Friday, 15 February 2008

Geoffrey Warren “Vanishing Street Furniture”


Published in 1978 I have read this book a few times over the years, borrowing it from libraries as the need arose. It is one of those books I kept meaning to buy but it never quite reached the top of my priority list. The other day it was withdrawn for sale by Pensby Library and so I picked it up for the grand total of 40p. I have always been fascinated by street furniture and this is the layman’s bible for that interest. (I suspect that there is even a name for such enthusiasts – if not, perhaps I can suggest Apparatusviaologists!). I have come across some old slides of street furniture in my recent sortings so perhaps they will get a blog posting or two in the future.

Re-reading this book reminded me about the wooden structure which used to be in Queens Square, Liverpool. I’m not sure but I think it may have been a shelter for hackney carriage drivers. The first such shelters were erected in Liverpool about 1870 and it was not until 1875 that London followed suit. They were wooden structures with a stove for warmth and for heating refreshments and sometimes local charities and temperance societies would provide suitable reading material for whiling away the time waiting for fares. Can anyone either confirm that was the purpose of this shelter or let me know if it wasn’t?

While on the subject of street furniture note the sign for the underground toilets in front of the wooden structure. There are a few of the gantries for those signs still around even though the toilets have long since been blocked up or filled in .

1 comment:

  1. Yes. It was a Hackney Carriage Drivers' retreat. The Police, who, answerable to the Watch Committee, at that time controlled Liverpool's 300 Hackney Carriages used to pop in and out regularly too. The odd thing is that I would have sworn that it was painted green.


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