Inevitably, talk of national treasures is a bit silly – and talk of ‘Liverpool national treasures’ doubly so. Nevertheless stuff like this is a bit irresistible isn’t it? We love to make lists – and we like to ensure that the people important to us, the people we think deserve a bit of recognition get their moment in the sun.

What makes a national treasure? Well, they tend to have been around a bit – you can’t have a brand new national treasure can you? Beyond that it’s anything goes. Beloved, unloved, mainstream, obscure – everyone sees things differently.

For us, the great Tom Baker – late of this parish – is a true national treasure, and he’s a scouser to boot, born somewhere near Scottie Road back in the 30s before heading off to a monastery, the theatre and then the TARDIS.

Tom’s not an obvious Liverpudlian, due to him sporting one of those old BBC/National Theatre RP accents, but his autobiography is full of affection for the city and memories of great street-corner pubs like the Legs of Man.

Many Streetfans saw an opportunity to pick some unlikely characters, but each to their own. What we were looking for were people who were genuine ‘national treasures’ who happen to come from Liverpool, but we got a kind of greatest hits of Liverpool, shorn of the some of the more obvious ones (Beatles et al) as we asked people to avoid them.

Captain Noel Chavasse though – who saw that one coming? Or Will Hay? And who could possibly object to Bessie Braddock? You kind of forget that people like Leonard Rossiter, Kenny Everett and Rex Harrison hail form the region. We’ll, er, gloss over Purple Aki, Derek Acorah and Pete Price eh?

Where are Paul McGann (and the others), Alexei Sayle, the Head Brothers, Jimmies Corkhill and McGovern or a dozen others? And who else is missing?

What do we learn from this? Very little really, although it does show that everyone has their fans, and everyone sees the good in someone and the word ‘hero’ means something different to everyone.

Liverpool’s ‘national treasures’


Ian Prowse

Adrian Henri

John Peel

Ken Dodd

Bill Dawson

Kenny Everett

Willy Russell

Beryl Bainbridge

Derek Hatton

Leonard Rossiter

Thomas Steers

William Gladstone

William Huskisson

Captain Noel Chavasse

David Morrissey

Rex Harrison

Elvis Costello

Willy Russell

Kim Cattrall

Lily Savage

Derek Acorah

Cilla Black

Tony Beep Beep

Roger McGough

Pete Price

Purple Aki

Bold Street Violin/Accordion guy

Margi Clarke

Bessie Braddock


Googie the Liverpool Duck

Rod the Plod

12 Responses to “Streetsourcing: Liverpool ‘National’ Treasures”

  1. The real treasures of Liverpool are those people who never get their names in the paper, the woman who adopted half a dozen of the local kids to get them off the streets, the couple who started an arts project to show kids there was something they could do well, the cleaning lady at our offices who kept us amused all the time she was there with tales of her life and her neighbours.

  2. My grandad proffesor Richard Codman was the Punch and Judy man best known for his pitch in Lime Street. He entertained millions of people and all for free. Born and bred in Liverpool, he’s certainly a national treasure.

  3. History Geek

    Joseph Williamson – ‘The King of Edge Hill’ – who gave work to hundreds of soldiers returning from the Napoleonic Wars digging tunnels and amazing underground caverns that had no purppse whatsoever…other than to create work for the men. Amazing guy.

  4. Anyone in doubt of the genius of Tom Baker should check out the outakes from a coporate video voiceover on the Orbital track Doctor Who Symphony(vs Tom Baker). google it now.

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