Psychogeography is basically finding ways to wander round a city or anywhere else that takes you away from your normal patterns or the patterns that we are directed to. In this case I just suggested they spent fifteen minutes walking around the library without looking at books or any library information. This is what John on the course sent me the following day. Paul Tarpey, WEA Tutor


Hi Paul,

Walking towards the door to the Picton Room at Liverpool Central Library, the first thing that struck me was the name, Picton. Apparently the reading room was named after the chairman of the William Brown Museum and Library, which was paid for and the road named after William Brown, a trader in Liverpool. The Picton opened in 1879 and the Hornby reading rooms were added in 1906...
The grandeur of the reading room is breathtaking with the sun beaming down through the domed roof, shadowing the ornate plaster with gold frieze circling the domed edge.

The quiet and reverence of this reading room is stunning. The plasterwork that has been repaired is terrific. The sheer amount of iron work is unbelievable all painted in black and gold, it's mounted as hand rails right around the upper book floor and as a staircase up to it.

The Picton room is reported to be the first Library to have electric lighting which must have been cutting edge as most people probably didn't have electricity at home. It must be quite something to see it lit and what a feeling must it give to the first person to go in in the morning when it's dark and see the lighting bring the room alive. Then there's a huge round clock that if it could speak could tell such stories of the library. Then the busts and sculptures that are all so very different in their own ways. And all that's before I could even dream of doing justice to the books of the world with their spellbinding covers and stories of life and death and world events from war to exploration of the world and its wonders.

When I walked in, it's hard to explain the feeling but for me it was a little overpowering, no, I'm sorry, it was overwhelming. Trying to see everything at once and just feeling privileged to just stand in such a beautiful place. It sinks in as you slow down and if I can say after some of the places I've worked in through my life I started to think if only I had seen this as a young man maybe my life may have been so different. I made a mistake when I was young and moved to a job for more money, the job I left was a Gardner in Victoria Park. It was a wonderful place and I loved it. Oh how I would love to work in this room and earn a living in such an emotive atmosphere. It brought a lump to my throat the first time and then again on Friday. This is a place that I will come back to hopefully many more times.

Thanks for giving me a reason to be there.

John Connolly, WEA student, on Mapping Merseyside in Words course (C3839675) at Liverpool Central Library

Photographs courtesy of Janet McCusker