Friday, December 28 – 1900
Liverpool 100 years ago
Judging from cotemporary records which serve the place of the garrulity of the oldest inhabitant, Liverpool in the last quarter that ended in 1799 began to show in a striking way the sign of prosperity that has not deserted her since.
It is true that in that particular period many vicissitudes were her portion, and it is equally true that ups and downs have beset her during the century that is on the eve of expiration; but the triumph of shipping supremacy is her proud possession to-day.
One of the most remarkable outcomes of changing modes of life is the pouring of country into town, and Liverpool is a conspicuous example of the development of urban aggregation. What was Liverpool when our forefathers flourished within its border 100 years ago, thinking, like us to-day, of the advent of a new century?
Voluminous writings bearing upon the period from 1775 to 1800 are readily at hand. Has the name ever been discovered of the candid critic who in 1799 said that the then recent improvements of Liverpool were evidence of its expected populousness?
In the use of the phrase “expected populousness” he exhibited a peculiar prescience. When he penned his caustic criticism of the town the population was about 90,000, including seaman of the port; now, even exclusive of the latter, it cannot be under 800,000; whilst to these figures must be added those of Liverpool’s tributaries, Birkenhead, Bootle, Garston, and Wallasey.
The calculation is reasonable that within a radius of three miles of the Town Hall the population is considerably over a million, and the results of the approaching census will assuredly show that this estimate is, if anything, within the mark. But a truce to the conclusion of the critic who weighed the Liverpool of 1799 in his balance and found it wanting, that is so far as his ill-adjusted scales were concerned.
At the opening of the concluding quarter of the 18th century the trade of Liverpool was considerable, but its advance went on by leaps and bounds, and when the dawn of the century came the town was justified in holding its head high as a commercial centre.
So far back as 1775 a Chamber of Commerce was in active existence. Amongst the trades in which Liverpool was occupied were those with West India, West Africa, the Baltic, Ireland, and Greenland, the last-named in connection with whale fishing.
Cotton had practically no place in mercantile then. In 1784 eight bags of cotton were brought into Liverpool in an American vessel, and much investigation took place on the part of the Commissioners of Customs as to the origin of these. The bags were consigned to William Rathbone and Son, who found no buyers for them until they were purchased by Strutt and Son, of Derby, the founders of the Belper family.
Herring and cod fishing was another industry; so was shipbuilding, and so was the coasting trade. In the latter regard it may be mentioned that the smacks that sailed between Liverpool and London were largely occupied in conveying to the metropolis cheese that were the products of Cheshire dairies.
Works for the manufacture of earthenware, glass, sugar, tobacco, ropes, and iron were aso numerous at this time in Liverpool; but, although many efforts were made to found a cotton spinning industry, none succeeded.
Amongst the banks in the town were those of Charles Caldwell and Company, in Paradise-street; William Clarke and Son, in Derby-square; Arthur Heywood, Son and Company, in Castle-street; T.S. and J. Crane, in Dale-street; William Gregson, Sons, and Company, in College-lane; and Staniforth, Ingram, Bold and Dalters, in Pool-lane.
Dale Street, 1800.
One of the most curious revelations yielded by a perusal of the local muniments of the last century is that the Postoffice was in North John-street, on the east side, between Dale-street and Prince’s-street. It was but the ordinary dwelling-house of the Postmaster, Mr. Thomas Statham, and letters were received and delivered through an aperture of the nature that may yet be seen in postoffices in remote country villages. In 1800 the establishment was removed to the narrow yet busy thoroughfare that is now known as Old Postoffice-pace.
But five floating docks subsisted 100 years ago, and these, with the added dry docks and basins, contained an area of 26 acres. There were for the most part occasionally occupied by smacks that skirted the coast, by barges, and by the brigs of West India and West Africa.
Castle-street, the Old Churchyard, Drury-lane, Water-street Oldhall-street, Lancelots-hey, Chapel-street, Union-street, Cumberland-street, Dale-street, Preeson’s-row, Redcross-street, Harrington-street, Pool-lane, John-street, Temple-court, Rainford-gardens, Lord-street, Mathew-street, Whitechapel, Leigh-street, Tarleton-street, Church-street, Williamson-street, Williamson-square, Basnett-street, Parker-street, Clayton-square, Case-street, Ranelagh-street, Heathfield-street, Fleet-street, School-lane, Hanover-street, Wolstenholme-square, Paradise-street, Cornhill, Liver-street, Pitt-street, Brigewater-street, Park-lane, King-street, Trafford’s-lane, and Duke-street were thoroughfares in which stood the houses of the more prominent inhabitants of the town at a time when the Liverpool merchant had his office on the ground floor for the transaction of business, the upper storeys being sacred to his family.
