North Liverpool
Everton including Edge Hill and Kensington
allertonOak  
Last updated 29th September 2011
   Home Page: merseySights       Home Page: allertonOak      
CLICK A BOOTPRINT FOR A RELEVANT WALK - LINKS TO OTHER SITES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE
View of Everton from the West Tower  
St. George's Church, Everton
St. George's church, on the highest point of Everton Hill, was designed by Thomas Rickman (based upon the preliminary work of Joseph Gandy) and built by John Cragg. Cragg made his money as the owner of the Mersey Iron Foundry in Tithebarn Street, Liverpool, and was keen to exploit his business in the construction of churches. He was a founder member of the Liverpool Athenaeum, where he probably met Rickman. Rickman was self-taught as an architect, but became an authority on Gothic architecture (he is credited with introducing the term perpendicular in this context) and was a key figure in the Gothic revival in church design in the 19th century. St. George's itself marks the definitive transition to this style. Cragg was by all accounts a difficult character who was at odds with the more conciliatory Rickman throughout their collaboration, constantly plagiarising his work and interfering with his designs. St. George's was completed in 1814 and was probably the first building where standardised prefabricated cast iron parts (patented by Cragg) were used on a large scale for building frames and windows with a view to re-using the moulds elsewhere and achieving large cost savings. In fact, many of the casts were reused for St. Michael's in the Hamlet, Toxteth, and St. Philip's, Hardman Street (demolished).
 
St George's Church Interior, Everton
The use of cast iron in the interior of St. George's has allowed the supporting structures to form a delicate tracery with a feeling of light and space. The roof panels are large sheets of slate from North Wales. Stained glass windows were not part of the original building, being added in the second half of the 19th century. Many of these were destroyed by bombing in 1940 (only one remains undamaged) and have been since restored. The new East Window (shown here) was dedicated in 1952 to the memory of air-raid victims.
 
Everton in Baines's Lancashire Directory (1824)
This village has become a very favourite residence of the gentry of Liverpool, and for the salubrity of its air and its vicinity to the sea, may not inaptly be called the Montpellier of the county.
Everton in Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England (1848)
This place [...] claims a more remote history than Liverpool, to which it now forms an elegant suburb. We find it exempt from the imposition of Danegelt instituted by Ethelred, and it is mentioned in 1066 as having been then given by the Conqueror to his cousin, Roger de Poictiers. An ancient fire-beacon, coeval with the Tower at Liverpool, stood here for many centuries; but it has now disappeared, and the site is occupied by St. George's church. During the siege of Liverpool, Prince Rupert occupied a cottage here, which was held in great veneration, until it was at length pulled down in 1845 [...]. The agreeable village or suburb of Everton, denominated, from the salubrity of its air and the pleasantness of its situation, the Montpelier of Lancashire, is seated on a bold eminence opposite to the bay of Bootle [...]. The prospects are very beautiful; and from the western parts of Everton Hill may be seen the fertile lands of Cheshire, the mountains of Wales, the river Mersey, and the expanding Irish Sea with its numberless vessels. From its proximity to Liverpool, it has become the residence of many respectable and wealthy families; numerous streets and crescents have been formed, and the township is studded with handsome detached mansions and villas. [...] The district church of St. George was erected in 1813, at an expense of 11,500, on a site given by James Atherton, Esq.; it is an elegant structure in the later English style, with a square embattled tower crowned by pinnacles. The framework and tracery of the windows and doors, the groinings of the roof, the pulpit, and all the ornamental parts, are of cast-iron; and the east window, of which the iron tracery is exceedingly rich, is embellished with stained glass.
Everton in the Victoria History of the County of Lancaster (1907)
This township lies on the hill to the north-east of Liverpool, the highest point being at St. George's Church. From that point there is a very rapid slope to the north and to the west, the elevated ridge continuing southward to Low Hill and Edge Hill. The height allows an extensive panorama of the city of Liverpool, including a distant view of the Cheshire side of the River Mersey. At sunset the windows of the houses on Everton Brow flash back the glowing radiance, showing that nothing impedes the wide prospect westwards. The foot of this ridge is the western boundary. [...] The commanding situation of the village occasioned its earliest prominent connexion with the general history of the county, for here Prince Rupert fixed his head quarters when attacking Liverpool in 1644. In more peaceful times the wealthier merchants of Liverpool chose it for their country mansions [...]. The roads were shaded with fine trees, and a walk to the top of the hill was a pleasant exercise for dwellers in the town. The growth of Liverpool northwards, with the erection of chemical works and other factories by the riverside, destroyed the amenities of the situation, and within the last fifty years the great houses in their spacious grounds have been replaced by closely packed streets of small dwellings. There was a large sandstone quarry on the northern slope of the hill.
Liverpool Collegiate Institution, Everton
The Liverpool Collegiate Institution, opened in 1843, was the first of the great English Victorian public schools. It was designed by Harvey Lonsdale Elmes, of St. George's Hall fame, and built of Woolton Quarry sandstone. The facade is just about all that remains of the original building following a fire that gutted it in 1994. The rear has been redeveloped as elegant modern apartments.
 
