Author Archive for Laura

Hidden Liverpool, the Lyceum and other stories…

A few months ago I was contacted by a lady developing a new project for a company called Placed in Liverpool: Hidden Liverpool. Hidden Liverpool is a year long project supported by the Heritage Lottery which explores Liverpool’s empty buildings and how memories of the usage of these buildings could go someway to informing the reuse of them in the future. Amongst the buildings selected are Woolton Baths, the Tate and Lyle Sugar Silo, Liverpool School for the Blind and the iconic Lyceum Building on Bold Street.
The Thomas Harrison designed Lyceum has been empty since being vacated by its last tenants around 4/5 years ago and the marks of neglect are already starting to show. On last inspection I noticed parts of the steps had fallen away Its shocking that in a city that trades so much on its heritage buildings like the Lyceum are just left to rot whilst in the care of big corporations with little care clearly for the social and historical importance of the buildings in their care. Lets not forget that this building (reputably) housed the first lending library in the world, that the building of it in the first place was a sort of political statement made by dissenters and abolitionists William Roscoe, John Lightbody, John Currie and the Rev’d John Yates the signatures of whom you can find on the original deeds for the Lyceum kept at Liverpool Central Library Records Office. It was visited by Herman Melville (author of, amongst other things Moby Dick) who was promptly kicked out for looking too scruffy and if all of that is not enough it was completed in 1802 - making it 212 years old - all important reasons for the reinvention of this majestic Bold Street icon.

The exhibition will be on at The Colonades in the Albert Dock until 29th April read about it here

Some interesting banking stories

Some of the posts on the Bold Street blog attract much more conservation than others. Places like The Mardi Gras, the beautiful cafes and restaurants of Bold Street past (La Bussola, The Kardoma, Fullers and Reeces bringing up the most vivid memories) and of course, the Banks. Bold Street was a veritable who’s who of banking during the early part of the 20th century and right up until the 1970’s.

Liverpool Savings Bank (now Tesco) was once the place to go and get involved with your finances and has evoked many memories including these from Gordon below.

“Regarding the TSB `coin`, I believe I have one somewhere. I joined the Liverpool Savings Bank from school in 1953, and spent over 37 years in the TSB, latterly Lloyds TSB of course. I would think that the souvenir would be worth a few pounds to a banking ephemera collector. I have a recollection that they were issued in their thousands though to everyone who made a deposit in an account during the special week, being regarded more as a sort of medal than a coin.

Not sure if I can lay my hands on the medal, which from memory was about the size of a florin (2/- piece). They were issued I think to commemorate 150 years of Trustte Savings Banks, the first such bank being acknowledge as Rev. Henry Duncan`s in Ruthwell, Scotland, although I believe there is a case for the claims of an earlier bank in Edinburgh(?) which did however have a slightly different modus operandi and rules. Duncan`s model was perhaps nearer to the way the banks that followed were set up. The little medals/coins were neither silver or gold colour, but something between the two, sort of dull brass as I recall”

This bank was also the location of one of my most recent Bold Street experiences. Walking up the street I noticed that the door to the upstairs rooms of the old Liverpool Savings Bank was open and peering inside I noticed a rather impressive cast-iron staircase stretching some 40 feet up into the upstairs rooms. It turns out that these impressive rooms are now being renovated and turned into a short stay apartment.

I was shown round by the owner of the apartment Lawrence who had discovered some interesting artefacts whilst in the process of renovating the rooms upstairs, probably once offices and board rooms. The finds included a bank receipt for the withdrawal of £28,000 in 1918 and glass slides depicting child-like scenes probably used in a magic lantern as a toy.

It made me curious as to the origins of this building, its grandiose appearance and its now multi-use as Tesco and apartment. The apartment is actually called ‘The Masonic’ which alludes to its original use as a Masonic Lodge (and the reason the staircase bears a star motif?) which remains a popular members organisation in the city.

I am not sure when the building as transformed from a Masonic Lodge to a Bank but I have records showing it as a bank in 1875 so it must have been a pretty long-time ago, either way it now stands as a testament to a Bold Street that had a very diverse daytime activity and withdrawals of vast amounts of money.

Thank you to Gordon for sharing his pictures and memories with us and to Lawrence for letting us have a look inside the bank. You can see pics from this recent visit on our flickr here you can see more memories of the savings bank in other locations on the blog.

