I grew up in Woolton in the 70's and moved away in the early 90's. I attended St Marys. I too remember Mrs Gaineys shop on Quarry Street where you could buy a glass of cream soda for a penny on the way to school, I also remember a great bonfire on wasteland behind Arthur Dooleys in Rodick St, now The Village Inn. I remember the wasteland from Quarry St to Pit Place (Bear Brands) where as a young lad we would go and collect butterflies and grass hoppers, we would also go to Allerton Towers and collect Sand Wasps, we would play football on top of the hill during the summer holidays then go across Menlove Avenue to the garage at the end of Vale Road and replenish our pop bottles with water from the pump there (much to the garage owner's dismay).
On other occasions we would go to the golf course adjacent and search for lost golf balls in order to sell them to those playing golf, with our gains we would amass at the shop next to the Derby Arms to buy more pop.
We would always look forward to the Woolton Show and the Village Fete where me and my pals had the honour of shaking the hand of the great BOB PAISLEY,who officially opened the fete,
I can remember a pram race where the locals took part, some in fancy dress,my brother who took part was dressed as a baby (wearing a terry towel nappy).
Do you remember Mr Woodwards shop, Reeces cafe, Clooks, Conroys Sports, Mikes barbers, Roughleys shop, Gambles butchers, The hut in Quarry St playground, the sirens going off from the Quarry.
Woolton was a special place and always will be, to me anyway.
My family after moving over from Ireland in the 19th century, settled in Pitt street, later having a house on Castle Street. During the May blitz of 1941 they were taking shelter in an Anderson shelter in he back garden of their house, early in the morning, waiting for the "all clear". Grandfather was just about to go into the house to put the kettle on, when their dog started to scratch at the shelter door to come in (something he had never done before). Grandmother told him to stay where he was and shortly afterwards the house was hit by a bomb. Fortunately, all survived, including the dog (although my father had hearing problems for the rest of his life). If you walk up Castle Street, after 50 yards you will still see a gap on the left where their house was.
One of my uncles is still around and remembers Woolton well before the war.
I grew up by Penny Lane, went to Dovedale Road and then Morrison Boys the year it went comprehensive with Quarry Bank and Calder High. Now back in Woolton.
Regards, George Mcguire.
Dear Brian, I was just having a look at your website reading things about Woolton (Liverpool). By chance I have seen comments made by Jan (email@example.com) and there are some things I want to share with you because my e-mail to Jan has been returned. I myself remember Mrs Gainey and her sweets, I remember the fire at the rubber yard in The Quarry and I must say that the family who lived there wasn?t Italian. At that time the foreman was Miguel from Spain, my father, and we lived in the Quarry (Rubber Exports Company). I attended St. Mary?s School. I was born in Woolton in 1957 and we left Liverpool in 1967.
I am enclosing a photo (I have a lot because my father was very fond of photography) and just in case you want to exchange information please let me know.
By the way, my name is Miguel Angel (Michael) and I live in Alicante (Spain). My office e-mail es firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely, Miguel Angel Fernández
Came across your site by accident when trying to find photos of my old school (St. Peter's C of E infant and junior school). I remember Mr. McCoskery the Headmaster, Miss Moore (very strict, she made us eat everything up at lunchtime) and a lovely teacher in the Infant School called Mrs. Stokes.
I note one of your correspondents said he used to play in the stables of the Black Horse pub at the corner of Quarry Street/Rodick Street. I did too. The landlord's kids were an older boy, then Ann (very blonde), then Jane (very dark) and a younger sister. They moved out of the area and next turned up when they found some buried ancient treasure near their new home and appeared in the newspapers.
I remember Mrs. Gainey, a lovely woman, who had a sweet shop in Quarry Street and had lots of bottles of fizzy drinks and lots of beautiful coloured glasses of every size. It was possible to go in and have just a glass of any fizzy drink we wanted for a small payment - depending on the size of the glass we chose.
