Note: Assigning a date is not easy. The Midland Railway’s “Adelphi Hotel”, completed in 1914 is represented by an architect’s perspective drawing, not a photograph, and a caption to the photograph of the “Lusitania” refers to her sinking in 1915. On the other hand there is a photograph of the City War Memorial. The content of most of the photographs, fashions, and motor vehicles or their absence, suggest pre 1914 views for many of the illustrations, so a publication date c1920, of photos taken over the previous decade seems likely.
This album is a reminder of what an elegant city Liverpool was, before the Luftwaffe and arrogant town planners ruined it. Of the “Landmark Buildings” illustrated like the “Three Graces” at the Pier Head, St.George’s Hall with Hansom Cab stand, and the Walker Art Gallery, few survive surrounded by their original neighbours. With ladies in long skirts thronging the pavements, Church Street, with its elegant shops would not look out of place in any European capital, and the same can be said of The Exchange, with bowler and top-hatted business men discussing deals on the “Flags”. The Parks, Sefton, Princes, are now just a shadow of the delightful areas of recreation that they once were. A good selection of statues are represented, including one of a gentleman to whom I owe my middle name – Canon Lester. My paternal Grandfather spent some time in his orphanage before “running away to sea”, and bestowed the forename “Lester” on my father, who bestowed it on me in turn.
A major feature of the book, as befits the HQ of both the Cunard and the White Star shipping lines is the coverage of maritime activities. Broadside views of both Liverpool favorites, the “Lusy” and the “Maury” set the scene for pictures of a “Cunarder”, with two others out in the river “Mauretania” entering Sandon Basin, Mersey Luggage Boats, “Aquitania” in Gladstone Graving Dock, and other Cunard liners on the river.
The album is rounded off with views of Port Sunlight, Birkenhead and the seaside resort of New Brighton. A picture here showing part of the Mersey defences recalls my puzzlement as a small child paddling being told “Do not go too near the Battery”. I wondered why? Would I get an electric shock? It is over 65 years since that thought occurred to me, and it was unremembered, until today looking through these pictures. Such is the power of vivid photographs to re-awaken long forgotten memories.