Hamilton Square Christmas Lights switch on

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On Friday night I went down to Hamilton Square in Birkenhead to watch the Christmas lights being switched on along with a lot of other people keen to soak up the festive atmosphere.

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This was the first time for ten years that the Square has had Christmas lights.  This year’s event was organised by Birkenhead First and Wirral’s Chamber of Commerce.

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Birkenhead First is a Business Improvement District (BID) which enables businesses within a designated area to fund initiatives and improvements over and above those provided by the local council.

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The Business Improvement District is a partnership between local businesses and Wirral Council, led by a private sector steering group.  Birkenhead First aims to encourage more visitors to and greater investment in Birkenhead town centre. As part of its approach to brightening up Birkenhead they sponsored and funded the Christmas lights this year.

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There were a range of local stores selling everything from chocolate to locally made gin as well as a range of entertainment.  This included a number of attractions for children including Santa and his sleigh, characters from the film Frozen, Fusion Dance Academy and drumming displays from Wirral Samba.

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The team from Wirral Radio entertained the crowds and there was music and Christmas carols from local schools.  Liverpool FC and England footballing legend John Barnes switched on the Hamilton Square Christmas lights at 6pm.

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The couple walking on stilts around the crowd were popular as were the street merchants selling lights and lanterns.  As well as the lights and a Christmas tree outside the town hall there were lights in the trees and on the Square’s ornate street light columns.

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The area around the town hall was certainly jam packed so much so that I couldn’t get anywhere near the stage, but I did manage to get a few shots of the lights and activities around the Square.

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Liverpool Christmas Lights and Continental Market

From late November and during December the streets of Liverpool have been illuminated by Christmas lights in the main shopping streets. During the heavy rain and dodging in between the Christmas shoppers weighed down with their shopping bags I ventured out to see if I could capture some of the atmosphere.

Church Street

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Whitechapel

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Liverpool One Shopping Centre

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Church Alley towards the Bluecoat Building

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At the same time a continental market has been transplanted onto Church Street and Whitechapel with various traders from across Europe and North Africa and beyond selling all sorts of wares from carpets, lanterns, Christmas decorations and other gifts as well as a whole host of different steaming dishes.cooking in large pans.

Continental Street Market

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Even the Liverpool Playhouse in Williamson Square was decked out with lights.

Liverpool Playhouse

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As we reach the end of December the lights will see the New Year in and they’ll be taken down until next November 2013.