119 Limekiln Lane c1900

Langsdale Street c1900

It is now over ten years since I published Freddy O’Connor’s Pubs on Every Corner series (four in all). What astonished me then was the incredible number of pubs – many of them faithfully documented by the brewery (in both cases here by Peter Walker’s). Liverpool was the first city to embrace brewery-managed pubs. In most places, the pubs were owned by landlords or run by tenants. Walker changed all that and introduced an efficient pub system with strict rules laid down by the brewery. The result was the Walker family grew very rich but, also, Liverpool inherited brewery-built pubs like the Philharmonic which had few equals.
Both the pubs shown here were more modest. The Langsdale Street pub was run by Catharine Kip, who stands proudly outside (whilst one of her customers is leaving with a jug of ale from the other door. Langsdale Street ran down off Shaw Street (see map below).

Both photographs come from the Walker archive, now in LRO. The brewery photographed all its pubs for licensing purposes and stuck the photographs in large ledgers with the address of each one. Other breweries, such as Higsons, did the same – but unfortunately their archives have not been kept intact, although there are a quite a few in private hands, as I discovered when I put together the books with Freddy. What we really do need is a collaborative effort to bring such photos into the public arena. They are part of Liverpool’s history and add to our understanding of how the city grew. The internet opens up a fantastic opportunity to share images which sacrificing ownership – and I hope this blog will encourage like-minded collectors to join in. I would be delighted to post other people’s photographs if they wish to contact me.

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