From ‘Lost Tribe of Everton & Scottie Road’ by Ken Rogers (published 2010 by Trinity Mirror Media):
Scotland Road, or ‘Scottie’ as it has always been known, is the most famous thoroughfare in Liverpool.
It sweeps north from beyond Byrom Street and the old Mersey Tunnel’ towards Kirkdale and Everton Valley, which in turn opens up separate pathways to Walton, Anfield, and beyond.
Up to the end of 2009, you could find the first “Everton” district sign on Scottie, between its junction with Leeds Street and the slip road to the “new” Kingsway Mersey Tunnel. The sign has now disappeared, presumably behind another boundary change, and this stretch of the road, once featuring famous streets on both sides, is nothing more than a bland access route to and from the new tunnel.
Of course, we talk about the “new” tunnel, but this underground roadway to Wallasey is now 47 years old, having been built in 1971. Its senior partner Queensway, the Birkenhead Tunnel, opened in 1934.
If Scotland Road was the proud father of the district I grew up in during the Fifties, Great Homer Street was the nurturing mother.
Scottie was somehow more masculine, with its pubs on every corner and its buses and trams, making it the mature and dominating head of the family.
‘Greaty’ was the wife and provider, with a shop for every need and occasion, not to mention a vibrant world-famous open air market at its southern end.
Scottie and Greaty were inseparable partners, like all the strong family units of the district. They grew up together and they grew old together.
And while the Orange and The Green were colours that sometimes highlighted religious and political differences, the men and women who were the children of this marriage always knew deep down that they were all from the same very special working class family that was the Great Tribe of Everton, Scotland Road, and Vauxhall.
In describing Greaty as the matriarch, I should add very quickly that she too had her fair share of hostelries and could pretty much match her ‘husband’ drink-for-drink in any session on a Friday or Saturday night. I say “pretty much” because as soon as you suggest it, you immediately risk provoking a family row.
In this chapter, I find myself making a statement that I thought would never pass my lips. Will we ever see the day when Scottie Road is completely devoid of its famous and historic pubs?
If we do, it will be over the dead body of Kevin McMullen, the manager of the Throstle’s Nest that stands right alongside the legendary St. Anthony’s Roman Catholic Church.
Following the demise of The Parrot, on the corner of Hopwood Street, where my own Great Great Grandfather, Peter Rogers, and Great Grandfather, Thomas Rogers, used to drink, just two pubs remained on Scotland Road as 2010 dawned. These were Kevin’s Throstle’s Nest, and the equally historic Eagle Vaults close by on the corner of Penrhyn Street.
Kevin, steeped in all things Scottie Road, is pulling out all the stops to make the Throstle’s Nest a place, not only where people can enjoy a drink and remember the way it was, but also to stay overnight in a remarkable four star hotel above the pub.
He has turned this listed building into a fantastic venue, with 15 rooms developed to the highest standards on the first and second floors, and views of Scotland Road and St. Anthony’s. This is a real success story and one that everyone with a love of this historic road will thoroughly embrace.
To all intents and purposes, Everton’s boundaries stretched from St. Domingo Road and Everton Road at the top of the hill, down to Greaty at the bottom. The people who lived in the streets either side of Scottie, because of their immense pride in that narrow strip of land, felt they belonged to their own distinctive Republic.
It’s fair to say that other people in the district aligned themselves with the parallel main roads that bisected the area – Greaty, Netherfield Road North and South, and the St. Domingo/Everton Road upper boundary. I was a “Neddy Road” lad, and proud of it, but wherever you came from it was Scottie Road that somehow had this special magnetism. It was simply world famous.
Kevin was brought up in the heart of this area, and his memories will spark those of the thousands who still carry a personal torch for Scotland Road and its surrounding terraced streets, no matter where they live today.
“I’ve still got this picture of Scottie Road and the way it used to be. You would come up from the town end and see Fontenoy Gardens on the left, and Gianelli’s – where they made the best fish and chips in Liverpool. Addison Street was where we sold from our family handcart. My mother, Dolly Hickey, was the most famous barrow woman in Liverpool.
“Further up Scotland Road, Cazneau Street and its market was on the right, where the entrance to the Kingsway Tunnel is now.
