Crosby beach is not your typical seaside experience, instead of sand and shells, this strip of beach is covered in bricks, tiles and the rubble of people’s lives.
Liverpool was hit badly in the Blitz, with many parts of the city centre and surrounding housing areas levelled by hundreds of bombs. After the war, a decision was made to gather up the rubble and transport it to Crosby beach, an area which was suffering from coastal erosion. The rubble was covered in grass keeping it out of sight. This allowed the city to start the process of rebuilding whilst preventing further coastal erosion from occurring at Crosby. However, this solution was not perfect and over time the sea has revealed the rubble to us decades later.
As you walk along the beach you are instantly transported back to the 1940s as you step over bathroom tiles, window glass and broken plates. The beach also houses many larger pieces of rubble, these appear to be fragments of grand buildings from Liverpool’s city centre. There are many examples of ornately carved stonework which you can visualise decorating the most important buildings in Liverpool.
I have been working to record the rubble at Crosby as it is constantly being eroded by the ocean and will eventually be lost. I am attempting to digitally preserve the large pieces of decorated stonework using a process called photogrammetry. This is where I take photos of the stonework from all angles and run the pictures through a computer program which stitches them together into a 3D model. These models are incredibly accurate and can be used to study the carved stone when I am away from the beach. I have uploaded these models to sketchfab, a site where 3d models can be shared publicly. This allows people to be able to experience the beach virtually and ensures that the carvings are preserved
I am hoping to discover exactly which buildings these pieces of stonework are from and from there trace their story from construction through to their destruction in the Blitz and transportation to Crosby beach. One of the buildings I have been tracing so far is Brunswick Methodist chapel, I spotted a gravestone at the beach and by looking up the names on the gravestone on census records I located the place they were buried; Brunswick chapel. The chapel was hit in the blitz and was very badly damaged, after the war the bare bones of the building was used as a warehouse until the 60s when it was torn down for good. It is within this timeframe that the gravestone was moved to the beach where it can be found today.
I am hoping to continue revealing the stories behind the rubble at Crosby beach and find out exactly what buildings lie in pieces along the coast.
Watch Emma on Inside Out North West – clip starts at 18.42