Everton Water Works
The 85ft (26 m) high water tower was built in 1857. The adjoining Italianate pump house was built at the same time, with a second one being added in the 1860s. Liverpool Corporation assumed responsibility for water supply in 1847, replacing an increasingly inadequate service based upon piping local well water or selling it from carts. They began the construction of out of town reservoirs 25 miles (40 km) away at Rivington in the Pennines in 1852 with delivery beginning in 1857. The Corporation Water Engineer Thomas Duncan began the construction of imposing reservoirs in the highest parts of Liverpool. With increasing demand, the damming of Lake Vyrnwy in Wales was begun in 1881 with delivery from 1891 (for more information see Woolton Reservoir).
 
St. Francis Xavier's Church, Everton
St. Francis Xavier is the largest catholic church in the city and opened in 1848. Together with the adjoining former college (1876-7) and schools (1853-7), it was the 19th century's most extensive group of religious buildings in the city. The poet and priest Gerard Manley Hopkins preached here.
 
St. Francis Xavier's Church from Shaw Street, Everton  
Everton Park and St George's Church
St George's Church was built on the site of Everton Beacon, a large, two-storey, square stone tower that has been associated with the Spanish Armada but may originally have dated back to the 1220s. It was the home of a watchmaker in 1770 and a cobbler in 1778. It was gutted by fire in 1782 (probably arson) and finally blew down in a storm in 1803. During the Napoleonic wars in 1804 there was a signalling station on the site. Until the late 18th century, Everton was a rather wild place associated with quarrying and millstone making. In 1770, one writer notes: 'Heath, gorse and weeds are its general crop and unsightly patches of barren, ill-enclosed land displease the eye at every glance'. As late as 1812, highwaymen were still active in the district. Even so, by 1800 it was becoming a much more desirable place to live, with its fabulous views and clean air, and the wealthy began to establish villas here. It was also a popular destination for those out for a stroll from Liverpool. Already by 1830 though, the town had begun to encroach from the south and by 1875 Everton Road had become 'a dense thoroughfare of a somewhat shabby and second rate character'. By 1896, Everton 'had long been deserted by the rich and influential residents'. Everton is fondly associated among those of a certain age with the Everton Mint, a delicious and unique black and white striped confection created by Molly Bushell (d. 1818) in the mid-18th century, whose original manufactory was in Village Street.
 
Liverpool's 'Dreaming Spires' from Everton Park
Well, not all spires exactly but the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Anglican Cathedral and St. Francis Xavier's Church.
 
