Category Archives: Liverpool

Another view of Sir Joshua Walmsley from 1852

From “My Life in Two Hemispheres”  by Charles Gavan Duffy,  Chapter 19 (Book 3, Chapter 3). Sir Charles Gavan Duffy (1816-1903), was an Irish nationalist and politician in Victoria, Australia; ending up as State Premier. He was born on 12 April 1816 in Monaghan, Ireland, son of John Duffy, shopkeeper, and his wife Ann, daughter of Patrick Gavan of Latnamard. Reading and dreaming over his few books, he grew up during the struggle for Catholic emancipation and his nationalism was kindled by stories of [the Irish “rebellion”] in1798. He boasted that he was the ‘first Catholic emancipated in Ireland’ as most of his schooling was at the local Presbyterian academy. The following was written in November 1852

” Sir Joshua Walmsley, a former mayor of Liverpool, who had become spokesman of a Parliamentary group of Reformers, resting on a political society outside, appears a good deal in the diary of this date, but as nothing came of his coquetting with the Irish party one specimen will suffice:—

“Excused myself for Sunday to Walmsley (he had invited me to meet a number of his political friends at dinner, but I was engaged to Richard Swift and a muster of our own men). As he wanted to talk we dined soon after tête-à-tête at Bellamy’s. All popular questions, he thought, including the Irish Land Question, ought to be postponed till an extension of the franchise was obtained; then, and then only, would everything be possible. I told him that nobody familiar with the condition of Ireland would consent to a fresh postponement of the Land Question on any pretence. He thought Cobden and Bright might be induced to lead the franchise movement if it became wide enough to promise a speedy success. I said I would be glad to see the franchise become the English question of the day, and it would get substantial Irish help. In Ireland the franchise had dwindled away till genuine popular representation had almost disappeared. We wanted an extension urgently, but the farmer wanted the right to live on his own land so much more that it was idle to speak of the questions together. He talked of Cobden with affection. He was a truly generous man, he said. His American investments had not turned out well, but he was always ready to put his hand in his pocket for a public purpose. A fund was raised to sustain Kossuth, and Cobden gave £50 a year, while many other conspicuous Liberals, including Bright, would not give a penny. I spoke, of Hazlitt, Cobbett, Leigh Hunt, Hone, and the martyrs and confessors of Radicalism, but modern Radicalism does not apparently keep a calendar. He knew more of Edward Whitty, Linton, and The Orchestra of the Leader, but his esteem is moderate for any one who does not regard an extension of the suffrage as a specific for human woes. I asked him about Roebuck. Roebuck, he said, was privateering, and could no longer be counted on by any popular section. He loved no party, and no party loved him. My own observation confirms this description. I had some talk with him lately in the Library, and he seemed embittered and disappointed beyond any one I had ever encountered; his face had an expression that was scarcely human. I compared it mentally to the aspect of an angry dog—venomous and dangerous. He used to be called the most conceited man in Parliament, but his unkempt hair, stooping figure, and flabby look give him the appearance of a ruin.”


State of Crime in Liverpool, October 1837

The Borough Gaol, Great Howard Street, Liverpool

From The Statistical journal and record of useful knowledge, Vol. 1 October 1837

The following paper was read by Mr Joshua Walmsley in the statistical section of the British Association at Liverpool on Friday the 15th of September.

“ Those who have interested themselves in the general proceedings of this Association will remember, that, at its last meeting, held in Bristol a paper on Statistical Desiderata was read by a distinguished member of this section, wherein several censures were passed upon ‘ A report upon the state of crime in Liverpool ‘ then recently printed by order of the Council of the borough That gentleman having subsequently visited Liverpool, I rejoiced in the opportunity it afforded me of showing him the data on which the conclusions were founded. He admitted that he misapprehended the report, for instead of allowing, as he thought, an average income of 470 l. a year [£23, or a modern-day equivalent of £ 26,240]  to each criminal, it did not allow quite 80l.[£4, or a modern-day equivalent of £ 4,467]; and when the profligacy and necessary expenditure of a confirmed thief or a dissolute woman’s life are considered,  80 l. a year is not an excessive temptation to a life of crime and sin. In fact it implies most forcibly that, in a pecuniary sense, the mass of them lead (which is the truth) a life of misery.

The report gave, as the result of rigid inquiry, a criminal population to this town of 4,200 females and 4,520 males, 2,270 of the latter being professed thieves, and the remainder occasional thieves, living by a combination of labour and plunder; and the whole was set down at upwards of 700,000 l. [£35,000, or a modern-day equivalent of £ 39,000,000.] This does at first sight appear incredible; but an investigation, pursued with much labour, and not unattended with obloquy, convinced me the statement contained no exaggeration.

