Lost Liverpool Buildings x 12

Times change and cities grow and evolve. With Liverpool’s dynamic history it is perhaps not surprising, although none the less sad, that we have lost some great buildings. There are many locations in the city that I pass or walk down and try to imagine ‘what was there before’, and in researching the city one is often surprised.

1 – 5th Customs House Click me
2 – Sailors Home Click me
3 – Bevington Bush Hotel (Arden House) Click me
4 – The Rialto Click me
5 – St. John’s Market Click me
6 – St. Catherine’s Church, Abercromby Square Click me
7 – Kirkdale Industrial School Click me
8 – Bunney’s Store, Whitechapel Click me
9 – St. Thomas’s Church, Park Lane Click me (opens new window)
10 – Wolstenholme Sq Click me (opens new window)
11 – St. Mark’s, Upper Duke St. Click me (opens new window)
12 – St. Paul’s Square, and St. Paul’s Church Click me (opens in new window)

13 – St. Philip’s Church – including Atlantic House, and Hardman House Hotel Click me (opens in new window)


5th Customs House & Revenue Building

5th Customs House

5th Customs House

A monumental structure opened in 1839 on the site of the original Old Dock (now Liverpool One, Steers Way/Hilton). The Custom House was home to the offices of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, a post office, and a telegraph office.

It had taken 11 years to build, at a cost of £245,000.00, and was officially named ‘Revenue Buildings’ as it also housed the Inland Revenue. Designd by John Foster jnr. The building was badly damged in The Blitz of May 1941 and eventually demolished in 1948, the site derelict for many years.

Sailors Home  – This is one of those buildings if whose walls could speak would reveal a magical mix of wonderous tales.


The Sailors Home

The Sailors Home

The building was designed by John Cunningham, Prince Albert laid the foundation stone on 31st Oct 1846, and it opened on 16th December 1850. It suffered a major fire on 29th April 1860 resulting in the death of fireman Robert Hardaker.

A second but short-lived Sailors Home opened – ‘North End Home’  – in Luton St in 1878 but only operated until 1906.

It does Liverpool no credit that we let this one go, and how grand it would have looked at the end of Paradise St today. Finally demolished in 1974. Some small consolation was the return of the beautiful gates which now stand in Paradise St outside John Lewis. top

Bevington Bush Hotel (Arden House) – rooms for 500 lodgings if sober!  – one penny a night. It was based upon the Rowton Houses scheme.

Arden House

Arden House

The Foundation stone was laid on 21st June 1898 by Thomas H. Ismay and it was opened by the Earl of Derby on 11th January 1900 as the Bevington Bush People’s Home. It was requisitioned by the admiralty in November 1941 and was sold to the Salvation Army in November 1945 as a hostel and renamed Arden House. Demolished c1986

The Rowton Houses scheme was much copied. In January 1900, The Times reported on the opening of a Rowton-style hostel in Liverpool:

The Rowton House experiment in Liverpool


Yesterday afternoon the Earl of Derby opened at Liverpool a people’s home something after the style of the Rowton house in London. It is calculated that about 14,000 persons seek single lodgings in Liverpool every night, while a great many of the lodgings which private adventure supplies are hardly worthy the name. The new building, “Bevington-house,” is situate in Bevington-bush, and near the west side of St. Martin’s Market, Scotland-road. Its accommodation is for single men, and comprises 500 cubicles, or sleeping apartments. There are two large kitchens, with a number of cooking stoves, and the lodgers may bring in their own victuals and cook them or may purchase them at cost price. Close by is a large dining-room, as well as reading and recreation rooms. In the basement are large apartments, which, like the staircase, are lined with vari-coloured glazed bricks. Here are the resources for washing and the repairing of clothes, which may be done by the men themselves or by tailors and shoemakers. Each sleeping apartment is 7ft. 6in. by 5ft., and in each is an iron bedstead, with copper wire mattress, a hair mattress, two hair bolsters, two sheets, pillow, under blanket, three over blankets, and a counterpane. There is a chair by the bedside, and a small window to light the room. There is an outdoor promenade, with pot plants and seats. The nightly charge for a cubicle, with the use of the other resources of the home, is 6d. The whole cost of the building is stated at £25,000. At the rear is about 800 yards of land which may be utilized for extension. The home was built by a company, the directors of which are Lord Mayor Cohen, Colonel G. H. Morrison, Mr. Archibald Williamson, Mr. George Banner, Mr. John Henderson, and Mr. A. A. Paton, all prominent local men interested in the problem of housing the poor and providing lodgings for the unmarried work-people and doing what they can to make this experiment a success. The foundation was laid some 18 months ago by the late Mr. Ismay, one of the greatest and best of Liverpool’s citizens.    Mr. ARCHIBALD WILLIAMSON said that a House for women was also in contemplation, but the means did not run to that yet. LORD DERRY, in declaring the building opened, said he had the greatest pleasure in seeing such a fine building erected with such an excellent combination of philanthropy and business. That was the one great privilege, perhaps hardly enough understood at the time, with which his old friend Lord Rowton founded the homes in London. To have provided accommodation for 450 people, with a possibility of raising the number to 600, in a district of that kind was an honour to the town itself and must confer most inestimable advantages, and he congratulated all concerned on an experiment which, he believed, was calculated to promote the prosperity of the country and the better and happier life of their fellow men.

Liverpool’s Rialto: Remembering the Romance



This article focuses on Liverpool’s Rialto (1927). It considers the cinema as a site of social memory and in particular as a place associated with experiences which are re-created and retold within the narratives of family history. Romance, the date, couple-hood, all of these are associated with the space of the cinema, both on and off the screen…..