I remember Ridings in the village which sold bikes and prams - the two kids, a girl and boy, went to St. Peter's (it's now a chinese restaurant), the sweet shop opposite - now also a restaurant (I think the young lad who also went to our school was Stephen), Lewis's the newsagents (the young lad there also went to St. Peter's) and "woody woods" the sweet shop where we bought our chocolate logs and sherbet dips (the sherbet was so sour it made us wince - unlike the coloured sugar they use now).
I remember another pupil Elaine lived in the Coach and Horses in the village, Tricia lived in The Cobden.
We had lots of kids from Strawberry fields, some of whom stayed a long time (the Hammond family) and some who didn't. I remember one was Beryl Clatworthy (not a name easily forgotten!) and Rachel and Elaine Sullivan.
I remember Cilla Black getting married in St. Mary's Church and we clung to the railings of St. Peter's trying to get a look at her in her car. I remember going carol singing to her mum's house in Reservoir Road.
We walked to the swimming baths in Woolton, and had our lunch in the hall next door (now a care home I believe) walking to it every day in all weather. Mr. McCoskery, whose son Malcolm went to St. Peter's and then St. Francis Xavier, also used to take us to Woolton Woods with our "Nature Books" to record the changes in the season and to visit the Cuckoo Clock in the walled garden.
I remember the slaughterhouse where Sainsburys is now and the farmland behind what is now The Woolton Cheese Shop. All built on sadly.
The Vicar of St. Peter's was Dick Williams who drew lots of cartoons and didn't teach us that much RE. He was a lovely man. He wrote "The Bible in Scouse."
The quarry was still blasting but we used to go in and make rafts and sail on the water filled crater (and few of us could swim). We also used to play around the Mill Stile. The tyre yard it overlooked caught fire a few times which caused us kids great excitement. An Italian family lived there. Next door was Radcliffe and their son Norbury went to St. peter's (and his mum hated us calling him 'Norb'). The very nice black and white house by the Mill Stile was then a butcher's shop and he used to give us free bones for our dog.
Brayfords in Vale Road ran what was probably the first "mini market" in Woolton. It started as a shop and then expanded.
I remember the Bear Brand tights factory at the corner of Rodick Street and the old quarryman's cottages opposite. I remember being horrified when the land next to them was built on as we had a den there.
I remember the gunpowder factory in Rose Street.
The water fountain at the bottom of Church Road still worked, although it was very creaky. The "duck pond" which had been at the bottom of Church Road was a car park even then but I remember some of the mums from the school talking about how beautiful the pond was. The little building next to it (now an estate agents) were the public lavatories.
Such a village atmosphere then, with Tony the postman, everyone knowing everyone else, and most of the kids meeting up at The Woolton Cinema for the Saturday matinee.
Nice memories of Woolton
I remember the fire at the Quarry.
I also remember being a member of the Scout Amateur Radio Club in the mid 60's that met at the Scout hut by the church at the top of the quarry.
We would pillage old TV's for parts and can remember dropping the old TV CRT tubes (Screens) into the quarry, we thought the bang as they landed was great, but I don't think the old watchman thought so!!
On other occasions we put a radio station on at the scout hut for jamboree on the air (JOTA). We got permission to attach one end of the antenna to the top of the flagpole on the church tower. This was amazing, and we contacted radio hams all around the world.
In the middle of the night, there was a thunderstorm, so we decided to connect the antenna to earth for safety, there was an almighty crack as the static discharged to earth!!
People involved in the radio club were Ivor Reece (G3VKZ), my Dad, Tony Tabberer (G3WRY), Bert Donn (G3XSN), Laurence Gould (G3XGL) and myself Peter Tabberer (G8JJP)
Many memories have been brought back - thanks
I attended Much Woolton Primary from 1960 to 1967 and remember calling into Clook's shop on the way home where they would sell you a bag of stale cakes for about sixpence. Great when you were very hungry after a hard day in Mr Baker's class at school!
Have you heard of The Eclipse Manufacturing Company which had a factory in the village situated behind the shops on Woolton Street? As far as I can recall they made women's pinafore dresses and aprons. The attached photos were taken in the early 1950's I think. If this is of interest to you I can give you some more info but not a lot.
A follow-up from the above :
Hi Brian, do you have any picture of the workers or the factory Eclipse? I now have this building - Fitness For All Gym. I would really appreciate it if you could help me with this.
