Friday, 19 November 2010

Everton in 1800's

The above is a print of W. G. Herdman's view of Everton from Great Mersey Street in 1833, which gives an indication of the attraction of Everton for middle and upper classes in the early part of the 19th Century as a holiday destination. This attractiveness was the reason for De Quincey's family to holiday there in 1801.

Everton in the first years of the 19th century was reached by a road which was "pleasant and rural" and was a "... favourite resort of opulance... [with] an assemblage of elegant villas, many of which... connect with architectural taste, the beauty of situation and the decorations of rural scenery ... The Stranger in Liverpool, 2nd ed., 1810, pp. 185, 186.

Everton offers a very charming display of the river and sea, with the town below, which would afford a subject for the pencil of an artist... that could scarcely be exceeded in beauty, variety and extension ...
William Moss Liverpool Guide 1801, p. 80,

Perhaps a more detailed description of Everton provided by Robert Syers's in his History of Everton (1830) demonstrates the attraction of the place:

There are few places in England, or indeed in any other country, so highly favoured, by situation, as Everton; in picturesque, beautiful, and interesting scenery, it has scarcely a rival in Britain. On its western side, it rises with gentle acclivity, until its crest, or the summit of its brow, acquires a commanding eminence, which overlooks the modern Tyre.

From the western parts of Everton-hill may be plainly seen the fertile lands of Cheshire, the mountains of Wales, the river Mersey, and the expanding Irish Sea, where numberless vessels are continually moving, ingressing and egressing to and from Albion's Western Emporium : and, in favourable weather, the spectator on Everton-hill may behold the Isle of Man, and the bold promontories of the north coast of Wales. From the northern part of Everton may be seen, in the north-west, the estuary of the Mersey, the channels by which the haven of Liverpool is approached and left, and, at times, the dangerous sand-banks that extend from the estuary of the Mersey for many leagues sea-ward, the dread of pilots and poor mariners : more northwardly, also is seen, from Everton' s northern parts, the extensive and deeply-indented bay of Bootle, the marshes of Bank Hall, the wanen of Crosby, several jutting promontories on the sea-board, and the church and hamlet of Walton-on-the-hill ; whilst the distant hills of Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Yorkshire fringe the horizon, and bound the spectator's view on the north and north-east.

The western parts of Everton are rapidly assimilating and connecting themselves with Liverpool; numberless dwellings are here annually erected; nay, so magical is now the builder's power, that, it might be said, many dwellings are constructed in this quarter weekly, generally but small domiciles, and chiefly intended for the occupation of the humble: but the slope of the brow, and the platform-crest, are studded over with beautiful villas and elegant mansions, where the wealthy children of the commerce of Liverpool, and the retired gentry, with their families, reside. In fine, such is Everton at this day; a delectable spot indeed, and almost entitled to the denomination of Modern Arcadia.

In later posts, I will explore the environs of Everton in more detail mapping out De Quincey's walks around the area based on his 1803 Diary.

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