Towards the termination of the century not a few buildings of greater or lesser degree of architectural distinction had raised their heads, chief amongst them being the Town Hall and the Athenaeum.
Here may it be said in passing that one of the most original chief magistrates of Liverpool was Mr. John Shaw, who filled the mayoral chair in 1794 and 1800, and of whom the story is told that on one occasion when a person of considerable talents was talked of as a proper man to be proposed for a seat in the Council, he said, with perfect seriousness,
“I don’t like clever fellows being admitted into the Council. What is the use of so many clever fellows? There are J—n, H—d, G—e, D—r, and myself; we are quite a sufficient number for the Council.”
Although employers and employed in Liverpool a century back were ardently devoted to business, and so built up the commercial solidity of the town, they did not deny themselves amusement. Archery, tennis, cricket, skittles, bowls, horse-racing, and cock-fighting were much in vogue, and music and the drama had their votaries as well.
The archery butts were in Cazneau-street, which was then out in the country; and there were tennis courts in Grosvenor-street, and the bowling-greens and skittle alleys, as to-day, were attached to various taverns. Cockspur-street, as its name suggests, was the resort of those who like Paul de Florae delighted in cock-fighting. The horse-racing took place in Crosby; but was abandoned in 1786.
Turning to music, it is noteworthy to find that the works chiefly in demand were those of Handel, such as “The Messiah,” “Judas Maccabeus,” and “Alexander’s Feast,” the performances being held in St. Peter’s Church. As to the drama, the Theatre Royal in Williamson-square, Shakespeare and Kane O’Hara evidently dividing the attention of the town. Dinner parties, of course, were common; but as a rule these were held early in the afternoon, and not in the evening as it is the custom of our time.
Did a gentleman of to-day appear on ‘Change in the costume that was worn when the fast-expiring century was born, shafts of ridicule would be thrown at him. Vagaries of dress are a matter of common history, and perhaps after all the costume of the old merchants and bankers of Liverpool was more picturesque than that of their descendants.
Ordinarily they were clad in coats cut much in the form of Court dress coats, often with stand-up collars, and usually with gilt, silvered, or twist buttons; waistcoats of great length, the flaps being large and containing pockets with a small cover over each pocket; short breeches, with buckles of gold, silver, of false stones, at the knees; and big buckles of gold, silver, or gilt or plated, to resemble those metals, in their shoes. The coat, waistcoat, and breeches were often all of one colour, frequently of a light or snuff colour.
Ruffles at the wrists and white stocks for the throat were almost invariably worn. Chocked hats were commonly used. The stocking were usually of silk, cotton, or woolen yarn; and the wear of the feet were top-boots.
Continuing this sumptuary record, it may be added that the ladies of Liverpool, when in full dress, wore hair powder, with a cushion upon the crown of the head, over which the hair was turned and combed smoothly, so as to be raised several inches.
They also wore shoes, the heels of which were from three to four inches in height. Small hoops were worn, and instead of parasols, the ladies used huge green fans to keep the rays of the sun in summer time from beating upon their faces.
Clubs were numerous, and of these was one that was named “The Unanimous Society,” which met on Saturday evenings in the Cross Keys Tavern in Dale-street. A rule of the club was the imposition of a penalty upon a member convicted of cursing and swearing, another decreed a penalty in the case of a member who came within the precincts of the place “disguised in liquor.”
This rule also quaintly provided that “if any dispute arise about the validity of such disguise, the same be determined by poll or ballot of the member then present.”
Such is a picture in little of the business and social externals of the Liverpool of a hundred years ago.
(Liverpool Mercury, 28-12-1900)
By the docks, 1800.
Tuesday, May 2 – 1899
Prospects of next season
During the past few weeks the most persistent rumours have been circulated in this district as to the probability of the dissolution of the New Brighton Tower Football Club in the event of its failing to gain a position in the First Division of the League.
These reports appear to have received additional impetus since it became definitely settled that the Tower would have to remain content with the Second Division status for at least another season.
How the idea originated it seems impossible to ascertain, but in order that the precise facts of the case might be laid before the readers of the “Express,” a representative of this journal this morning sought an interview with Mr. J.C. Balmer, the energetic and courteous secretary of the club. When he matter was mentioned to Mr. Balmer he merely smiled at first.
