Incoming merchant John Gladstone ( brother of future Abercromby square tenant Robert, father of tenants Adam and Roberston) lead the next stage of fashionable building on the new Rodney Street from 1780 ( where his other son, future Prime Minister William Ewart was born), but before the road was even complete it had been again overtaken by expansion outwards, and by the necessary improvements to the town.
Cholera had been a terrible shadow over the now overcrowded town for fifty years, the original streets of a hundred years previous were too narrow and impractical for a thriving port, and Liverpool wanted to look how it felt, like a grand metropolis to match London, the only place more important in the country in terms of trade. In his 1784 Medical Survey of Liverpool Moss complained of how much still needed to be done, with streets too narrow, insufficient paving, small houses, ongoing problems with the water supply, smelly sewers and dirty streets. So on 7th December 1785, the council formed the Select Improvement Committee, its remit to bring Liverpool up to scratch. Its first actions were setting down minimum requirements for new building and the widening of roads with an eye to the future, and the creation of the planning precepts which would culminate in the carefully planned and laid out Abercromby square and surroundings.
Things hadn’t changed hugely since Moore’s day in terms of having one eye ( or both eyes in this case) to a profit though. The idea of council corruption for financial gain in Liverpool will obviously come as a complete shock… but this is what the antiquarian Matthew Gregson accused them of. There may be some sour grapes involved as various members of Gregson’s family were involved from the off, and he never inherited money he thought his due, but the Select Improvement Committee included numerous names that would become central to the leases for the land over the following decades; the Crosbies, Earles, Eyes and Fosters formed the core of the group.