Memories of Phillip Berger Fur Coats

I was contacted by Irene a lady I work with in the North of Liverpool with a lovely story about her sister in law who now lives in New Zealand who once worked on Bold Street:

“She worked for Phillip Berger who sold mink coats the year was 1967/68.The T.V. celebs of the day used to come in to buy them and also the “Winter Brothers” came in to buy their wives coats and would give the shop assistant a great tip.Next door to the shop was a great Deli which also had a great cake counter in it.On friday we would cook Mr Bergers lunch always sausage and eggs.There was also a paper/magazine stand at the bottom of Bold street.My memories of Bold street is that it was a very attractive street with lots of really nice shops especially jewelery shops.”

Thanks so much for Irene for this story, I’ll keep my eye out for anything related to the shop.

Recent interesting Bold Street emails.

I was recently contacted by a couple of far-flung readers of the blog who wondered if I had any information on their family members and possessions.

As I couldn’t find much out I thought I’d post it here to see if there is anyone who knows anything they can share.

The first is from a Dr Whittingham whose enquiry was related to his Mum who once sold copies of a radical pamphlet in Bold Street. The pamphlet was called ‘White, Orange and Green’ and was sold from an empty shop which was described as a ‘big, bare, shop’ by the Liverpool Echo at the time (1936)

Bold Street has long had a history of radical activity, from protest to one of the first vegetarian cafe in the country so this discovery has really helped to reinforce this.

The second is from Victoria in Toronto who bought an antiques chair in Canada in 1974. She later discovered that the chair was made or sold in Bold Street and was branded with the name Hughes, Read & Co 45 & 47 Bold Street, Liverpool. According to the Gores Street directories I have which only go back to 1892 this is the location of the Liverpool Union Bank, now Pizza Pronto, Mr Chips and the sweet shop by Subway. The suggestion is that these chairs pre-date that. If anyone has any information about Hughes Read and Co Victoria and I would be really interested in hearing from you.Have a look here for images of the chairs.

Thank you to Dr Whittingham and Victoria for their contributions.

Ponchos + pendolinos revisted

I was contacted by Tony recently who ran the Bold Street Virgin shop in the early 70’s. I had thought that this was the first site (which I must admit did seem unlikely to me!) but Tony put me straight. Below is Tony’s account of the year he ran virgin Bold Street which makes a great addition to our growing archive of all things Bold Street.

“I saw your article on the website about the Virgin Record Store in Bold St and felt I should reply. I opened the shop in about 1971 and was the first manager for about a year. This was the 3rd Virgin shop as the first was opened in Oxford St in London although we had run as a mail order business for cut price records some time before this. Brighton was next and Liverpool shortly after.

I arrived on my first day from London to find a carpenter and we proceeded to build the fittings for the shop including the counters and shelving, all do-it-yourself in those days as money was very short and we were fighting the big record companies to break the monopoly on record sales and provide customers with discounts. The shop had been a women’s clothes/bridal shop before we took it over and was very large with lots of room upstairs. I think it was number 90 Bold St but can’t be sure. I lived in the shop for some time before eventually finding a flat locally. We kept a rabbit at the time and sometimes she lived in the shop but had to be moved when she started chewing the alarm wires and setting it off in the middle of the night.

Most record shops of the time made you stand in a small booth to listen to records and limited the time you could spend there. Virgin’s philosophy was to give people a comfortable environment and no limit on how many records you could listen to hence the cushions. Richard had decided to sell waterbeds and at one point we  had one as well as the cushions but this did not survive visits from the Scottie Rd School kids who delighted in sticking pins and knives into it until we had a very soggy carpet.

There wasn’t a doorman in my day but if anyone was seen taking drugs they  would be asked to leave as it risked the closure of the shop by the police. We were raided by the police once who arrived with dogs, plainclothes and lots of uniformed officers. They closed the shop and searched everyone there but nothing was found except a mess on the carpet by a police dog.

Sadly I do not have any photographs of the shop at this time.”

If anyone does have any photo’s of the Virgin Shop Bold Street we would love to see them. Thanks so much to Tony for this.

Butterfly Hunting…..

and Photo-Shopping on Saturday afternoon.

On Saturday afternoon eight young people went, armed with a digital camera, to hunt for butterflies in the windows of Bold Street shops.  Later they attempted to photograph items inside the shops of a specific colour, in an activity called ‘Photo-Shopping.

This was all part of FACT’s Gallery Workshop which was led by artist John O’Shea.  The young people were introduced to the mechanics of digital photography and were also shown a traditional slideshow.

It was suggested that the young people should use the cameras as a device for ‘capturing’ - in the same way as an explorer might use a butterfly net.

When they had finished exploring and capturing the young people returned and uploaded the images to Flickr and were able to do their own digital slideshow of what they had collected.  Click here to view the work.