Woolton is in South-East Liverpool, the eastern border being also the border of the City of Liverpool for the most part. The photo below shows a view of the village from Woolton Woods, showing St. Peter's Church near the highest point in Liverpool, about 90 meters above sea level - the actual highest point might be somewhere else in the near vicinity, e.g. the storage reservoir further up the road. It was in St Peters' Hall that John Lennon first met Paul McCartney but that is probably of more interest to outsiders than it is to inhabitants of the area!Above photo by kind permission of John Cumberland (Member of Woolton in Bloom Committee and Woolton Village Residents Association).
An iron-age encampment is said to have been identified on Camp Hill but no solid evidence has been found to support this assertion. Construction during the 19th. century would have destroyed any evidence, if there was any in the first place.
Recorded in the Domesday Book as Uluentune. 'Tune' (from Old English - tun indicates 'farm' (or homestead or village - the whole name indicates 'farm of Wulfa'.
The Knights Hospitallers held the area by 1189 until confiscated in 1559 during the dissolution of the monasteries, the land being transferred to the monarch for the next 70 years or so.
In the middle of the 17th. Century it was acquired by Isaac Greene, from whom it eventually passed to Bamber Gascoyne.
The 1851 census showed that 24% of the population were Irish. A noticeable concentration of poorer people were packed into the Quarry Street area, including Rose Street and Rodick Street.
It only became a part of Liverpool in 1913. The Eastern boundary is still today the boundary of Liverpool.
The names 'Much Woolton' and 'Little Woolton' crop up now and again. These names do still appear on maps of around 1900 - Much Woolton seems to correspond more or less to present-day Woolton while the former Little Woolton is the area 'beyond' Gateacre - the boundary between Much and Little Woolton passing through the center of Gateacre.
About the whole area it has been said that this part of South Liverpool in Victorian times was the greatest example of conspicuous wealth in Britain, if not the world, which is a great accolade. And even now you can still get a feel of the reflection of that wealth that was generated in the city." -BBC
The above quote tells of an aspect that I had never been aware of previously. But presumably it could be true, taking into account the number of buildings hidden behind high walls, those that have disappeared, those that have been converted to other uses, etc. View BBC website.
Included in the relevant list of Victorian buildings are
Strawberry Fields Now demolished. Home of shipowner, George Warren.
- Abbots Lee School Home of William Gottager, soap manufacturer in Widnes.
- Beaconsfield Built for Ambrose Lace, a solicitor, in 1833.
- Stoneleigh built as Fortfield House for Barton Wrigley in 1888/89
- Knoll Park built in the 1820s for Thomas Foster, Town Clerk of Liverpool. In 1978, this became St. Gabriel's Convent.
- Abbots Lee School Home of William Gottager, soap manufacturer in Widnes.
Woolton Hill Road
- Bishop's House home of Bishop of Liverpool. Formerly Baycliffe.
Beechwood built for James Rose
- Rosemount Built by James Rose for his mother.
- Woolton Hall Built iin the early 1700s.
The quarries produced sandstone, most famously latterly for the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. Quarrying in a major way dates from the early 1800s, with the name of James Rose figuring large, and many local buildings were built in the local stone. When work on the cathedral finished, the quarry closed soon after.
The 'new' quarry was towards the top of Quarry Street, away from the village. The 'old quarry' is at the near end of Quarry Street adjacent to the village. After it became disused it was used as arubbish tip initially and then latterly became used for small industrial units. I remember a fire breaking out among a pile of old tires stored there (in the 60s or 70s), producing a plume of smoke giving the impression of a major disaster when viewed from a distance - something that actually seems to have happened to a certain extent since then a few times as well.
Just a few buildings made from Woolton stone include Woolton Hall, Stoneleigh, Beaconsfield and Gateacre Grange.
There are other quarrying locations as well, notably adjacent to Reynolds Park, in Woolton Hill Road.
