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62 Rodney Street Liverpool

Rodney Street in Liverpool, is noted for the number of doctors and its Georgian architecture. It is sometimes known as the "Harley Street of the North", this street provided homes for many of Liverpool's elite merchants, and the buildings still reflect that wealth.

The street is named in honour of Admiral Lord Rodney, triumphant defender of British interests in the West Indies from 1779 to 1782. Rodney Street was laid out by William Roscoe and others  between about 1782 and 1801, and continued to be developed into the 1820s. The beginning of a Georgian residential development built to house the affluent away from the old town centre. The length, width, and straightness of Rodney Street were unprecedented in Liverpool. It was developed piecemeal up to the 1820s with pairs and short runs of substantial houses, mostly three-bay but some, like no. 62, with five bays.

Number 62 was commissioned by John Gladstone (1764-1851).
Born John Gladstones in Leith, Edinburgh, the son of a corn merchant, Gladstones left school at thirteen to serve as apprentice in a rope and sailcloth company before entering his father's business. A new partnership brought him to Liverpool, where in 1787. Their business was in American grain and tobacco, the goods on which Gladstone's fortune was founded. In 1803 Gladstone began trading sugar and cotton in the West Indies; that year he purchased the Belmont estate in Demerara. Over the next quarter century, Gladstone increased his sugar estate holdings in Demerara and Jamaica; he never visited the islands that brought him such immense wealth. Not surprisingly, he was an ardent defender of the plantation system, and was from 1809 chairman of the Liverpool West Indian Association. In 1830 he published his 'Statement on the Present State of Slavery', which opposed total abolition whilst acknowledging the responsibilities of slave owners. After emancipation, Gladstone sold most of his West Indian property and invested in Bengal sugar instead. Politically active in Liverpool, Gladstone's allegiances gradually changed from radical whig (a one-time supporter of the abolitionist William Roscoe) to tory (managing several of George Canning's election campaigns). Gladstone was an MP from 1818-27, representing three separate constituencies. He was knighted in 1846, and died in 1851 at Fasque, the Scottish estate he had bought in 1833. John Gladstone's political ambitions were realised through his son, William Ewart Gladstone, four times prime minister between 1868 and 1894.

William Gladstone was born on 29 December 1809, at the house in Rodney Street which was his home until the family moved in 1818. After attending a small school at Bootle near Liverpool run by an Evangelical connected with the family, William was sent to Eton. John Gladstone was determined to give his son the educational advantage he himself had lacked, and from a young age William was encouraged to follow a career in politics. During a distinguished career at Christ Church, Oxford, William expressed the desire to take holy orders, but this was discouraged. In 1832 William Gladstone was elected MP for Newark, a seat largely controlled by the tory Duke of Newcastle, with whom John Gladstone is said to have exerted influence. His maiden speech was delivered shortly before the final reading of the Slavery Abolition Bill in July 1833; Gladstone argued against full emancipation. In the wake of the Act, Gladstone became a spokesman for the West Indian interest, seeking higher reparation payments for plantation owners. The Gladstone family received over £90,000 in compensation for the slaves they lost. Gladstone did not defend the principal of slavery, though he later counselled against interceding with foreign powers engaged in its practice, and protected the products of slave labour in the name of free trade. In common with many Liverpool people, Gladstone was a supporter of the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Gladstone's parliamentary career was one of exceptional distinction. Besides being a great orator, he was active, powerful, and successful in every branch of government; he was chancellor of the exchequer three times. His political allegiance changed gradually: in 1846 he became a Liberal-Conservative, and in 1859 joined the Liberal party; it was as a Liberal that he held the post of prime minister (1868-1874; 1880-5; 1886; 1892-4). A supporter of the Reform Bill and Catholic emancipation, Gladstone was passionately interested in the Irish question, campaigning for home rule. The defeat of the second Home Rule Bill in 1893 signalled Gladstone's retirement from the House of Commons, but the bill had far-reaching effects on Britain's constitution. From 1874 Gladstone lived at Hawarden Castle, the home of his wife's family, where he became known as an exemplar of the English country gentleman. It was here that he died in 1898.

John Cardwell
From 1818 to 1831, 62 Rodney Street was home to John Cardwell, merchant, and his family. Cardwell's son Edward (1813-86), also became a politician, and he and Gladstone were for many years political allies. From 1847 to 1852 Cardwell represented Liverpool; thereafter he was MP for Oxford City. An advocate of free trade, his financial expertise was valued by William Gladstone. Cardwell served as Gladstone's secretary of state for war from 1868 to 1874. The greatest reformer of the British army, Cardwell's most important legacy was the abolition of the system whereby many officers' commissions could be bought and sold. When Gladstone resigned in 1874, Cardwell was a strong candidate for the succession but, exhausted by his time at the War Office, he accepted a peerage instead, becoming Viscount Cardwell of Ellerbeck. He continued to be politically active, speaking out against slavery in the late 1870s'

