Royal William, Crown Street, 1979

Alexandra, Upper Hill Street, 1976
A happy New Year to all followers of my blog.
When I started the blog over six years ago, I had no expectation that it would have more than a couple of years life in it. Time really does catch one out. I was at the Open Eye exhibition launch last night which was a celebration of its 40th year. When I founded it back in 1977, I was just 29. It really makes me think where those forty years went. One thing is certain though, I won’t be posting when I am 102.
The blog started out of my interest in the photographic record of Liverpool and a determination to make public not only my collection of photographs but, also those in other collections, both public and private. In the latter respect, I have not been too successful – so this year I will be making greater efforts to infiltrate other archives. This is our history and there is so much material that would interest a wider public.
In this context, I have make another resolution, and that is to respond to the many requests I get for specific locations. Not all are possible but I will do my best; after all, one of the best features of the blog is the comments section, which makes me feel that what I am doing is striking a chord.
So, on to today’s requested images. The Royal William, on the corner of Crown Street, is one of those unfathomable losses that the city has suffered in recent years. A fine Regency period building, it was named after the transatlantic paddle steamer, built in 1837. In most other cities, it would have been listed and appreciated. Not so Liverpool where it was demolished in 1998 and left as a piece of wasteland.
Another loss is the Alexandra public house on Upper Hill Street, which has been replaced by housing. A neat, typical Victorian pub, it served its neighbourhood for generations. I appreciate there were far too many pubs in Liverpool, particularly after the population collapse from the 1960s onwards, but too many good buildings were lost when they could have served another function. Which brings me back to Open Eye and its original location – the former Grapes Hotel on the corner of Hood Street and Whitechapel. The layout of the building proved perfect for an arts project with plenty of accessible public space and in a prominent location. The Royal William could have certainly had an alternative use had the will been there.