Sandown Terrace

It has been said that - in terms of house types - Wavertree is a microcosm of Liverpool. Certainly there can be few streets as varied as Sandown Lane, which has examples from almost every period from the 1830s to the 1980s. A deed dated 1803 mentions "a lane proposed to be called Sandown Lane" leading out of the High Street, but it was a long time before the development of the street began to gather momentum. One of the most startling arrivals must have been 'Sandown Terrace', the row of 12 large terraced houses on the right-hand side of the street. Stand opposite the former Wesleyan Methodist chapel (built in 1837) just beyond Wesley Place, and look up at the red-and-gold painted pediment in the centre of the Terrace.

Sandown Terrace is shown on the Wavertree Tithe Map of 1846, but not on Leather's map of 1836. On the Tithe Map the buildings are described as 'cottages': possibly to avoid the payment of window tax. They were owned by William Bennett, an ironfounder with business premises in Whitechapel, Liverpool. His origins were in Chester, which must account for the three wheatsheaves - symbols of the County of Cheshire - in the pediment design. Bennett was later to become Mayor of Liverpool, but in 1846 he was still a young man. Why he decided to build such an impressive terrace of houses in a rural backwater like Sandown Lane is not at all clear!

The iron railings in front of Sandown Terrace date from the early 1980s, when the residents formed an Association to restore the facade to its original, uniform appearance with the help of Inner City grants. Until that happened, the houses presented a mixture of different coloured paintwork and pebbledash, and windows in a variety of styles.

The occupants of Sandown Terrace at the time of the 1851 Census included a butcher, a cotton broker, a customs officer, a retired grocer, a nurseryman, a ship broker, a 'gentlewoman teacher' and a tobacco manufacturer, along with two clerks and two 'house proprietors'. Only one of the householders had been born in Wavertree, and 4 in Liverpool; the birthplaces of the others included Scotland, Yorkshire, Devon, Ireland and the Isle of Man. Each of the households employed a 'living in' servant, apart from one which had two servants. Like the householders, the servants had been drawn from far afield: 5 of them had been born in Liverpool, but 3 were from Wales, 2 from Ireland, and one had been born in the West Indies.

The above is an extract from 'DISCOVERING HISTORIC WAVERTREE',
. © Mike Chitty 1999.
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