A visit to Liverpool in 1900


September 22, 1900
Along the west coast
Liverpool affords an instance – even with its drawbacks – where the residents from the interior can find much to interest them, and as a central point for excursions, in many different directions, is unsurpassed.

The great city of the Mersey continues to expand. Evidences of its wealth are visible on every hand, in new and costly structures. The commercial buildings are imposing in their grandeur and magnificence, while public and private enterprise go hand in hand in the erection of edifices palatial in size, and which are rendering this great entrepot a city of palaces, so far as the leading thoroughfares are concerned. What more gratifying treat can a stranger desire than a stroll on the Great Landing Stage, where steamers start for most parts of the world, and where one elbows visitors from all quarters of the globe!

From the Pierhead the Corporation electric cars cover the whole area of the city, at the nominal charge of one penny to the most distant points. These cars are well appointed, they travel at high speed, are run at frequent intervals, and visitors can readily, and at very light cost, inspect the attractive objects that abound. Another series of cars are run north and south, from Aigburth – where the “upper ten” mostly live – to Fazakerley, in the north, a distance of over eight miles, for five pence!

Alas, however, that it should have to be said. The poverty of Liverpool is as visible from the electric cars as the grandeur of the central portions of the city. Dram-shops and pawnshops are too plentiful. They generally come together. Drink has always been the curse of Liverpool, and still is its bane. There is little employment for the young. Ragged and barefoot children are numerous, and half-intoxicated women and poorly dressed men are seen on every hand.

The city possesses several fine parks, institutions of all kinds are plentiful – educational and otherwise – and the wealthy people have dispensed freely of their bounty in various directions, but the curse of drink overshadows all these efforts, and leaves a deploarable residuum of misery in the thickly-populated quarters of one of the richest cities in the world. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, Liverpool, is a most interesting city, where visitors can spend a plensant and profitable time.

The disused graveyards are set out tastefully as gardens, are kept in excellent condition, and are veritable oases of greenery in the midst of the busy city. The Corporation have spent money freely in adornment, and have made a great variety of improvements for the health of the residents and the beautifying of the thoroughfares. Having known Liverpool sixty years ago, the writer can appreciate the extraordinary changes that have come about in the long intervening period.

A pleasant run from Liverpool – through the sand-hills that line the shore, and amid pretty villas, mansions, and minor watering-places, where golf is greatly in vogue – lands the visitor speedily at Southport. In the past half century this place has grown into a large and important town; in fact may be looked upon as a suburb of Liverpool, where the merchants and shipowners take their ease in the sweet air from the sea.
(Leeds Times, 22-09.1900)

Castle Street, around 1900.
Castle street

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