Gifts To A City Calendar

Submitted by root on Fri, 07/04/2014 - 08:48

Front page of the CalendarEnvelope in which the calendar was posted


Left are photographs of the front of the Calendar and the envelope in which the Calendars were posted. It measures approx.13 inches wide by 16.5 inches long.



The Gifts to a City Calendar was created to both record the events that made up Gifts to A City  (Summer Theatre 1971) and  to set them in a wider factual and cultural context.

The Calendar format meant that the Gifts To A City events and the Press response to them could be recorded on a day to day basis starting from August 9th and ending on  August 30th 1971. 

August 9th - The coloured lunches10th August press coverage following the coloured lunches14th August - Pigeons in situ and press coverage of the pigeons and the lunches A

Above the pages for the 9th, 10th and 14th of August

On those days when there were no events or press coverage the calendar records statistical information about Liverpool and the Credits for Gifts To A City.

The statistical information ranges from the expected, such as population and climate,  to the less expected such as the amount of meat which passed through the City's Central Meat Market.   The choice as to what statistical information to use was made in the light of the Gift To A City events. Below is a sample of a statistical Page.

To run the city cost £97,133,483. The gross income from rates was £27,506,866

There were 728 miles of Highway maintained at a cost of £1,704,017 per mile. The city was lit by 45,222 street lights at a cost of £13-34 per light.

Car parking provision within  the city consisted of 1,050 street meters, 2,808 temporary car parks and 188 permanent car parks. There were 149 traffic wardens. Public transport within the city was provided by 1,040 buses. 300 taxi cabs were licensed to operate in the city. 95 people died as a result of traffic accidents.

The city had 2,980 factories. The working population was 285,805 persons : 174,865 men and 110,940 women. 28,670 people  were unemployed.  24,895 men in the city were retired or unaccounted for while 118,750 women were retired or unaccounted for.

'Gifts To A City' was conceived, created and produced by Wendy Harpe, Chris Mead, Howard Steel, Dave Bassi, Dave Ward, and Ed George. Scripts for two events were provided by Adrian Henri and Dave Ward.

115,249 students attended the city's 941 schools at a cost to the city of £39,941,010. 23,480 students over the age of 15 attended schools or institutions of higher education.

The city had 82 hospitals. 7,195 members of the population were permanently ill. There were 569 cases of measles and 34 cases of tuberculosis. 65 ambulances responded to 25,566 emergency calls. 2,125 were false alarms of which 337 were with malicious intent.

The City Health Department ran a major campaign to decrease the feral pigeon population. A total of 29,586 visits were made which resulted in 67,479 pigeons being 'humanely  destroyed'. The Health Department was also responsible for condemning 1,129 tons of meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables as diseased or unfit for human consumption. Inspectors for the Health Department found 2,930 sites to be infested with rats or mice.

The city was policed by 2,665 men, 186 women and 41 dogs. 5,297 crimes were reported; 10,019 persons were arrested. 2,098 juveniles appeared in court and were cautioned. There were 2 murders, 4 attempted murders, 1 threat to murder, 3 manslaughters and 1 infanticide. The total value of property stolen was £1,781,333 of which £202,960 was recovered. £25,000 was spent specifically to combat vandalism.

To do 'Gifts To A City' it was necessary to get permission from Liverpool city Police, The Recreation and Open Spaces Committee, The Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive, The City Planning Department, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the owners of the St John's Precinct.

The Fire Service responded to 12,642 emergency calls at a cost of £155 per call.

Gifts to A City was also set culturally by using quotations, printed at the bottom of each page, from a range of artists from John Cage to Dieter Hacker. 

The books we used to source the quotations included:-

Oldenburg : Store Days

Journey To the Surface of the Earth : Mark Boyle

Henri : Environment and Happenings

The Great Experiment  Manifesto of the Constructivist Movement

Tulane drama review (69) : edition On Happenings

Malevich's Notes On Theatre : Silences

Week Of Mondays by John Cage

Environment and Happenings by Allen Kaprow

The  inside back cover read:-

It was a lot like throwing

a stone into a pond  and

                 watching the ripples spread


The Calendar was designed by Wendy Harpe, Peggy Pettitt and Jeffrey Seeds.  The photographic processing was done by Paul Brown.  It was printed by Rockliff Bros. and published by the Blackie.

We only printed 500 copies of the Calendar (and have very few left) however if anyone out there feels that this type of work is important to them do contact us and we will see what we can do.