Road, Rail and Trams
A History of Allerton and Mossley Hill @ allertonOak  
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At the time of the Yates and Perry map of 1768, Allerton and Mossley Hill were rural areas crossed by quiet lanes. The map only names two of these: Rose Lane and Outacre Lane, which later became South Mossley Hill Road. Many of the names allocated on the later 19th century maps relate to mansion houses of the same name, but it is quite possible that some of the houses were named after the road rather than the other way round. In this article I have assumed, for simplicity, that the house name came first. Below is a list of present-day road names in the area whose names have a local connotation.
The building of new roads was slow until the turn of the 20th century, when suburbanisation began in earnest. The 1920s saw the construction of new arterial routes supporting trams as well as regular traffic. Initially these were intended to connect the population centre of Wavertree to those of Garston and Woolton, but their presence inevitably led to new suburban expansion along their length.
The most significant mover and shaker behind this expansion was undoubtedly John Alexander Brodie (1858-1934). He was a civil engineer and town planner, who, in 1898, was appointed City Engineer for Liverpool. By that time he had already become famous for patenting goal nets for football. He instigated an astonishing variety of high profile projects, most notably perhaps the first Mersey Tunnel and the East Lancashire road. He had a great vision of a 'circumferential boulevard' (later Queens Drive), extending around the outside of Liverpool from Walton to Mossley Hill, with carriageways, pavements, and electric tram tracks. The scheme was supplemented by improved radial roads and tramways such as Menlove and Mather Avenues. The unprecedentedly wide roads were constructed as far as possible on agricultural land which could be acquired at low cost.
Construction of Queens Drive began in 1904 and of Menlove and Mather Avenues in the early 1920s. The latter at that time would have largely passed through open fields on their way to Woolton and Garston, but the later 1920s and 1930s saw a significant expansion of suburban housing and infrastructure. After his death, Brodie Avenue was named in his honour.
John Alexander Brodie
Road Names and their Origins
Abbotshey Avenue and similar The farm called Abbot's Heys.
Allerton Beeches The house called Allerton Beeches.
Allerton Road and similar The historical road through Allerton
Archerfield Road After the Robin Hood Stone, thought to have been used to sharpen arrows in a field used for archery practice.
Barkhill Road The house called Bark Hill.
Beaconsfield Road The house called Beaconsfield in Woolton, after the beacon on Woolton Hill.
Booker Avenue The merchant Josias Booker.
Brocklebank Lane Thomas Brocklebank of the famous shipping family, who lived at Springwood.
Brodie Avenue Liverpool City Engineer John Alexander Brodie.
Calderstones Road and similar After the neolithic Calderstones.
Carnatic Road After Carnatic House.
Cinder Lane Until the 1950s, cinders were used as a rudimentary road covering.
Cleveley Road The house called Cleveley.
Cooper Avenue Alderman Joseph Cooper, an ironmonger of Oak House, Aigburth Hall Avenue.
Crompton's Lane After Dr. Peter Crompton of Eton house.
Dowsefield Lane After the ancient Douse [sic.] House.
Druids Cross Road and similar The house called Druids Cross, after the once supposed druidical associations of the Calderstones.
Dudlow Lane and similar After the ancient Dodlow [sic.] Hall.
Elm Hall Drive and similar The house called Elm Hall.
Elmsley road The house called Elmsley.
Elmswood Road The house called Elmswood Hall.
Glendyke Road and similar Presumably connected with the local feature called The Forty Pits.
Green Lane A historical, presumably rural, road.
Greenbank Lane and similar The house called Green Bank.
Greenhill Road and similar The house called Green Hill.
Greenwood Road Associated with the Robin Hood Stone.
Harthill Road and similar The house called Hart Hill.
Heath Road From the original Garston Heath.
Hillfoot Road At the foot of Camp Hill.
Hillside Road The house called Hillside House.
Holmefield Road The house called Holmefield.
Hornby Lane Merchant Joseph Hornby, who lived at Druids Cross.
Kelton Grove The house called Kelton.
Mather Avenue Solicitor Arthur Stanley Mather, Mayor of Liverpool 1915-16.
Menlove Avenue and similar Alderman Thomas Menlove (1840-1913), a draper and chairman of the Health Committee.
Melbreck Road The house called Melbreck.
Mossley Hill Road and similar After the ancient house called Mosley [sic.] Hill.
Netherton Road The house called Netherton.
Park Avenue The road to Sefton Park
Penny Lane A historical road and presumably a historical name, which occurs elsewhere, but the origin is unknown to me.