As the birthplace of one of Britain's greatest prime ministers, 62 Rodney Street is of undoubted historic interest. But seen in relation to the history of the slave trade, particularly in Liverpool, its story acquires an extra dimension. Laid out by William Roscoe, who was to become Liverpool's most prominent abolitionist, Rodney Street was named in celebration of Britain's naval supremacy in the West Indies - Lord Rodney claimed that the greatness of the navy was fostered by apprenticeship in the slave trade. In 1788 Lord Rodney had given evidence to the parliamentary select committee appointed to examine the slave trade, saying that during many years in the West Indies he had seen no evidence that Africans were treated with brutality (he himself was master of a devoted white servant). Rodney Street was built to house Liverpool's prosperous merchants, the wealth of many of whom depended on slaves and the products of their labour; members of the Tobin and Houghton families were amongst those who established themselves on the street. John Gladstone was one of the richest of these merchants; his investment in West Indian plantations transformed the family's status, enabling Gladstone to pave the way for his son's political career. Once in government, William Gladstone, generally regarded as an advocate of social reform, exemplified the complacent attitude towards slavery. which persisted in much of British society.

Other Famous Rodney Street residents over the years include
Henry Booth Merchant, Entrepreneur, Engineer.

Henry Booth
Henry Booth was an engineer and part of one of Liverpool’s big merchant families; he had no doubt by 1824 that the railway was the future. Opposition to the railway was fierce, even vicious – surveyors planning a rail route to Manchester had to be protected from the angry locals by hired bruisers, and Liverpool’s pro-railway lobby was mugged at every turn by influential canal owners, road trustees and landowners. A declaration was signed by 150 Liverpool men – including a Rathbone, a Gladstone, and a Ewart, that ‘new means of communication were indispensable’. Booth’s foresight was remarkable, but even he was probably astonished at the speed and spread of the radical changes in society that the railway age was to bring

Arthur Hugh Clough (1 January 1819 – 13 November 1861) was an English poet,  an educationalist and a fine poet whose experiments in extending the range of literary language and subject were ahead of his time, was born the first day of 1819 to James and Ann (Perfect) Clough in Liverpool. One biographer describes his father as an "intermittently unsuccessful cotton merchant from the North Wales landed gentry" and notes that his mother was more solidly middle-class. The family moved to Charleston, S. C., in 1822,

William Henry Duncan first Medical Officer of Health in 1847.

Dr William Duncan was Liverpool's first Medical Officer of Health. He was born in Seel Street in Liverpool in 1805. Duncan studied medicine at Edinburgh University, graduating as a Doctor of Medicine in 1829. He started his professional career as a General Practitioner (GP) working in two practices in Liverpool. He became interested in the health of the poor and started researching the living conditions of his patients. He was shocked by what he found and started a lifelong campaign for improved sanitation and housing for the poor.

E. Chambré Hardman
with Rolleiflex
E. Chambré Hardman, photographer, studio at no 59.

When he died in 1988 his photographic studio and house, number 59, Rodney Street, contained his entire life’s work; photographs, business records, professional and personal correspondence, photographic equipment and personal belongings.
It is the only known British photographic studio of the mid-20th century where the photographer’s entire output has been preserved intact. Today this truly unique collection is open to the public as a museum with some gallery space created for his wonderful photographs:

Nicholas Monsarrat, novelist, was born on the street. 
Nicholas John Turney Monsarrat, son of a distinguished surgeon, was born in Liverpool in 1910. Gaining a law degree from Cambridge he decided that the solicitor's career for which he was being trained did not suit him. He went to London where he tried to make a living writing novels and journalistic pieces such as a regular restaurant review that supplied him with one good meal a week. Although he was a pacifist, Monsarrat decided to join the Royal Naval Voluntary Reserve. He was to write later that "I decided to help win the battle first, and deal with my moral principals later." He experienced constant exposure to danger aboard the "Compass Rose' Corvette vessel escorting convoys, described so graphically in The Cruel Sea and his other war books. His distinguished war service and his magnificent narratives about Britain's sailors were recognised by the nation when he died, and he was buried at sea with full Military honours from a ship of the Royal Navy.

James Maury
James Maury the first United States consul from 1790 to 1829, lived at 4 Rodney Street The son of a famous father, the  Reverend James Maury (1719-1769) who was born in Dublin, Ireland.  He was the grandfather of Matthew Fontaine Maury, the young Thomas Jefferson's teacher in his Classical School for Boys, teacher of three future US Presidents and five future signers of the Declaration of Independence including Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe..

The Reverend Maury fathered 11 children. One of these was James Maury, Jr.  Thomas Jefferson asked US President George Washington for an appointment for him and the President appointed him as America's first consul to Liverpool, England  a position that he held from 1790 to 1829. It was the earliest consular appointment in this country and one of the earliest in the world.He left the post over disagreement with President Jackson's policies.

Robert F Edwards
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