Spotlight on . . .


Part 2
by Mike Chitty

Left: Wavertree Hall, Church Road, prior to 1895. This picture was kindly loaned to us by Geoffrey Smith, great-grandson of John Andrew Smith

For Part 1 see our Jan.2015 Newsletter

The 'other' Wavertree Hall stood in Church Road North (originally Church Lane) on the site of the present-day Royal School for the Blind, Liverpool. It is the subject of several paragraphs in James Hoult's book, 'West Derby, Old Swan and Wavertree' (1913). Hoult states, on page 53:

"Wavertree Hall does not now exist, and the sole reminder of the Hall of the Township is the beautiful wrought iron gate, which, from its design, the late Bishop Stubbs used to say reminded him of his College Gates at Cambridge. When the building was being demolished portions of an earlier building were found, with rough hewn timbers fastened with wooden pegs and indications of a straw thatched roof. The earliest record which the writer has of the occupants of Wavertree Hall is derived from Gregson: He mentions Richard Percival as living in poverty at Wavertree Hall, about 1760. The Percivals were a county family ... An ancestor was bailiff of Liverpool and an Alderman of the Town. The Richard Percival mentioned was a man of strict integrity and denied himself the comforts of life at Wavertree Hall, so that he might pay off debts incurred by his father, and also to increase his mother's slender means. The next occupant of the Hall was John Blackburne. He was the Mayor of Liverpool in 1788. He erected a mansion on the east side of Hope Street, called Blackburne House (now a Young Ladies' School), but removed subsequently to Wavertree. More recent occupiers of the Hall have been a Mr Harvey, John Smith, a wealthy drysalter, and Bishop Stubbs of Truro, during the time that he was Vicar of Wavertree."

Hoult is not the most reliable of local historians, and his mention of John Blackburne suggests that he had got the two Wavertree Halls confused. He may even, perhaps, have been unaware that there was another Wavertree Hall just over a mile away to the north-west.

Continued . . .

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