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Peter Kavanaghs Pub

Peter Kavanaghs Public House is situated in Egerton Street, Toxteth close to Upper Parliament Street. The pub was built in the nineteenth century and was taken over by Peter Kavanagh in the 1890s and he named it, 'The Grapes'. The layout is a typical northern one of a drinking lobby with rooms at the front and rear of the building, both are served from doorways to the servery and have remained virtually unaltered. Situated at the end of a terrace of houses dating from 1840, the pub, originally 2 Egerton Street, was rebuilt in c.1877 and has a cream and burgundy tiled fa├žade added in c.1920.

Peter Kavanagh's, Egerton Street, L 8 ©Jelles Ffonk
In 1927 the Rialto ballroom opened nearby on Upper Parliament Street, with no alcohol on sale its customers would head off to the Grapes, this increase in trade for the pub meant that in 1929 Peter Kavanagh was able to buy the pub on a 99 year lease from Liverpool council. He drew up plans for exterior and interior alterations to the pub and subsequently added, number 4 Egerton Street, initially as a beer store. In 1964 he altered it to make a new lounge bar, with a servery being installed; also new ladies and gents toilets were added. The pub was carefully extended into 6 Egerton Street in 1977 when the lounge bar servery was removed to insert a staircase giving access to the new trading area. The alterations however have not impacted on the 1929 scheme. Peter Kavanagh was licensee from 1897 until his death in 1950 and at 53 years service this makes him one of the longest serving licensees in the country. He was also a successful businessman, designer and alderman.

Peter Kavanagh's, Egerton Street, L 8 ©Jelles Ffonk

The pub features murals by Edinburgh born artist Eric Robertson (1887-1941), which were painted in 1929 when Peter Kavanagh was altering the pub, one based on scenes from Dickens for the front room and another based on the work of Hogarth for the rear room. The eleven feet long one in the front ‘Pickwick Room’ is a variation on a scene from Pickwick Papers and the thirteen feet wide one encapsulating several scenes, all of which depict some form of drinking and merriment and has led to the name of ‘Hogarth Room’.  Also in the front room is a mural being a variation of the Tony Weller ejects Mr Stiggins scene from ‘The Posthumous papers of The Pickwick Club’ and two other murals situated either side of the fireplace. A door at each end of the servery provides service to drinkers in each snug. The pub features an amazing collection of bric-a-brac including old radios, model cars an old alligator skin and even a bicycle.

Peter Kavanghs ©Barchick

Pubs come and go and many have disappeared from the Liverpool landscape forever, but having survived 162 Years Peter Kavanaghs is likely to be around for a long time yet

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Robert F Edwards

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