A Wavertree Memory:
LANCE LANE (continued)


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Lance Lane really was a lane in those days. Hawthorn bushes ran along its length on the side where the playing field is now, and a high sandstone wall on the other. Mabel Lowe (one of our oldest members, who died recently at the age of 96) remembered a nursery family from Woolton who, once a year when redoing their bedding plants, would come down Lance Lane, sometimes in a cart, sometimes in a car, and throw bunches of flowers to people. People also came down the Lane selling rock and white salt from a cart. Rock salt was used for cooking and preserving in these pre-refrigerator days. The white salt was sold in blocks, for the table.

A 'Mary Ellen' used to come down Lance Lane wearing the black shawl, skirt and coat and spotless white apron, with a pad on her head and a basket on top. She sold fish, vegetables, apples, oranges and lemons. She was apparently a very nice person and known as 'the lemon girl' - even in her seventies! The Mary Ellens used to stand at the entrance to the old St John's market in town and shout out "sagerminterparsley" (sage or mint or parsley). Lots of people would shop there late on a Saturday night when things were cheap. Her future father-in-law used to buy a bird cheaply, and a crate of tangerines for 6d, late on Christmas Eve and walk home to Wavertree.

The milk horse would stop at all the houses by itself. If the milkman wanted to miss a house it was just too bad! There was a large urn on the cart, and milk was scooped into your jug. The milkman used to take Mabel part of the way to Dovedale School in the trap.

Her father worked on the house at the bottom of Lance Lane as a joiner, and his claim to fame was that he named it "The Poplars". Continuing up on the odd numbered side was a private school ("Westwood"), and then the Cenacle Convent. After the house next door to Mabel's family was a brick wall, then Elm House (where Mimosa Road now is). Her husband's family worked there: it had a long drive, tennis courts and stables, which became the present-day garages in Lance Grove. Number 9 Lance Lane, currently occupied by the Focolare religious order, was owned by a family named Guy, and at the side was an alleyway known locally as "Guy's entry". In those pre-Great War days a furniture remover, "Cobblestone & Unsworth", occupied the site of the present-day flats at 11-13. Mabel remembered that the daughter, Patsy Unsworth, became a doctor and drove a Talbot Derrick car! The even numbered houses at the bottom of Lance Lane, opposite the Cenacle, were built later - by a Mrs Ebbs.


The White Star line built a pavilion on 'Wavertree Green' - where Somerfield is now. The White Star manager had a little boy who attended Westwood - the private school in Lance Lane where Mabel herself was a pupil - and he let the children use the pavilion once a week. However, there were objections from local residents about the structure (building on the Green was against the bye-laws, in case it blocked the wind for the mill) and it was pulled down. At the top of Hunters Lane, where the bungalows are, was a laundry owned by Mabel's paternal great-grandmother. It became a garage, and was then laid waste before the present homes were built. At the corner of Church Road and Woolton Road was a drinking fountain with a lion's head.

continued ...

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Page created by MRC 19 October 2003