Scotland Road 2003


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The Scottie Press is committed to ensuring that as much of the Scotland Road area's history is recorded (in word and photograph) for future generations to see, read and appreciate. Aware of the strong and eternal emotional ties that former residents have for Scotland Road, the Scottie Press compiled a Scotland Road 2003 webpage as part of celebrations marking the road's 200th Anniversary (1803 - 2003). Although the Scottie Press website now has many other webpages featuring a comprehensive mix of Scotland Road's history, heritage and culture it is our intention to enhance the Scotland Road 2003 webpage with new material. We would like to hear from current and former residents who have photographs of Scotland Road they feel can enhance this work.

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The Vauxhall History & Heritage Group is committed to ensuring that as much of the areas historic buildings are maintained for future generations and to encourage the commemoration of the most significant events and individuals that have helped shaped the district. Central to the Group's aims is accessibility for people who have a keen desire to see the history & heritage of the Scotland Road and Vauxhall area recognised and respected 'to get involved'. The Vauxhall History & Heritage Group would be very keen to hear from people who could provide suggestions for a


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Scotland Road circa 1967

With as much preparation given during 2002 to ensure a fantastic occasion. If you are interested in this idea please contact:
The Vauxhall History & Heritage Group
c/o Scottie Press, Vauxhall Multiservices Centre,
Silvester Street, Liverpool L5 8SE.

In 2003 a landmark date in the history of Scotland Road will be reached. 2003 will celebrate 200 years since the old Scotland Road was widened. The conversion of the road, together with its mixed development throughout those 200 years took the road from obscurity to become a world famous road. The Scottie Press has embarked on setting up a special webpage to catalogue memories of Scotland Road hopefully unearthing information not previously published. We will feature photographic material from the Scottie Press Computer Archive and warmly welcome any pictorial, photographic or word information that readers of the Scottie Press may wish to contribute to this webpage.

Our thanks in this instance go to Freddy O'Connor for providing some written background information relating to the origins of Scotland Road to accompany our set of photographs associated with the history and heritage of Scotland Road. Freddy is currently writing a book about the famous pubs situated in and around Scotland Road and Everton areas. This book compliments three other books that Freddy has written about the history and heritage of these numerous and famous Liverpool landmarks. His latest book will have additional information regarding Scotland Road and this will enhance previously published material featured in 'Liverpool Our City Our Heritage'. (See Books on the Web).

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circa 1800

"For centuries, towns and villages throughout the country contained 'Crosses'. They were often located in market sites or junctions and they were well known landmarks.

Liverpool had a number in the old town and also had two located north of the town. The 'Everton Cross', also known as the 'Little Cross' and the 'Overston Cross', was often referred to as a landmark and was located west of Bevington Hill. This cross marked the southern limit of the 'Breckshoots' section of the town field. The cross was recorded in 1300 but no mention is given to it in the 16th century.

The second cross was the 'White Cross' also known as the 'Great Cross' and 'Allan's Cross' - which was also referred to in 1300, marking the northern limit of the 'Breckshoots' section of the town field. Its location was west of Scotland Road at about the site of what would become Hopwood Street.

It is shown on a plan of 1821 as 'remains of an ancient cross'. This verifies the ancient site of Scotland Road although for centuries it would have been no more than a narrow primitive unnamed foot-path.

In the late 17th and 18th centuries Liverpool began to expand in line with other parts of the country. One of the consequences of this were 'Turnpike Roads' constructed from 1706 onwards.

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circa 1844: A rare view of one of the most famous and notorious roads in Liverpool, where there was said to be a public house on every corner. The view is from Byrom Street looking up to the Rotunda

With ever increasing travel by coaches it was necessary for turnpikes to levy a charge for maintenance which depended on business trusts and local interest, originally authorised by an act of Parliament (the first was 1663). During the second half of the 18th century their numbers increased dramatically, so that by 1800 some 1,600 were in existence. The first turnpike in Liverpool opened in the 1720's as the road to Prescot.

Scotland Road became a turnpike road in the 1770s as the road to Preston via Walton and Burscough. A Stagecoach then travelled through Lancaster and Kendal through to Scotland, hence its name.

Prior to this period, Bevington Bush Road was the route northward from town, named on a 1725 map as the road to Ormskirk. Leading from Tithebarn Street it became a narrow tortuous road that eventually became Marybone, Gardners Row, Bevington Bush and Bevington Hill.

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circa 1900

During the 1790s the largest brewery (Porters Brewery) was built in the town just beyond Byrom Street at the beginning of Scotland Road, this became the site of Scotland Place by the 1830s.

With the ever-increasing town of Liverpool, Scotland Road was widened in 1803 as far as Mile End (so named because it was 'One Mile from the Town Hall'). From this period more and more streets, sadly slum ridden, were laid out either side of Scotland Road.

About the site of Mile End, and the end of Bevington Hill, during the early 19th century a portion of Scotland Road was named St Anthony's Place after a Roman Catholic Church, St Anthony's. Northward from here was named New Scotland Road.

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Scotland Road, circa 1908

With an ever-increasing population the original church became too small. The current St Anthony's was built, further northward, in 1833. St Anthony's Place was then abolished and New Scotland Road was absorbed into Scotland Road.

