Thanks to wonderful support from the Una Voce Opera Company, Wirral Mandoliers and Saville Audio Visuals the Scouse-Italian Reunion Night at the Via Veneto Ristorante on Friday 1st December was a great success and was enjoyed by all attending. The Scouse-Italian Reunion Night will help with the ongoing aims of recognising the history, heritage and culture of what was known as Liverpool's 'Little Italy'. The Little Italy area of Liverpool generally comprised Circus Street, Gerard Street, Hunter Street, Lionel Street, Whale Street and parts of Christian Street, Clare Street and Springfield Street.
Pictured during their performances at the Via Veneto are the Una Voce Opera Company and the Wirral Mandoliers who received long and loud applause for their wonderful entertainment on the night. Also pictured is Una Voce member Johnny Kennedy who received rapturous applause for his singing of Santa Lucia.
Very grateful thanks are given to Louise Ellman MP, Cllr Flo Clucas and Nunzia Bertali (Italian Consul Merseyside) for attending the event and for all expressing their hopes and wishes that another such event can be repeated in 2007 and 2008.
The 'Reunion Night' featured screenings of Paul Sudbury's film 'Gardens of Stone, which records the history of a famous Liverpool landmark that being Gerard Gardens. Gardens of Stone documents the history of the Little Italy area of Liverpool and focuses upon the Italians / Irish who migrated to the city at the turn of the 20th century. Many were on route to the USA, but settled in the Liverpool and established long-standing communities. The film provides an insight into the communities who may have been cash poor, but who were rich in spirit. It includes personal testimony from Scouse-Italians relaying tales of their family's plight to retain a community outside of their motherland. Paul is photographed with Ray Baccino. Ray's memories of Little Italy and Gerard's Gardens greatly enhanced the film. There was also a screening of a short film (made by Andrew Smith) about the Legendary Liverpool-Italian Boxer, Dom Volante.
Displayed on the night was Ged Fagan's Scale Model of Gerard Gardens. Ged with his wife Anne-Maries together with Sheila Baccino and Margaret and Tommy Donnelly. Margaret is holding a (signed) copy of Ged's latest Book (3) in his series of books on 'IN A CITY LIVING'.
Dear Scottie Press, I am the webmaster for the new American Italian Heritage Museum and Cultural Center. Prof. Philip Dinovo informed me of your web site. I found your website to be fantastic and I must admitt that when i think of Liverpool England being a Beatle fan going back to the mid 60's, Italians and Liverpool would have been the last connection I would have made. Your site is full of some great information and pleasent to view.
Our new website www.americanitalianmuseum.org is a work in progress. As we prepare to open our doors to our new museum it is my hope to have the web site grow as we begin to unpack our many treasures that display our American Italian Heritage in America. I have added your website link to our site and I will encourage our visitors to click onto your site. Please add a link to our meseum site from your website.
Dominic A. Paratore
Dear Scottie Press, I have traced my family back to Little Italy. They lived at several different addresses in the area from the 1840s onwards, but I can find no reference to any of my ancestors on your site or in Terry Cook's book 'Little Italy'. I would love to hear from anyone who has any information on them. Here is a very brief family history -My great, great grandmother Sarah Ann Wilkinson, originally from Ashton-under- Lyne, married Louis / Luigi Gasperina (several variations on spelling) in 1840 at St Johns Church.
Louis was a musician from Palma, Italy and they lived in Thurlow St at the time of their marriage. They had at least three daughters, Mary, Margaret and Cecilia.Louis Died in 1851 and Sarah Ann married Peter Ginochio (again, several variations on spelling) possibly from Genoa, in 1856 at St Joseph's Chapel. Peter's occupation is shown as a moulder on the 1861 census and on his marriage certificate. His occupation is described as a sculptor and a marble mason journeyman on other documents. Family rumour says that he worked on a building in William Brown St. We think it could have been St George's Hall, as the dates appear to fit. By 1871 Sarah was shown as a widow on the census, although we can find no trace of a death record for Peter. Sarah and Peter had three daughters, Elizabeth, Catherine and Jessie. Catherine and Mary (Gasperina) married Italians Angelo Diadarti and Bernard Mutti who were both musicians. Catherine and Angelo were married in St Francis Xavier's by a Jesuit priest called Gerard Manley Hopkins who after his death was recognised as one of the great Victorian poets. Following the death of Bernard Mutti in 1881, Mary married another Italian, Peter Morri in 1885. He is shown on the 1891 census as an organ grinder.
