Liverpool, a city that’s no stranger to momentous occasions was once again the focus this bank holiday weekend.
Harry’s hometown provided the backdrop for the ‘3 queens’ of the Cunard Line as they cruised down the River Mersey together for the first time. The vessels Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria gathered at Liverpool’s Pier Head terminals, Initiating the shipping lines 175th anniversary celebrations marking the first crossing from Liverpool to New York, 1840.
Harry’s first trip to New York was in 1956, working aboard a Cunard White Star line vessel.
The ships usually docked at Pier 92 once they’d reached The Big Apple, and when this one did Harry fell head over heals in love with the city and all it had to offer. He remembers vividly dialing into the radio stations, as they sailed up the Hudson River, which played R&B, gospel and doo-wop – all of which was unheard of in Liverpool at the time. Even better were the bars and clubs.. One of Harry’s favorites was the Metronome, with its huge bar and fantastic swing music until the early hours. Often Harry and friends would head uptown to the dingy R&B bars of Harlem where they would catch a session by one of the Blues legends such as T Bone Walker.
For a young lad from Liverpool, the musical revelations of New York in the 50s were matched by the sartorial discoveries: Brooks Brothers, Tie City, the backstreet tailors of 42nd Street, Fruit of the Loom. Levis and nylons were worth their weight in gold back in Liverpool. American clothes were different from those back home and he would be forever obsessed with the small details of menswear: the softness of a natural shouldered jacket, the roll of a Brooks Brothers collar, the way the third button of his J Press suit rolled into two…people used to stop him on the street in Liverpool over that one…the brake of his trousers on his loafers…ah the loafers! He’d seen penny loafers (called moccasins in Liverpool) on his brothers but standing there in his new pair of Thom McAn’s they looked amazing.
However Harry was no Madison Avenue advertising exec…he worked in hard physical conditions, he’d lived for four years in Africa and spent a year travelling around South America – suits were sharp but Harry was always more comfortable in his cornerstone outfit of white t-shirt, leather jacket and chinos/jeans – a mix of American work-wear picked up from New York dockers and cool casuals that formed his weekend wardrobe when off duty in North Africa – this became the “Harry Stedman” look.There will be a whole host of events and celebrations right through until July 4th/5th so keep an eye out here as we’ll be keeping up to date with what’s going on. For more visit http://www.cultureliverpool.co.uk/one-magnificent-city/