“Another really famous place on this side was Flemings where you bought your dungarees and jeans. Then you would come to Costigans the grocers, and other shops. The most significant of these, on the left, was H. Samuel’s, the jewellers. This would bring you to Mile End and the café, and then Scottie Road proper began.”
To jog all of our memories, the streets on the left from this point were: Hornby, Tenterden, St. Martin’s (being the official name of the legendary Paddy’s Market), Blenheim, Wright, Silvester, Woodstock, Westmorland, Benledi, Hopwood, Doncaster, and Athol
On the right, people will remember streets like Lawrence, Horatio, Great Nelson, Collingwood, Virgil, Rachel, Dryden, Wilbraham, Penrhyn (with its junior school), Newsham, Kew, Bostock, William Moult, Taliesin, Louis, Taylor, Dalrymple (home of the Schofield’s lemonade factory), Mould, Skirving, Nursery, and Dundary.
“There was a shop on Scottie called O’Mally’s that sold tripe. Two sisters ran it. Then there was Lloyd’s the tailors. I always remember that three and a half yards of cloth would make up a three-piece suit with a waistcoat. Three yards would just make a normal suit. At the back of Mile End were the 3-high tenement blocks with their wrought iron balconies.
“Then you approached Wright Street, Silvester Street, and the Globe, where I had my first pub. Everyone remembers the Sykes bread shops that were all over the city, and Rooney’s fruit and veg shop, followed by another pub I came to own, the Westmorland Arms. This was known by everyone as the Honky Tonk.
“I bought that in 1976, at a liquidation sale, and then bought the property next door to open a wine bar that we called Dolly Hicky’s, after my mother. It’s gone now.
“My father was Pat McMullen, who was ‘Captain’ in the Liverpool Warehouse Company and really well-known in the city.
“When my mother died, in 1978, the funeral procession had 18 official cars leaving from St. Anthony’s. It was more like 36 with friends and people who knew her, and that was quite a sight along Scottie Road.”
As a kid, Kevin used to sell all kinds things from the family barrow. He said:
“On Wednesdays and Friday’s it would be fish. Every night we would stand outside the Gaiety Picture House on Scotland Road selling fruit.
“On Saturdays and Sundays we would sell from outside our own house on Hopwood Street, where the people would come for their veg for Sunday dinner. On weekend nights we would be down on the Dock Road selling flowers off the back of the handcart. We’d get a few quid from inside the many pubs.
“There were two in particular, Mable’s; and Jim Buits (check name), where all of the Norwegian sailors would come, hoping to meet local girls. Their ships docked at the bottom of Boundary Street. We would come through the front door of the pubs and sell the sailors flowers for their girlfriends. Then the girls would come round the back and give us the flowers back and we’d move on to sell them in the next pub.
“I ended up having six pubs in the city at various times, four in Scotland Road – the Throstle’s Nest, the Westmorland Arms (Honky Tonk), the Jamaica (at the bottom of Hopwood Street and known as The Rat) and Dolly Hickey’s.
“In the city centre I had The Vaults, and out on Townsend Lane I had the Cockwell Inn. There is a funny story about that. I was partners with this guy and when we were building the pub, he jokingly kept referring to it as the Cockwell Inn. I went to America for six weeks and, when I came back, the license was up for approval. The solicitor had actually written the name down as the Cockwell Inn. The women used to laugh and say: ‘That’s a disgrace!’
“We had some trouble in the pub and I found myself up before the magistrate to explain. He said: “Why did you call it the “Cockwell Inn?” I said: “That’s what we called it a few years ago.”
He replied: “My advice is to change it. You may not get someone as liberal as me next time.”
The pubs were everything on Scotland Road. They were the most important meeting places for the community.
Kevin went on:
“In 1937/38, my dad used to say that eight or nine priests were giving out the bread at communion in St. Anthony’s Church because the congregation was that big. Liverpool was the second city of the British Empire at that time. People had poured into the terraced houses of Everton and Scottie Road, when the Irish Potato Famine was at its height in the mid-1800s. We always had these huge Irish links, but it was people of all nationalities who came through the port, some initially intending to move on but who decided to stay. Fontenoy Gardens had a big Italian quarter.