The Future of Bold Street…

Over the course of the past six months many people have expressed concern and interest in what the future holds for Bold Street. Having transformed from residential street to wealthy shopping avenue, ghost town to haven for independent traders, the street has constantly evolved. On June 26th 2007, local filmmaker John Scotland hit the street to find out what the people think lies next ahead for Bold Street……

Click here to watch


New Film: Mind Drift

Filmmaker Emily Voelker has been collaborating with tenantspin tenants over the last 4 months on a film entitled Mind Drift. The film is a collection of 14 sets of images taken from the point of view of a consumer walking down Bold Street.

Themes covered include shopping, dirt, architecture, people and poetry. Brash, beautiful and funny, the film captures the sheer range of activity, personality and function the street has to offer.

Click here to watch.

3AM on Bold Street Baby….

One of the first things we uncovered during our Bold Street Research was writer and poet Jegsy Dodd’s song 3AM on Bold Street.

We got in touch with Jegsy who was kind enough to join us here in FACT and recite his poem to a live audience. Here is that performance in full - 3AM on Bold Street is available to purchase via itunes.

Tastes Like Happy…

We’ve recently acquired a film shot on Bold Street about the making of a Vegetable Pie in a post war Britain still in the grips of rationing. The film was shot in Radiant House which today houses HMV and Argos and is excerpt from Echo’s of the 40’s and 50’s.

Check out the fantastic soundtrack. Many thanks to Angus Tilston from Pleasures Past.

The Bolder They Walk

Filmmaker Kim Ryan has been a long time collaborator of tenantspin’s and on a sunny day in May over the course of an hour, something magical happened on Bold Street. Six camera’s positioned throughout the street, two priest, willing shopkeepers and a fascinating public resulted in The Bolder They Walk. The film, staring Chris Bernard and Alex Cox dressed as clergymen and featuring some interesting observations about art, religion and regeneration transformed the street into a film set.

The results are a magical one off day in Liverpool with a cast of hundreds. You can see the film in the exhibition or online here.


An Architect’s Dream

During our early research we were put in touch with Architectural Historian Joseph Sharples who has given us a fantastic insight into the streets history and architectural influences.

From Ancient Greek and Egyptian influences to insights into the Lyceum and staff entrances at 72 Bold Street, Joseph lifts the lid on some hidden histories during a 6 part interview series.

Save The Lyceum

We interviewed local activist Florence Gerston who was instrumental in the successful campaign to save the Lyceum which was under threat of demolition in the 1970’s. Florence speaks at length about the measures they took to save this historical landmark, its history and journey to becoming Bold Street’s only listed building.

Running Up That Hill


Artist and broadcaster Roger Hill has created two new audio tours of Bold Street for you to listen to hear and showcased within the model. During our research we have encountered some amazing facts, some that seem so fantastical they are hard to believe, Roger exploits this rich history and dances between rumour, fact and the downright absurd.

Click here to hear Audio Tour 1

For an alternative view of Bold Street; as much Mystery Tour as Audio Tour… click here to hear Audio Tour 2.

Myra Smith

Myra Smith worked in a hairdressing salon on Bold Street between 1947 - 1955. We interviewed her in May 2007 - she spoke in great detail about post-war Bold Street, famous clients and finger waves.

Myra’s interview is available in six installments in the Media Lounge and online here.


Doreen Preston

Doreen Preston got in touch with us after she had heard a ready call on Radio Merseyside appealing for Bold Street stories. In May of this year we traveled to interview Doreen who had worked in Clay & Abraham Pharmacy on Bold Street in 1945.

Doreen is a born storyteller and recounts in vivid detail her work at the shop, the clientele, the surrounding shops, interior décor and nannies with silvercross prams. Doreen’s interview is available to watch in the media lounge and online here.


Many thanks to Doreen for her time and wonderful stories.

Top Ten

10 Interesting FACTS about Bold Street to dazzle your friends, you’ll be a hit in your local pub with these pearls of wisdom.

1. Bold Street was laid out in the 1770’s
2. The street is named after Jonas Bold a local slave owner, merchant and banker.
3. The Lyceum was built to house a gentlemen’s club and was the first subscription library in Europe.
4. Number 100 Bold Street was built to house Louis Daguerre’s Diorama and opened it’s doors in 1825.
5. C.Ferranit, father of Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti innovator in the development of electrical engineering was born at 130 Bold Street in 1864.
6. Phillip George Barraud developed the idea for the famous HMV logo His Masters Voice whilst practicing from 92 Bold Street
7. During the 1980’s, a development plan known as the Shankland Plan proposed to totally cover Bold Street in glass thus making it an indoor shopping area.
8. There are a few apparent secret passages underneath the pavement in Bold Street, one has been discovered running from Foners to an unknown location – the reasons for this are unknown.
9. Bold Street is the first place Doris Mercer (project contributor) saw a poodle.
10. Famous bands including, The Beatles, The Smiths, Maximo Park, the Stone Roses, The Swans, New Order, Midge Ure and Echo & The Bunnymen have all played on Bold Street.

