with his Aunt Mimi. No one lives there now and you can take tours of it, though I did not. It stands pretty unassuming in the middle of a suburban neighborhood on a mildly busy road. Lastly I walked to the church of St Peter, the grounds of which is where John and Paul first met and where the grave of Elinor Rigby stands. So concluded my little Beatles pilgrimage. I left with a huge smile on my face and lots of music in my heart.
One of the nights I was in Liverpool there was a Champions League semi-final match on home turf against Roma. My brother-in-law Matt has supported Liverpool since he was a kid, and I always enjoy watching sporting events where people are really invested in them. So naturally I scoped out a pub and went to watch the home Liverpool match. I was befriended by a group of middle-aged Irishmen, and English supporters, who were all mildly befuddled and impressed that an American girl would come to watch the game by herself and drink a Guinness. They explained some of the playoff rules and were really good fun. As it turns out that was definitely the game to watch, as Liverpool won 5-2, and there was much excitement and celebration.
I made a quick stop in Crewe, England for an afternoon before moving on to Manchester, where I was just there for a day. I spent the evening finishing up editing some images for a company back in the states, and the next day just walking around the city. I would have happily spent more time there, but I was really looking forward to what came next.
Last stop was Kendal, the gateway to the Lake District. It’s a lovely little English market town with castle ruins on a hill overlooking it. I got a ride to my hostel from a kind woman I had been talking to on the train. She said she had daughters around my age and she hoped that someone would do the same for them. The hostel was right on the main road, Highgate, and I could easily walk the entire town from there. I ate at an old pub, complete with locals and a dog, where I had a really delicious curry, and finished every last drop. I spent my time in Kendal wandering the streets and taking pictures. I visited the castle ruins, and the beautiful old cathedral. It was a nice little break from city bustle, and got me ready to meet up with my friends next in Edinburgh.
I was visiting Bristol during the middle of April, soon after the US lead coalition strikes on suspected chemical weapons plants in Syria. A protest was organized for one of the days I was there. Word got to Patri via friends and we also saw the details spray painted in a tunnel filled with street art. It had been months since I’d intentionally gone to a protest, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I spent last year photographing the resistance in DC and I loved documenting individuals in protests and the energy of people standing up for something they are passionate about. It was a little weird attending one in a different country and in a city I didn’t know, but it felt very much the same. Here are my images from that day.
During my freshman year of high school my family hosted a foreign exchange student from Spain. Her name was Patri. We were only a year apart, but at the time we were very different. I was a geeky bookworm, and Patri was bit of a wild child. It may not have always been easy living together, but after she left Patri and my family have never lost touch. Ten years ago when I studied abroad I went to visit Patri and her family in Valencia, Spain. Since then she has lived in New Zealand, and a couple years ago moved to Bristol, England. I knew I had to try to see her again on this trip, and she welcomed me to stay with her for a week.
As adults we have a lot more in common now and we had the best time reconnecting and hanging out on my visit. We are both yoga-lovers. Patri did her teacher training in India a few years ago and currently teaches at a few studios around Bristol. We have both become more in to politics and we enjoyed debating current topics. While on my trip I have loved getting to talk to people and hear international views on different topics. Patri and I bonded over food as well, with each of us being interested in more sustainable and responsible food production and consumer choices. We both also enjoy street art, and Bristol was a perfect place to be to appreciate some great pieces.
One day Patri lead me on a walking tour of Bristol and it’s different neighborhoods, with a specific eye out for street art and good food. It was great getting to see a different English city. I have visited London on several different occasions but up until then had never been to other points in England. Bristol is vastly smaller city which is very walkable. With two universities in town there is a large student and young professional population. It has an alternative vibe, with a lot of arts and activism. The animation studio Aardman, where Wallace and Gromit is made is in the city, which was neat to know as I have friends who work in stop motion.
The street art scene is huge, and Bristol plays host to several Banksy’s. The city has a yearly street art festival, with artists from all over the world converging on Bristol for a week of creativity. Together Patri and I had a great time seeking out some wonderful works of art. I also got the chance to take 2 yoga classes from Patri while I was there. It was the first time I'd taken a class since starting my trip and it was ever so nice. We also took some photos of Patri for her yoga website, and had a lot of fun doing it. I’m very happy to have visited Bristol, see the city, and most importantly, get to reconnect with Patri.
kaitlin k walsh
Adventurer armed with a camera.