A portion of Scotland Road between Bevington Bush and Bevington Hill was widened once again in 1900".

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St Anthony's Boys, 1916

Our thanks go to Terry Cooke for providing a photograph of a class of St Anthony's boys taken in 1916. At this time many of their fathers and brothers had enlisted in the forces. Throughout the duration of the 1914-18 war there were continuous reports of former pupils being killed and badly wounded on active service. At the end of the war teachers who had been away in the armed forces began returning to resume teaching in the school. Mr J Murray, a well-respected teacher, who many 'Scottie Roaders' will still recall was one of these teachers.

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St Anthony's School, circa 1844

The school in Newsham Street, as photographed, was founded in 1844, by the Rev. Father Newsham, and soon had a reputation for strict discipline. Even in later years there was never any lack of discipline in St Anthony's, for pupils who misbehaved were subject to immediate 'remedial action' which to quote many former pupils, "Never did us any harm".

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St Anthony's Class of 1915

The youngsters posing for the class photograph of 1916 and also for a class photograph in 1915 were unaware that they would have to live through the 'Great Depression' in the 1930's. Many of them would have been of military age at the outbreak of the Second World War and would have seen active service themselves.

The Courts

A narrow court of the 1930's, as pictured, was typical of working class housing in the Scotland Road area in the early 1900's. Such a court would usually contain six houses with a frontage of only ten feet. In such cramped accommodation there were frequently as many as sixty people in a single court all using the one tap. In an effort to make the dark miserable courts brighter the residents 'whitewashed' the walls. Yet despite having to tolerate such poor living conditions there was a tremendous community spirit among the neighbours, who had a genuine compassion for each other and were always willing to share what little they had.

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A typical court of the 1930's

About 1934, a clearance programme was introduced to demolish the courts and replace them with 'modern' corporation flats.

North Haymarket

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A view of the North Haymarket, Great Homer Street, about 1890 showing a 'stern looking' Market Superintendent confronting a young lad in charge of a pony and cart. In the old days when youngsters began their career as carters, they first responsible job was usually as a pony lad. In this capacity they were allocated light carting assignments. It would be several years before this young man would have developed the experience to handle a team of magnificent shire-horses on the dock road. Nevertheless, he looks pleased and proud of himself.

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The North Haymarket was established in 1866, and was open for the sale of vegetables in the early hours of the morning and for hay straw and provider during the later hours of the day. The clock tower that can be seen in the background (extreme right) had a drinking fountain set in the wall and was a well-known landmark until the implementation of the clearance programmes for the Scotland Road area in the 1960's.

The Liverpool Carters

Information regarding 'St Anthony's School, the Old Court Accommodation and the North Haymarket' is featured in a book, written by Terry Cooke in 1987, entitled 'Scotland Road the Old Neighbourhood'.

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Terry Cooke's 'Scotland Road'

We have pictured the front cover of this very successful book on the webpage. Unfortunately the book is no longer in print production and copies of the book can only be obtained for reference purposes at a number of libraries in Liverpool.

Terry has, however, kindly agreed to allow the Scottie Press to use material from his personal copy of the book for the future development and success of this webpage.

A reference to material from this book and other books that Terry has written, and is currently writing, will accompany further inclusions. Terry also has a separate webpage on the Scottie Press website 'Local Historian'.

'Dandy' Pat Byrne Memorial Fountain

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Pat Byrne monument in the 1950's

Another famous drinking tap landmark in the Scotland Road area was the Dandy Pat Fountain Memorial, which originally stood in Scotland Place having been placed there by public demand to acknowledge the life of Patrick Byrne in 1892. The fountain is pictured in Scotland Place in the 1950's and stood in this location until it was removed as part of the area clearance programme. Subsequent to removal to Pownall Sqaure the Memorial Fountain was to suffer from vandalism until it was taken away by Liverpool Corporation in 1983. It's whereabouts was then unknown until research work undertaken by Mike Kelly and the Scottie Press in 1998 was to unearth its location in an old corporation work-yard. Efforts to restore and re-sight the monument in the grounds of St Anthony's Church were finally accomplished in April 2000. Details of this feature on the Scottie Press website projects page.

'A Pub On Every Corner'

It was said that there was "pub on every corner of Scotland Road". The road, which officially started at Addison Street, stretched for approximately one mile until its end at Boundary Street East. The development of pubs on the road began in the early 19th century. The numbers of pubs increased and from the 1840's dramatically rose up until the turn of the next century. Pictured is the Morning Star Pub - situated in Scotland Place, which re-opened in 1860 as The Morning Star having been formerly the Earl of Chester.

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The Morning Star

In the early 20th century the numbers of pubs in the Scotland Road area peaked at approximately 224 with 65 actually positioned on Scotland Road. There was then, at first a gradual decline and then a more rapid decline due to clearance programmes in the 1920's and 30's, natural closure resulting from the 'depression years from 1926 to 1938' and the devastating destruction of the road and surrounding area caused by bombing in the second-world-war.

In the 1950's, however, somewhere in the region of 111 pubs in the Scotland Road area were still open for regular and busy trade with 41 on Scotland Road itself. Each pub a popular venue for its own local clientele and visiting patronage.

When in the late 50's early 60's the area clearance programme started, which later included the demolition of the road to make way for the second Mersey tunnel the numbers of pubs declined rapidly. The hand-full of pubs that are still on Scotland Road are, just a shadow of the former heydays of pub life on this famous road. A decreased population of the area together with changing drinking habits and most sadly the affects of crime and vandalism, which brought about an intimidation of regular customers, have seen in more recent years and months the number of pubs reduced from eleven in 1997 to just four in 2001. Pictured are those four remaining pubs.

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The Parrot stands on the corner of Scotland Road and Hopwood Street.

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The Eagle Vaults stands on the corner of Scotland Road and Penrhyn Street.

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The Hamlet stands on the corner of Scotland Road and Boundary Street East, still the official ending of Scotland Road heading north.

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One Flew Over The Throstles Nest, formerly The Throstle's Nest stands on the corner of Scotland Road and Chapel Gardens.

Has Scotland Road Got A Future?

In the April 1998 issue of Scottie Press, the community newspaper voiced up local community concern regarding the future for Scotland Road. So much of the road was eroding away from its for glory days, with local shops and pubs closing and falling foul of vandalism.

The demolition of one of the road's most famous landmark pubs' known latterly as the Honky-Tonk/Dolly Hickey's saw the start of a local campaign to seek answers to the question -"Has Scotland Road got a future"?

Such is the world wide fame of Scotland Road that both the Liverpool Echo and Radio Merseyside were fully supportive in promoting the requests of the past and present Scotland Road community for action to be taken to regenerate to road.

In the most recent weeks a 'Masterplanning Study' - outlining proposals for the regeneration of Scotland Road has been produced and a programme of consultation with the local community is to begin in the next month.

It has always been appreciated by the Scottie Press that viewpoints, suggestions and ideas etc regarding plans for regenerating Scotland Road that are expressed by former residents of the area can be valid contributions to any full consultation process.

Although this 'Scotland Road 2003' webpage is still in its early stages of design we wish to use the webpage to encourage readers' reactions and response. We therefore welcome comments on the webpage together with any thoughts that readers may have for how Scotland Road should celebrate 2003 and how it could be regenerated for 2003 and beyond.

The History of Paddy's Market

How a notable institution evolved; catering for small incomes; the "Remedy" men

We feature this inclusion on the Scotland Road 2003 webpage courtesy of an article published by the Liverpool Echo in 1929.

'Surely "Paddy's Market" - properly St Martin's Market - though somewhat obscure, deserves to rank as one of the sights of Liverpool which should not be missed. The large building called the North, or St Martin's (or Paddy's) Market, in the heavy Doric style, presents a bold but tottering tetrastyle portico in Bevington-hill and had a similar style front in Scotland-road before that thoroughfare was widened about 25 years ago.

It was originally an important general market, opened in 1831, and was so used until the nineties, when it assumed its new capacity and popular title. For this is not the original Paddy's Market.

In attempting to trace the evolution of Paddy's we have to look back to something like a hundred years - and find that maze of narrow streets and in-sanitary courts built during the first half of the 19th Century in the Bevington Bush and Scotland-road area. As the ancient town cross of St Patrick once stood on the fringe of it, where Vauxhall-road and Marybone join, perhaps it was in consequence that the district was chosen as a settlement by so many sons and daughters of Erin. Old Stonehouse, the historian, tells us that Marybone is a perversion of 'Maria-bona' given to the street at the request of Catholics who began to occupy the houses. There was a large influx from Ireland in 1847-1848 after the great potato famine.

Unfortunately it acquired a reputation as a 'Poverty-land', and as such would not unnaturally become a happy hunting ground for dealers in rags and bones and other refuse which could be made to yield profitable pickings. Cast-off clothing, of course, played no small part in this ready-money commerce, and in time seemed to become perhaps the chief commodity, in which a distinct trade sprang up; although in fact, the houses, cellars and streets of the whole locality were early devoted to the provision and sale of necessaries. Some still living will remember the local topical song about Marybone:-

"In Marrabone, ye can buy whate'er ye like if ye have the means, Red-herrins, tatties, buttermilk, white cabbage and curly-greens."

But the clothes "merchants" especially centralised themselves in a rough, second-hand emporium called "St Patrick's Bazaar," and nicknamed "Paddy's Market." At 34 Banastre street. It was described in 1875 as a 'grimy-looking' brick shed, moderately lofty, with an earthen floor, and surrounded by a wooden gallery.

That convenient old bazaar served a good purpose and developed quite a large trade. But time brought changes and eventually 'Paddy's Market' had to find a new home. The St Martin's Market had at this time ceased to flourish as a general market and the dispossessed stall holders from Banastre street were re-accommodated there. The market is currently patronised not only by local dwellers but also largely by foreign sailors. It presents some gay and interesting scenes as these dark skinned and glitter-eyed folk chatter and gesticulate while driving their bargains at the stalls, over frocks, coats, hats, shawls, ties etc.

After the First World War a sort of branch of Paddy's Market has been held on Saturday's in the vegetable market in Great Homer Street, but this is a rather different in character from the real "old clothes" section and includes dealers in fancy goods, books, music and toys. The persuasive "remedy" men hold forth from their platforms, linoleum sales are a prominent feature, while crockery, hardware, and various other kinds of household equipment abound. With the crowd moving about between one booth and another it makes quite an animated 'fair' at night under the glowing glare of torch-lights, and resounding with the hum of a thousand voices of good humoured buyers and sellers.'

How the "Black Church" - Got Black

Many readers of the Scottie Press will remember a local landmark in the Scotland Road area which was the church of St Martin-in-the-field which, stood in Silvester Street. Memories of the church will possibly be joined by a memory of the name by which the church was locally known, that name being 'The Black Church'.

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The origin of the church becoming so named is recorded in a letter published in 'The Liverpool Mercury' dated 5th October 1827. The letter makes reference to problems caused by volumes of sulphurous smoke coming from a chemical manufacturer who was at that time based in the Vauxhall district of Liverpool. James Muspratt was of those, brilliant and outstanding Irishmen who chose to make their mark in business in the early part of the nineteenth-century. In 1823 he moved his business from Dublin to Liverpool, where he began to make soda by the Leblanc process. James Muspratt sited his business in Vauxhall, much to the displeasure of the local people who complained of the nuisance of smoke darkening the area. The letter written to 'The Liverpool Mercury says, "Such volumes of sulphurous smoke as to darken the whole atmosphere in the neighbourhood, so much so that the church of St Martin-in-the-field cannot be seen from the houses. The stones of the church are already turned a dark colour from the cause".

A fuller story of the life of James Muspratt will be featured in a book currently being written by Mike Kelly. The book highlights the influence that, Irish businessmen like James Muspratt had on the development of the then town and port of Liverpool. Much of the labour force for such businesses was drawn from the Irish community of the Scotland Road and Vauxhall area of Liverpool.


The history of Scotland Road 1803 - 2003 and the history of St Anthony's Church are intertwined for the original St Anthony's Church was built in 1804. Currently efforts are underway regarding research work for a book to be published on St Anthony's Church to mark the church's bicentenary in 2004.

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The first St Anthony's Church was built on the corner of Dryden Street with enough room to accommodate 400 people and its establishment owes all to a single minded French Priest who took it upon himself to build the church. Father Jean Baptiste Antoine Gerardot didn't actually ask anyone if he could build the church. He saw a need, raised the money and just did it.

Father Gerardot is certainly an intriguing figure. Like many French Catholic Priests in the 1780's, he became a refugee of the French Revolution, forced out of his homeland after refusing to acknowledge the French Government above the Pope. As a refugee it is certain that Father Gerardot could identify himself with the many Irish immigrants who were then arriving in the Scotland Road area of Liverpool looking for work. These Irish workers didn't always get the warmest of welcomes from the three existing Roman Catholic churches and so Father Gerardot raised the money and built St Anthony's.

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The St Anthony's Church of today is a very famous landmark in Liverpool and is a very impressive building. It was designed by a Liverpool architect, John Broadbent and was opened in 1834. The new church was to witness the tragedy of the Irish Famine years and a special commemorative service took place at the church in 1997 to acknowledge 150 years since 'black 47'.

In that year (1847), 2,303 men, women and children were buried at St Anthony's. This was the worst year of the whole Irish famine crisis. St Anthony's church has a record of all 2,303 names and these were printed in a booklet for the commemorative service on Friday 3rd October 1997.

Many readers of the Scottie Press will best remember the church as being seen nestled amongst the terraced streets running off Scotland Road and amidst the hustle and bustle of activity that was the shops and pubs on Scotland Road. St Anthony's can boast links to some of Liverpool's famous sons and daughters. Cilla Black attended the church's school which used to be behind the main building but has since been demolished. Another famous church school pupil was 60's Liverpool FC player Jimmy Melia. As a boy Jimmy played for St Anthony's football team before joining Liverpool School Boys and England Boys. He eventually joined Liverpool's first team where he stayed until 1965.

The purpose of this webpage is to record information regarding the history and heritage of Scotland Road 1803 - 2003. The webpage also has a purpose to hopefully encourage people to record their memories of the road and in this instance we welcome any information, photographs etc about St Anthony's Church. If you have anything that you think will help this webpage please contact the Scottie Press.


Guests at a recent wedding service in St Anthony's Church, Scotland Road, arrived in a specially hired bus. The Bus is pictured in front of St Anthony's Church. It is also pictured separately and readers will see more clearly that running alongside the bus is the wording 'The Liverpool Heritage Circular Tour'.

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This Scotland Road 2003 webpage has at its core the history and heritage of Scotland Road and the need for full respect and recognition to be recorded and accorded to that special and world famous history and heritage.

The opportunity for the Scottie Press to focus a camera and take a photograph of the Bus was seized upon for the expressed intention of highlighting on this webpage what could hopefully become 'the shape of things to come'. The shape of things to come if, full regard is given to a proper promotion of the history and heritage of Scotland Road.

Whilst there is no argument in defence of the terrible level of degeneration that has stripped the road from almost all of its famous landmarks, there is an argument to be made for regeneration of the road to be founded on its famous history. There is also a strong recommendation to be voiced that whilst the talking goes on as to the long term future for the road the potential of what is still left on the road needs to be focussed upon. Full attention needs to be given to how 'The Liverpool Heritage Circular Tour Bus' could be seen a lot more often outside St Anthony's Church and those brought to Scotland Road by the Bus having a chance to see and read what it was that made the road so famous.

If you think that this is a viable point of view then please record your comments on the Scottie Press 'Guestbook'.

Leeds & Liverpool Canal

It is not commonly realised that before railways the canals carried considerable passenger traffic. Regular packet boat services connected all main centres with light, fast vessels drawn by two or more horses at a canter, with a postillion. They had top priority and usually had first and second-class cabins, heating and refreshments - a big advance on the cold, bumpy stagecoaches.

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The sketch above pictures the Liverpool-Wigan packet dropping its tow-line to pass under the old Chisenale Street bridge, in the Vauxhall area of Liverpool, on the Leeds & Liverpool canal.

The Leeds & Liverpool Canal is the longest canal in Britain travelling a little over 127 miles with a water level of 53 feet above sea level. The history of the canal can be traced back to 1767 when the original survey work and design was confirmed. Construction began at Vauxhall Road/Leeds Street at the end of Old Hall Street in Liverpool in 1770.

In 1987 this section of the canal was in-filled for phase 1 of the Eldonian Village development on the site of the former Tate & Lyle Sugar Refinery. In order to access road traffic from Vauxhall Road to phase 2 of the Eldonian Village a bridge (named Vauxhall Bridge) was constructed over the canal and subsequently opened by Cilla Black.

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Vauxhall Bridge opened by Cilla Black - 1987

Pictured below is the section of canal (in-filled in 1987) as it was when the Tate & Lyle Sugar Refinery was in operation in the 1960's.

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Tate & Lyle - in the 1960s

For the purposes of this webpage concentration will be given to the importance of this section of the Leeds & Liverpool canal in the Vauxhall area of Liverpool as a main artery for the transportation of commodities. The Liverpool Docks and the numerous warehouse complexes located along the canal banks saw such transportation up until the late 1980s. The commodities transported included, coal, grain, sugar, flour, tobacco, machinery, timber, chemicals, salt, potatoes, cement, limestone, beer, molasses, oil, turpentine, gunpowder, tin, tallow, hemp, bricks. The docks and numerous warehouses and factory buildings employed generations of local people and as such were of vital importance to the local economy of the Scotland Road area.

One these, the Stanley Dock Warehouse complex, built in 1857, is still a striking feature of the Vauxhall landscape. There were originally three warehouses of five storeys each. They were originally of similar design but the central block was replaced by a new tobacco warehouse and opened in 1901. This warehouse was until closure the largest bonded warehouse in the world, built for the storage of tobacco until the duty was paid. It is constructed of 27 million bricks. The building has 12 floors plus a basement. It is recorded that the size of each floor would allow for 75,000 casks of tobacco to be stored without a need to pile one cask upon another.

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Stanley Locks

The Stanley Dock is the only inland dock in Liverpool and connects the Leeds & Liverpool canal to the River Mersey by joining the Liverpool (Vauxhall) end of the canal to the Collingwood Dock. Access to and from the Stanley Dock and warehouse buildings can be achieved by using the locks connecting the Leeds & Liverpool canal to the Stanley Dock.

These locks were designed by Jesse Hartley and built between 1846 and 1848 at a cost of almost 133,000 pounds. They consist of four flights of lock gates, the water level dropping 33 feet in a quarter of a mile. When in full operation it could take as little as 25 minutes to navigate all four flights. 80,000 gallons of water are moved every time a boat passes through.

Additional information for this webpage will be included at regular intervals. Contributions of photographs etc greatly received.

Vauxhall end needs a consistent programme of regeneration

New proposals for one of Liverpool's famous architectural landmarks could attract 50 million pounds of investment. But the plans would involve flattening Stanley Dock tobacco warehouse, which is a grade 2 listed building.

Officials say that by using the two smaller warehouses located at Sandon Dock the 50 million could be attracted to convert the warehouses to form the centrepiece of a luxury apartments and office scheme.

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Sandon Dock

A look back through the pages of the Scottie Press archive reveals that there was a 70 million pound Sandon Dock revival plan proposed in 1989. This was expected to make the Sandon Dock as popular as Albert Dock.

Unfortunately that plan, like so many others, fell through and is one of the main factors that has hurt efforts to encourage increased use of the Vauxhall end of the Leeds & Liverpool canal. This lack of use and subsequent declining condition of the canal is now causing concern amongst communities from the Vauxhall end right up to Old Roan.

Housing Co-operative property in the Vauxhall area built in the late 1980s and the early 1990s had the canal as an integral part of the attraction for the new houses and new resident community. This canal-side attraction has also seen an influx of private housing developers using attractive 'artists impressions' of houses and apartments overlooking a serviceable and 'in use' canal as a means of encouraging purchase of house and apartment property ranging from 39,000 to over 70,000.

Opportunities have been taken in years from 1990 - 2001 to encourage canal barge and boat enthusiasts to gather together at the Vauxhall end of the canal as by way of a varied form of festival event. The initial level of canal traffic saw the canal offering up a great potential for the promotion of the regeneration of the area. It also provided opportunities for canal barge and boat visitors to see aspects of the history and heritage of this former industrial area of Liverpool.

Currently British Waterways is actively involved in the revival of Liverpool's waterfront and is looking at a number of opportunities. One of the key opportunities is the creation of a new canal link with the Leeds & Liverpool Canal around the Pier Head area. The new 700 metre canal would help create a vibrant waterfront connecting all the docks, attracting more boats and providing vigour and vitality for the waterfront. The new canal link could attract an extra 200,000 visitors annually to the south docks and bring 3.8 million pounds of spend per annum to the area. As such there is also the ability of the new canal link to help create much-needed jobs into the area.

Information regarding this proposal can be obtained by contacting British Waterways on 0151 709 8745 or or


I am a member of the national council of the Inland Waterways Association, founded in 1946 and primarily responsible for "saving the system" and still a substantial force, with good links to British Waterways who are the main proponents of the Leeds & Liverpool canal extension. I can make sure that any comments expressed by the local community, or any article in the Scottie Press community newspaper, get passed on to the right quarter. British Waterways are very keen to receive expressions of interest and support.

The locks from the Leeds & Liverpool canal to Stanley and Collingwood Docks are navigable. Every year (I think it is an annual event) a flotilla of boats goes to the Eldonian Basin, then down the locks, then into the Mersey, then into Canning half-tide dock.

In the September issue of Waterways World, there is an account of the latest trip with a photo of the Eldonian Basin packed with boats. I am most optimistic about the proposed new canal link from the Leeds & Liverpool canal and as a consequence of its construction the upgrading of the Aintree-Liverpool section of the canal. Canal restoration is so fashionable in political circles these days, being a marvellous catalyst for regeneration. The most amazing restorations are now taking place all over the country and the Liverpool possibilities are in my view potentially the most beneficial.

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My canal boat (see photographed whilst in Vauxhall, Liverpool) is in fact unique, having a wooden hull and steel superstructure. Older "modern" pleasure boats are the other way round, the more recent ones all steel. The hull was built by Ken Keay,of Peter Keay and Son of Walsall, in 1977-79. Ken Keay builder of wooden boats in the Midlands, and probably the last one nationally to build wooden working boats.

The Ken Keay hull was built as a replica of a Birmingham Canal Navigation's Tug. The Birmingham Navigation's Company ran the network of about 100 miles of canals in the Midlands from 1769 until nationalisation in 1948. Ken Keay went out of business in 1979, sold the hull to me and developed a method of fitting a steel cabin to an existing steel hull, not something that, so far as we know, had ever been done before.

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I took delivery of the boat in 1991 and fitted it out myself. Since then it has cruised extensively. We took it (on a lorry, by ferry) to Flanders in 1995 along with about 30 other narrow boats and were the canal attraction of the Ghent Water Festival, also visiting Bruges, Kortrick and Deinze.

Last year we went to Godalming, London, Hertford and Bishop Stortford. This year we have visited en route to Liverpool, Nottingham, Workshop (Chesterfield Canal), Sheffield, Leeds, Burnley, Blackburn and Wigan.

I hope you will find some of this information useful for your webpage. Nicholas Grazebrook

Health & Housing

If we could step back into the Scotland Road and Vauxhall area of 150 years ago, we would find it a very different place. In this strip of land lived a population denser than was found in any other civilised city.

The major cause of the overcrowding was the Irish immigration, caused by the failure of the potato crop in many parts of Ireland in the 1840's, which led to thousands of people trying to make a new life for themselves in the New World of America. Unfortunately the cost was often too great for many families, and once they reached Liverpool they did not have the money to pay for their passage, so it was they settled in vast numbers - when immigration peaked at about 300,000 in the year 1847.

A Doctor Duncan stated that "Liverpool at this time is the most unhealthy town in England". He was emphatic that bad housing meant bad health. The main killers seem to have been cold, hunger, cholera and typhus. Situations such as this do not lend themselves to instant solutions, and many of the problems such as education, unemployment and alcohol could not be solved quickly. It was agreed that two major problems had to be overcome, before any progress regarding improvements could be made. These were namely a better water supply/sanitation and better housing.

The bad health in Liverpool at his time brought to the fore Kitty Wilkinson who pioneered the opening of Public Baths and Wash-houses - see 'Wash-House Memories' and 'Life & Times of Kitty Wilkinson' 'Books on the Web'

Clearly there was a need for housing reform in Liverpool as early as 1804. Many had warned against that the practice of building the housing for the labouring classes in small confined 'courtyards' or simply 'courts'. Examples photographed below.

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In 1864 the Liverpool Sanitary Amendment Act was introduced and in 1865 the first municipal housing was opened in Silvester Street. These were St Martin's Cottages.

By 1907 Liverpool Corporation had demolished some 8,000 in-sanitary properties and by 1916 had erected 2,895 new dwellings. Examples of the range of new dwellings built in the Scotland Road and Vauxhall area during 1865 and 1916 are photographed below.

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No slums were cleared after 1938, and it was the Blitz and public opinion which, really forced reconstruction after World War 2. The 1960's was to see the most concentrated clearance of old housing property in the Scotland Road and Vauxhall area, a process still on-going. High-rise blocks of flats constructed as alternative forms of housing were by 1971 generally regarded as socially unacceptable.

In 1981 the Scotland Road and Vauxhall area was dealt a severe blow when Tate & Lyle closed their Sugar Refinery. The vacated factory property was subsequently demolished and the land became available for development. A competition was organised and the 'Eldonians' eventually triumphed with their scheme to build 145 houses. For this purpose the Eldonian Housing Co-operative was formed. The Eldonian Village, as the site is known, was built during the late 1980's.

In 1993 Liverpool City Council announced that were no longer building any new properties but relying on Housing Associations to undertake the provision of 'social housing' opportunities for families to be re-housed.

League of Welldoers

'now in its 109th year of existence'

The Benevolent and non-sectarian organisation founded by Mr Lee Jones in1893 was first called Liverpool Food Association, then Liverpool Food and Betterment Association, and today League of Welldoers.

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Mr Lee Jones is pictured in the early 1900's (on dais, wearing bowler hat) at an event he organised in the Scotland Road area for the entertainment of residents of the time.

The League's first-and, in total accomplishment, greatest work was the providing of cheap (also free) meals to underfed school children, at the poor schools in Liverpool, Bootle and some in Birkenhead. The League in its early days also provided thousands of invalid meals to the sick poor. All the cooking being done at Limekiln Lane. Well over 4,000,000 meals were provided by the league in this direction.

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Lady attendants are pictured about to leave Limekiln Lane to deliver food to housebound invalids in 1896.

During the first-world war Mr Lee Jones helped and housed Belgian refugees and in the course of the second-world war 447 free variety concerts were held for members of the Forces each Sunday evening, at Picton Hall and St Georges Hall. It is recorded that 452,750 men of the three services, and their friends were entertained.

Mr Lee Jones died in October 1936 and Mr W. J. Horn was appointed Warden/Secretary in January 1937. Mr Horn, who retired in 1980 and who died in 1986, was very instrumental in developing a range of activities based at what was then called the Lee Jones Centre. In 1938 the Lee Jone's Boy's Club was formed. The Girl's Club was started in 1942 based in two rooms in Limekiln Lane. In October 1946 a junior section was introduced and the need for larger premises became urgent. The Council of Management therefore rented a modern building, 225/227 Scotland Road, to accommodate the Girl's Club and Old Folk's Club. This was named Sefton Hall. The League purchased these Scotland Road premises in 1955.

When building work was finalised for the approach roads to the second Mersey tunnel the League was compelled to vacate Sefton Hall, Scotland Road, on 31st January 1967. The building was subsequently demolished.

It was imperative as well as being practical and economic that the League's new premises were built to allow for all their activities to be centralised under one roof. The new then (and current now) League of Welldoers, Lee Jones Centre is located on Limekiln Lane.

In light of the fact that the League of Welldoers has been in existence for over 100 years the League has been able to run a very successful 'Recall/Reminiscence' Project. The League is very much aware of the important aspect of this work which, is growing in importance and demand. Additional information about the League of Welldoers, Lee Jones Centre, will feature in this section of the Scotland Road 2003 webpage. Readers requiring current news can contact Mr Ian Rankin on 0151 298 1544. Mr Rankin has advised the Scottie Press that they are establishing their own website and we will have a link to this site accordingly.

Around Scottie Road

Scotland Road runs along what was once the old coach route to the north from the town centre. But the rural scenery changed dramatically in the nineteenth century as the commerce and industry of the major seaport created workshops, pubs and doss houses and tens of thousands of poorly built, cramped houses in the narrow streets and courts off the main highway. Its name became - and still is for many people - synonymous with Liverpool, epitomising both the best and worst, depending on your view point, of the city's attributes. The squalor and strife that existed here from early Victorian was never quite eradicated. Despite successive waves of demolition and considerable bomb damage during the last war it was still amongst the worst areas of housing in the 1960s. Yet I know I am not alone in believing that here amongst the poor conditions there was as much humour and pride and there was poverty and defeat - just like any working class community in the north.

My memory, certainly, insists that the front door steps glistened from the constant rubbing with sandstone blocks and that almost every family boasted at least one 'character' and several natural comedians. The Scottie Road area is full of such memories for I was born on Hopwood Street just off Scotland Road. These streets were our playgrounds, until we moved from the area in the 1950s.

During the 1960s, the whole Scotland Road area began to change beyond recognition particularly with the building of the second Mersey Tunnel.

In January 1986 I had a book published entitled LIVERPOOL 'IT ALL CAME TUMBLING DOWN'.

Much attention had been already paid by artists and photographers to the grand city centre buildings, which reflect Liverpool's past as the greatest port in the world.

My book is about the humbler, vastly more numerous but equally important dwellings and places of recreation in Liverpool of ordinary people. The book is an attempt to record what has happened to these places in Liverpool, like Scotland Road, where real 'scousers' lived - the working class people whose labour went to produce the wealth that made nineteenth century Liverpool one of the richest cities in the world. In so many cases it was all I could do to get my camera focussed on this disappearing Liverpool before the bulldozer destroyed the evidence.