Jessie Ginochio was my great grandmother. She married David Jones in 1885. They had several children including my grandfather John Alfred born c1896 and David born c1892. David went to Heyworth Street School and later worked for Blake's Motors. He joined the army during the First World War and was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery during one of the battles of The Somme, but was tragically killed in action on 7th October 1916 before it was awarded. The VC along with other memorabilia is on display in the Museum of the King's Regiment in Liverpool. I would be interested in any information anybody might have on any of the family, and also if anybody knows how I might find out whether Peter Ginochio did work on St George's Hall? - are there any existing records of its construction? I would also like to ascertain whether he did actually come from Genoa and whether any ship passenger lists might exist from the time to confirm his arrival here. Thanks for contacting me again.
I send an old newspaper cutting of Jessie Ginochio from the Liverpool Echo when she was featured for celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary in 1935. I do have one of David Jones (Jessie Ginochio's son) which I have attached but I am not sure it is appropriate for the Little Italy Webpage as it's more WW1, see what you think. I have also attached marriage certificates for Sarah and Louis Gasperina (which is not of good quality) and for Sarah and Peter Ginochio in case you want to use them. I also attach the marriage certificate of Catherine Ginochio and Angelo Diodati which may be interesting as they were married by Gerald Manley Hopkins as mentioned in my letter. It will be OK to put a link to my email address. Regards Patricia Heaps firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Scottie Press, What a pleasure it was to recently read terry Cooke's fantastic book 'Little Italy' and to read in it about my relatives who where from that area It was a very close knit community of people. I have only heard stories from my mum until I read the book, which gave me a fantastic look at their lives. My name is Geoff Mann my mum, Margaret, is the second eldest daughter of Maria Volante the sister to Dom Volante who was my great uncle, I am looking for help in searching for details of relatives and cousins or someone who could point me in the right direction as I am trying to complete an accurate family tree for my mum, which as you may know is difficult to say the least. I am wondering if your readers know of any body with a Volante - Dennunzio- Santangeli family tree or anybody who is doing the same as I am or willing to share info. Perhaps they could contact your paper and you could forward details on me.
I provide a photo pictures Dom Volante (centre) with his mum (my great grandmother) and to the right of her are Dom's sister Lucy Volante. I am not to sure if the man behind Lucy is her husband David Gaffney. I also send you the second a copy of my great grandparents wedding certificate. I hope they can be of some use, please let me know if you get them best wishes, Geoff Mann
We thank Geoff Mann for providing this webpage with a photograph, which pictures his Grandmother Maria Volante (2nd from left) with her sister Lucy Volante (both sisters of Dom Volante). Also on the photograph (bottom right) is Geoff's uncle Sandy (Maria's son). Sandy's cousin Tony Gaffney is pictured to his left. The photograph was taken in Westhoughton nr Bolton by the local press a few days after the children in the photo were buried alive under a slag pile and Lucy Volante dug them out with her hands. All were OK, other than being cut and bruised.
The second photograph pictures Lucy Volante receiving an award for her bravery and risking her own safety by digging them out from the slag heap, which could have moved again at any time.
Dear Scottie Press, I was very happy to hear from you and to learn about "Little Italy" in Liverpool, UK. I publish a sixteen paged bi-monthly Newsletter about things Italian and Italian America. I also have had many of my articles published about the Italian and Italian American Experience. I would be very happy to have you make known what we are doing and I would like to know about the Italians in the UK. We hope to soon open our American Italian Heritage Museum & Cultural Centre. It will help us to preserve our Italian heritage and is one of only a few in the world. Please keep in touch and I enjoy your publication. Warm regards, Prof Philip DiNovo.
To find out more about the American Italian Heritage Association click here.
Dear Scottie Press, Americans and English are often called cousins, because we have so much in common. We not only share a language but so much more. Italians have settled around the world and I have come to realize that those of us who are of Italian descent also share so much in common, no matter where we live. Many stories told by Italian immigrants in the United States are stories that have been told by Italian immigrants who settled in other countries.
Our Italian heritage is celebrated in many nations and when we get together we share so much in common. Our Italian customs and traditions are still celebrated after third and fourth generation Italian Americans. Canada has a very large Italian population and it is easy for us to exchange ideas and experiences with them. We find so much in common, our "Little Italy's" are similar. Our value system is not only similar with Italian Canadians but Italians living in the United Kingdom.
In our American Italian Heritage Museum & Cultural Centre we will honour the Italian Immigrants and tell their story. In our Cultural Centre we will hold classes of all types for children and adults that will help us keep alive our Italian heritage. We need to have systems to pass on the heritage for future generations. Italians have always been very loyal to the nations they live in the record is clear on that!
