In Hardship and Hope
‘Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things’
When I came to Liverpool in the early 1970s I was aware of the city’s unique character and world-wide reputation. In time I came to realise that this character was rooted in a dramatic and turbulent past. I was gradually drawn to explore the history of the city, and especially that of the Irish, one of the many communities in the Liverpool melting pot. I became fascinated by the story.
‘In Hardship and Hope’ is the result. I hope it will engage the reader in an account which is direct in style and enjoyable to read. The book is concerned mainly – but not exclusively – with the Catholic Irish. Whilst the core of the book concerns the Irish in nineteenth and early twentieth century Liverpool, it also examines the early years of the Irish community in the eighteenth century and – in the closing section – the process of integration and assimilation which took place in the nineteen fifties and sixties. It is an attempt to do justice to a dramatic story of courage and hardship. I also hope it will illuminate, for the reader, one aspect of the story of our city – Liverpool – through a better understanding of one of its many communities, and the difficulties that community has overcome. I also hope it casts light upon the migrant experience, so common in today’s world. The Irish in Liverpool endured hostility and remained isolated for generations. This book examines the factors behind this relative isolation and why it persisted for so long.