Whereas most souces say that the 'Quarrymen' were named after John Lennon's school (and mine as well - Quarry Bank School, but there is an alternative view. To quote a passage from www.liddypool.co.uk talking about original member Peter Shotton :- Pete Shotton also says that a reason they chose that name is because of the massive stone Quarry in Woolton, situated off Quarry Street. Pete said, "Since our native Woolton was pocked with sandstone quarries, and most of us attended Quarry Bank School, The Quarrymen seemed as good a choice as any." So in that sense, living in the shadow of the quarry, they were also 'Quarrymen'.
George Tipping relates his memories of the burning down of various houses on Quarry Street, for fire practice:I'm not exactly sure when but I think it was about 1937/8. I remember them setting light to the top floors and the fire worked its way down. The chippy (owned by my grandmother) had two floors above street level and a 'semi' kind of cellar, the front door at street level and the rear down a level. Before it was a chippy it was the "Stag Inn" I remember all the shops along Quarry Street, but not the property behind them. By the way the tyre dump was previously the council tip, filling in the Old Quarry. Afterwards they moved down Allerton way, near Clarkes Gardens.
There were two 'lords of the manor' with this name, based at Childwall Hall. The original Bamber married, in 1756, Mary Greene, who had inherited Childwall Hall and land in Woolton and elsewhere. The Hall had been rebuilt and renamed by her father, Isaac.
The second Bamber was MP for Liverpool from 1780-1796, and a leading light in the campaign to oppose all attempts to abolish slavery.
A descendant of the family, Bamber Gascoigne, is well known in Britain as a TV presenter.
In 1881, Ralph Brocklebank, ship owner became a tenant of the Hall.
In 1947, the Hall was presented to the Council, but it had to be demolished because of dry rot.
In 1955, a college was opened on the site.
Probably the oldest building in the area. The date 1610 is displayed but it is thought to be earlier. It stopped being used as a school in the 19th. Century. After being converted into a house in the 1980s it has been back in use for educational purposes since about 1990 as a nursery school.
"Woolton Picture House" is apparently the oldest cinema in Liverpool (opened in 1927) according to some sources, while others try to claim it is the oldest cinema in the North West. I remember that it was originally a bit of a 'joke' being so small, but that small size has presumably allowed it to stay open while larger cinemas have shut down.
In a similar way, both the library and the swimming baths are both the smallest in Liverpool, which was a bit of a disappointment at the time but I think the library particularly is probably of a typical size when compared nationally, i.e. libraries in Liverpool are generally larger than in most of the country. Similarly I get the impression that Liverpool has more swimming pools than most places. (When the Baths were being repaired in 1952, it was discovered that a well - about 8 meters deep and 2 meters wide - underneath the pool was only actually covered by the tiles of the swimming pool. It was re-covered with concrete. Jimmy Tarbuck chipped his tooth in Woolton baths, an obvious characteristic later on)
The cinema did shut on 3rd September 2006, but has now re-opened. Further details here.
The woods are almost "next door" to the village, with the contiguous Camp Hill at "the back" from where you have a view in the direction of Liverpool Airport. Woolton Woods was acquired by Liverpool in 1920 from James Reynolds (resident of present-day Reynold's Park) who had himself bought it 3 years beforehand from Woolton Hall, and camp Hill was bequeathed the following year.
There is a cuckoo clock in a walled garden, bearing the inscription
This floral clock was presented to the public by the family of the late James Bellhouse Gaskell, in memory of his long stay in Woolton Woods, 1927
The Gaskell family had been resident at Woolton Woods since 1871 and the walled garden is the only surviving bit of the former mansion, originally the kitchen garden.
After a period of decay, this clock appears to be back in working order (without the cuckoo call). Although I believe that it might currently be out of order again due to vandalism.
Reynold's Park is a small (less than 6 hectares) park which was donated to Liverpool in 1929 by James Reynolds, a member of a cotton-owning family. His daughter continued to live at the park and was active in its development as a park. The original mansion burnt down in 1975
St. Peters's occupies the hill overlooking the village, at more or less the highest point in Liverpool - the top of the tower could be the highest point in Liverpool (although there is also some mention of this honor being held by the reservoir tower), about 90 meters above sea level. It was in the adjacent hall that John Lennon first met Paul McCartney.
