Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Georgian Liverpool: Part 2

Continuing our walk around Liverpool, with the help of trusty guidebook Georgian Liverpool: A Guide to the City in 1797, we visited The Exchange, or Town Hall (above). If you compare the photograph to the guidebook illustration (below) you can see that the outside looks pretty similar to the original Exchange and Town Hall, designed by John Wood of Bath and constructed between 1749 and 1820, though it lacks the dome, which wasn't completed until 1802.

Yet if you go inside, as we did, you'll find a comparatively modern interior. As Dr Moss tells us, the interior was destroyed by fire in 1795 (the council chamber and ballroom were later damaged in the Blitz), yet he recalls some fascinating details about the Georgian original:
The whole of the original Exchange was appropriated to a ball and supper, given to the principal inhabitants by the corporation, on his Majesty's [George III's] recovery [supposedly from madness], in April, 1789. All the lower area was formed into a supper room; superbly illuminated with pillars and festoons of lamps, in the central parts: the walls enlivened by transparent emblematic painting; and eight hundred well dressed persons, of both sexes, sat commodiously down together to as elegant a supper as art could devise and taste display.

These days the Entrance Hall is decorated by grand-looking frescoes from 1909, and there's a Flemish wooden fireplace from 1893; the warmth we were glad of, since the weather was freezing! After a look through the various display cases and a view of the Superlambanana in Mayoral robes, it was time for a Georgian refreshment break.

Above: Burning of the Town Hall (Liverpool, January 18th 1795) tinted stone lithograph by W.G.Herdman, published in Pictorial Relics of Ancient Liverpool, 1843.

Source: Ancestry Images.

Photographs © Memoirs of the Celebrated Mrs Woffington.

Coming next... Ye Hole in Ye Wall.

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Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the next installment ma'am

Mrs Woffington said...

Thanks Laura - hope all's well with you in the snowy Midlands.

Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.