THEATRE ROYAL. From a drawing by E. Beattie, in the possession of Messrs. Rankin, Gilmour and Co., Ltd.
BEFORE the erection of this theatre in Williamson Square there was a theatre in Drury Lane, which was managed with much spirit for a number of years, and to which the principal London actors came. This theatre fell into disuse on the erection of the Theatre Royal, which was opened in June 1772, on which occasion a prologue was read by George Colman, a writer of somewhat loose poems. The theatre was ably managed, and some capital acting was to be seen there, as well, sometimes, as much rowdyness, and many free fights. It was in this theatre one evening that George Cooke was playing in the character of Richard III, when some one in the audience hissed, it is said because the actor was not sober. Cooke paused, and then advancing until he stood near the footlights, looked steadily at the audience, and told them " he was not on the stage to be insulted by a set of wretches," adding, according to Mathews' "Anecdotes of Actors," " there is not a brick in your dirty town but what is cemented by the blood of a negro " a remark which is said to have hit home, for large fortunes had been made in Liverpool by the Slave Trade.
The Theatre Royal Williamson Square
WHITECHAPEL, NORTH-WEST SIDE. From a drawing by W. G. Herdman, in the Liverpool Free Public Library.
WHITECHAPEL is built over a portion of the bed of the Pool, and at one time received the drainage of the fields which lay to the east of it, including, of course, the stream which flowed from the Moss Lake, which was a bog occupying most of the district between the modern Hope Street on the west, Brownlow Hill Workhouse and part of Paddington on the north. Crown Street and Kimberley Street on the east, and Croxteth Road and South Street on the south. Of this stream of water Edward Moore observes: "Therefore I hope the town will never lose the advantage of the water coming that way, for if they do, all they are worth cannot procure a stream to cleanse this Pool, as above said." Small wonder that Whitechapel was at one period called Frog Lane, for there would be ample accommodation for the frogs on the marshy ground on either side of the Pool which ran along its entire length ; and in the map published by R.Williamson in 1766, and in Perry's map, 1769, it is designated "Frog Lane" John Eyes' plan of 1765 spells it " Frogg Lane." Boats are said to have been built in Whitechapel on the banks of the Pool, and in the "Annals of Liverpool" for 1663 there is a note stating " ordered that no more boats be built in Whitechapel "; but on consulting the Town Records of that date no such order is recorded, and it seems improbable that it ever was made, for the name Frog Lane appears constantly in plans and documents, and was not altered to Whitechapel until a much later date. In the Directory of 178 1 it assumes the name of Whitechapel.
Whitechaple 'Frog Lane'
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