Hope Street at the Border

Posted: August 11, 2011 in Culture, Heritage and Development, Workhouse
Tags: , ,

Hope Street at the End of the Eighteenth Century

This map is included in the first major guide to Liverpool, The Liverpool Guide; including a Sketch of the Environs by the surgeon, William Moss. Note how Hope Street peters out towards the quarry (now St James Gardens), and how Leeces Street ends at Hope Street at the junction where the Philharmonic (pub and hall) now stand. Moss’s book is very interesting for many reasons but especially for the tone and attitudes revealed. It portrays Liverpool as a virtually crime-free city, where all live in harmony and attend church, and the existence of the poor is mentioned only to emphasise how charitable Liverpool citizens are, and how well looked after paupers are. We shall be returning to discuss this when we look at the history of Liverpool’s main workhouse at the top of Hope Street, and the surrounding alms houses and orphanages. In Moss’s scheme of the city it seems quite natural to him that there are ‘respectable’, ‘polite’ ‘superior class’ living alongside a middling mercantile class, and the ‘inferior classes’ of labourers and mechanics (and, presumably, paupers).

During the street disturbances this week, the ‘riots’ as the media called them, concern was expressed that the area of Parliament Street (potential troubles) is perilously close to the regenerated Georgian Quarter with Hope Street at its heart. Certainly there has been a renewal of references to an ‘underclass’ versus the good citizenry. Whatever the case, in the map above, the Georgian Quarter including Rodney Street is well established soon to be followed by fine buildings in the Liverpool 8 area, their change in status from homes of the rich to bedsits and flats of 50s and 60s bohemia, changes in demography and later regeneration schemes are all parts of the area’s history.

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