“You may contradict the statement as positively as you like,” he afterwards remarked.
“Our club is not going to end, and, in fact, we have every reason to anticipate a far more successful time next season. We have already re-engaged Tommy Allison, Tommy Leigh, William Dackers, John Stephenson, Josh Hargreaves, Harry Hammond, and McGuffie, and are in active negotiation with a number of other players. Does that look like dissolution?
“There will be a slight reconstruction of the company, and the present directors will be assisted by a local committee representing the inhabitants of the district. But we have never had any idea of winding up, and indeed it would be most ungrateful of us to think of such a thing, seeing how enthusiastically the people hereabouts are supporting us.”
Mr. Balmer afterwards explained his reasons for the failure of the Tower club to obtain admission to the First Division this year.
“Look how we were crippled at the beginning of last season by huge transfer fees!” he explained.
“A very serious hole was made in our finances by this cause alone, and as a matter of fact we were so harassed and hampered that we could not place a complete team in the field on the opening day of the season.
“Then, again, we had not proper reserves, and you know how we have been cursed with ill-luck in the matter of injuries to players. Without referring to others I will just mention Tommy Leigh and John McCartney as examples.
“Leigh only played in two matches when he was prostrated by typhoid fever and has never helped us since, while McCartney has hardly kicked a ball since Christmas. What is the result? We have had to put men into unaccustomed position – for instance, Harry Hammond, a centre forward, has alternately played full back and half back – and that has meant a serious loss of points. When we had our full team we could beat any other club in the Second Division.”
When reminded that similar ill-luck might overtake the club next year, Mr. Balmer said it was scarcely probable, and in say case they would be better prepared to cope with it.
“We shall begin the season in a thorough state of preparedness,” he added; “and we shall from the very first have reliable reserves to fall back upon in case of need. As a matter of fact our team will be quite complete by the end of May. That looks like business, doesn’t it?
The conversation afterwards turned upon the general prospects of the Second Division next season. Mr. Balmer expressed the confident opinion that the inclusion of Sheffield Wednesday and Bolton Wanderers would make the competition far more attractive.
“These clubs,” he explained, “will not only bring more spectators from their own towns, but they will arouse a far greater degree of interest in the general results of the matches and the struggles for promotion. The Second Division next year is sure to be vastly more attractive to the public than it has ever been before.”
- Are you not afraid, Mr. Balmer, inquired the interviewer, that it will be more difficult than ever to force your way into the First Division with two such powerful rivals as Sheffield Wednesday and the Bolton Wanderers?
“Not in the least,” was the confident rejoinder.
“I have not the smallest doubt that we shall be at the top next season if we have merely ordinary luck and have little more justice from referees. In this latter respect we think we have had very grave reasons for complaint in the past.
Mr. Balmer afterwards assured the interviewer that in his opinion there was abundant room for a first class Association team at New Brighton, and concluded a singularity interesting conversation by again declaring that the club would be in vigorous existence next season.
(Evening Express, 02-05-1899)
A wonderful drawing of the salmon coloured shot worn by New Brighton Tower. Image found here.
Tuesday, July 7 – 1874
(Liverpool Mercury, 07-07-1874)
Note: I suspect this can be the plot of land that John Houlding’s Stanley House was build upon. I might be wrong, but the location seems to be correct to me.
Saturday, August 16 – 1884
One of the knowing ones, who hail’d from the ancient seaport of Worsthorne, was “done brown” the other day in Liverpool.
On arriving at the above place by a cheap trip from Burnley, in company with his “better half” and a neighbour, he proceeded along the line of docks, no doubt viewing with astonishment the splendid ships that lay moored along the quays – to hi no doubt as interesting contrast to the pretty iron “steamers” on the river at home.
As time wore on an inward monitor, in the shape of an hungry stomach, reminded the descendant of Adam in unmistakably terms that something was wanting. Looking round he espied, in large letters on a board outside an eating house, “A good dinner for a shilling.”
Turning to his wife he said, “Si thi, lass; look yonder; a good dinner for a bob. I’m I’ grand trim for a good tuck out. I’ll spend um the’r bob.”
“Howd thi noise, un doan’t be allus a fool; allus be dacent when tha’t away fro’ hoam,” said his wife.
“I’ll be dacent, tha’ll see, if I get a chonce. I bally thinks mi throit’s cut.”
Without more ado, the three walked into the shop, and after sniffing and viewing the various dishes in the window and on the counter, they sat down in a quiet corner to themselves.