“Everyone looked to the pubs for their entertainment because there was nothing at home, certainly no TVs in those days. They made their own entertainment and the pubs were the lifeblood of the communities. They would be booming on Saturday nights, but fights were few and far between. People were more likely to meet on some waste ground for a ‘straightner’ to sort anything out.
“The reality was that when the pubs went, everything went. Also, when they demolished tenement blocks that had five landings with 120 families and 500 people, they replaced them with seven or eight small bungalows. The impact on the area was immense.
“Suddenly, there were no people to service the local shops or support the pubs. The shops died and many of the pubs closed. It was disastrous.”
Kevin well remembers the aftermath of the slum clearance programme as it unfolded in earnest from 1960. He said:
“Four of my own brothers moved out of the area. People will remember the No. 500 limited-stop bus route that went up Scotland Road, on its way to Kirkby via Walton, Aintree, and Fazakerley. Then there was the No. 44d that also went to Kirkby, but down Walton Hall Avenue, and then through Norris Green and Croxteth. These were all areas that people had moved to.
“In the early years, everyone would use these buses to come flooding back. We would get this large influx of former residents on Saturday and Sunday nights. They would all meet up again in their old pubs. It took years for them to get used to their new areas and generations for them to stop coming back altogether.
“They all yearned for the old community spirit of areas like Everton and Scottie Road and everybody still remembers it.
“The demise of the docks was something else that eroded life in the district. We all remember those foggy days when you could hear the march of feet outside, with hundreds of men heading to work in the dock area. You’d hear fellas shouting ‘Alright, Tommy?’ and you knew they all had this special bond.
“We try not to be too sentimental about the way it was, but it’s hard. Doors were never shut around here. I didn’t know anyone who locked their doors and it wasn’t just because we had nothing to steal. If someone robbed a gas meter and they were found out, they would be ostracised in every way.
“We were all comfortable in each other’s company. A neighbour would come straight in and it would be: ‘Sit down, have a cup of tea’, and everyone would be chatting to each other. Nowadays they’ve got one eye on EastEnders or whatever else is on the telly. You get no feedback. “
Kevin misses a specific Scottie Road tradition when families and friends got together on Sundays. He said:
“It was absolutely fabulous. The wives and girls would all get dressed up and would walk together with the men from pub to pub. One minute your pub would be chocker and then it would empty as people moved on before the next group arrived.
“If you’ve been to the Ramblas in Barcelona, which is packed with bars where locals and tourists parade up and down, you will know what I mean, except that this was the ultra poor man’s Ramblas.
“People would meet and make a real fuss of each other. It was all part of the pride we had in coming from the area. They never went into town. There was just this parade of people along Scottie, and the same thing was being played out along Greaty and, to a certain extent, Netherfield Road, although it didn’t have the same number of pubs. This all continued up to the 1960’s when slum clearance finally began to take the heart out of the district.”
Kevin also recalls the great markets of the district. He said:
“On Saturdays, they really came alive. I’ve got these memories of the sailors from the ships all going to the markets. There would be Indian Sikhs, all fine looking men, trekking back to the docks with half a bike round their necks to take back to India. Scottie Road and the other streets were like Calcutta. There would be so many different nationalities off the ships. As kids we would pester them and shout: ‘One pen, John?’ just to try and get a penny off them. They’d give us a penny just to get shut of us.”
Back on the pub theme, one of Kevin’s brothers had the Ship Hotel at the bottom of Hopwood Street. He said:
“If you were barred out of any of the pubs you were never allowed back in. There was a pub called the Grapes at the top of Silvester Street. People called it the Foot Hospital. It was so narrow that people would always be looking down at their feet, as if they were going to the chiropodist.”
The slum clearance plan that was gathering place at the start of the Sixties wrecked the greatest community in Liverpool. Kevin has strong feelings about it. He said:
“The breaking up of the Everton and Scotland Road communities was a disgrace and the people responsible should be brought up before a judge and charged with wrecking a way of life. How anyone could not see the consequences is beyond me.
“I went to sea for 14 years. The main alley through any ship is always either called Broadway or Scotland Road. We came from one of the most famous road in the world and it made us feel special. If you met someone abroad and they mentioned they were from Scottie Road, Netherfield Road, or whatever, you embraced them because we had this togetherness.
