A great day for the people of Vine Street

16 May 1969

The Liverpool Echo tonight has extensive coverage of the Senate House demonstration:

Princess Alexandra yesterday opened Liverpool University’s new Senate House and Oliver Lodge physics laboratory-and then fulfilled a promise. During her tour of the university she visited the people living in the crumbling homes and half-demolished houses of Vine Street.

When the Princess arrived at the university she was met by a 1,000-strong crowd that cheered and jeered.

4 year old Carole Scousar with her bouquet - mistakenly presented to the Princess's lady-in-waiting, Lady Mary Fitzalan-Howard

There were hundreds of students, a majority of them with banners protesting at the university owning slum property. The protest w as an attempt by the Abercromby Tenants Association to get the families in Vine Street rehoused by the university as quickly possible.

Students picket Senate House

But the jeering turned to cheers and applause when nearly two hours later the Princess visited Vine Street. The Princess chatted on the pavement to Mrs Ethel Singleton,  secretary of the tenants association, and the woman who issued the invitation to her.

Mrs Singleton, who lives in nearby Melville Place, said: ” I bathe my children in a tin bath in front of the fire.”

“How do you get hot water?”

” We boil it in a kettle.”

” Have you only got an outside toilet? ”

” Yes.”

Princess Alexandra said: ” This must  be dreadful in winter. I think it’s terrible in this day and age that something can’t be done to improve your living conditions.”

The Princess then asked: ” How many people live in a house ”

“In some houses two and three families live. I know 17 people live in one house in Chatham Street”.

Students wait in Vine Street while the Princess tours the university
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Author: Gerry

Retired college teacher living in Liverpool, UK.

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