Mallory & Irvine, 1924 (click image for larger view)

Doug Scott (click image for larger view)


The story of Birkenhead's lost Everest mountaineers George Mallory and Andrew 'Sandy' Irvine is told in a new musical production.

Mallory who lived in Slatey Road, and Irvine, who lived in Park Road South, left for their fateful expedition from Woodside in 1924, never to return. Mystery still surrounds their disappearance, and fierce debate still rages as to whether they made the summit of Everest or not.

The musical biography entitled Ice Picks and Violets aims to shed some light on what might have happened in the climbers’ last moments. It is written by Wirral songwriter Dean Johnson, whose Wilfred Owen musical Bullets and Daffodils has now transferred to London.

It is to be narrated by iconic mountaineer Doug Scott, who as part of Chris Bonington's 1975 expedition was the first British climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest. The mountain was conquered using the same route chosen by Mallory and Irvine.

Writer Dean Johnson says of the production, “I am so proud and excited to bring two more Wirral legends to the stage. That Doug Scott has agreed to narrate the show is such an honour."

Ice Picks and Violets will preview on a national tour in September, ahead of its world premiere in November in aid of the Community Action Nepal  set up by Doug Scott. The charity aids education for the children of Nepal, and also secures better working conditions for Sherpas on Everest.

To commemorate the 112th anniversary of Sandy Irvine’s birth, there will be a rehearsed reading of the musical at Spectacle upstairs at Gallaghers’ Pub, Woodside, Birkenhead, on Wednesday 8th April.

Concluding, Dean says, “Mallory and Irvine left from Woodside and would have stopped for a drink to toast their adventure. A lot of the pubs from the 1920s have gone, but I'm sure they would have popped into Gallaghers, even maybe for a haircut as well!”

Wednesday 8th April - 7:30 PM
20 Chester Street
CH41 5DQ
Admission Free
Phone 07539 371925 or email

Welcome to Ice Picks and Violets.

This musical biography of George Mallory and Andrew Sandy Irvine, features narrative, poetry and songs. It has been in production since 2010.

Composed and produced by Dean Johnson, it is the Birkenhead songwriter’s second foray into theatre. His debut, entitled Bullets And Daffodils, was based on the life and work of Wilfred Owen. As with Owen, Mallory and Irvine are Birkenhead icons, and hold a strong local connection to Dean himself.