“We’ve got some great modern projects to try and regenerate things, and we can physically build things, but no matter what happens it will never be the same. What we had in those days was a culmination of the values people had passed on for years and years.
“If you misbehaved a neighbour would deal with it or tell your dad, and that thought terrified us. Coppers could give you a kick up the backside to bring you in line. We have kids now who don’t know their dads and that must be hard for them.
“There was a real camaraderie about the old Scottie Road and the surrounding areas. You wore your pride on your sleeve. Just to say ‘I’m from Scottie’ really meant something.”
PUBS IN THE SCOTTIE ROAD, EVERTON AND LINKING AREAS INCLUDED:
Scotland Road: The Bevington; Birmingham Arms; Black Bull Inn; Brewery Vaults; Britannia; Bush Vaults; The Clock; Dryden; The Eagle; Eagle Hotel; The Europa; Globe; Grapes Hotel; Great Eastern; Halfway House; The Hamlet; Mile End Vaults; The Milton; Morning Star; O’Connor’s Freehouse; Parrot; Pine Inn; Plough Inn; Plough Vaults; Saddle Inn; The Ship; Swann Inn; Throstle’s Nest; Traveller’s Rest; Walker’s Corner House.
Great Homer Street: Carnarvon Castle; The Clock; Crown Hotel; The Derby; Dryden Arms; Eagle Vaults; Edinburgh Castle; Foresters Arms; Houghton Arms; Myrtle Hotel; New Market Inn; The North Star; Old Grapes Inn; Oporto Vaults; The Peacock; Swan; The Wine Stores.
Kirkdale Road: The Castle; Crown; Goat’s Head; The Liver Hotel; The Mersey Hotel; Zante Arms.
Netherfield Road North: The Albion; Cumberland Arms; Grapes; King Edward Hotel; Monarch of the Glen; Old Stingo Vaults; Ship Hotel; York Hotel.
Netherfield Road South: Atlantic Vaults; Emille St. Pierre Vaults.
St. Domingo Road: Melbourne Hotel; The Clock Hotel; Valley Hotel.
Heyworth Street: The Garrick; The Heyworth; London Stores; Mere Bank Hotel; Old Campfield Hotel; Paganini Hotel; Priory Hotel; Raven; St. George’s Hotel; The Thistle;
Everton Road: Clarence; The Clock; Cumberland; Neptune Hotel; Richmond Hotel; Royal Hotel.
Athol Street: The Globe.
Beacon Lane: Stanley Hotel.
Blenheim Street: Grapes Inn.
Boundary Street: George & Dragon; Cheshire Lines; Northern Light.
Breck Road: King’s Arms; Mona Castle; Richmond Hotel; Windermere Hotel;
Cazneau Street: The Clock Hotel.
Devonshire Place: Devonshire Arms.
Everton Brow: Crescent Vaults.
Everton Valley: Valley Hotel.
Granton Road: The Salisbury.
Heriot Street: Heriot Arms.
Hopwood Street: Brittania.
Hornby Street: The Grapes.
Lambeth Road: The Lighthouse.
Northumberland Terrace: Northumberland Arms; Northumberland Hotel.
Prince Edwin Street: Prince Charlie; The Princes; Talbot Arms.
Regent Road: King Hal; Regent Hotel.
Richmond Row: The Clock.
Roscommon Street: Elephant; Farmer’s Arms; Wynnstay Arms.
Rupert Lane: Prince Rupert.
Rutland Street: Rutland Arms.
Rydal Street: Rydal Hotel.
Salisbury Street: Grapes Hotel.
Smith Street: Lambeth Hotel; Queen’s Arms.
Stanley Road: Cunard Hotel; Grapes Hotel; Knowsley Hotel; Shakespeare Hotel; Stanley Hotel.
St. George’s Hill: St. George’s Hotel.
Tatlock Street: Tatlock Arms.
Towson Street: St. Domingo Hotel.
Vauxhall Road: The Glass House; Green Man; Jamaica.
Wilbraham Street: Wilbraham Hotel.
- Source: Kelly’s Trades Directory 1958.