ROPEWALKS

ROPEWALKS

LIVERPOOL

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The History of the Ropewalks -Liverpool

Thomas Seel gave his name to the thoroughfare which runs up from Hanover Street. It was laid out in l790.

 

Seel Street and Slater Street retain significant portions of original Georgian terraces built when the area was first laid out. Slater Street is the most complete, its north-western side being largely intact.

 

The street runs from Berry Street, crosses Colquitt Street, Back Colquitt Street, Slater Street, Concert Square, David Lewis Street and finally to Hanover Street.

 

Seel Street has always had an interesting past. Back in the 17th Century when the roperies were expanding in the ropewalks area, the geography of Seel Street gradually became incorporated in to the ropewalks area. Many businessmen and Merchants lived on Seel Street. There were Counting Houses that served the local traders, and warehouses that stored their goods.

 

To the east of Hanover Street, this was once all fields and Seel street would only take its name from Thomas Seel, who commissioned the architect Thomas Steers to build him a house on Hanover Street, cornering what is now Seel Street.  

 

 

 

 

 

An Overview of Seel Street

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The building in which the Blue Ange club is situated was the birthplace in 1805 of Dr William Henry Duncan and a plaque above the door commemorates this.

 

For more information on Dr Duncan, please find the link here.

 

The Beatles' original manager Allan Williams was once the owner of the club and reputedly ejected Judy Garland after the local premiere of their first film A Hard Day's Night in 1964. Pete Best's audition to join the Beatles took place in the Blue Angel on 12 August 1960.

 

It was also where the Beatles, in 1960, auditioned for impresario Larry Parnes landing them their first tour outside Liverpool, supporting singer Johnny Gentle on a tour of Scotland.[

 

After seeing Cilla Black performing "Bye Bye Blackbird" at the Blue Angel, Brian Epstein contracted Black as his only female client on 6 September 1963.

Thomas Seel

Thomas Seel the Elder commissioned the architect Thomas Steers to build him a house in Hanover Street, Liverpool, on the corner of the street that now bears his names, Seel Street. His son Thomas Seel the Younger married Frances Molyneaux and gained the Manor of Huyton.

 

Seel was also a slave trader, and was one who directly combined slaves directly with trade in Tobacco. He started sending out shipments of european goods in 1725.

 

He dispatched one ship every year betwen 1729 and 1747. From 1736 to 1744 Seel combined tobacco trading with slaves.

 

During these years his vessels went first to the Gambia to buy slaves, proceeded to the Rappahannock where they delivered just over 100 captives and the loaded tobacco for the return voyage to Liverpool.

St Peter's Church

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St. Peter's was built in 1788 by Rev A.B. MacDonald of the Order of St Benedict (O.S.B.); the area was mostly rural at the time. The church survived as a Catholic building until 1976, after which it served the local Polish community for a short time. For this reason it is affectionately known as 'the Polish Church'.

 

Until its closure, St. Peter's was the oldest Catholic Church in Liverpool. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.

 

The opening took place on 7 September 1788.  The 'Liverpool Advertiser' reports that "On Sunday last, a new Roman Catholic Chapel in Seel St. was opened with high Mass: and a sermon by the Rev. Mr. McDonald."

Through the timelines of this Church are as follows:

 

28 September 1788 - first baptisms performed, with the first entry: "Was baptised Mary, daughter of John and Mary Goosse; Sponsors, Paul Hewit and Margaret Yates".

 

29 July 1814 - Death of Fr Archibald Benedict McDonald, O.S.B.. On the Founder's Monument was inscribed: "In the vaults of this chapel are deposited the remains of the Rev. Archibald MacDonald, who departed this life on the 29 July 1814, aged 78 years. The founder of this chapel, and for a period of 26 years its liberal, intelligent and revered pastor, to whose memory the Catholics of Liverpool erect this monument. - R.I.P."

 

1817/1818 - The church is enlarged. The enlargement includes the porch and the gallery, and possibly encompassed part of the Presbytery.

 

1845 - A major extension to the church takes place. Next to St. Peter's Church stood the house in which the priests had lived for over 60 years. The main part of the floors were removed and the wall between the church and the house was taken down. The result created the Sanctuary (the Altar area of the current church). The front room of the house then became the Sacristy (apparently currently used by the Alma de Cuba restaurant as a storeroom). The extension was carried out under the auspices of Fr James Francis Appleton, O.S.B., the Parish Priest at the time.

 

1854 - The last burial takes place in St. Peter's vaults.

Copyright Liverpool Echo.

Copyright Philip G Mayer.

On 19 June 1938 St Peter’s celebrated its 150th Anniversary. The Jubilee Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Downey, and hundreds of people attended the event. The streets around St Peter’s were extensively decorated to mark this big event as is illustrated by the photos taken by Fr D’Andria and which are now held in the Liverpool Records Office.

 

The photos show that there were very extensive decorations in Pitt Street, the Lydia Ann Flats, and other streets including Seel Street, Sparling Street and Slater Street.

 

1978 - The Parish is closed and falls into a period of disuse.

 

1993 - The Church is deconsecrated.

 

20 November 2003 - A press release is issued stating that funding has been approved to convert the Grade-II listed building of St Peter's Church into high-specification offices by Urban Splash. Funding is received from the EU (£260k), the North West Development Agency (£190k) and Urban Splash itself (£450k)

 

7 January 2004 - The BBC report that developers have discovered the body of Fr Bede Brewer, O.S.B. in the crypt of St Peter's. Dom Bede Brewer was one of the founding members of Ampleforth College in 1802, and President of English Benedictines. The Liverpool Echo also indicate that Ampleforth Abbey was keen to reclaim all of the monastic bodies in St Peter's crypt.

 

St Peter’s was damaged a number of times during the Blitz of 1940-1941. One example of the damage can be found in Fr Louis D’Andria’s letter of 22 December 1940 to the Abbot of Ampleforth Abbey (Fr Kevin H Byrne, O.S.B.). Referring to the previous night D’Andria wrote: ‘To the Guild Room – doors blown in, big balk of timber across the entrance, stairs covered with sticky chemicals and heaps of rubbish….To sacristy where sacristans were carrying on as usual despite a hole in the sacristy roof, and other damage. In the church Frs. Bruno and Chad were in the gallery examining a hole in the roof on the street side of the organ. Two more holes in the Lady Chapel, and a big stone in the sanctuary which had come through the skylight’

 

For more pictures on the interior, please visit the following link here

106-108 Seel Street

In Pictures

1807-1874 On this site stood Seel Street Synagogue Liverpool's first purpose-built centre of Hebrew worship

Seel Street 1980's

Peyton & Keigwin