The Post Office c1900
Victoria Street is one of Liverpool’s more recent main streets. By more recent, I mean it was constructed as late as 1867/68 to connect North John Street to Manchester Street. The area had been basically an area of narrow streets with slum housing interspersed with industry (including a herring house, which must have been a pretty unpleasant neighbour). Of its earliest commercial buildings, Fowler’ Buildings is a good example of the intention to make the new street a prime commercial location.
Today, it is one of Liverpool’s best-preserved commercial streets, with many fine buildings from the 1880s and 90s. It suffered less severely from enemy bombing than other streets, although the Government Buildings (where the Municipal car park) and the Post Office were victims (the Post Office was rebuilt but without its French chateau style upper tiers which can be seen in the photograph above). The Produce Exchange (on the left in the top photograph) was at the centre of the fruit and provisions trade, with many of the surrounding warehouses in Mathew Street and Temple Court utilised to store and distribute produce.
The two photographs show a heavily congested street during the 1930s. The lorries in the top photograph are all servicing the fruit and vegetable trade, with a crowd of people assembled outside the Produce Exchange. When the Mersey tunnel opened in 1934, traffic increased substantially and I think that both photographs were taken to illustrate the problem.