The Coffee House

Stop opposite Waterloo Street: by the pedestrian entrance to the supermarket car park. On the other side of Church Road North is a range of buildings which can be recognised on 150-year-old maps of Wavertree. Jenkins' funeral directors' business occupies 'White Cottage' - so named on the very earliest Ordnance Survey map of the district, published in 1851 - which (though much altered) is traditionally regarded as the oldest building in Wavertree. Certainly the remnants of a sandstone wall fronting on to Waterloo Street look very ancient indeed. To the left of Waterloo Street, next door to the Coffee House pub, is a row of three brick cottages. The two on the corner (Nos 8 and 10) were knocked together and largely rebuilt in 1984 by Merseyside Improved Houses. The small enclosure in front of them is a relic of the much larger cobbled forecourt which once extended across the frontage of the pub.

The Coffee House itself is probably Wavertree's oldest surviving pub. The Ale House Recognizances for 1777, which are stored in the Lancashire Record Office, list just three inns in Wavertree: the Coffee House (licensee Elizabeth Heys), The Lamb (John Leech) and The Letters (Mary Plumbe). The Coffee House is probably the "good Inn and Tavern" referred to in Moss's Liverpool Guide of 1796, "where regular Assemblies are supported, in the summer season, composed of the neighbourhood and company from the town". Its Assembly Room was the venue for the inaugural meeting of the Wavertree Local Board of Health in 1851. Behind the pub was a brewery - the 'Crown Brewery' - reached through an archway (now filled in) a few yards to the left of the front door.

Just as the Lamb was the base for Dilworth's horse buses, so the Coffee House was the terminus of Joseph Mattinson's rival service. Later on the horse tram tracks from Liverpool finished right outside. In 1885 a local resident complained to the Local Board about the "nuisance ... caused by the Company's servants sweeping the refuse out of the tramcars on to the Road", proving that the litter problem is nothing new. (There were also regular reports in the 1880s and 1890s of vandalism to the Picton Clock and its lamps).

Undoubtedly the Coffee House was a very popular venue for a day excursion from Liverpool. It looked across at open fields which later became the White Star Line's sports ground. The pub was owned by Robert Cain & Sons - one of Liverpool's leading brewers - by 1900, and the sumptuous ground floor interior (since modified) was the work of their architect Walter Thomas, famous as the designer of city centre pubs such as the Philharmonic in Hope Street and the Vines in Lime Street.

The above is an extract from 'DISCOVERING HISTORIC WAVERTREE',
. © Mike Chitty 1999.
If you have any queries, memories, old photographs or other information
about Wavertree, or comments on our site, please contact us

Home page                    Return to Map 11                  Return to Key Map                  Next page

Page created by MRC 26 February 2000.