It is built of sandstone and is one of the largest parish churches In Liverpool. It was finished in 1887, replacing an earlier chapel of 1826, described as being built 'in the worst style of British church architecture' by someone. It has stained glass windows by Charles Kempe and two by William Morris.
Their web site can be reached
In 1897, Liverpool City Council had taken over the running of the tramways. Although they seem to have been reluctant to get involved with buses initially despite obtaining powers to do so in 1909, on 1st January 1911 they did purchase the Woolton Omnibus Company's business for £934 - three buses, one charabanc and a leased garage in Allerton Rd.
Originally buses were used to connect Woolton to the trams at Calderstones, but in 1924 the tramway was extended from Calderstones to Woolton along a reserved route, which was typical of a lot of Liverpool's tramways. There were two routes :- 4W (via Wavertree Road) and 5W (via Smithdown Road).
The 66 bus route was started in 1920, originally from between Garston and Woolton, extended to Gateacre in 1925.
Woolton trams were ended and replaced by buses in 1949 (October 15th) - the bus services 4 and 5 still exist. While not an expert, the story of the Liverpool trams seems to tell of missed opportunities. Although the tramway system had potential for the future (with reserved track, fairly large number of modern tramcars) , in 1945 it was decided to close it down in favor of the 'more economic' bus - the last tram ran in 1957. When I see today the tram making a revival, I can't help but think of the closing down of the coal mines. The closedown of the Liverpool system was probably hastened by a fire at Green Lane depot which destroyed about 60-odd trams, including a fair proportion of the more-modern trams.
Current bus routes are 4, 5, 73, and 78 to Town; the 81 between Speke and Bootle; the 66 between Garston and Belle Vale.
Crosville buses from Chester and Halewood also take passengers to and from Woolton, and the 89 St.Helens bus goes through Woolton between St.Helens and Garston.
There is information further down on Gateacre Railway Station.
John Lennon lived at 251 Menlove Avenue. I used to go past there every day on my way to school and back (to Quarry Bank, incidentally, John's old school), without having the slightest inkling that this was where he used to live !
The house was bought by Yoko Ono in 2002 and donated by her to the National Trust. They opened it to the public on Saturday 29 March 2003.
Arrangements in 2003 were as follows :-
Tours run from March 29th to October 26th, 2003, Wednesdays - Sundays.
Tours depart at 10.30am and 11.20am from Albert Dock (0151 708 8574) and at 1.50pm and 3.55pm from Speke Hall (0151 427 7231).
These tour times may change, you are advised to telephone in advance to secure a seat.
There is no direct access to these properties by car or foot.
Admission prices from 1 Mar 2003:
Non-members: Adult £10, accompanied children free. Members (to cover minibus): £5. Price includes admission to garden and grounds of Speke Hall.
Tours depart at 10.30am and 11.20am from Albert Dock (0151 708 8574) and at 1.50pm and 3.55pm from Speke Hall (0151 427 7231).
These tour times may change, you are advised to telephone in advance to secure a seat. There is no direct access to these properties by car or foot.
Admission prices from 1 Mar 2003: Non-members: Adult £10, accompanied children free. Members (to cover minibus): £5. Price includes admission to garden and grounds of Speke Hall.
Well Met in WooltonProgram on Radio 4
What happened when two young rockers met at a church fete? Only the birth of the Beatles...
It's hard to believe that a serendipitous meeting at a local garden fete in suburban Woolton, on the outskirts of Liverpool, could engineer a social and cultural revolution-namely, the genesis of the Beatles. But in among the villagers with their prams, the yeomanry and the youth club, and the garlanded trucks carrying the newly crowned Rose Queen, 50 years ago at Woolton fete, on 6 July 1957, Ivan Vaughan introduced his two mates to each other: fellow 15-year-old Paul McCartney and 16-year-old John Lennon.
Lennon was a member of the Quarrymen, five boys from Quarry Bank School with a love of skiffle who'd got permission to play the fete so that the youth had their own entertainment. It was such a momentous meeting - the birth of what was to become the Beatles - that both Radios 4 and 2 are broadcasting separate documentaries, but while last week's When John Met Paul on Radio 2 concentrated on the music (plus a new interview with McCartney), Well Met in Woolton splices together the memories of those who attended the fete to create a simple, yet profound, nostalgic slice of life that the Beatles were about to change for good.
