The 'Bridewell Palace' was so named because of its location near to a well dedicated to St Bride.
It became common practice for a town-centre jail, especially one next to a court-house, to be known as a ‘Bridewell’, but the term was often used to indicate any Police Station which had cells.
There is a reference to a Masque Theatre in Duke Street in this thread.
I know there was never a theatre in Liverpool with that name, nor was there a theatre in Duke Street.
I think though there is an element of truth about Dickens in Duke Street.
Do you know anything about that?
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On the evening of Sunday 9th December, at St George's Hall in Liverpool, The Reader Organisation is hosting its fourth annual Penny Readings event.
This year, the event features renowned UK poet Jenny Joseph; The Archers star Annabelle Dowler; and BBC Radio 4 and CBeebies presenter, David McFetridge; the 500-strong audience will hear readings from such famous classics as Bleak House, A Christmas Carol and A Winter's Tale. Other highlights of the evening include performances by the Liverpool African Youth Dance group, three community choirs, a Dickensian trumpet player and a string quartet.
The Reader exists to promote the good in literature, believing that reading can be fun, life-enhancing and creative for everyone, and this is why we host The Penny Readings. As in Dickens' day - when he would travel around the potteries and Liverpool, reading to thousands of people for only one penny - we too only charge one penny for this event, so that it is inclusive and available to all. We want everyone to benefit from the positive impact that literature can bring to people's lives and this is one thoroughly enjoyable way that we are able to do it.
You can read the full press release on the University of Liverpool's website. Tickets are now sold out for this year's event but you are can place your name on a list at Liverpool Central Library to ensure you are amongst the first to know when tickets go on sale for 2008.
Next year we are thinking of putting one hundred of the tickets on ebay in order to add excitement to the scramble for tickets and raise money to support the event. A penny for your thoughts, please.
Re: Barfly/Masque Theatre, 90, Seel Street. I suppose Seel Street is close enough to be mistaken for Duke Street. Look at this internet posting which concerns the buildings' owner, a rich slave transporter.
An interesting extract "Like so many business men of the day he liked to show his wealth and had his own theatre built within this building"
A paragraph here mentions Dickens at Masque 90, Seel Street, but adds..."or so the story goes"
Last edited by marky; 06-04-2008 at 12:45 AM. Reason: added another link
My initial interest was in the fact that Dickens was made a (Honarary) Special Constable in Liverpool due to his visits to a police station.
Recently, the Bridewell in Campbell Street has been said to be the place, but it didn't open until 1860.
Opinions differ on when Dickens last visited Liverpool, but he'd been coming here since the 1840s, when there was already a police station next to the back-to-back houses in Duke Street.
It's shown on an OS map of 1848.
Kelly's Directory of 1936 still lists this police station and it was listed next to 88 Seel Street.
Therefore the Masque name probably stems from Dickens' literary connections, and may be a comparitively recent name, IMHO after WW2 perhaps.
There certainly was never a Masque Theatre anywhere in Liverpool, and I've never heard of any private theatres (apart from Knowsley Hall), at least not private theatres where plays, etc., were put on.
There were lecture theatres, and the nearby Royal Institution had one.
It's stretching the imagination somewhat to think that a private theatre would become an operating theatre, but conceivable that a lecture theatre could be.
Last edited by PhilipG; 06-04-2008 at 02:22 AM.
Great flickr site Chris.
The ventilation system used indicates that it predates Pentonville (1842). The system is similar to that in Perth Prison (1840) but an improvement on Eastern State Penitentiary (Philadelphia 1829). The Perth system is that favoured by Dr David Boswell Reid ('Ventilator' to St George's Hall and Houses of Parliament) in his book of 1844 and it could be that Reid had a hand in this building - that is something I am currently trying to establish. Cheapside Bridewell has a Pentonville ventilation system and that was built in 1859. The style of the cells at Argyle Street/Campbell Street would certainly indicate that this is a lot earlier.
A banquet was given in honour of Dickens in St George's Hall on 10th April 1869 and, since he died the next year, this may well have been his last visit.
Last edited by neilsturrock; 06-13-2008 at 08:38 PM.
Joseph Sharples says 1860, and I've found that he's invariably right.
Yes, the address was in Argyle Street, but I can be forgiven for saying Campbell Street because the side of the building is there.
(It's obviously nearer Campbell Street than Duke Street!)
What is the earliest street directory you've found that gives the address (of the Bridewell) as 17 Argyle Street?
The 1848 OS map shows that one of the three buildings on the site is built right up to the pavement, not set back behind a wall as the larger building appears on the 1890 and subsequent editions, so the current building did not exist until after 1848.
Nor is it identified, as other Police Stations and Bridewells are, which leads me to:
I see you don't comment on my remarks about the Police Station which did exist in the 1840s, in between Duke Street and Seel Street.
(Nearer to Duke Street than Campbell/Argyle Streets.)
I've managed to answer your post almost immediately.
I hope I don't have to wait another week for a reply.
Last edited by PhilipG; 06-15-2008 at 08:03 AM. Reason: pavement
I did a quick search of Charles Dickens' letters at this site (a .pdf file, 602 pages)
I didn't spot any mention of the Bridewell or the Duke Street Theatre. There are many mentions of Liverpool.
