Wild scenes at Liverpool


August 2, 1919
Between 50 and 60 persons were charged at Liverpool on Saturday with rioting and the looting of shops. Evidence was given that a crowd were smashing the windows of boot shops, while several men were inside throwing boots out to the crowd. These were all arrested. All the prisoners were remanded for eight days. The Stipendiary said that the police in face of great difficulties had done wonderfully well to get so many there. There has been a good response to the Lord Mayor’s appeal, over 230 having been accepted.

Looting on an extensive scale again broke out in Liverpool shortly after 11 o’clock on Saturday night. In Great Homer Street several shops suffered, but this outbreak was quickly quelled on the arrival of plain clothing men. The most serious havoc was wrought in London Road, where gangs of young men of the hooligan class smashed the plate-glass windows of jewellers’, boot, tailors’, and mant’e shops and stripped the windows of the contents. The goods were littered on the pavement in indescribable confusion. Troops formed a cordon at the entrance to the thoroughfare and eventually charged, but the hooligans slipped into the side streets and then returned, smashing more windows.

The Press Association Liverpool correspondent, describing Saturday evening’s disturbances, says: – A scene of ruin and devastation is presented by the wrecked shops in London Road, Scotland Road, and Great Homer Road. Groups of young men moved after darkness along these thoroughfares. It was noticed that they were accompanied in most cases by women, and the attacks were evidently prearranged, for as the women pointed out the shops which they wished plundered, the men proceeded to smash the plate-glass, windows principally of jewellers’, boot and shoe, and hosiers’ shops, and to clear out the contents. The articles were handed to their confreres, who rushed away, but several of them were stopped and arrested. Many looters were struck with batons, and they threw missiles at plain clothes officers. During a charge by the troops Detective Lewitt was badly hit with the butt end of a rifle and had to be carried away.

In the Scotland Road area similar scenes were enacted, many grocers’ shops being sacked, whilst from a music shop pianos were dragged out and the looters held an al fresco concert in the street. In this area matter became so serious that a volley of rifle fire was resorted to as an expedient, but no one was hurt. The disturbances did not subside until three or four o’clock yesterday morning.

During yesterday afternoon the hooligans raided several bottling stores in Vauxall Road. Two motor lorries filled with troops came up and all the men were arrested. They were followed by a hostile crowd throwing stones. Shots were fired over the heads of the rioters. There was another fusillade of stone, and a man climbed up behind the second motor lorry and tried to wrench a bayonet from a soldier. Two or three shots were fired as a warning, and then two shots were fired at him. He fell and collapsed on the pavement and was taken to the Northern Hospital in an insensible condition. He was found to be suffering from gunshot.
(Western Daily Press: August 4, 1919)

Image of a looted Liverpool shop (picture though is from a riot in 1915)
Liverpool Riots

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