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Liverpool carters remembered

26 April 2018 by Laura

Horse sculpture

Waiting: The monument to the Liverpool working horse by Judy Boyt FRSA

This weekend visitors and staff will be coming together to once again make the paper flower garlands for Waiting, the monument to the Liverpool cart horse.

At rush hour on the Strand, when cars are bumper to bumper, it is hard to imagine the carters and their horses treading the same road. However, with no direct railway connection to most of the seven mile dock estate, it fell to the carters and their horses to move goods out of the docks to warehouses or to railway stations. At their peak more than 20,000 horses worked on the streets of Liverpool, more than in any other city outside London.

Man and horse

Dick Benson, a Liverpool carter with his horse.

For more than 250 years horses had a regular presence on our streets. Liverpool carters and their horses even kept supply lines open during two World Wars. Their contribution to the city’s economy was immense.

Sadly nothing could stop the trend towards petrol power, and by the 1960s horses had largely disappeared from the streets of Liverpool, but displays in our Great Port gallery keeps alive the memory of their important work.

We also like to maintain the colourful May Day tradition, when carters would decorate their horses and parade through the city

On Saturday 28th April from 1.30-3.30 we’ll be sharing memories of the Liverpool carters, with craft activities for families. We’ll end the afternoon by decorating the cart horse statue with the beautiful garlands we’ve made, and honour the memory of this proud profession and these loyal horses.

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