This doesn't prove that Liverpool had given him such a title so early, but it seems likely.
DEVONSHIRE TERRACE, 10th April, 1848, Monday Evening.
Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton.
MY DEAR BULWER LYTTON,
I confess to small faith in any American profits having international copyright for their aim. But I will carefully consider Blackwood’s letter (when I get it) and will call upon you and tell you what occurs to me in reference to it, before I communicate with that northern light.
I have been “going” to write to you for many a day past, to thank you for your kindness to the General Theatrical Fund people, and for your note to me; but I have waited until I should hear of your being stationary somewhere. What you said of the “Battle of Life” gave me great pleasure. I was thoroughly wretched at having to use the idea for so short a story. I did not see its full capacity until it was too late to think of another subject, and I have always felt that I might have done a great deal better if I had taken it for the groundwork of a more extended book. But for an insuperable aversion I have to trying back in such a case, I should certainly forge that bit of metal again, as you suggest—one of these days perhaps.
I have not been special constable myself to-day— thinking there was rather an epidemic in that wise abroad. I walked over and looked at the preparations, without any baggage of staff, warrant, or affidavit.
Very faithfully yours.
Last edited by PhilipG; 06-15-2008 at 03:26 AM.
A Flickr member has a very large pic. of the Dickens plaque at the Bridewell. The Masque Theatre gets mentioned, but not the Bridewell he's supposed to have visited.
This .pdf file mentions the site (on the map on page 3, item 35). Unfortunately the place on the map is at the junction of Argyle Street and Lydia Ann Street. But they obviously meant Campbell Street. I wonder where they got their information.
Last edited by marky; 06-15-2008 at 09:58 AM.
I walked round Duke Street/Seel Street today, and see that the Barfly/Masque is part of the former Royal Institution, most likely in the lecture theatre.
Does anybody know if the Masque was somewhere else before the Royal Institution?
I remember when the Royal Institution was still educational, because I took evening classes there in the 1980s.
Last edited by PhilipG; 06-15-2008 at 11:09 PM.
Re: Argyle/Campbell Street Bridewell....Liverpool Corporation Accounts, "New lockup, Argyle-street ?120". (Liverpool Mercury Oct 30th 1860).
"Dickens began by writing seventeen episodes, which were printed in All the Year Round between 28 January and 13 October 1860.....He sporadically produced eleven more articles between 1863-65 and an expanded edition of the work was printed in 1866. Once more he returned to the persona with some more sketches written 1868-69"
The Uncommercial Traveller is offered free by Project Gutenberg. Click the link then Type "Ctrl F" on your keyboard to bring up the search box. I typed in "Liverpool" and it came back with a "Chapter V, POOR MERCANTILE JACK" and a descrition of Liverpool's docks in the 1860's. Incidentially 'Chapter V' would have been in the first publication batch of 'seventeen episodes' published from 28 January and 13 October 1860. Here, Dicken's acknowledges his role as a Liverpool 'special constable' and helps us date his enrolement in the Liverpool force.
Writing almost autobiographically Dickens says..."I had entered the Liverpool police force, that I might have a look at the various unlawful traps which are every night set for Jack ['Jack' for Jack-Tar or sailor]..... I had taken, for purposes of identification, a photograph-likeness of a thief, in the portrait-room at our head police office (on the whole, he seemed rather complimented by the proceeding), and I had been on police parade, and the small hand of the clock was moving on to ten, when I took up my lantern to follow Mr. Superintendent to the traps that were set for Jack.
"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.
Fascinating thread. Has any new info. come to light?
Hello DKL, is that your book on your avatar, are you a friend of John Sudbury?
Liverpool Mercury 26th June 1860.
Among the description for the sale of the "Blue House" 13 Argyle Street is the following line
...close to..."where the new Bridewell is to be erected".
Good thread. I grew up in Micawber Street with Nickleby Street to our left and Copperfield St. to our right. The cross street was Weller Street. I think there was a Charles Street and a Dickens Street but can't place them.
Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.
Hello there, just read the post on Dickens' connection with Liverpool. I am not sure if you aware of this, but apparently, many people ask during the tour of Saint George's Hall, if Dickens really did stay up here for a spell for reasons other than boarding a ship or as part of a reading tour, and they give a firm no, and state that it is all based on a mis-quote, which was actually said by another big literary name. If he did come here for a short time to be part of the specials for research purposes, then the good folks at the Hall are very badly in need of correcting. Is there solid evidence that could be shown? It would be great if all such doubt and inconsistency was removed. Cheers. Hainesy.
Gerald Dickens, Charles Dickens gg/grandson gave readings in St Georges Hall last December money went to age concern, he made comment about being in the same spot as his ancestor, Gerald D also spoke to Sean Styles on Radio Merseyside regarding Charles Dickens love of Liverpool, so a very strange negative answer from St Georges Hall staff.
When I went to the Dickens Museum in Doughty Street London in 2004, there was memorabilia of Dickens' reading tours including those at St George's Hall.
It is Accomplished
Some of these tour guides eh pfft?
There's even one fella who swears the Nelson monument in Exchange Flags is a memorial to the slave trade
"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."... ... ... Mark Twain.