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Thread: Liverpool and the Booker Prize

  1. #1
    Senior Member Colin Wilkinson's Avatar
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    Default Liverpool and the Booker Prize


    Booker Avenue 1934
    I drive down Booker Avenue everyday, usually just after 9.00 to avoid the school run to popular Booker Avenue School. The road is a built-up 1930s estate, all neat and well-cared for houses, but there is a hint of antiquity for, in a railed off corner plot is the Archer Stone, which was a target for local archers according to legend. The photograph shows rural cottages being dismantled in preparation for new housing. Today’s blog, however, follows a different path. Bennison’s Survey of Liverpool (1835) gives a clue.

    Bennison’s Survey 1835
    At the top left is the wooded estate of Calderstones. Further down is the land held by J. Booker. According to the history of the Booker Company, the biggest wholesaler in the UK: In 1815, Josias Booker, the third of seven sons of a Lancashire miller, emigrated to Demerara to work in the sugar plantations. One of the first British settlers in Demerara, he learnt his trade quickly and became a planter of some distinction, and by 1818 he was managing his own plantation. Following his success he was joined by two of his brothers, George and Richard, and the firm of Booker Brothers was founded. After a dispute with the Liverpool Shipowners who had been transporting their sugar, the brothers decided to form their own shipping company, and in 1835 they acquired their first ship, the Elizabeth, a brig built in Scotland in 1832. In the early years Bookers bought and sold many ships, unfortunately a lot of the company’s records were destroyed by fire in Guyana, and the complete record of the company’s activities was destroyed in London during WW2, but it is known that some of their early ships were; Palmyra, Standard, Lucknow, Lord Elgin, John Horrocks and Lancaster.
    In 1846 John McConnell went to Guyana to work as a clerk for the Booker Brothers, where he prospered, and in 1874 founded his own firm of John McConnell & Company. Due to his long and close association with the brothers, the two firms merged in 1900 and became known as Booker Brothers, McConnell & Co Ltd, and the company set up an office in The Albany, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, where it remained until 1941.

    Booker were the sponsors of the prestigious Booker Prize for literature and two local authors have featured in its shortlist (Beryl Bainbridge and Linda Grant). Perhaps a less welcome link to such an important prize is the unsavoury fact that the Booker’s wealth depended on slave labour. The first awards were held in 1968 and it is now known as the Man Booker following the withdrawal of Booker as its main sponsor.
    It is always interesting to dig deeper into Liverpool’s history, there are always fascinating facts that can be gleaned from the most ordinary places.


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    Senior Member Norm NZ's Avatar
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    Thanks for the memory Colin, Booker Ave is one 'street' that will remain in my memory! My wife and I were married at the Scottish Prespertarian Church there, corner of Booker and Mather Avenue's, in 1956. Sadly, I believe this church has now been demolished!

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    Senior Member Colin Wilkinson's Avatar
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    Hi Norm,

    Don't worry - the church is still there (actually it was built by the Presbyterian Church of England - not Scotland). It is now a United Reformed Church and seems to be doing ok.

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    Senior Member az_gila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm NZ View Post
    Thanks for the memory Colin, Booker Ave is one 'street' that will remain in my memory! My wife and I were married at the Scottish Prespertarian Church there, corner of Booker and Mather Avenue's, in 1956. Sadly, I believe this church has now been demolished!
    My memory of that spot was doing a nice four wheel drift around the corner in my rear engined Fiat 600 - hit a patch of water and the drift turned into a couple of 360 degree spins...

    Got out before anyone reported me though...

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    Senior Member Doris Mousdale's Avatar
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    Our old home territory too,visiting the shops on Booker Ave just for a change then walking up Yew Tree lane to Mather Ave or through the park to Menlove to get home to Greenhill Ave during summer days in the park.

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    Senior Member az_gila's Avatar
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    I bicycled 4 times a day (came home for lunch) to Quarry Bank HS. From S. ossley Hill Rd., up Booker Av and a left at the Greenhills - definitely making it my terrority too...

    IIRC I could average 15 to 20 mph on a good day.

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    Senior Member Doris Mousdale's Avatar
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    As you know Quarry was at the end of our road and three of my children went to school there. Attended lots of parent evenings in that school. Bet you went to Chris's chippy down Mossley Hill Rd. and were possibly too young for a visit to the Rose of Mossley.
    BTW it's a GBP1000 a week to rent a smart apartment down Mossley Hill during the summer

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    Senior Member az_gila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doris Mousdale View Post
    As you know Quarry was at the end of our road and three of my children went to school there. Attended lots of parent evenings in that school. Bet you went to Chris's chippy down Mossley Hill Rd. and were possibly too young for a visit to the Rose of Mossley.
    BTW it's a GBP1000 a week to rent a smart apartment down Mossley Hill during the summer
    Yes on the chippy...

    No on the Rose of Mossley until I became a student at Liverpool Univ. and then it was a hang out since the hall of residence were close by.

    Don't know about rentals, my mum's house (she's been there since 1950) and my sisters on Brockholme are much cheaper...
    Last edited by az_gila; 03-06-2012 at 04:43 PM. Reason: spellling

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    Senior Member Norm NZ's Avatar
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    Thanks Colin, for the update, glad the church has survived, it was'nt a very old building!! The following 'thumbnail' shows the front in 1956:-
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Whole Family Group.jpg 
Views:	84 
Size:	936.6 KB 
ID:	24319 (Do'nt know how the photographer managed to get 'everyone' in!!)

    And, Doris and Az, we also had the wedding reception in the hall next door to the Rose of Mossley! bit before your time there I guess!!!

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    Senior Member Brian-P's Avatar
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    Thanks Colin, that was a facinating post.

    I never knew the connection between the infamous Booker Prize and Liverpool.

    Keep these facts coming...please.

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    Senior Member az_gila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norm NZ View Post
    .....
    And, Doris and Az, we also had the wedding reception in the hall next door to the Rose of Mossley! bit before your time there I guess!!!
    The hall is still there and is a British Legion Hall

    http://g.co/maps/na3zg

    My sister likes the Kinselas resturant across the street - and they should like me when I tipped them 20+% this Jan. on a dinner for 10 because I misread a 6 for an 8...

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    Senior Member Norm NZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by az_gila View Post
    The hall is still there and is a British Legion Hall

    http://g.co/maps/na3zg

    My sister likes the Kinselas resturant across the street - and they should like me when I tipped them 20+% this Jan. on a dinner for 10 because I misread a 6 for an 8...
    Thanks for the link Az! Brought back some very nice memories!

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    Senior Member Doris Mousdale's Avatar
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    Some of my family ex-Liverpudlians living down south rented apartments down Mossley Hill while their boys went to the Liverpool FC Academy and paid a huge amount in one of the gated complexes.
    Mossley Hill still has that "villagey" feel Does the 61 bus to Aigburth( from Seaforth) still ramble through.
    That was a bus journey it felt as though you were going to the end of the world

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    Senior Member az_gila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doris Mousdale View Post
    Some of my family ex-Liverpudlians living down south rented apartments down Mossley Hill while their boys went to the Liverpool FC Academy and paid a huge amount in one of the gated complexes.
    Mossley Hill still has that "villagey" feel Does the 61 bus to Aigburth( from Seaforth) still ramble through.
    That was a bus journey it felt as though you were going to the end of the world
    Don't know about the gated areas, but the 61 bus still goes to the Vale.
    Interesting how the bus numbers I remember in the 60's are still used.

    Talking about gated communities, I just heard of the AZ State Prison Outlet Store this weekend.

    This is one of their products -


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