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Liverpool Picturebook

Derby Square and St George's Crescent

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Quote Originally Posted by BobEd View Post
On November 2nd, 1825, just forty years after the date of the first Improvement Act of 1785, the Council resolved to apply for an Act for opening and widening Lord Street, Castle Ditch, Pool Lane, and other places, where the houses were old and had become dilapidated, whilst the streets were very narrow and unsuitable for the growing commerce and population of the town. The Act having been obtained, the houses of the Castle Ditch, opposite to St. George's Church, were demolished, and the building of St. George's Crescent was commenced in May of 1827. The appearance of the town was greatly improved by the erection of these handsome buildings, and the great improvement can be seen in this illustration by C and G Payne c1830. These very necessary improvements cost the town the large sum of £170,000. But it was money well spent, and a writer of the period says, " We congratulate the Town and Corporation of Liverpool on the happy issue of their recent exertions for its improvement, which have invested it with a grandeur and magnificence that will enable it to contest in the palm of enterprise with the Metropolis itself."

Castle Ditch was an extremely narrow lane, about four yards wide, running from Castle Street to Pool Lane (South Castle Street) across the tops of Harrington Street, Lord Street, and Cable Street. In the illustration below the spectator is looking towards the entrance of those streets, and the middle one of the three is Lord Street. On the opposite side of Castle Ditch there was a sort of island of closely packed houses, lying between the top of Lord Street and St. George's Church, where the Queen Victoria Memorial now stands. It is convenient here to speak of Preeson's Row a row of houses named after Alderman Preeson, and probably built by him. It lay on the west side of the Castle, that is the opposite side to Castle Ditch.

In the illustration below we are looking from the top of Lord Street towards the river, and therefore we are facing the west side of Castle Ditch. It is apparent that the houses closed all direct communication between Lord Street and the river, and it is equally clear that their removal was necessary in order that another main artery for the increasing commerce of the town might be provided. The spire seen behind the houses is that of St. George's Church, which stood where the Queen Victoria Memorial now is. The opening on the right of the picture is Castle Street, and the one on the left is Pool Lane, or South Castle Street. Castle Ditch was very narrow, as stated previously, but the exaggerated foreground in both this and the previous picture scarcely conveys that impression.

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