Clayton Square just before demolition in 1986...
How it looked back in 1923...
...and how it looks today.
Clayton Square was named after William Clayton, a member of an influential old Liverpool family who represented the town in eight parliaments between the years 1698-1714, and who also served as Mayor in 1689.
The square was laid out between 1745-50. Progress was slow- by 1769, only four houses existed here and one of these was converted into the Prince of Wales Theatre, which was demolished in 1912 and a new theatre of a different kind, the Liverpool Picture House, built adjacent to the site.
The Picture House changed its name numerous times over the years: the Prince of Wales News and Feature Theatre, Liverpool News Theatre and the Gala Theatre. I remember being left to watch the all-day cartoons the News Theatre used to run in the 1950s and 60s while mum and gran went shopping.
It last showed films- of an adult nature- as the 'Jacey Film Theatre' before finally closing in 1972, when it was radically transformed into a church, known as the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament.
Many of the surrounding properties- once grand houses, then prestigious shops- became occupied by 'budget' retail establishments such as Spectrum and Penny Pichers before, in 1986, after a Public Inquiry following numerous calls for the historic square to be restored, the entire area was demolished to make way for a soulless modern retail development.