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A Historic Look at Bold Street

Bold Street is the hub of activity in Liverpool, offering a variety of superb restaurants, stores, coffee shops and bars, with the popular Bombed Out Church as its crown jewel. So, we thought it was high time to take a look back at this much-loved street through the power of photography.

1897

Bold Street 1897
source: http://www.liverpoolpicturebook.com/

When Queen Victoria marked 60 years of her royal reign in 1897, Bold Street shown their support to the British monarchy by decorating the streets. The street proudly adorned the Union Jack and the Queen’s crown for her diamond jubilee, during a time when the Royal Family were held in high esteem.

1910

Bold Street 1910
source: www.liverpoolpicturebook.com

Bold Street used to be known as ‘Rope Walks’, as it was laid out as a ropewalk, which was a long, thin area that was used in the manufacture of rope. People would measure the rope from the top of the street to the bottom, because it was the standard length needed for sailing ships – which is why it is central to the Rope Walks area.

Even in 1910, Bold Street was bursting with life. Over one hundred years later and the only real difference is the clothing, horse and carriage and old school cars.

1913

Bold Street 1913
source: www.liverpoolpicturebook.com

The above image if from a 1913 postcard, and was taken pre-world war I. Many people may be unaware that Bold Street was named after Jonas Bold, who was a slave merchant, sugar trader and banker, and became the Mayor of Liverpool in 1802.

1940s

Bold Street 1940s
source: thehardmanshousent.blogspot.com

Many people will know 74 Bold Street as Chez Le Coq, but the address was once the photography company Burrell & Hardman, which they first opened in 1923. Here you can see passersby looking at the window display to view their works. The above photograph was taken some time in the 1940s. However, as the company’s lease expired in 1948, we believe the “To Let” signs are an indication of when the image was snapped.

1947

Bold Street 1947
source: www.liverpoolpicturebook.com

Take a look at Bold Street following the Second World War. It appears life has returned to normal in the city, but at the top of the street St Luke’s Church is now a symbol of the destruction from the Liverpool Blitz 1941, which is why it is now called by many as the Bombed Out Church.

1953

Bold Street 1953 queen
source: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk

The nation celebrated when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned during her coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey, London, on 2nd June 1953 – including the city of Liverpool. Rejoicing at the appointment of a new Queen, Bold Street celebrated Her Majesty’s reign with amazing decorations that dominated the street.

1956

Bold Street 1956
source: http://spang.org/OldLiverpool/

Here you can see just how Bold Street, Berry Street and Renshaw Street looked back in 1956 – nearly 60 years ago! The image may seem a little eerie to those who know the area well, because you can’t walk down the street nowadays without seeing a considerable crowd or a plethora of cars.

1958

Bold Street 1958
source: http://spang.org/OldLiverpool/

You could not walk down Bold Street without enjoying the fresh scent of coffee, which came from Kardomah Cafe. You could walk the length of Bold Street and still smell the rich aroma.

1960

Bold Street 1960
source: http://spang.org/OldLiverpool

This amazing photograph shows a derelict Bold Street on a cold, Christmassy night in 1960, with festive lights illuminating the many stores and cafes along the high street. You never know, you might one day find yourself walking down a 1960s Bold Street, which is said to be a vortex, transporting people through time, as there have been six recorded instances. One moment you’ll be walking down Bold Street, and the next minute you could be standing in front of the controversial Blacklers department store, which caused much upset to fans of the street.

1972

Bold Street 1972
source: www.liverpoolpicturebook.com

From one festive photo to the next, here is Bold Street during Christmas 1972. Cars line the streets as the public commence with their festive shopping, whilst floral flowers and angels bring some festive cheer to Bold Street.

1988

Bold Street 1988
source: www.liverpoolecho.co.uk

The 1988 Bold Street photograph most likely looks a lot more familiar, as it is alive with human activity. The only difference is the eighties clothing and perms, but we’ll try to forgive everyone for that.

2015

Bold Street 2015
image via jmu-journalism.org.uk

Bold Street is undoubtedly the beating heart of Liverpool city centre, with people lining the streets day in, day out, to visit the many restaurants, shop in the wide selection of stores or to just use as a short cut on a person’s way to work or night out in town.

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About Elisabeth Sedgwick

Elisabeth loves writing about Liverpool, showcasing the best attractions, events and experiences in our beautiful city.

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9 comments

  1. Thanks for this. A fascinating and thoughtful selection of images. I was particularly taken by the Burrell & Hardman one. I used to visit Mr Chambre Hardman at the end of his life 🙂

  2. Does anyone remermber Englands shoe shop in Bold Street.

  3. In the early eighties I was 20, I worked in Bold St, in a ladies clothes shop called Byzanthium, it was very expensive, besides the cellar the shop have 4 floors, I was often left in the shop to cash up at the end of the day, but was never scared, but I would have to think twice about it today. Anyway there was a big shop next door to us heading down into town, that was the first Waterstones book shop before it moved down the end of the St near Church St were it is now, this is not my story.
    Heading down was old Waterstones It later got turned from book shop to a pub ( BUT YEARS AGO IT WAS A MUSIC HALL BUT THATS ANOTHER STORY ) then there’s a through way, then another pub. Well it’s about that pub. Years ago when I worked in Byzanthium, early morning that pub was a direlict building, there were workman regenerating it, they used to make my day by whistling as I went past. This day was none like the other, the sun was shinning, as I come up the St I heard bang, bang, bang the building had collapsed one floor on top of other. We weren’t allowed to open are shops for a while as police made us close them, it was believed that the workmen were crushed in the cellar. A while later work continued on the building it was turned into a shop called Jaymax ( I remember coz my grandma lived in Norris Green, Liverpool 11 and there was a Jaymax there ) over the years never took much notice, anyway myself and my husband about five yrs ago went into the pub for lunch, they let us in even though they opened the doors and the alarm was going of, anyway I told the women behind the bar about the what once happened, as we were drinking are drinks the staff were making a fuss, turns out they were to scarred to go down the cellar to change the barrel, I had no intention of scaring the staff, we have never eaten there since, not sure if it’s still a pub, maybe I walk past next time I am in town, never go as far past as home and bargin these days.

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