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Brunswick Street James Street and Chapel Street

Heywood's Bank, Brunswick Street 
c.1800 Grade II
Heywoods Bank is the earliest surviving bank building in Liverpool, and one of the first purpose-built banks in the country. Arthur Heywood, who was later to become the founder of the Banking house, came to Liverpool in 1731 and served an apprenticeship of five years to John Hardman of Allerton Hall, Member of Parliament for the borough in 1754. He was followed ten years later by his brother Benjamin who, in 1741, was apprenticed to James Crosby, Mayor of Liverpool in 1753. Arthur Heywood afterwards lived in Lord Street, where he also had his business premises. The construction of the building in Brunswick Street was commenced in 1798, in 1883, the business was sold to the Bank of Liverpool Limited. The retirement of two partners and the untimely death of a third is understood to have influenced Mr. Arthur Heywood, who had carried on the business since the death of John Pemberton Heywood in 1877, in his decision to sell.

The Building was later acquired by Martins Bank but retained the Heywood connection, being named Martins Bank - Heywood Branch, it was also chosen to be one of the first computerised branches of Martins Bank.

White Star Building (Albion House), James Street

Albion House Interior
1898 Grade II

The White Star Building in James Street was commissioned by Thomas Ismay, proprietor of the White Star Line. Designed by Richard Norman Shaw it was the new headquarters for the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company in 1894. Shaw had already built Dawpool, the great tragically demolished house, overlooking the Dee estuary at Thurstaston for Ismay in 1882-86.

The White Star Building was the first of the giant office blocks to be built in the city. For the exterior, Shaw reworked his design for New Scotland Yard, facing the building in contrasting bands of brick and Portland stone, set on a granite base. The interior is especially remarkable for its raw display of iron girders, stanchions and jack arches lined with fireproof bricks, with all the rivets and bolts emphasised for effect. This would not have been possible in London where regulations required the cladding of structural   ironwork for fire safety, but under Liverpool's more commercial and less stringent fire regime, such restrictions were not applied. White Star Line owned and built the Titanic and when news of the disaster of the ship reached the offices, the officials were too afraid to leave the building, and instead read the names of the deceased from the balcony. During World War II, the gable was damaged and was later rebuilt in the late 1940s.

In August 2013 it was announced the building had been acquired by Signature Living since then, the former base of White Star Line has undergone a £5.5million renovation to become a luxury hotel which pays homage to the fateful ship. Gone are the former offices, which have been replaced by lavish apartments, extravagant dining rooms modelled on the ship’s original halls and 100-ft long balconies overlooking the dockside waterfront.

Hargreaves Building, Chapel Street 

Hargreaves Building, Chapel Street 1859 Grade II
The building is dated 1859, and was designed by the local architect Sir James Picton. It was designed for the banker Sir William Brown as his headquarters. The name Hargreaves was the surname of Brown's son-in-law who ran his Liverpool business. The building continued to be the headquarters of the Brown Shipley Bank until 1888, when it moved to London. It continued to be used as offices until the 1980s. Following the Toxteth riots of 1981, when their building in Upper Parliament Street was destroyed, the Liverpool Racquet Club were looking for new premises. At this time the lease for Hargreaves Building was available for sale, and the trustees of the Club negotiated a 150 year lease from Liverpool City Council. The building was converted for the Club, and it re-opened on 20 May 1985. It contained a dining room, bar, and lounge, a billiards room, two squash courts, a small swimming pool, a gym and changing facilities, and rooms for overnight accommodation. However by 2001 the membership of the Club had declined and the lease was sold. It has since been converted into a hotel and restaurant named the Racquet Club Hotel and Ziba Restaurant.

Liverpool Parish Church

Church of Our Lady and St Nicholas

In 1207 Liverpool received its charter from King John. By 1257 a small stone chapel known as St Mary del Quay had been built. It probably stood near the site of the present tower, overlooking a quay on the River Mersey. The chapel was used as the main centre of worship until 1355. A new chapel dedicated to St Mary and St Nicholas was built on land granted to the burgesses by the Duke of Lancaster. It was under construction for more than a century. In 1361 a plague hit the town and the Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry licensed the burial ground. The chapel was consecrated the following year. By the late 15th century, a north aisle, the same size as the original nave, had been added, and three chantry altars had been established. Each chantry had its own priest paid for by a wealthy patron. In 1515 a fourth chantry was built. During the English Reformation, the chantries were abolished. The building was adapted in stages to suit the form of worship found in the Book of Common Prayer. Between 1673 and 1718, the building was extended piecemeal, and galleries were built to seat the increasing population of Liverpool. A spire was added in 1746.

In 1699 Liverpool, now with a population of about 5,000 people, was created an independent parish with (unusually) two parish churches and two rectors. Our Lady and St Nicholas (the "Old Church" or St Nicks) and the new parish church of St Peter's were established as the parish churches. In 1775, the parish decided to rebuild the walls of the existing church. The galleries were kept, as the congregation paid pew rents. A new roof was set atop classical columns, which rested on medieval bases. The reconstructed church had walls four feet longer than the original structure.

Approach to the landing stage 1890 and St Nicholas Church

By the year 1865, there were 27 churches in the parish, housing around 275,000 people. Since 1916 Our Lady and St Nicholas has been the Parish Church of Liverpool. St Peter's, which was situated in Church Street, was demolished in 1922, having served as pro-cathedral for the Anglican Diocese of Liverpool. During World War II, the bells were removed for safety, but they were never rehung. Following a German air raid on 21 December 1940, the main body of the church was destroyed by fire, leaving only the parish rooms, vestries and the 19th century tower. Rebuilding did not begin until March 1949, and the church was consecrated in 18 October 1952 (the Feast of St Luke). A new ring of 12 bells was cast by John Taylor and Co. of Loughborough. The new church was designed by architect Edward C. Butler, who introduced major changes to its design. Rather than the traditional practice of placing the altar at the east end (for the light of the rising sun and to signify the Resurrection), Butler placed it at the western end of the church.


Liverpool Central Library
Liverpool Records Office
Liverpool Parish Church

By Robert F Edwards

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