Whenever we read about those of Italian heritage we understand and appreciate the bond that unites us. The United Kingdom has welcomed Italians for centuries and some of them made a their mark in American history. Two thirds of world art is in Italy, and history has recorded the great contributions it has made to western civilization. Those of us who have "roots" in Italy it has enriched us and we treasure our connection.
Thank you for listing us on your web site, I hope we will build on this contact. I will inform our membership of your web site and our new relationship.
Prof/Cav. Philip J. DiNovo (American Italian Heritage Association)
Dear Scottie Press, The British Association for Modern Mosaic's aim is to promote, encourage and support excellence in contemporary mosaics. To raise the publics awareness of modern mosaic art through exhibitions, publications, events and related educational activities. Membership is open to anyone over 18 by an annual subscription. A large number of BAMM's members are professional mosaic artists, but there are still members like myself who do mosaics purely as a hobby. By being a member of BAMM I have full access to their website where questions can be asked if help is needed, they also list suppliers of mosaic materials. Non-members have access to some areas of the site. Originally most events and meetings were held in the south of the country but now the country has been split into regions where BAMM meetings are held under the guidance of a leader. These meetings are very informal where ideas and information on materials and exhibitions and techniques are exchanged. As a member of BAMM and I am kept up to date with what is going on in the world of mosaic art by their excellent magazine GROUT which they produce around 4 times each year.
Carol Moretta Rigg.
We thank website reader Billy Woods for providing this photograph of a mosaic located at the City Vaults (inside The Property Exchange) at 14 Cook Street, Liverpool 2.
Our thanks go to Patrick Neill (The Friends of Liverpool Monuments) for sending this web page a photo taken by his son Jonathon, that pictures a mosaic located in the doorway of Kirkland’s in Hardman Street. The former Kirkland's bakery building (35 Hardman Street, Liverpool 1), which in the 1980s was a wine bar so fashionable it was a legend in its own lunchtime. Now it takes the form of a fine, traditional-style pub, The Fly In The Loaf, (see photo above right.)
Our thanks go to Terry McGunigle from The Merseyside Forum for advising the Scottie Press about a mosaic, which is situated in Castle Street on the former British and Foreign Marine Insurance Company Building. This Grade ll building (circa 1889) is one of several richly decorative late 19th century buildings designed by G.E. Grayson of Grayson and Ould at the northern end of Castle Street. The company’s inscription can be seen above a colourful mosaic frieze by Salviati showing scenes of shipping.
Salviati founded his “laboratory of mosaic art” in Venice in 1859. He showed his works in 1861 at a national exhibition in Florence and in 1863 at an industrial exposition in Vienna.. In the years that followed, Salviati exhibited at major expositions in Paris, Naples, London, Milan, and Boston, where he won numerous gold medals and diplomas of honour. At the 1862 London Exposition, the British press touted “the superiority of the enamel work . . . and mosaics sent by the Salviati establishment in Venice.” The Salviati company developed a reputation for producing exquisite mosaic portraits of both ancient and modern subjects and for undertaking vast mural decorations for palaces and churches.
Antonio Salviati died in Venice on January 25, 1890, leaving his business to his two sons. The firm’s mosaic work occupies important architectural spaces in St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey in London, and in the Albert Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle in England. In the United States, the Stanford Memorial Church at Stanford University in California is decorated with massive Salviati mosaics. The exterior of the north facade depicts Christ Welcoming the Righteous into the Kingdom of God; when completed in 1901 it was the largest mosaic in America. The devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed this priceless work, but it was recreated from the original drawings, preserved in Italy, several years later. Salviati’s company continues today to produce glass art of the highest quality.
The old entrance to the Playhouse Theatre in Liverpool features a quite magnificent mosaic in the design of a star. The Playhouse Theatre building was built in 1866 as the Star Music Hall .In the early 1800s James Ward (known locally as Jem Ward) licensee of the Star Inn (16 Williamson Square) established harmonic evenings in the concert room – the front and back parlours of the Inn.
There was a change of licensee in 1847 to a Mr Hamilton who continued providing entertainment in the concert room free of charge, with money generated from the sale of First Class Steak, Chops and Wine. In 1866 another new proprietor, a David Lazaurs, of the property at 16 & 17 Williamson Square arranged for the demolition of the two buildings and the erection of the New Star Music Hall.
Our thanks go to Patrick Neill (The Friends of Liverpool Monuments) for providing this web page with a photograph he took at All Saint's Church, Childwall. The photo pictures a tombstone monument on which there is a wonderful mosaic.
