Try to think of a Georgian City in Britain and Bath or Edinburgh probably come to mind. They are certainly fine cities with lots of excellent examples of Georgian architecture. However it’s not often realised that Liverpool has a wealth of buildings from the Georgian and Regency period. The city population exploded during the 1700’s and early 1800’s, and so there was a need for new buildings to house the population. Cheap houses, crammed together, were built in areas like Everton and Toxteth to house the growing working population. Other areas of the city were developed for the wealthier classes. One of the main concentrations of Georgian style buildings can be found just out of the town centre to the east of Rodney Street , south of the University and north of Toxteth. Today this area, which is centered on Canning Street, is known as the “Georgian Quarter” and is full of typical Georgian style terrace houses.
When I was at University in Liverpool I used to skirt the area, usually on the bus, going in for classes or into the city centre. The buildings at that time were mainly run down and dilapidated. I didn’t stray off the main thoroughfares into the nearby streets. However, during recent visits to the city we’ve driven through the area and I noticed how much had changed with many of the buildings obviously renovated (although some of them are starting to show wear and tear). I thought I should go and have a closer look, and that’s what I decided to last Sunday.
I left the car at home and took the train into Lime Street Station. I headed up Mount Pleasant, on which there are a number of Georgian style buildings, and turned into Rodney Street. The street is lined with typical Georgian terraced houses. Two properties of note are number 62, the house where W E Gladstone was born, and No 59, the former studio of the photographer E. Chambré Hardman, which is now owned by the National Trust. Other notable residents have included Brian Epstein (born at No. 4) and Lytton Strachey, who lived at No. 80.
The Anglican Cathedral looms over the end of Rodney Street. I walked up past it along Canning Street turning down Hope Street which has a number of fine houses, then down Falkner Street, turning back on to Canning Street I headed up to Falkner Square. The square is centered on a small public park which is surrounded on all sides with large terraced houses, many of which appeared to be converted into flats. After strolling through he garden I set off back down Canning Street, turning off on to Bedford Street and then Huskisson Street. Passing St Bride’s church I eventually ended up back on the section of Hope Street opposite the Anglican Cathedral.
The whole area is full of typical Georgian / Regency style terraced houses. I spent a pleasant sunny Spring morning wandering around and exploring the streets which were so close to the University where I spent 3 years of my life yet never really visited.