The Arcade Lord Street Liverpool
1901 – Walter Aubrey Thomas
This stunning listed building survived The Blitz to remain standing on Lord St, although now much changed. It currently has a four shop frontage – Warren James Jewellers, Yankee Candles, empty unit, and The Gold Centre (ironically in Herbert Wolf’s original premises – see below).
The architect was Walter Aubrey Thomas who also designed State Assurance (1905) Dale Street, Tower Buildings (1906) and, the innovative, world famous and iconic Royal Liver Building (1911).
You will recognise its striped façade of red and white stone, three giant arches, and three pointed gables. Pevsner writes that it resembles the west front of Peterborough Cathedral. It originally had a glass-roofed and galleried arcade that you can see in right hand pic above.
Original tenants included Herbert Wolf Jewellers at No. 87 and he was still there until at least the 1970’s! A story in the Echo of 27th Dec 1915 reports a lady lost a ‘small parcel containing 4 gold brooches’ on leaving the shop. His premises are later known as ‘Magno House’
Over the years, with shops on the ground floor and offices on the 2nd and 3rd floors, the building had many and varied tenants. From 1937 these included British Home Stores at 81 – 85 before finally moving to new premises next door in 1959. From 1902 – 1912 the famous Blacklers store occupied No. 81. A story from 27th Dec 1918 describes a ‘daughter of a Hanoverian lady’ being remanded for stealing ‘a bottle of cocaine’ from a dental surgery.
For many years it was also known as ‘The Penny in The Pound Building’ (see pic below)with the Merseyside Hospitals Council being tenants from at least 1936 through to the 1970s.
Up to 20 businesses are listed for anyone year in the directories, and in 1946 these included The Ministry of Labour & National Service Welfare Depts. where Learie Constantine is thought to have worked during WWII.
With BHS relocating next door in 1959 Nos. 81/83/85/87 become four separate units but if this is when the ground floor arcade disappears is unclear.
A 1984 picture shows a false ceiling had been inserted above the ground floor and, as still, there are escalators running up to the first floor behind the currently empty unit shutters to what was AllSports. The fate of the original and beautifully ornate glass roof is also unclear but this link shows if it does survive it is beneath a later addition – get in touch if you know! http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=sx0v8dgrj06n&lvl=19.25&dir=182.46&sty=b&eo=0&form=LMLTCC
This is another great loss to Liverpool and even as late as 15th October 1986 The Liverpool Echo carried an article with a plan to open the arcade through to Mathew St and also to BHS next door as part of ‘The Backhouse Plan’.
So nearly lost in The Blitz, as shown in this great picture from Liverpool Remembrance, I wonder what is still feasible?
If you can provide any further information on this wonderful buildings past or current status then myself and @Hidden_Lpool would love to hear from you…even better if you can get us access to explore!
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