“What’ll tha have, lass?”
“Ill have same us thee,” replied the wife.
“Well, we’ll hev a plate o’beef un taters a-piece.”
No sooner said than done. Three plates were ordered – one for each – and our hero set tow work with a good will, and polished his plate off in no time.
“Get on wi’ yo’; yo’re noo eaters; yo’ll ha’ t’same brass to pay.”
Another plate was ordered for each, and soon disappeared after plates No. 1. The ladies could manage no more; but not yet satisfied he thought he could just manage a bit of chicken and tongue, which was accordingly put before him. Unbuttoning two of the bottom buttons of his waistcoat, which had become uncomfortably tight, he soon polished off plate No. 3. Smacking his lips as he knocked for the waiter, who appeared on the scene in a jiffy, he ejaculated, “By gum, owd chap, I’ve had a topping dinner. I’ll call here ageon when I cum to Liverpool.”
Throwing down a half-sovereign, he said: “Tak for three dinner aot o;that. Mi wife and t’other woman hezn’t had hauf a doo like me; tha ought to tak a bit less for that.”
The waiter picked up the half-sovereign and threw down three shillings saying, “That will make all right.”
“Haa’s this,” said the Worsthorner, “I’st want seven shillings; tha knows it’s nobbut qa shilling a=piece for us dinners, tha knows that’s three shilling altogether.”
The waiter couldn’t see things from this point of view, and with a smile all round his face he said, “My good man, you have eaten three dinners yourself, and the ladies two each, that makes seven; so you see your change is quite right.”
Opening his eyes wide, and glancing at his expanded vest he answered, “I say that boord autside said, “A good dinner for a shilling,’”
“Yes, sir,” said the waiter, “a dinner means one plate only.”
Turning to his “better half” our Worsthorne friend said, “Tha sees, he’s trying to make aot ut I’ve ettun three dinners, and yo women two a-piece; it’s nowt but a deod swindle. Th’idea o’me eating three dinner ut once; for God’s sake, yo mun never tell this when yo get back to Worsthorne. If this ever gets aot ut ‘Old Jack’s’ or ‘Major’ gets hold on’t, I’s never yer t’last on’t.”
Buttoning up his pockets he marched out of the shop, exclaiming, “I’ll put a mark o’er this dar; yo’ll catch me no more at this gam’”
He went on his way a well filled but a wiser man.
(Burnley Express, 16-08-1884)
Over the last few days and most likely for a few days ahead articles will be added from around 1891/1892 era when the split occurred at Everton Football Club leading to the formation of Liverpool Football Club.
If you would like to keep an eye on the progress you can follow the build up of articles here: http://kjellhanssen.com/1980/01/02/football-and-city-life-in-liverpool-pre-1892/ – just scroll down to the 1890s and choose your article(s).
Friday, July 24 – 1896
Neil Kerr, the old Cowlair-Rangers-Liverpool player, and who in years gone by has played on Gayfield Park, was on Saturday morning last the sole survivor of a very sad yachting accident on the Clyde. Kerr and two companions had been cruising about the Firth during the Glasgow Fair holidays, and on Friday opening the party found a yacht drifting at Large.
About midnight Mr. Kerr and his companions – one of them Archibald Petrie, being the son of the owner of the yacht – resolved to take the vessel to safe quarters under the lee of the Bute Island.
When about mid-channel, Kerr, who was repairing a lamp, discovered that water was coming rapidly and gave alarm. In the excitement that followed the boat was accidently upset by one of the party, and the unfortunate three men were thrown into the water. Kerr was apparently the only efficient swimmer and managed to give the others an oar each and urged them to do the best they could for themselves.
The unfortunate men, however, were unable to hold on to the oars long and soon sank. Kerr pluckily made for a light visible from the Bute shore, and, after swimming for more than an hour, landed in a very exhausted condition and raise the alarm. A search party immediately put out, and the lifeless bodies of the two men were found washed upon the sore. Kerr soon came round, but he was naturally in a very distressed state of mind.
(Arbroath Herald, 30-07-1896)
Note: The accident happened on Friday night.
Saturday, February 4 – 1933
Positions which are most difficult to fill
by Elisha Scott (Irish International goalkeeper of Liverpool).
All of us who are interested in the game of football are interested in the building up of football teams. Don’t we just love to imagine ourselves getting together a really good side to represent the club in which we are specially interested; getting together something like an ideal side, that is.