A more recent inquiry, carried on by better means, afforded by a more experienced police force, not only confirms these details, but leaves an impression that the number of criminals was underrated. In an inquiry of this kind an approximation to accuracy is all that can be expected, and all I purpose to do is to furnish the society with the most accurate data which is accessible.

I hold in my hand two or three returns, about the correctness of which there can be no doubt. They contain the number of persons brought before the magistrates, and the number committed; they also give the age of the juvenile felons. In the year 1835, there were taken into custody 13,506 persons, of whom 2,138 were committed. In 1836, there were taken into custody 16,890, of whom 3,343 were committed. Up to the 13th of the present month, the number taken into custody in eight months was 12,709, of whom 2,849 were committed. From July, 1835, to July, 1836, the number of juvenile thieves, under 18 years of age, apprehended was 924, of whom 378 were committed. From July, 1836, up to the present day the number of juvenile thieves taken into custody was 2,339, of whom 1,096 were committed. There were in custody, during the same period, upwards of 1,500 well known adult thieves.

In our report juvenile thieves were set down at 1,270, it now seems that the number was very greatly underrated, for the most expert officer does not pretend to say that one half were taken into custody.

In the returns made by the old watchmen, the number of houses of ill fame was set down at 300; but this return referred only to the notorious ones. A full and complete return has since been made and the real number is 655, exclusive of private houses in which girls of the town reside. In all the houses of ill fame females reside, and allowing an average of four to each house, the number residing in such places only would be 2,620. 

This return is further confirmed by the fact, that, in the year preceding the inquiry, there were apprehended 1,000 females of a particular description. Mr Bacheldor, now the excellent governor of the borough gaol, was then the principal bridewell keeper; he gave it as his decided opinion, and no one was more competent to give one, that not one fourth of the females had been apprehended. In this opinion the heads of the police, deriving their knowledge from a different source coincided.

Another return has been placed before me, which, though not absolutely bearing on the subject, is not without interest. Of 419 individuals now in the gaol, 216 profess the religious creed of church Protestants, 174 are Roman Catholics, 8 are Methodists, 17 are Presbyterians, 2 are Unitarians, 1 Baptist, and 1 Independent; 41 can neither read nor write, 59 read imperfectly, 38 read well, 127 read and write imperfectly, and 56 read and write well.

I come now to the consideration of the annual sum necessary to the support of such a criminal population. In estimating this, the expenditure of persons living upon the wages of crime, as nearly as could be estimated, was taken as the basis. The amount expended by each individual will, of course, differ according to his or her position, as stated in the paper on the table, but the average for each is not more than 80 l. per annum; and when the lavish and profligate expenditure, in which the characters in question are known to indulge, is taken into consideration, the amount will scarcely appear to be overstated. It must be borne in mind, as the report particularly observes, that the greater portion of this sum is derived from strangers; of these, including sailors, the weekly influx and departure exceed 8,000, and a small rate levied on each will be found to form a considerable proportion of the whole estimated amount: in fact, the robberies committed by a certain class of depredators on the persons of those who, with an absence from the place where they are known, throw off moral restraint, are estimated by our chiefs of police at an average of 100l. nightly [£5, or a modern-day equivalent of £ 5,583]. The reported robberies of this nature on a single night have often been from 500l [£25, or a modern-day equivalent of £ 27,920] to 1,000l. [£50, or a modern-day equivalent of £ 55,830] It must be understood, also, that the whole of the amount is not supposed to be derived from theft, a large portion of it being unquestionably the produce of voluntary contributions from the profligate. It may here be remarked, that writers on statistics seem to have had little idea of the extent of property stolen by felons. Baron Dupin, on the authority of Mr Hibbert, states that previous to the establishment of the preventive system, 1-50th part of all the sugars and 1-40th part of the rum landed at the London Docks were stolen; the quantities of colonial produce stolen during the years 1799, 1800, and 1801, were valued at 1,214,500 l. [£60,725, or a modern-day equivalent of £ 56,820,000]. The exposed situation of the Liverpool Docks, and the detached localities of the warehouses, give the utmost facility to this description of robbery, which is still further encouraged by the existence of numerous receiving houses. The system observed in the discharge of vessels is another prop to this evil: the work is let out to men called lumpers, some of whom take it at low rates, calculating to increase the produce of their labour by plunder; they form a large body, and the matter should, and I trust will, have the attention of our merchants.

