Kay & I have been on tour for the last couple of days, we've enjoyed catching up with parents in our home town of Widnes. Its 20 years since we left the shores of the Mersey and so much has changed!
I guess the town's most iconic image is that of the Widnes-Runcorn bridge, opened in 1961 to replace the earlier "Transporter Bridge", there is a great deal of similarity between Widnes' bridge and the one in Sydney harbour.
|The Bridge from West Bank|
Looking upstream in the direction where ICI's Pilkington-Sullivan works used to produce Paraquat and Saffil the Mersey looks like a big river and another of Widnes' iconic sights can be seen - the eight towers of the Fiddlers Ferry power station! (I only got four towers in the photo). I can remember well the windy day when one of the towers imploded and for some time the eight became seven!!
This "post-industrial" landscape now forms part of the Trans Pennine Trail a 215 mile way marked route connecting Southport on the Irish Sea with Hornsea on the North Sea Coast and now provides a stopping point for the geese rather than a source of employment to thousands in the manufacturing sector.
|A Gate Valve From One of the Alkali Plants|
The town centre itself has changed beyond recognition with the arrival of the most of the well known high street giants - the new Tesco store still under construction - appears to be of immense proportions and judging by the car parks they all seem to be doing well. The Peel House Lane & Widnes Road ends of the old main street, however, appear in need of some urgent regeneration.
It was great to be back, we enjoyed seeing the changes and reflecting and reminiscing as to how it used to be - we will try to get "home" more often in the future.