Many a time I have been told by managers of teams which were not doing too well about the scores of letters – hundreds in some instances – they have received from the supporters of the club. These letters have told the managers the sort of players they ought to get to pull the team together. The letters have also told the managers how the teams could be made up, from the playing material at the disposal of the manager, to put it back on a winning way. All very interesting, all showing that many of us rather fancy ourselves at the job of team building.
How much of that advice, how many of the suggestions which come from outside are really worth anything I have no means of knowing. Anyway, it is a matter about which we need not worry our heads at the moment. The vital difference between the men the manager plays in the colours of a club, and the men who would be played by the amateur team selector, is that the former are tried out on the field and the latter are not.
Like a jig-saw puzzle
I don’t suppose there is any sort of unanimity among managers concerning the correct way to tackle the job of building a successful team. I know there is a lack of unanimity because in my talks with managers I have found different ideas. Some get the players and try to build up the team round those players. Other managers seem to have a very clear picture of the sort of football they want their team to play, and try to find the players who will carry out their ideas.
In either case there are difficulties in the way, of course, mainly because the supply of the right sort of football material is smaller than the demand. In any event, and whatever the angle from which the task of team building is approached, it must be very much like piecing together the bits of a complicated jig-saw puzzle.
Centre half – the corner stone
When I first came into top class football there seemed to ba much clearer cut idea as to the way to start team-building than there is now. I know several managers who used to concentrate, first and foremost, on finding the right type of centre half. He was the corner-stone round which the team was built.
Those of you who have been connected with this football as long as I have will be able to recall, without much difficulty, teams which were literally built round a super-player appearing in the centre-half position. Find the centre half and build the team round him. That used to be the slogan. I don’t think that slogans is nearly as popular to-day, probably because ideas concerning the part which the centre half should play have changed so far as modern clubs are concerned.
The old-time centre half used to be the complete footballer; strong, two-footed, super with his head, skill in his feet to beat an opponent, and accuracy with his kicking to support his own forwards. Such all-round skill is not demanded to-day. He is regarded as the stopper, and I suggest that it is easier to find men who are stoppers, purely and simply, that it is to find the complete footballer of the old centre half type. So perhaps we can say that, in a general sense, there is not the same difficulty in filling the centre half berth as there used to be.
Six a penny goalkeepers
Talking about the men the game needs, I don’t suppose I shall be expected to say that goalkeepers are among the big needs of our time. I have a manager friend who tells me that he would never pay a big transfer fee for a goalkeeper because good goalkeepers can be found anywhere. That sort of statement is apt to strain our particular friendship. It might be quite true that there are plenty of good goalkeepers, but it isn’t very consoling to a goalkeeper to dwell on that thought. So we will leave it with the suggestion that perhaps goalkeepers are not among the game’s biggest need because they stay on the active list so long.
Why centre forwards fail
That the game needs centre forwards who can satisfy the demand for consistent goal-scoring from that position is obvious. Centre forwards who can keep at it in the goal-scoring sense are not easy to find, however, mainly because, as I pointed ot in my reference to centre half-backs, their task is made exceedingly difficult owing to the “policeman” tactics now so largely employed.
Personally, I think some of the centre forwards might complain that their task is made even more difficult that it ought to be because they have not the men on either side of them to provide the openings; to take part of their burden off their shoulders. And that thought brings me automatically to what many people would, I am sure, consider the greatest need of the game to-day: more and more efficient inside wing men.
It is my view that the inside wing men have become the real key-players of the average football teams in these days. They have to be the workers, the fetchers, the carriers, the feeders, and in addition to provide the real brains of the side.
The measure of success which comes to outside wing men, and scoring chances to the centre forwards, are to a large extent dependent on the inside wing men. Whether you look at the International sides of recent times, or look at club sides, I think you will get evidence that the inside wing positions provide the managers with a lot of difficulty.
The game to-day also needs, perhaps more than ever, wing half-backs with ideas of constructive football highly developed. And football speaking in the general sense, needs thinkers. More time and thought is spent on tactics to-day than ever, but I don’t believe the last word has been said. There is scope for greater variety in football.
My favourite story
A cup-tie was in progress, and it was rather a rough game. Six of the players has sustained severe knocks, and one of the home backs had to be carried off the field in a state of collapse. At this stage a lady spectators, who had grown very alarmed, turned to her neighbour, and exclaimed: “What a terrible game! How often does a man lose his life at this sport?”
“Only once, madam!” said the gentleman.
(Hastings and St Leonards Observer, 04-02-1933)