English Heritage and London Metropolitan University today launch Visible in Stone, a project and online resource to explore the influence women had on the built environment during a century of intense social change.
After the Second World War, and the undeniably essential jobs done by women during 1939-45 occupying the gaps left by conscripted men, women had gained political and social rights perhaps undreamed of by their ancestors of one hundred years before. However, the journey to this point began to take off around 1850, and the Visible in Stone project seeks to publicise the archives and information which bring this journey to life.
How this ties in to this blog and the very phrase ‘visible in stone’ lies in the institutions and organisations which campaigning women and men formed themselves to fight for rights such as suffrage. An example is the meeting of the Manchester National Society for Women’s Suffrage in the Manchester Free Trade Hall in 1868. As the English Heritage page says: “The buildings … are a monument to those women who had the tenacity and courage to argue for and capture their vision for our future.” Wash houses, lodgings, offices and even shops were all arenas where women began to change their place in society.
I have to admit that my knowledge of this type of history in Liverpool is limited, although I know that the city is one of three (along with Derby and London) which has a monument to Florence Nightingale (at the corner of Princes Road). In addition, the first trained Nightingale nurses began work at the Liverpool Workhouse Infirmary.
The Visible in Stone project is perfect for one such as I then, as they want your help. There is a Visible in Stone Flickr group associated with the project where you can add your photos of buildings important to women’s history. This should build into a collection of images to celebrate the journey from 1850 to 1950, and highlight the impact on the built environment this period and these people had. Do go and see if you can contribute.
But, while you’re here, are there any more places on Merseyside with an essential role for women between 1850 and 1950? Let us know in the comments.
A lot of the themes covered in this blog post, as well as Visible in Stone can be found in Women’s History: Britain, 1850-1945: An Introduction, edited by June Pervis. The book consists of chapters dealing each with a theme on the topic, and is an introduction to women’s history.
If you’d like to support this blog, please consider buying this book through the affiliate link. Click on the book cover to go to Amazon.
Although the Ordnance Survey maps chart the most significant changed in Liverpool’s history, older maps often are unique. They show details or aspects which no other map does, and can often show what was important to the map-maker. You can’t beat old maps for laying bare the great changes of a city like Liverpool.
Modern maps are often much more ‘objective’ in comparison. But old maps are still of use to the local historian, at the same time as being beautiful objects.
If you know of any others I’ve missed out, or other places where these maps are available, let us know in the comments!
Early Liverpool Maps
Liverpool developed from seven streets, laid out at its founding in 1215. Soon there was a castle, a chapel and the Tower, a fortified house built by the Stanley family in 1404. Maps of this period (1205-1700) do exist, most of them drawn later. Here are a few of the easiest plans of Liverpool to get hold of.
William Ashton included a simple sketch of 17th century Liverpool in his book ‘Evolution of a Coastline’ in 1920 (above).
Ashton also drew a top-down plan of Liverpool:
The book itself has recently been reprinted, so if you want a higher resolution copy you can pick up ‘Evolution of a Coastline‘ at Amazon.
Genmaps is a map site hosted by Rootsweb (part of Ancestry.com), and has a page on Lancashire maps. There’s a huge range, so I’ve collected the Liverpool entries in the following table. If you’re reading this in the dim and distant future, I recommend going to the original page, hitting Ctrl+F on your keyboard and searching for ‘liverpool’ to catch newer uploads.
(includes plan of Liverpool in 1729) Society for the Diffusion of Knowledge. This is a hand-coloured (but smaller) version of my map by Mickleburgh, completed with engraved building profiles along the bottom.
G.Bartholomew (detail from The Towns of England in The Times Atlas)
Some of them are high resolution, and some not. Others have links to higher resolution versions of extracts below them.
Lancashire County Council
Lancashire County Council has the best collection of old maps for any student of Liverpool history. It runs from a reproduction of Gough’s 1320 map, through all the major map makers: Speed, Yates, Greenwood, Hennet.
Greenwood’s map of Lancashire from 1818, is undoubtedly the best! Click on the exact point you’re interested in, as this map has been cut up into sections when added to the site.
It shows quite a lot of detail, including Bootle Castle at the end of Regent Street, an unfamiliarly station-free Lime Street, and is detailed right out to Kensington (the edge of the city back then). Click on the map to zoom in.
Oldest of the old maps
Finally, I want to mention a map I only saw for the first time recently. It is included in the modern edition of The Calderstones by Ron Cowell. The map was made in 1568 to help solve a boundary dispute between Allerton and Wavertree. Not only does it show the Calderstones, but it also shows the mysterious Rodgerstone and the Pikeloo Hill.
The Rodgerstone might have been a single standing stone, while the Pikeloo Hill could be a burial mound. The Pikeloo Hill could even have been as large as Silbury Hill, a prehistoric mound in Wiltshire.
Not only does this seem to be the oldest map of the Liverpool area. It’s also a tantalising glimpse of a prehistoric complex now long lost. The map isn’t online, so if anyone has a high resolution scan, do get in touch.
Well, that rounds off this brief excursion into Liverpool maps. There are certainly some I’ve missed, so please share your own sources in the comments!
Image: Extract from the Greenwood map of Lancashire, 1818, available in full on the Lancashire County Council Old Maps of Lancashire website.