I have come forward at this time solely with the hope that the subject may be taken up by those able and willing to devise and carry into effect some means for the amelioration of the condition of so many of our fellow creatures. The surveillance of a vigilant police unquestionably lessens the opportunities for the commission of crime, and leads to the quick detection of the offenders; but humanity requires, that while we take measures to punish, we should use means to reclaim. We should recollect, that ‘oft the means to do ill deeds make ill deeds done.’ I am glad to see that so great an interest is now taken in criminal statistics. One of our worthy magistrates, a few days since, observed that people were wont to go in search of the picturesque, but that now they came in pursuit of crime. Like Sancho Panza’s hare, they start up where least expected; but the subject being disagreeable and repulsive, there is no danger, I apprehend, of this kind of research becoming mischievously fashionable.

Joshua Walmsley had been elected a one of three Whig/Reformer councillors for Castle Street ward in 1835. The elections to were held on Saturday 26 December 1835, and it was the first election to Liverpool Town Council. As this was the first election to the Council, all three seats for each of the sixteen wards were up for election. The candidate in each ward with the highest number of votes was elected for three years, the candidate with the second highest number of votes was elected for two years and the candidate with the third highest number of votes was elected for one year. All of the sixteen wards were contested. The Reformers had a total of 59 councillors, and aldermen, to 5 Tories, and remained in control of the Council until 1841, when the Tories took control by 44 to 22.

The Late Sister Mary of St. Philip (Frances Mary Lescher). 1825 – 1904

The name which heads this article (writes a correspondent) was dear and familiar to thousands, and the shadow which her loss has cast over the great Convent and College of Mount Pleasant falls indeed over the whole of Catholic England. Frances Mary Lescher was the eldest child of William Joseph Lescher of London, and his wife Mary, daughter of John Hoy, of Stoke by Nayland, Suffolk. The Leschers were of German descent, and had preserved the Catholic faith unsullied since pre-Reformation times. So, too, had the Hoys; and their ancestors, the Daveys, and the Cruises, were well-known ” Papists “ in Oxfordshire. There seems to have been in both families something of the old Chivalry of the Knights of the Middle Ages—their warlike spirit, enthusiastic devotion to a great cause, the exquisite tenderness and finished courtesy. And all these things were inherited to the full by Frances Mary, the child who came into the world on May 8, 1825.

Her first education was confided to the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre, New Hall, where she remained till the age of 14, bearing away the gold medal, the highest prize for excellence in the school. From this time onwards she pursued her studies under the supervision of her father, whose constant companion she now became, reading with him and travelling with him on the Continent.

The Oxford Movement aroused her keenest interest, and her sympathy with the converts, to whom the Leschers’ house in Nottingham-place stood always open, was unbounded. Frances threw herself heart and soul into the great movement of revival among English Catholics, which had been set on foot immediately after the Catholic Emancipation Act, and with which the names of Bishop Wiseman, Dr.Gentili, Father Spencer, Frederick Lucas, and the elder Pugin are intimately connected, and gave in her own generation all the support a woman could give to those anxious to devote themselves to the furtherance of the Catholic cause in England. Her wide reading, brilliant conversation, and personal attraction charmed all, and she was as wise and practical as she was accomplished and ardent. The teaching of poor children—that work with which the name of Sister Mary of St. Philip is indissolubly connected—found early a place in her life; she made a classroom of the coach-house and there taught them their catechism, and more than once led the ragged waifs and strays, who formed her Sunday school class, through the streets of the city to church. This passion of her heart, for in truth it was nothing else, eventually drew her into the institute of the Sisters of Notre Dame of Namur, which is wholly devoted to the education of girls, more especially of the poor. About the time of Miss Lescher’s entrance into the order, Father James Nugent (now Mgr. Nugent), Father James Carr (now Mgr. Carr), and others of the Liverpool clergy, had invited the Sisters to take charge of some of the elementary schools in the town.

Mount Pleasant.

