... what do you mean you didn't even notice I'd been gone? Oh well. Returned refreshed from a lovely mini break in Nice with my better half, and now back to work and research, and preparing for my talk to the Society on Sunday.
I'd almost finished posting the draft parts from my 'pre-1800 chapter', so just a couple left, starting below...
In the last posts I gave a brief outline of the history of the town, but for this the next part we need to look specifically at the fashionable growth of Liverpool. In its earliest days the merchant class lived by 'the Exchange' and on the historic seven streets, from Water Street to what is now the business district, but as trade grew from 1600, and landowners like Moore built more streets, and the upper echelons of the merchant class would prefer their houses a little away from the business, industry, and the increasing populous lower classes.
From the early 1700s, when the first dock appeared and the inlet was filled in, the fashionable townhouses spread south, with School Lane, Hanover Street and then Duke Street being the residences of choice. No sooner were these built than the expansion of the ‘town’ caught up, and an area further out from the centre was needed by the well to do. Though not the subject of this history, the same fashionable expansion was happening to the North along Scotland Road, ( although this was restricted when the canals started being constructed from 1770).
True aristocracy lived out of town, but for the self-made men of the expanding port, and the large number of ‘business immigrants’ from Scotland, Lancashire and London, it was important to be close to the office, with easy access to the ever important ‘Exchange’. Liverpool’s roads were abysmal at this point, uneven and unpaved, and carriage transport was still difficult at best, so a 'townhouse' was a must.
By the mid 1750s, the roads to the East were made navigable, and Prescot Road and Smithdown Road became more important routes for traffic. Martindale’s Hill ( Mount Pleasant) and Love Lane were fashionable country walks, and Duke Street extended all the way up to Hope Street, as a direct link to the town centre.
The flat fields overlooking the town from the top of the hill were looking like a great place to build next, and already had clean water from the reservoir formed in 1740. It was obvious to anyone with an ounce of sense ( and a shred of business acumen) that the Moss Lake fields were the future.