Pitville Avenue and similar The farm called Pitville, which seems to have had marl pits by it.
Queens Drive After Queen Victoria
Rose Lane A historical road that presumably had wild roses in the hedgerows.
Rosemont Road The house called Rosemont, after Rose Lane and Mossley Hill.
Smithdown Road From the Anglo-Saxon Esmedune, after a lost village of that name mentioned in the Domesday Book.
Springwood Avenue The house called Springwood.
Sudley Road The house called Sudley.
The Vineries The house called The Vineries.
Vale Road In the valley between Allerton and Woolton Hill.
Vicarage Close Once the location of Allerton Vicarage serving All Hallows Church.
Woolton Road The historical road to Woolton.
Yew Tree Road The house called Yew Tree House.
Allerton Road in 1906 before the shops
Calderstones Road in 1918
Mossley Hill Road c.1930
Penny Lane shop in 1912
Rose Lane in 1928
Allerton Station with tram and steam train in 1928
Mossley Hill Station on the left in 1935
A single railway line traverses Allerton and Mossley Hill. This was originally the Edge Hill and Garston section of the of the London and North-Western Railway's Liverpool to Manchester line. According to many sources, the line came into service with Allerton and Garston (later simply Allerton) and Mossley Hill stations in 1864. However, it is already shown on the 1850 Ordnance Survey Maps under the LNWR name, even though the company was not formed until 1864. The name may well have been retrospectively added to the maps as it uses a different font. West Allerton Station was built after World War II. In modern times the line has become part of the West Coast Main Line and the City Line.
To the west, and dating from the same time (i.e. before 1850 on the OS maps but 1864 according to other sources), the Garston and Liverpool Railway ran from Garston Dock, through Garston, Aigburth and Toxteth, to Brunswick Dock, though with many more suburban stations than the LNWR. This line was acquired by the Cheshire Lines Committee in 1865. In modern times it has become part of the Merseyrail Northern Line.
In the 1960s it was proposed that there be a common station for these two lines so that long distance passengers could transfer to local suburban stations without going into the centre of Liverpool. There was also going to be an outer rail loop serving the eastern suburbs of the city that never materialised. The new station, Liverpool South Parkway, on the site of the former Allerton Station and South Liverpool Football Club ground, finally opened in 2006, driven also by the need to provide effective onward public transport by bus to the rapidly expanding Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
Cutting under the railway for Queens Drive in 1915
Liverpool South Parkway Station
Laying tramlines on Allerton Road at the Church Road intersection by the Elm Hall Estate in 1909
The still rural outer section of Menlove Avenue in 1932
The first street trams in Britain, running on rails but drawn by horses, were built in 1860 in Birkenhead and ran from Woodside to Birkenhead Park. Similar services began in Liverpool in 1868. Under Liverpool Corporation Tramways, the existing lines were electrified in 1897-1902.
By the early 1900s, trams were in service along Smithdown Road and continued along Church Road into Wavertree Village. By the early 1920s, under the auspices of City Engineer John Alexander Brodie, the broad boulevards of Queens drive, Menlove Avenue and Mather Avenue had appeared. Although the Wavertree end of Queens Drive did not have trams, Menlove and Mather Avenues were purpose-built for them. They ran down the central reservations.
Trams ran the length of Menlove Avenue and then turned left along Woolton High Street to terminate at Church Road. They also ran to the end of Mather Avenue, continuing into Woolton Road and terminating at Long Lane. By about 1950, the route had been extended through Garston via St. Mary's Road to link up with the Aigburth Road line.
The last trams in Liverpool ran in 1957, though it took quite a few years to remove all of the track. The central reservations were planted with trees, many of them blossom bearing, that have become an attractive feature of the area in the present day. There has been serious consideration given to reinstating tram services but so far nothing has come of it. It seems like the window of opportunity has closed.
A 1920s Liverpool Corporation Tramways tram
Menlove Avenue in 1920
Mather Avenue in 1935
Acknowledgements and Further Reading
I am indebted to the Streetnames section of Liverpool Pictorial, which I have been able to extend somewhat here. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography has a detailed biography of John Alexander Brodie. It is free to use, but you will need a public library membership card to register. The photos of John Alexander Brodie and the Liverpool Corporation tram are freely licensed images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
This is a non-commercial website that is intended entirely for research and educational purposes. If I have unintentionally breached copyright with any images, I hope that the copyright owner will tolerate my usage in the present context, otherwise I will remove the material.