September, 2012 Archives

First of all I must apologise for the dreadful error with my last post. As several readers have already pointed out, the photographs are of Richmond Fair NOT Cambridge Street Almhouses. Mea culpa! I have edited the post – so accurate information is now available. I can’t promise I won’t make mistakes in the future but please correct me when I do, there is nothing worse that putting out badly wrong information.
Today’s post was triggered by a walk past the now closed Lewis’s store in Ranelagh Street. Covered in scaffolding, it had a board up announcing a new Odeon cinema and a mix of fast food outlets to the Central Village. Having already dealt with the euphemistic term ‘Gardens’ when applied to tenements devoid of anything growing, I can’t help having a dig at whoever names these developments. No – it isn’t a Village – not in any context I understand. (Even less than Stockbridge Village). No cricket on the green or ducks in the (artificial) lake, I fear.
Nonetheless, I look forward to the development opening. At least Lewis’s has been saved and, hopefully, the statue by Jacob Epstein will look even better when set against the newly cleaned walls. Lewis’s original building was a victim of bombing in 1941. The replacement went up in 1947 – remarkably soon after the War ended. Materials were in short supply but the Portland stone cladding gives a quality of finish that must have been quite uplifting at that desperate time when the city was struggling to get back on its feet.
The statue by Epstein is another bold statement of a brighter future. Its official title is Liverpool Resurgent, although it is more commonly known as ‘Dickie Lewis’. I particularly fond of the three panels underneath, also by Epstein, of children at play.

I originally posted these photographs under the heading Cambridge Street Almshouses. An serious error on my behalf – so I am correcting all my previous text. Richmond Fair (off Richmond Row) was, in fact, originally opened as a trading place for Yorkshire woollen goods in the 1780s. It was galleried, like other markets at that time, and rooms were let out to other traders. The Town Council made efforts to close it down in order to preserve their control over local markets but they eventually backed down. How successful Richmond Fair was is not clear but, by the 1850s, it was run-down and had lost most of its tenants. Picton thought it conjured up images of Russian and Middle Eastern markets, although the clientele ge described lacked any romantic appeal.
The Fair was taken over as dwellings, particularly for washer women but, in 1910, it had reached the end of its life and was demolished.
Thank you for all the kind words about the new Fotolore site. Keep on checking it out – new images are being added every day.

Waterloo Grain Warehouse, 1875

First of all, I must apologise for the relatively few blogs in recent months. This has been for a positive reason – the launch of a new website dedicated to photographs of Liverpool. Fotolore has taken my son Matt and myself over two years to develop and offers a fantastic archive of images from the 1850s onwards. Unlike this blog, which only offers a limited number of images in a chronological order, Fotolore is an ever-expanding image bank that can be easily accessed with simple searches.
Fotolore is starting with a limited number of images (some 500 in total) because we need to test it out on you. We want you to look at it and comment on how easy (or difficult) it is to use and on any other issues you care to raise. That way, we can get rid of any bugs and problems before adding a further sizeable number of photographs (it is much easier to sort out 500 images at this stage than 1000s at a later time).
This is not just an archive to look at. All the images are available for purchase as prints* and there is a forum for comments which we hope you will use. It is very important to us that Fotolore develops as an interactive site where thoughts, memories and opinion can be freely exchanged. The site is about making local history alive and that is where you come in.
I also hope to catch up on many of the requests for photographs I have received from readers over the last two years. It will take time but my hope is that we can find images of most streets, schools, pubs and other familiar places over the coming years. The great thing about Fotolore is that is designed to keep on expanding so that 1000s of photographs will become available.
The Streets of Liverpool blog will continue and will get back to its old frequency now the new site is underway. Enjoy Fotolore – and don’t forget to add your comments.

* If you’d like to buy a print, use the code FotoloreBlog when you checkout and you’ll get 25% off until the end of September.