Author: Glen McIver, Wirral Metropolitan College, UK


5 – St John’s Market, Great Charlotte St

Oh how I would have loved to have walked around here on a busy late 19th century evening and experience the atmosphere, aroma’s, and the personalities.

Designed by John Foster jnr., and opened 7th March 1822.

Interior of St John's

Interior of St John’s

St John's Market

St John’s Market






….This extensive structure, the largest of it’s kind in the kingdom is 183 yards
long and 45 yards broad and was erected by the corporation at an expense of
£35,296. The first stone was laid on the 20th of August 1820, and the opening
took place on the 7th March 1822. It is situate in Great Charlotte street and is
built of brick, except the entrances, cornice and foundation which are composed
of free stone . It is lighted by 136 windows. There are eight handsome stone
entrances, three on each side and one at each end…… Picture of Liverpool: Strangers Guide written in 1835, pg159

This great building was demolished in 1964 at a time of much civic destruction, and we all know what we got in its place!

6 – St Catherine’s Church, Abercromby Square.


  • Consecrated 14th January 1831
  • Architect: John Foster Jnr
  • United with St Stephens in 1852,
  • Badly damaged in The Blitz 1941
  • Building sold in 1966 and later demolished
  • Now site of Senate House, opened 15th May 1969 by Princes Alexandra


7 – Kirkdale Industrial School/Westminster House

Such an amazing history but sadly demolished post 1968.


  • 1843, the Select Vestry erected an industrial school for the care and training of pauper children on what is now Westminster Road at Kirkdale.
  • The institution was opened May 1, 1845
  • 1866 – it housed 1,250 inmates.
  • 1868 new buildings to the south of the site and were completed
  • 1904, the school closed and the site became Kirkdale Homes for the aged and infirm
  • May 1917 to Nov 1919 – became No. 5 Canadian General Military Hospital
  • 1922 Kirkdale Homes was taken over by West Derby Union, and then by Liverpool City Council in 1929
  • 1948 it became jointly run by Liverpool City Council and the Regional Hospital Board.
  • 1950s changed its name to Westminster House Home for Elderly People.
  • 1968 finally closed in the March


8 – Bunney’s Store – Whitechapel

Bunneys_WhitechapelJust before my time this one so sadly never had the pleasure of visiting…….looked and sounded fun though. Oh to still have such curiosities on our often soulless high streets!

Bunneys does not appear to be listed pre-1884 but then appears in Gores as:

1884 – 5 Church St, hardware merchant

1885 – 3 & 5 Church St W, toy and fancy goods dealer

The proprietor was one Arthur H Bunney who was married to Sarah. Records show her dying 22nd Dec 1890: Old-Merseytimes report 1          Old-Merseytimes report 2

In 1884 his home 61 Mulgrave St, listed as hardware merchant & dealer in fancy goods. Their later address is listed as: Wilbrow House 10 Mere Lane, Walton.

Arthur seems to have been very active in local business and politics with other records showing:

–     mentioned in papers as proprietor of Pantheon Rooms, 59 Church St – meeting rooms

–     Sat as Liberal Candidate in 1897 Municipal Elections for Walton ward

–     active in local scene e.g. in 1886 ‘Bunney’s Juvenile Shipperies’ which would have been part of the International Shipperies Exhibition in May, held in Wavertree Park ( Botanic Park)

The Bunney’s Whitechapel store itself were Specialists in oriental goods and novelties’ and were known for their Christmas Fairs – reports from 1890’s.

They operated until March 1956 when taken over by Greenwood’s of Bradford. (Greenwood’s also took over Dunn’s, on the adjacent corner, in the 1990s. That building is now McDonald’s)

1957/58 – Bunney’s was demolished and replaced by the Barratts/NEMS building. This also included the demolition of Higson’s ‘The Temple’ pub on the corner of Leigh St

Tenants of the new block you may remember over the years included: Timothy Whites/Ann Summers/Rex Makin/Rumbelows/Thorntons, and NEMS.

Of course the most famous events in this block involved the world phenomenon that is The Beatles, and it is beyond belief that there is not even a plaque marking such a locally and globally historical moment.

On 24th January 1962 the building was where the Beatles signed a contract dubbed “the most important in music history” at Brian Epstein’s former NEMS offices.

NEMS: (opens in new window) 

Epstein’s first meeting with the Beatles took place in the office on December 3, 1961 when he proposed the idea of managing them, and the rest so they say ‘is history’.

So in 2012 – 2013 the building was demolished and we now have a £25m flagship store for budget retailer Forever 21, nicknamed the ‘American Primark’, complete with its live neon screen. What would folk of old think of ‘Holy Corner’ now?

Come on Liverpool time for at least a plaque!!!!!


9 – St Thomas’s Church, Park Lane

1750 – 1905

Despite being built in 1750, closed in 1905 and demolished in 1911, the Church of St Thomas is still closer to us than many people realise. Equally so are the legacies of many who were buried at the church. Just 0.5 of a meter below your feet as you walk around the Memorial Gardens at the end of Paradise St/Park Lane lay the remains of early ‘elite’ Liverpool citizens in brick lined vaults capped with gravestones…. Read more 


…….more lost buildings to come soon:


19- 33 Leece St

Myrtle St Childrens Hospital

Walton Town Hall

St Michael’s Church

Richmond Building – 26 Chapel St



4 Responses to Lost Liverpool Buildings x 12

  1. Mike says:

    Please contact me via the email provided
    Thank You

  2. Carnel Antrobus says:

    A very interesting post thank you for sharing 😊


    Good site—I have a very good counterpane showing the Liver Bird on it and the name Beavington House in my possession it obviously came from a bed id Beavington House– can’t remember where we got it
    Don Swanson Liverpool 13

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