Busker of the Year

Bold Street has become a stage for some fantastic busking talents over the years, some of whom have contributed to the exhibition. Bold Street Bill is featured in an interview and also appears on the album cover of band Jonas Thomassen & JT Scam’s latest album titled Bold Street while Barry has featured heavily in a film by artist’s Foreign Investment.

We’ve also been lucky enough to receive a specially recorded message for the exhibition from Liverpool-based acoustic singer songwriter Alun Parry who started his career on Bold Street and was subsequently voted as the “Liverpool Echo Busker of the Year”.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

All three of these fantastic performers’ work can be found in the exhibition.

I Just Called To Say…..

I Just Called To Say “Bold Street” I Love You

In an effort to allow as many people as possible to contribute to the project, we set up a dedicated Bold Street hotline. The number, 0151 324 1555 allows callers to talk about their memories or indeed impressions of the street. These calls are then transformed into podcasts available via itunes, an example of which can be found here.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

The phone number has been promoted for the past two months via the BBC Big Screen in Clayton Sq, Radio Merseyside and a promotional postcard. This line is still active so please ring with your opinions of the exhibition and Bold Street Stories.

Contributors and Supporters


So many people have contributed, collaborated and supported this project, they are in no particular order:

Debbie and Simon from National Gas Archives, Joseph Sharples, David Lewis
Steve Binns, Everyone @ FACT, Trudy & Lesley from Madam Foners, Douglas from Puscka, Sean Halligan, Dave Woods, Simon Robertshaw, Mandy from News From Nowhere, Liverpool Record Office, Lancashire Record Office Preston, Kate Cowie Utility, David from David’s hair design, Gordon from Minskys, Doris Mercer, Doreen Preston, Liz Gould Greenpeace, Peter Gorman, Audrey Thomas, Roger Hill, Roger Phillips, Annie Davies, Karen Jeff’s of Bold Street, June Ross and Tina Emma Bridal Wear Bold Street, Margaret Peter Kay photography Bold Street, Gordon Hill, Jim Flinn, Amy Deegan, Agnes Curnow, Mrs Gorman, Stewart Watts F.A Welch, John from Radiant House, Margi Clarke, Peter Blaze, Colin Wilkinson, Mrs Brown, Mr O’Donnell, Mrs Doyle, Lesley Cantor, Jean Carlow, Jean Grant, Jo Abley North West Film Archive, Stephen Blundell., Florence Gurston, Katie Chadwick National Museums Liverpool, Pamela Raman Lord Mayors Office, Mark Jones Mardi Gras, Bold Street Bill, Phil (Busker), Barry(Busker) Jeff Davis Probe Records, Johnathan Helga (Shed KM), David Cafe 53, Keith Fireside World, Bernard Fallon, Ambrose Reynolds Urban Strawberry Lunch, Jed Oxfam, David J Colbran, Kate McNichol Merseyside Police, Jayne Casey, Patrick L A Productions, Joanna Rowland National Museums Liverpool, Ramsay Campbell, Anne Gleave National Museums Liverpool, Liverpool Medical Institute, Looks Leather Goods, Arabella Stewart, Victoria Skeet & Emily Burnigham The National Trust, Sean Hawkridge, Jegsy Dodd, Frederick Jones University of Liverpool, Alun Parry Busker of the Year, Brian Beamish, Bren O’Callaghan, Doreen Potter, Lesley and Ian at the League of Welldoers, Ron Formby at Scottie Press, The Down Memory Lane Group at the Lee Jones Centre, Karen Sampson at Llyods TSB group archives, Bernard Fallon, Ken Marsden, Frank Green artist , Fred O’Brien , David Charters at Post and Echo, Mark McNulty, Olivia Greenberg, Radio Merseyside, Ciara Moloney, Jonathan Swaine, all of our Flickr friends, Sarah-Jane Langley, Dolly, John, Vera, Kath, Mark H, Mark D, Steve, Warren, Mavis, Steve and many many more.

And obviously a big thanks to everyone on Bold Street past and present.

If we’ve forgotten you, we’re sorry!

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