One of those voices reminiscing is Lennon's younger half-sister Julia Baird, who was ten at the time; another is McCartney himself, captured on tape in 1998 by Baird when she was researching her book John Lennon: My Brother. 'Paul talks through the whole setting up of the Beatles; he admits he was a bit frightened of John, who was the bigger one, with a quiff, while Paul was practically in boy-scout uniform!"
The initial meeting, after the Quarrymen had set up in the local church hall, was equal amounts recognition and suspicion of one another's talents. McCartney enjoyed Lennon, a prototype Teddy Boy, singing the Del-Vikings' Come Go with Me with improvised lyrics; Lennon, in turn, was astounded when left-hander McCartney picked up Lennon's guitar, turned it upside down and played proper guitar chords (instead of the Quarrymen's banjo tunings) and sang every word to Eddie Cochran's Twenty Flight Rock.
Two days later, Lennon invited McCartney to join the Quarrymen. "From everything I've read," says Baird, "John was jealous because Paul was so suave and good-looking, but John recognised that, for the good of the group, Paul was right for it. John even said Paul looked a bit like Elvis, which was a compliment from John. I can tell you! Paul was dead keen from the start. Years later, they diverged with their talents, but at that point they were just two rockers."
This year's Woolton fete is being held over three days, a sign of the popularity of festivals and the changing times, which have left the Beatles behind much as it has the Quarrymen. But the Quarrymen, with founder member Rod Davis fronting the band, are appearing again, in the same church hall where John met Paul. "Wouldn't it be wonderful," says Julia Baird, "if Paul turned up? He says he likes playing small clubs again; Paul the rocker! You never know."
The Quarrymen site of the current Quarrymen group, including some further information on the above-mentioned event
I Remember, I Remember by J.F.Marsh.
J.F.Marsh's book Parts 1 & 2 'The Story of a Woolton Pub' 1930 in which the author wrote in the preface:-
Breathe there the soul so dead
That never to themselves has said
This is my own, my native spot.
Just in case there is anyone out there who is past acquaintance of mine (Email given at the left).
I attended Woolton County Primary, Out Lane. I have information of two web sites
Infants - Teachers (Headteacher : Miss Garrett)
- Miss Fiddler
- Mrs Fisher
- Mrs Bland (Twice)
- Mrs Wright
This is a picture from about 1960 or 1961
My attempts to remember the personalities here
?, ?, Stephen Langford, Margaret Ashley, David Palmer, Nick Willasey, Robert Morton
?, ?, ?, ?, Anne Whitfield, ?, ?, ?
?, ?, ?, ?, Steve Chapman, Christine Paisley, ?, Brian Daugherty, Billy Hargreaves, ?,
?, ?, Dilys Scowcroft, Judith Warren, ?, Elaine Mordaunt, ?, Stephen Puddifer
?, Rowena Allen, Ian Whittington, ?, Gillian Clarke, Margaret Shiach
Juniors - Teachers (Head : Mr O' Connor)
- 1st Year - Miss Jones
- 2nd Year - Miss Wright
- 3rd Year - Mr Mathews
- 4th Year - Miss Morgan
This is a picture from about 1964
My attempts to remember the personalities here
Angela Pink, Judith Warren, Carole Davy, David Palmer, Davis Mortensen, Alan Holdsworth, ?, ?
Avis Powell, Tony Bushell, Ewan Simpson, Brian Daugherty, Jonathon Moerschner, David Foster, Gillian Clarke, Robert Morton, ?, Christine Paisley
Alison Knight, Helen Chapell, Lydia Brown, Rohan Bates, Stephanie Williams, Janet Sefton, Richard Kenney, Judith Smith, Carol Shinkfield, ?, Alan Overend
I was a member of 33rd. Allerton Scout Troop, based at the Congregational Church.
Cubs - (Akela : Mrs McKenzie)
Scouts - (Skip : Mr Wilson)
I was a member of 2359 Air Training Corps on Speke Road.