The View from Everton in Recollections of Old Liverpool (1863), an anonymous author recalling the mid-18th century
In the summer it was the delight of holiday-makers. A day's "out" to the Beacon, at Everton, was a very favourite excursion. The hill-side on Sundays used to be thronged with merry people, old and young. The view obtained from Everton Beacon-hill was a view indeed. And what a prospect! What a noble panoramic scene! I never saw its like. I do not think, in its way, such an one existed anywhere to be compared with it. At your feet the heather commenced the landscape, then came golden corn-fields and green pasture-lands, far and wide, until they reached the yellow undulating sand-hills that fringed the margin of the broad estuary, the sparkling waters of which, in the glow and fullness of the rich sunshine, gave life and animation to the scene, the interest of which was deeply enhanced, when on a day of high-tide, numbers of vessels might be seen spreading their snowy canvas in the wind as they set out on their distant and perilous voyages. In the middle ground of the picture was the peninsula of Wirral, while the river Dee might be seen shimmering like a silver thread under the blue hills of Wales, which occupied the back ground of the landscape. Westward was the ocean, next, the Formby shore attracted the eye. The sand-hills about Birkdale and Meols were visible. At certain seasons, and in peculiar states of the atmosphere, the hummocks of the Isle of Man were to be seen, while further north Black Combe, in Cumberland, was discernible. Bleasdale Scar, and the hills in Westmoreland, [were to be] dimly made out the extreme distance. [...] The eye moved then along the Welsh hills until it rested on the Ormeshead and travelled out upon the North sea. Below us, to our left, was the town of Liverpool, the young giant just springing into vigorous life and preparing to put forth its might, majesty and strength in Trade, Commerce and Enterprise. [...] I ought not to forget mentioning that, as time went on and Liverpool became prosperous, and its merchants desired to get away from the dull town-houses and imbibe healthy, fresh air, this same Everton became quite the fashionable suburb and court-end of Liverpool. Noble mansions sprung up, surrounded by well-kept gardens. Gradually the gorse-bush and the heather disappeared, and the best sites on the hill became occupied. The Everton gentry for their wealth and their pride were called "Nobles" and highly and proudly did they hold up their heads, and great state did many of the merchants who dwelt there keep up.
Panorama of Liverpool from Everton Park
With the burst of industrialisation in the 19th century and the resultant influx of impoverished workers, much of this area was covered with densely packed rows of back to back houses. World War II left in its wake many derelict bomb sites, and the old housing was cleared to be replaced in the 1960s by notorious tower blocks that broke up the old communities. Few of the latter remain and the area is once again an attractive place to live, with modern houses and the huge green space of Everton Park. The panoramic view of Liverpool city centre from Everton Park with the Welsh hills behind is once again one of the best in the area.
 
Rural Everton in Recollections of Old Liverpool (1863), an anonymous author recalling the mid-18th century
In 1801, my wife being out of health, I was advised to take her from town. As Everton was recommended by Dr. Parks, I looked about in that neighbourhood, and after some difficulty obtained accommodation in a neat farm-house which stood on the rise of the hill. I say it was with difficulty that I could meet with the rooms I required, or any rooms at all, for there were so few houses at Everton, and the occupants of them so independent, that they seemed loth to receive lodgers on any terms. It must appear strange to find Everton spoken of as being "out of town", but it was literally so then. It was, comparatively speaking, as much so as West Derby, or any of the neighbouring villages round Liverpool, are at present. The farm-house in which we resided has long since been swept away, with its barns, its piggery, and its shippon. Never more will its cornricks gladden the eye - never more will busy agricultural life be carried on in its precincts. Streets and courts full of houses cumber the ground. No more will the lark be heard over the cornfield, the brook seen running its silvery course, or the apple in the orchard reddening on the bending bough. The lark is represented by a canary in a gilded cage hanging out of a first-floor window, the corn-field by the baker's shop, with flour at eight pounds for a shilling, the brook is a sewer and the apple is only seen at the greengrocer's shop at the corner, in company with American cheese, eggs, finnon-haddies and lucifer matches. Ditch and hedge, the one with waving sedges and "Forget-me-nots", the other with the May blossom loading the evening air with its balmy breath, were as prevalent, at the time I speak about, in Everton, as you will now find in any country district. It was a pleasant place in summer and autumn time. The neighbourhood of the Beacon was our favourite resort. Many a pleasant day we have spent at the top of it. The hill was covered with heather and gorse bushes. In winter it was as wild, bleak, and cold a place as any you could meet with.
Snowdonia from Everton Park
Central to this view are the twin ventilation towers of the Kingsway road tunnel; the vast Waterloo grain warehouse is to the left. Everton Park is the best place in Liverpool to view the Snowdonia mountain range when conditions are exceptionally clear. The Snowdon group, 52 miles (84 km) away, is to the left of the towers with Snowdon (3,560 ft - 1,085 m) in the centre and the adjoining peaks Lliwedd (left) and Carnedd Ugain (right). The massive bulk of the Carneddau Range stretches to the right of the towers with the highest point Carnedd Llewelyn (3,491 ft - 1,064 m), 45 miles (73 km) away, nearest the left-hand end.
 
Wallasey from Everton Park
Here the prominent buiilding in the centre is the massive Tobacco Bonded Warehouse with the Stanley Dock buildings to the right and St. Anthony's Church in the left foreground. Prominent across the river on the left is Wallasey Town Hall. In this direction, the Welsh skyline extends from the foothills of the Carneddau to Great Orme's Head and the Isle of Anglesey.
 
