listed Town Hall is of rock-faced stone with ashlar dressings, Portland Stone on the clock-tower, and a slate roof. It also has attic rooms, extra height and a pediment over the large central window. The two-stage clock-tower has turrets, a spire, cupola and weathervane, the arrangement at the top being an elaboration of the one crowning Johnson's Staines Town Hall. There is an extension to the side too, down Trinity Road. The listing text, from which these details are taken, tells us that the main hall has stained glass windows, displaying coats of arms of Lancashire towns., designed by John Johnson (1843-1920), on Oriel Road, Bootle. Town Hall completed in 1882, and library and museum in 1887. The two-storey, eight-bay Grade II
Here, then, civic pride is writ large — reminding us of this Merseyside town's expansion in the nineteenth century, first because of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, then because of the extension of the Liverpool docks: its population had more than doubled from 64,000 in 1860 to 158,500 in 1900 (Pollard and Pevsner 155). Alongside the town hall itself is more evidence of its new standing: the former library and museum, only a part of which complex is visible here. This is described as having a "low five-bay façade, a bit more mixed and Renaissancey, of big ground-floor windows beneath blank panels" (Pollard and Pevsner 158). Perhaps the blank panels were intended to be decorated with reliefs. After that, though not by Johnson, came more amenities, the former police station and former post office, making a civic centre of some magnitude and show. There was a technical school too, which has since been demolished. Still, there is enough left to tell us of the town's late-Victorian self-confidence.
Photograph © Sue Adair, originally posted on the Geograph website, and kindly made available for reuse, with attribution, on this Creative Commons licence. Perspective correction, caption and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]
Pollard, Richard, and Nikolaus Pevsner, with contributions from Joseph Sharples. Lancashire, Liverpool and the South-West. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2006.
"Town Hall and Front Wall, Oriel Road." Historic England. Web. 20 September 2017.
Last modified 20 September 2017