Five postcards from Georgian Liverpool

Black and white photo of Lime Street and St George's Plateau, Liverpool

A good friend of mine recently sent me a handful of postcards he’d found, showing photos of Liverpool in the first quarter of the 20th century.

He’d house-sat for me and noticed my existing collection, in a folder on a bookshelf, and I don’t know whether he checked, but he managed to get some that I hadn’t already got!

They show some of the big landmarks of the city, and the postmarks on the cards are from 19th September 1922 (if I’ve read them right!). So yes, they were all sent on the same day, and also by the same person. Unfortunately, I can’t make out the name (maybe ‘Sorrel’?), so do let me know if you can read the signature, posted below.

Apart from the landmarks, the messages on them are brilliant! As you’ll see, it looks like Sorrel lives in Liverpool, and is actually sending postcards to a family they’ve recently visited in the capital

Landmarks of Georgian Liverpool

What I like about this little sub-collection is that they were all sent together, and each part makes up a whole – the trip to London. King George V was on the throne, and Liverpool could arguably be said to be at the peak of its powers. Maybe there was a hint of the Georgian Liverpolitan wanting to remind their London friends that Merseyside could match the south east for grandeur and love of Queen Victoria!

The dominant road vehicles are the trams. Most people are on foot, but there are some horse-drawn carriages and even some very early cars. The scenes look quiet to modern eyes, and this makes the spaces look large and open.

Here are the cards, in no particular order:

Lime Street

Black and white photo of Lime Street and St George's Plateau, Liverpool

Lime Street, Liverpool

“Dear Frank, you’d better practice up on the speedometer in the Science Museum and I will challenge you, the next time I come, to a race. Sorrel”

Back of a postcard

St George’s Crescent

Postcard of St George's Crescent, Liverpool

St George’s Crescent & Lord Street, Liverpool

“Dear Donald, When I see you next time, I’ll race you two length’s even. Dont’ let anyone take your pencil when you’re not looking – Sorrel”

Back of a postcard sent from Liverpool

St George’s Hall

Photo of St George's Hall, Liverpool

St. George’s Hall, Liverpool

“Dear George, How many yards of cloth have you and Sally made on the loom? You’d better watch out or the weavers’ union will get after you! Good-bye, George. Sorrel”

BAck of postcard sent from Liverpool

Queen Victoria Memorial

Photograph of the Queen Victoria Memorial, Liverpool

Queen Victoria Memorial, Liverpool

“Dear Florence, Now that we have left, I hope you have been able to retire at six-thirty as you should! With best wishes from the three of us – Sorrel”

Back of a postcard sent from Liverpool

William Brown Street

Photograph of William Brown Street, Liverpool

William Brown Street, Liverpool

“Dear Sally, The next time you sew labels on your brothers’ clothes, look them over carefully (the brothers I mean) and assure yourself that they aren’t deformed and wear shirts instead of trousers – Sorrel”

BAck of a postcard sent from Liverpool

From Liverpool to London

Photograph of 17 Roland Gardens, Kensingotn, London
17 Roland Gardens, Kensington. Properties around here can be your for a mere £1.5 million!

Well, what do you make of these messages?

We get hints of what Sorrel got up to while in London – a visit to the Science Museum and a couple of lengths at the local baths.

There’s also the very cryptic last message about labels in clothes. Perhaps we’ll never know what that was all about.

Sorrel seems like quite a wry humourist – though maybe a handful to have as a guest? Keeping people up past their bedtime by the sounds of thing!

It seems like three people – Sorrel and two others – stayed with the Kings in London. So perhaps Sorrel and family are back in Liverpool, having arrived on the train from Euston at the very station just out of shot in the first postcard.

I’d love to know more about Sorrel and their correspondents. Are there, I wonder, more postcards out there that the Kings sent in return?

5 Comments on “Five postcards from Georgian Liverpool”

  • Celia Garvey


    Just interested in history of Childwall as I was born there nearly 90 years ago.
    Have clear memories of the area and both Jacksons and Carrolls farms at the bottom of Well Lane and Capsticks farm in Gateacre . There were 6 or 8 cottages on Well Lane just before the railway bridge. The Cisterns pond was in the field behind them.
    I lived off Childwall Park Ave where Alderman Shennan built the houses there on land called Heathside estates owned by Lord Salisbury


  • Nancy Lindsay


    Given the wealth of beautiful spots in Liverpool (scenes across the river at night, Sefton Park, Calderstones, our old Victorian stations, eg, Cressington, Aigburth, etc, I find it amazing that Liverpool still doesn’t seem to self-publicise that much when you compare our current post cards with the many that seem to have been published a century ago. Or perhaps I’m wrong, maybe there are some post cards that I haven’t seen, and I’d be happy to be put right. But even so, you go to somewhere like York and all the newsagents have racks of post cards. Where are they in LIverpool? Anyway, many thanks to Martin Greaney for these gems he shared with us today!


  • A.O’Donnell


    I don’t think it says Sorrel. If you look at the capital letter L in London it is shaped the same way as the name at the bottom of the cards. I think it is an L…maybe Lorrel


    • That’s a good point. They definitely do look more like Ls!


      • Greg


        Lorrel appears to be an alternative spelling of “Laurel”, based on some searches I tried, and that is noted on some sites as a “unisex” name given to both girls and boys. So the sprightly tone of the correspondence could have come from the writer being a young lady at the beginning of the 1920s.


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