The White Star Pub in Button Street (which was originally a ships chandlers shop) is within what is now called the Cavern Quarter of Liverpool. Liverpool's famous Mathew Street is the continuation of Button Street, The two front entrance doorways of the White Star Pub feature very attractive mosaic work.
The history of the White Star has been traced back as far as 1880s. A programme from the Empire Theatre, Liverpool, dated 1887 featured an advertisement for the White Star carvery and bar. The pub was almost the same as it is now.
Just after the second world war a chap called Mr Quinn bought about 5 pubs in the city, he never changed the names, but on all the front windows he had etched Quinn's, since then all the real ale drinkers in Liverpool and even the good beer guide have called it the White Star (Quinn's 2).
The back room of the White Star was used by Bob Wooler and Alan Williams to pay all of their groups including the world famous Beatles. Where the Beatles wall is in the back room, is where they were paid. There are also a number of brass plaques on the front wall one to the Beatles, one twinned with the White Star Cz and two twinned with pubs in Norway. One with the Mets Sports Bar in Skien, and the Fat Lady in Grimstead.
For more information about the White Star Pub visit www.thewhitestar.co.uk
We thank Scottie Press reader, Billy Woods for advising the Scottie Press Online of an interesting and attractive mosaic located in the door entrance of Looks Leathergoods Shop in Castle Street, Liverpool 2. We also thank Sally at Looks for enabling us to photograph the mosaic to feature this web page. Readers will see that the mosaic was designed for McGuffie & Co who originally occupied the Castle Street premises as a Chemist Shop.
It is a sad fact that a great many of the wonderful buildings in Liverpool are now sad reflections on their former glory days. Pictured is Union House in Victoria Street which once had a very famous history and that history is still recorded as one enters the marble decorated building.
This incised plaster frieze illustrates the shipping of tea from China to Liverpool. It decorates the lobby of Union House (formerly Palace Chambers), 1882, an office building with several provision merchants among its original tenants, including the Liverpool agent of Tetley & Co, tea merchants.
My mother was born Peppina Maria Coletta in Hunter grove off Gerard street in 1925. Her father was Luigi Coletta and her mother was Madalena (nee Volante). Luigi came to England at the age of five from Villa Latina, which is mentioned elsewhere on the Little Italy site. He married my grandmother in 1914 and because he wasn't yet naturalized, left in 1915 to serve in the Italian army in the Great war.
Luigi Coletta Madalena Coletta (nee Volante)
My grandmother's parents were Maria and Vincenzo Volante. They had eight children. Five girls, Rosalea, Lucia, Angelina, Maria and my grandmother Madelina. The three boys were Vincenzo, Francesco and Domenic who was the famous Liverpool boxer, Dom Volante. The Volante family lived above a stable in Gerard street in which they stored piano organs that they rented out.
My mother, her brother and sisters all went to Holy Cross school. My grandfather, Luigi worked for "Litosilo flooring Co." (not sure of the spelling). When my mother was 14, he made the terrazzo steps and entrance to the Lord Nelson hotel at the rear of Lime street station and she helped him polish them with the galera stone which was very hard work. Her sister, Angelina Hutchinson who now lives in Skelmersdale still has a miniature set of terrazzo steps which their father used as a sample. He also did the floors on several ships built by Camell Laird.
Luigi played the accordion (chromatic) together with Tony Macari, who was married to Lena Capaldi. They had a band known as the "Dutch serenaders".
This accordion is still in existence and working.
My mother's parents (front left), celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in 1964.
To the right of them are Philomena Minghella (nee Innelli) and Lena Farrell (nee Innelli).
My father was born Mario Corba in Udine Italy in 1922 and moved to France when he was 8 years old. When France capitulated in 1940, he joined the British navy from the French navy and changed his surname to Berkeley. It was then that he met my mother and they were married in 1945 in St Cecilia's church in green lane.
Wedding photo 28th April 1945.
Rear row left to right :- Luigi Volante - Bernard Crolla - Freddy Fiori - Johnny Holleran Front row from left to right :- Maria Volante - Jenny Williams - Philomena Coletta - Mario & Peppina Berkeley - Tressina Fiori - Rosalea Volante - Luigi Coletta - Madelina Coletta
Some of my mother's relatives belonged to the Minghella, Innelli, D'annunzio, Crolla and Santangelli families. My mother's brother, Agostino (Gus) Coletta (see photo) who was a dispatch rider in the British army during the second world war, and her brother-in-law Philip Minghella together with her uncle, Rafiello Mingella, worked for Diespeker's.
My parents celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1995 at St Cecilia's church in Green lane, the same church where they were married in 1945. The whole Berkeley family now live in South Africa.