In 1856 they opened in Mount Pleasant a training college for schoolmistresses, and Frances Lescher, immediately on the completion of her novitiate, came to fill the post of Mistress of Studies. From that moment her name was identified with the work; the training college was what it was, and is, because of Sister Mary of St. Philip—and from that Feast of Candlemas, when she gave her first lessons to the little band of 21 students, to the last day when she sat among the 160 girls gathered round her in the splendid new hall, it has been her spirit and her heart which have been the life and light of the place. All, Catholics or Protestants, inspectors, clergy, university professors, admired her superiority of mind, respected her judgment and her counsel, and recognised her influence. “She is a woman,” said Sir Francis Sandford, then Secretary of the Education Department, “who might fearlessly place her hand even on the helm of the State.” His appreciation of her was ratified by that of his successors in office, and by many men eminent in the educational world, who from time to time visited the College. Such, in the early days, were Sir James Kaye Shuttleworth, Earl Granville (who in 1861 was President of the Committee of Council on Education), the Marquis of Ripon, and in later years Mr. Mundella and Sir G. Kekewich. MM. Inspectors of Training Colleges, Mr. Tinling and Mr. Warburton, both Canons of the Church of England, Sir Joshua Fitch, and Mr. Scott Coward, regarded Mount Pleasant as a model institution, unique in its organisation and work, and the local inspectors have not been less warm in their praise. It may be fitting to remark here that the home and centre for pupil teachers at Mount Pleasant paved the way for the foundation of similar centres for the collective teaching of pupil-teachers, first in Liverpool, then in the metropolis and other large towns. Mr. Sadler, in his recent report, says : “There is, so far as I am aware, no educational institution in England exactly comparable to that which, by the patience and foresight of the Sister Superior, has gradually been built up at Mount Pleasant. here in one long range of buildings, the slowly achieved outcome of half a century of work, every grade of girls’ education is provided for, from the primary school upwards, including the professional education of girls preparing themselves for the work of teaching in elementary or in secondary schools. Nor, in spite of the magnitude of the undertaking, is it the impression of mere size or numbers that dwells in the recollection of the visitor. It is rather the sense of quiet, cheerful, untiring, labour and of care for each individual pupil that lingers in his mind, and comes back vividly to his thoughts as he recalls what he heard and saw.” This appreciative and sympathetic report of Mr. Sadler’s was one of her last human consolations. In the beginning of December she caught a serious internal chill, and from the first, on account of her advanced age, the doctor entertained grave apprehensions as to the issue. From her sick bed she took the keenest interest in the College celebrations of the jubilee of the Immaculate Conception, arranging for the solemn Act of Consecration, and listened to the notes of the hymns borne up from the procession winding along the corridors below. On the morrow she received the Last Sacraments in great peace, and from that moment she laid aside completely, with the simplicity of a little child, the burden of her solicitous work, to give all her thought and care to the last great journey. But her splendid constitution, the widespread and incessant prayer sent up to God for her dear life, and, above all, her own extreme clearness of mind and freshness of memory made her sisters and children hope against hope. A serious crisis on the afternoon of Friday the fifth took away all illusion; it was repeated on Saturday, and on Sunday night at about 11 p.m. she gave up her soul into the hands of God, very tranquilly and gently. Her noble life had closed nobly, fittingly. All that the Church could give her she had; and two days before the end the Bishop had brought her the supreme consolation of the Holy Father’s blessing. To the last she kept an unclouded mind, visibly uniting herself to ‘the prayers and hymns, pressing the crucifix to her lips, lifting her feeble hand to make one of her old large signs of the Cross as she received her frequent absolutions—to the very end her own sweet, simple, great self.

She was laid out in the community-room in all religious simplicity with no other pomp than that of the kneeling Sisters, who watched her night and day, and the never-ceasing influx of her dearly loved and faithful “old students,” whose grief was pitiful to behold.

The Funeral.

On Thursday last Bishop Whiteside sang the Solemn Requiem in the beautiful convent chapel, whose sanctuary was entirely draped in black. The Mass was admirably chanted by the diocesan choir, conducted by the Rev T. A. Walmsley. The Right Rev. Mgr. Carr, V.G., acted as assistant priest ; Canon Gordon, of Birkdale as deacon; Canon Banks, of St. Edward’s College as subdeacon. The deacons at the throne were Canon Kennedy and Canon Cosgrave ; the masters of ceremonies the Revv. J. Clarkson and W. Slattery. More than 80 priests were present in the chapel amongst them Provost Clegg, Mgr. Marsden, Canons Beggan, O’Toole Barry, Singleton, Richardson, Chisholm ;the Rev. T. J. Walshe, chaplain to the community; Father Hayes, Rector of St. Francis Xavier’s; the Rectors of the churches of Liverpool and the outlying district, and representatives of different religious orders.

Immediately after the absolutions the cortege passed from the chapel down the main staircase and along the spacious corridor to the door of the new wing in Hope-street, where a long line of coaches awaited the mourners—clergy, sisters, and former students with other friends, all anxious to give this last testimony of esteem and affection to her whom they had loved and venerated in life. But the most touching part of the funeral was the assemblage of poor children drawn up at intervals along the route in front of each school with their parents and teachers, patiently standing in frost and fog, the boys with raised caps, girls with joined hands and bowed heads. Some 40 coaches reached the Great Crosby Cemetery, where the procession formed and passed through lines of teachers and former students proving by their presence and their sorrowful demeanour that she whom they mourned had been their best and truest friend.

Expressions of sympathy and condolence have flooded in upon the Sisters from all quarters ; telegrams were received from the Marquis of Ripon, from H. M. