Members and visitors may be interested in some of the buildings and structures in the area surrounding “Hope at Everton”, our regular meeting place since 2003. On this page you will find an illustration of how a Victorian artist imagined Shaw Street looked in 1790, a sadly neglected memorial, a vanished church, and two notable buildings recently restored.
Having inherited the former Halsall estate from John Shaw not long before, Thomas Shaw realised sometime about 1826 that, to avoid a lengthy detour, it would be convenient for there to be a link between Moss Street and Netherfield Road. He therefore arranged for the laying out of a new road, to be called Shaw Street. This quickly became a prestigious residential area with the first house being built in 1829. Since then, as in so much of Liverpool, there have been many changes.
Our short walk begins at the Round House shown in the middle of the cattle pound in the centre of William Gawin Herdsman’s drawing above. Representations of this little building, usually referred to as Everton Lock-up may well be the most widely known of all those shown on this page, as it now forms the centrepiece of the badge of The Blues, one of our city’s two world famous football clubs, Liverpool and Everton. (Apparently it first appeared on a tie in 1938, but was not officially adopted until 1980) Built circa 1787, this was where drunks and other miscreants were held overnight, before presentation to the local magistrate next morning for judgement and appropriate punishment. Some sources refer to the building as Prince Rupert’s Tower, but as he was in the area in 1644, and presumably higher up the hill, this is surely a misnomer. It is now apparently used as a store for gardeners’ tools. A not dissimilar lock-up can be found on the Green at Wavertree.
A few metres south of the old lock up, in Whitley Gardens is a white marble cross standing on a red sandstone base. In these post-Colonial days, the justification for the campaign to which the memorial relates, the so-called Indian Mutiny, is the subject of debate. However, it commemorates 243 British officers and men of the 8th The King’s Regiment, formerly the 8th Regiment of Foot. While its designer is apparently unknown, the Cross was presented to 8th King’s by Lt Gen A C Robertson, CB, and initially erected in Portsmouth in 1863. It was moved to Chelsea Hospital, the home of the eponymous Pensioners, in 1877, and finally came to Liverpool in 1911, where it is now the care of the City Council. It is sad that the faces and inscriptions of the memorial have become so worn by the ravages of time and weather, for, like the Indians they were fighting, these men gave their lives in the service or their country. Perhaps, one day, there will be sufficient funds to restore this Grade II listed monument, or at least prevent further deterioration and vandalism.
The next point on our stroll is the site of the former Anglican Church of St Augustine, which was built to the design of John Broadbent in 1830. Piston’s Memorials of Liverpool (1875) describe it as “severe Greek”, and a “reduced impoverished copy of St Pancras’, London”. The church was destroyed by Nazi bombing in 1941, and no trace, save the rocky outcrop on which it stood, now remains. A prefabricated Day Nursery stands in its place.
Crossing College Street North, we reach what was once Liverpool College or Liverpool Collegiate Institution, the foundation stone of which was laid by its Patron, the future Prime Minister and 14th Earl of Derby, on 22 October 1840. Constructed largely of red Woolton sandstone, its architect was 26 years old Harvey Lonsdale Elmes, who, three years before had designed the city’s magnificent St George’s Hall.
Collegiate & St Augustine’s In complete contrast to the latter’s classical Greek style, the façade of the old Collegiate is largely Gothic, but with Tudor touches, to comply, more or less, with the founders’ competition conditions, and it was opened on 6 January 1843, by another future Prime Minister, W E Gladstone. The College continued to own and use the buildings until 1907, when they withdrew to their other premises in Lodge Lane. The Shaw Street buildings were sold for £12,500 to Liverpool Corporation, who then used them for various educational purposes until 1985. Badly damaged by arsonists and other vandals, they have in recent years been rescued by the developers, Urban Splash and converted into prestigious apartments.
The walls of the former octagonal Assembly Hall (above, left, in c1845), at the rear of the College now surround a private garden. Our photograph, above right shows, its external appearance during conversion when it was marred by an ugly advertising banner. No doubt a welcome amenity for the residents, one cannot help but wonder whether this element of the complex will always look rather forlorn?
The last building to demand our notice is the former Strict and Particular Baptist Chapel on the corner of Shaw St and College St South, shown below left before its recent £800,000 conversion to apartments.
Old SPB Chapel, Shaw St John Bennett Memorial Successor to Byrom St Chapel, and said by Picton to be “almost an exact reproduction of in design of the Church of St Matthias, Great Howard St”, which was burned down in 1848, this red brick and stone Classical style building has a simple severity befitting its former denomination.
Parts of the chapel remained in use for worship until a few years ago, but it is understood that upon acquisition by the developers, none of the interior fittings, which were largely post-war, were worthy of retention. A memorial commemorating James Bennett, a deacon of the church for 25 years who died in 1853 and was buried in the nearby Low Hill Necropolis, was however saved, and is pictured here, above right. Its present location is not known to the LHS.
You can trace your walk along Shaw St, from the 8th (King’s) Memorial to the St Francis Xavier complex in the 1930’s aerial photo below. Since 1998 this has been the home of Hope at Everton where the Liverpool History Society meets in The Cornerstone Building.