Street Scenes of Liverpool
Drawing: artist unknown (1830s)
Source: RIBA British Architectural Library Drawings & Archives Collection
If Manchester was the manufacturing capital of the north, its close neighbour and rival, Liverpool, was the trading capital. Second only to London as a port, Liverpool grew rapidly as a merchant city in the nineteenth century, with vast docks and warehouses, and some of the finest civic buildings in the country.
The scale of these drawings is remarkable. Somehow, with but a few pencil strokes and wash, the structures and bustling activity of Liverpool are conveyed. The broad streets and quayside are crowded with tiny figures, horse-drawn carts and carriages. The quays are full of ships, heavily laden with cotton and other imports, the streets dignified with late Georgian architecture, notably the needle-sharp spire of St George’s Church. They record Liverpool, before the familiar Pier Head, dating from the Edwardian heyday of the city, and the dreadful bombing of World War Two.
These drawings were probably intended for publication in a book. However, the details of this, and the gifted artist who created them, remain a mystery.