Liverpool’s Heritage


Liverpool began as a fishing village in the thirteenth century, but grew rapidly in the eighteenth century with the growth of sea trade, becoming Europe’s greatest Atlantic seaport during its heyday.  From its seven miles of waterfront millions of emigrants embarked for the New World, and through its spacious docks and endless brick warehouses passed much of the trade of industrial Britain in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  The wealth its commerce generated produced a magnificent cityscape, great architecture and a rich cultural heritage, particularly in fine arts and music.  The increasing size of ocean-going vessels has diverted the traffic elsewhere on the Mersey estuary, and the city’s recent history largely concerns its attempts to find a new role to play in the national economy, most recently through the Capital of Culture 2008 initiative.

One-hour lecture:

This lecture gives an insight into the historic development of the city and port of Liverpool, focusing on the wealth of its nineteenth- and twentieth-century architecture, in particular St George’s Hall – “the world’s finest building” – (Harvey Lonsdale Elmes & C R Cockerell 1841-54), the Anglican Cathedral (Sir Giles Gilbert Scott & Frederick Thomas 1903-79) and the Catholic Cathedral (Sir Frederick Gibberd 1962-7), and such unexpected gems as Oriel Chambers (Peter Ellis 1864) and the Philharmonic Hotel (Walter Thomas (1898-1900).


The study-day covers the development of the city and port and its wealth of architecture in three sections:

1.  Liverpool’s Wealth – an introductory account of the city’s history

2.  Liverpool’s Architecture – a survey of the major buildings of the city-centre

3.  Liverpool’s Hinterland – examples of the rich environments of Liverpool’s suburbs and the Wirral

For background information about sites relevant to these presentations, please click here.

20 thoughts on “Liverpool’s Heritage

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  6. Albert Hickson

    Many websites say that Albert B Vines opened ‘The Vines’ in 1867, but your blog says: Alcohol has been served here since 1823, and the present building takes its name from its late-Victorian licensee, Albert B Vines, who came to the site in 1867. Do you know what the B stands for? Do you know the years of his birth and death? So it wasn’t a new pub that he opened, he just changed the name? Many sites also say that Walkers took it over in 1907 and built the pub we see today. But they also say that the pub was built for Robert Cain and Sons and that Walkers took over in 1921. Can you give me the true facts? Thanks.

  7. Mike Higginbottom Post author

    Trawling information from websites, including mine, is a recipe for frustration.

    The Wikipedia entry on the architect Walter William Thomas references Joseph Sharples’ Pevsner Architectural Guide Liverpool (2004) which is trustworthy and states clearly that Thomas designed both the Phil (p 234) and the Vines (p 184) for Robert Cain.

    I can’t add to the information in my blog article, except to say that it was derived from printed sources for which I no longer have the references.

    I can’t answer any of your queries about Albert Vines, but I will point out that I carefully said “alcohol [was] served…” . 1823 predates both the Alehouse Act (1828) and the Beerhouse Act (1830), and I have no idea what sort of premises offered alcohol at that time.

    Both the Vines and the Philharmonic hotels deserve detailed research and a published history. If you’re sufficiently interested to pursue the stories of either or both of these wonderful pubs, I suggest you contact Liverpool Record Office in the Central Library on William Brown Street. The Archivist is Jan Grace, who is unfailingly helpful.

    It should, for instance, be quite easy to track who owned the pub before and after 1907 from the local trade directories; more detailed information will presumably be accessible from the records of the licensing magistrates.

    Thank you for your interest in my blog.

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