A third revised edition of the book was published in July 2000 (featured on Scottie Press 'Books on the Web'.)



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Built in the 1880's as an ambitious scheme to replace the horrific slums of the nineteenth century. The five storey tenement blocks contained 282 flats and won an architectural award for their advanced design when first erected. Victoria Square was demolished in 1966.


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In 1869 the first municipal housing was opened in Silvester Street. These were St Martin's Cottages, 124 flats in six blocks of four storeys. They had two or three bedrooms each, with living room and scullery. They were somewhat stark by modern standards, solidly built and looking rather like military barracks. Cooking was carried out over an open fire and lighting was by gas. They had no bathrooms, and the toilets were communal, on the half landings. They were, however, a vast improvement on the living standards of the day, and gave the occupants probably the first real stability in their lives. They were improved in the 1950's, but demolished in 1977.



On Saturday August 4th, BILLY FRANCE celebrated his '90TH BIRTHDAY' with family and friends at the Silvestrian Club.

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Billy was born on the 8th August 1911 at 14 Wilbraham Street where his father and grandfather ran the business of William France & Son Marine Store Dealers. The business also had sidings in Sandhills and storage premises in Westmoreland Place. His brother Robert also had garages in Westmoreland Place, which were used for the coaches of his coach company 'Westmoreland Motors' which had its booking office in the Old Haymarket. The premises were compulsory purchased by the council who built Woodstock Gardens on the land. William France & Son closed its gates for the last time in 1973 after being in family for generations.

Billy has survived two World Wars, Diphtheria and Scarlet Fever and seen a lot of changes in his 90 years. He can recall when he was young watching battalions of soldiers marching down Scotland Road to join troop ships at Prince's landing stage to go off to the First World War. He can also remember vividly the Police Strike and barefooted boys who walked from Scotland Road and Walton to Victoria Street to collect and sell the Liverpool Echo for 1d. He attended the Collegiate on Shaw Street from when he was 8 years to 16 years.

Billy says, "The people from Scotland Road were the 'Salt of the Earth' they helped each other, there was little jealousy and envy, poverty brought people together, there was a bond between the people of the area, and a sense of humour to be found nowhere else in the world"


At the Museum of Liverpool Life we explore and collect the history and culture of the city for a variety of visitors. If you haven't visited us before then it's a great place to spend some time getting to know Liverpool a little better. If it has been a while since your last visit, there are three new galleries to explore, 'City Lives'. 'City Soldiers' and the 'River Room'.

Collecting and interpreting the history of a city like Liverpool is a huge task. We work with a number of individuals, community groups and organisations to promote different aspects of Liverpool's heritage through a programme of temporary exhibitions.

In the Vauxhall and Scotland Road areas two local history projects have been completed and added to the collection. In 1987 the exhibition 'Athol Street - Life, Work and Community in the Liverpool Docklands' included oral history from local residents. More recently the 'Bevington Street and The Grove' display in the 'City Lives' gallery was written and researched by pupils from Our Lady of Reconciliation Catholic Primary School. We want to continue to research and collect material relating to Vauxhall and Scotland Road.

However it is people's enthusiasm for their own family history or the history of their local area that will help us build a collection that truly reflects the character of Vauxhall and Scotland Road.

If you are interested in finding out more contact the Vauxhall History and Heritage Group c/o Scottie Press.

The Museum of Liverpool Life, situated near the Pier Head, is open daily from 10am to 5pm and admission is free.

Curator of Social and Community History.
e.mail -


For over 12 months page 4 of the Scottie Press has featured articles under the caption Scotland Road 2003. The paper has also given notification that to celebrate 200 years of history and heritage of Liverpool's most famous road a 'Grand Reunion' could be organised in a 'Grand Place'. Liverpool Town Hall or the St George's Hall were suggested venues.

The Liverpool Daily Post recently featured a series of 3 articles on these plans. We print below a letter sent to the Scottie Press by Tom Hughes who offers up his suggestions for the reunion together with his thoughts on Scotland Road, past, present and future.

"I read about your reunion plans for next year in the Daily Post. Why don't to post a message on the friends reunited website pages for all the old schools in the Scottie area. There must be thousands of names of ex-pupils on the websites from all over the world and you're sure to get a massive response.

Therefore one category/theme could be like a big school reunion, then you could do something similar for Shipping company's websites bringing together old shipmates from the area, not to mention Dockers and other industries.

You could also have stands inside the hall representing various old pubs so that people could congregate around their favourite watering holes. Large poster style photos all around the hall would be the perfect backdrop.

There must be dozens of local musicians who could also add to the atmosphere.

As a child (and up until the 1970's) I used to visit relatives in the various streets and tenements of the Scotland Road area. As a result I've always had a fascination with the area. For me, historically it represents the epitome of what this city, and real scouse culture is/was all about. For that matter Scotland Road's current plight is probably the biggest reflection on the massive mistakes in social engineering, urban design and the city's general demise during the 60's and 70's. That said, I've marvelled at some of the more recent achievements and this at least gives some indication that the damage is not irreversible.

A properly redeveloped Scotland Road would herald the resurgence of the city.

Good luck with all the good work for Scotland Road 2003, it's a very worthy cause".


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