It was whilst working around the Edge Hill area of Liverpool that I became interested in what was below our feet as Edge Hill has a labyrinth of undiscovered tunnels and railway cuttings. The most significant discovery for me has been Moorish Arch site, at the beginning of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. George Stephenson
Opened in 1830, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway was the first intercity passenger railway system in the world that linked Liverpool and Manchester with the initial aim of transporting raw materials from the Port of Liverpool and East Lancashire at a time when 40% of the world’s trade was passing through Liverpool. At the beginning of the line was Crown Street Station which was opened as the world’s first public railway station in September of that year. The Council should hang their heads in shame for allowing Student accommodation to be built upon that site.
Liverpool and Manchester Railway: Crown Street Station 1831
Liverpool and Manchester Railway:
engine and examples of rolling stock 1831
At the same time, Stephenson was asked to create something beautiful and ornate along the line. He chose an oriental style arch, the design of which has become to be known as Moorish. This was lovingly constructed over the line. This historically significant section of the railway now lies abandoned and the Moorish Arch has decayed beyond recognition. Recently, I found out that because of the massive amount of traffic along the line, it was widened to the detriment of the beautiful arch. Progress I suppose!
Opening at Moorish Arch – crowds, trains, carriages. 1830
1831 ENGRAVING MOORISH ARCH LIVERPOOL MANCHESTER RAILWAY
Over the years various features have been excavated which have included the base of the Moorish Arch and the stone edged rope haulage channels used to haul coaches and wagons up from the docks. Excavations have also identified the remains of other original features which include a number of openings cut into the rock face can be seen on each side of the cutting. In 1980 British Rail handed the site over to the Edge Hill Railway Trust that has disbanded and access to this area is refused.
The area can be seen along Chatsworth Drive just before reaching the old Chatsworth Council School (Smithdown Primary School). It’s easy to miss as a tall wall hides the drop from the bridge. I visited St. Anne’s, Overbury Street. The playground has a small brick removed from the wall that allowed me to take pictures.
The site now but with a bit of Photoshopping to show what the arch looked like in situ
The Moorish Arch Site 2014. The Steps
The Moorish Arch Site 2014. Chatsworth Drive runs across the top.
After all that, the Liverpool-end of the line hardly gets a mention anywhere despite the significance of the Ege Hill area.
Official unveiling of Artist Andrew McKeown’s Edgehill Artwork Time Capsules by Local Liverpool Schools
Moorish Arch Edge Hill Liverpool Not So Beautiful and Ornate Anymore
Edge Hill and Crown Street