The Ohajurus pictured in 1961

This family portrait dates from 1961, it was taken at a professional photographic studio in Bold Street when Bold Street was the Bond Street of Liverpool with all the poshest, classiest shops in Town, today that studio is a second hand clothes shop.

The picture is of me Mum and Dad with our Martha and our Peter sitting on me Dad’s knee.

That’s me on the right aged 9, today I’m 62.

We lived in Kimberly Street which, back then was one of a series of tree lined streets, terraced housing with owner-occupiers and multi-lets flats which linked Selbourne Street to Upper Parliament Street. 

The whole family lived in two rooms on the top floor of number 31, with a gas cooker as our kitchen on the landing between the rooms. I recall Kimberly Street as a happy place, playing outside with the other kids in the street.

Mum – everyone on Granby knows her as Eva - was a local girl, her father was from Barbados while her mother came from Liverpool’s Irish community. Mum worked at Brough's making oil barrels at the bottom of Upper Parliament Street. Mum was a talented seamstress she made all our clothes, everything we kids are wearing in that picture - apart from the socks and shoes - Mum made, as well as making her own dress. At one time Mum had a small business at home, making new clothes out of old clothes – trousers and jackets resized for other members of a family, overcoats made into suits. Mum went on to work at Scott’s the grocers on Granby Street and latterly as a caretaker at the Rialto Community Center and the Adult Education Centre in Canning Street

Dad was a seaman. He had run away to sea from his home in Eastern Nigeria when his family wanted him to marry a local girl. Starting out as a galley boy on the merchant ships  that traded between Britain and West Africa. He worked his way up through tenacity and study via Head Cook to become a Chief Steward. During his time at sea he worked on Elder Dempster, Black Star, Palm Line and Nigerian Line shipping lines. Dad stopped going to sea at the time of the Biafran war (1967 to 1970). He worked at Mother’s Pride factory in Long Lane, Aintree, before becoming the manager at the Nigerian social clubs in Liverpool 8 - The Nigerian Social Club then at -‘The Federal‘ – the Nigerian Federal Club and finally manager of the Ibo Club, in the Deaf Centre in Park Place just off Princes Avenue.

My sister, Martha went to Windsor Street Primary School, while my brother Peter and I went to St Bernard’s Primary School on Kingsley Road, which closed in 1998.

We moved from the two rooms in Kimberly Street to a three bedroomed house the other end of Granby Street – 55 Beaconsfield Street - in 1959.

Today there are over 25 in the Ohajuru family including Mum’s seven grandchildren and nine great grandchildren, most still live within Liverpool 8 and its surrounding districts.

Michael I. Ohajuru
April 2015

by Ayanna Crawford
RT @coldlightstudio: We are very proud to have designed two exhibitions now in the @MuseumLiverpool one which you can see now! @L8Unseen ht…