December 31, 1899
As is customary, the central thoroughfares of the city were crowded late last evening, by individuals who deseried to “let the New Year in.” As early as eight o’clock they trooped from all quarters, making for Church-street, Lord-street, Ranelagh-street, Elliott-street, Whitechapel, and Bold-street.
As usual, of course, no midnight service could be held in the pro-Cathedral church. Several of the principal shopkeepers of Church-street erected barriers before their windows in anticipation of the crush, Messrs. Bunney having substantial planks placed along the whole of their frontage in that thoroughfare and in Whitechapel. The number of enthusiasts were greater than in former times, owing, no doubt, to the fact that the weather was agreeable. During the last two years, if memory serves aright, the heavy rains somewhat damped the ardour of the crowds. Believing that there was some probability of trouble arising, the police authorities made special arrangements, and in addition to appointing a numerous company of plainclothes detectives to move among the crowds, had 100 policemen posted at regular distances on each side of the streets, Superintendent Smith, of A division, closely supervising the work.
The scene in Church-street was the most disgraceful ever witnessed on such an occasion. Young girls and boys of ten years and twelve years were helplessly drunk, and many, mere children, who ought to have been in bed, were, with blackened faces, screaming out ditties. The police exercised forbearance, and patiently awaited the departure of the noisy mob, among whom were to be seen many respectably dressed persons. At one o’clock this morning the streets were fairly cleared of pedestrians.
(Liverpool Mercury: January 1, 1900)