The area around the Custom House was a warren of alleys and narrow streets, its last remnants disappearing in the early 1970s to make way for the Law Courts and the proposed new Canning Place development. A description in the 1930s conjures up a lost world: ‘ …when I first stepped from Litherland Alley, near Canning Place, into Ogden Weint. It would not appear that with any stretch of the imagination this exccedingly narrow by-way could belong to a modern city … Ogden Weint is so narrow that even two pedestrians have difficulty in passing one another without rubbing shoulders. The large stone flags are very unevenly placed and at night time when the passage is dimly illuminated by flickering yellow light from a gas lamp, one has the feeling of passing down the alleyway of an old sailing ship, and the little doorways, resembing those of ships’ cabins, serve to accentuate the impression.’
The Trawler was the last of the pubs along Strand Street to be demolished. The photograph shows it sometime in the late 1960s under the name Frayne. In my Gore’s Directory of 1910, James Frayne is listed as the landlord of The Mersey Vaults at 11, Strand Street. In 1927 (and in 1931), he is listed in Kelly’s at The Trawler at 12 Strand Street – so he obviously had a long career in the licensed trade. Pubs are a good barometer of the dynamics of a neighbourhood. Their decline in recent years a clear indication of changing patterns of behaviour and, in the case of the Dock Road pubs, the catastrophic decline in the economic activity of the area.

The Trawler, 12 Strand Street.

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