Walks around Everton in Recollections of Old Liverpool (1863), an anonymous author recalling the mid-18th century
There were several very pleasant country walks which went up to Low Hill through Brownlow Street, and by Love Lane. I recollect going along Love Lane many a time with my dear wife, when we were sweethearting. We used to go to Low Hill and thence along Everton Road, on each side of which was a row of large trees, and we returned by Loggerhead's Lane, and so home by Richmond Row. I recollect very well the brook that ran along the present Byrom Street [one of the streams feeding the Pool], whence the tannery on the right-hand side was supplied with water.
New Brighton from Everton Park  
Village Lock-Up, Everton
Everton village lock-up was built in 1787 near Molly Bushell's toffee shop. It was known as the Stone Jug (or sometimes the Stewbum's Palace) and was used for minor offenders who would be released the next day or detained awaiting appearance before the local magistrate. It became associated with the containment of disorderly drunks, many of whom would have been day trippers out from Liverpool to sample the offerings of the local pubs.
 
Everton Lock-Up in The History of Everton (1830) by Robert Syers
In the year 1787 a stone-jug or bridewell was built on the triangular patch of land lately walled and railed in, at the upper part of Everton-brow [...]. It somewhat ludicrously occurred, that the high constable of Everton and his fidus Achates were the first prisoners who were incarcerated in this bridewell. It seems that the worthy smith of Everton [...] had a wag of a journeyman, who, under the directions and superintendence of the constable, placed locks, bolts, and other fastnesses on this petty-prison; the smith had just completed his work, when the constable and his deputy stepped into the interior to examine the fitness and correctness of things; but no sooner had the men of authority graced the interior with their presence, than the merry blacksmith turned the key of the outer lock, and leisurely walked away. The bawls and calls of the guiltless creatures [...] brought some stray passengers to hear their sad plaints, who, on receiving due instructions, proceeded to the smith's laboratory, [who] presented the key of the dungeon, and forthwith the entrapped men of authority were set free.
Edge Hill Station
This is the second station building at Edge Hill, the oldest passenger railway station in the World. The original station of 1830 served a passenger terminal uphill at Crown Street and the Wapping Tunnel, a long incline leading to Wapping Dock. On these inclines, goods wagons descended by gravity but were hauled up by a winding engine. It was soon decided to divert passenger traffic via a new tunnel to Lime Street Station. This required a new station at Edge Hill just to the north (the present one). Both stations were opened in 1836. Initially gravity and winding engines were also used on the stretch to Lime Street. The station linked passengers to Manchester via George Stephenson's Liverpool and Manchester Railway, opened 1830 in the presence of the Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington. There was a tragic accident at the event in which Liverpool MP William Huskisson crossed in front of a loaded passenger train to speak to the Prime Minister and was knocked down by the famous Rocket locomotive, later dying of his injuries. Edge Hill station was restored in 1979.
 
Edge Hill in Liverpool (1907) by Dixon Scott
Over in Edge Hill there is a little bedsitting-room overlooking a stale backyard where I used to go once a week to hear the Kosmos put in order by a poet who wrote bad verses, but quoted good ones. To the outsider Edge Hill must seem as inscrutably monotonous as its neighbours. But I know better. It revealed itself to me, in those days, as a wonderful avenue to all manner of tender and high-hearted possibilities; and I still recall evenings spent in the Botanic Gardens over there, with my poet mouthing some splendid scarlet thing from Whitman or Shelley in the afterglow, when the place seemed positively surcharged with vital and dramatic loveliness.
The Jewish Cemetery, Deane Road, Kensington
The site for the cemetery was purchased in 1835 at a time when the Jewish community in Liverpool was growing rapidly in size and wealth. It was consecrated in 1837 and burials continued on a regular basis until 1904 (the last recorded burial took place in 1929). It is the resting place of many eminent Victorians, perhaps most the famous being David Lewis (1823-1885) of department store fame, and contains a number of imposing monuments. The site subsequently fell into decay, but in 2010 a Heritage Lottery grant of 494,000 was awarded for restoration work. The project will renew important features such as the ornate Grade II listed archway, re-erect and clean fallen gravestones, and create a visitor centre and formal garden. It will also allow the cemetery to be opened to the public.
 
 
LINKS
History of Everton at Historic Liverpool
St. George's Church website
St. Francis Xavier's Church website
St. Francis Xavier's Church at Open Buildings
Everton Park at liverpool.gov.uk
Edge Hill Station
Edge Hill Cutting & Tunnels at Subterranea Britannica
Deane Road Jewish Cemetery