Liverpool – the city

Liverpool is a living city, bright, vibrant, modern. In the last twenty years the city centre has changed – and is continuing to change, it is still a city of majestic buildings and grand vistas and now it has a new energy and optimism – if you want to see the vibrance of Liverpool today, try visiting Liverpool at about 8.00 pm on a warm Saturday evening when the whole city is alive with well-heeled young people enjoying moving between pubs, clubs and bars! As someone who lived in Liverpool in the 70’s, when the whole country was suffering recession, industrial strife, limited investment and unemployment, I see the strengths of modern Liverpool as being confidence in the city’s trade and industry, the pride of its people and the stylish restoration of its architectural heritage for modern use. If I ever get the opportunity to return to Liverpool to live, I want one of those fantastic new apartments on the river front with a river view and a pavement cafe below! 

Naturally there are areas on the outskirts of the city which are still suffering, but in most districts it is comforting to see whole rows of shops still in use – useful shops that serve the local community. But most areas have changed a lot in recent years, the terraces look clean and bright now that pollution is reduced, in some areas, like Upper Frederick Street, the old housing has been replaced by modern houses and bungalows and the gardens in summer are a well-tended riot of colour. Like many other people, I worry about some of the plans for Liverpool’s future – a Fourth Grace on the waterfront? A huge shopping area around Paradise Street which might alter the balance of the city centre and the identity of some areas around Paradise Street and Duke Street? Perhaps they are right, though, and these will benefit the city enormously – I’ll wait and see!

Update – Ten years later and I’ve been back to Liverpool and walked around the new shopping centre – to say that Paradise Street has changed a bit would be a massive understatement! But it’s good, it’s modern, it’s bright, it’s young, Liverpool One has fitted itself into the city centre and probably is one huge part of the many changes that are bringing vibrancy back to the city.

Ash Leigh
Upper Frederick Street

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Liverpool Connections

My mother’s family has been associated with Liverpool for a long time. Her grandparents were called Salthouse, Braidwood, Ralston and Ellery.

In 1832 there is a record in the Liverpool Poll Book of an Alexander Ralstona block maker, living in Upper Frederick Street, Toxteth, near the older docks. When we went to Upper Frederick Street in summer 2003 it had been transformed into an attractive, quiet, modern housing estate; there was no trace of the old tenements and courts at the city end of the street or of the houses at the other end of the street. As Alexander Ralston  was entitled to vote in 1832 he probably had property rights of some kind so it is likely that he lived in the houses at the Eastern end of the street, away from the City.

The Braidwood family arrived in Liverpool from Scotland. John Braidwood was a butcher on Currie Street, in the Scotland Road area. When he died, the butcher’s shop was still owned by his wife, Mary (nee McKinsey), who was living with her daughters at Breck Road, Walton, but was run by their eldest daughter, Mary Braidwood and her husband Richard Baxendale. The second eldest daughter, Janet Braidwood, married William Salthouse.

William Salthouse was born in Nether Alderley in Cheshire and had been a gardener at a nursery on the Wirral before joining the Liverpool Police Force in 1871. He was posted to Kirkdale where he married Janet Braidwood. For some years they lived in Rydal Street, Walton (as did some of Janet Braidwood’s cousins), before moving to Ash Leigh. William left the police force (with commendation for bravery) to go into business on his own account and is later recorded as a leather and hide warehouseman at Scotland Road. It is likely that our branch of the Salthouse family had a Liverpool connection before William came to Liverpool as he seems to have close relatives in the city and family stories have always suggested an older maritime connection.

William Ellery brings in the fourth of my surnames on my mother’s side. William was an outdoor customs and excise officer. He was born in Cornwall where he was a mariner and where he first married Thomasina. Why he left Cornwall, the sea and Thomasina and the children is not known, but he is next found in Liverpool, at Grampian Road in the Kensington are, with Grace of Nottingham as his wife and a new brood of children. ‘Grandfather Ellery’ seems to have been quite revered, though, so no doubt there is a good story behind the facts!



Please remember that the information on this website is only accurate to the best of my knowledge and belief. If any of the information is relevant to your own research, please double-check the sources.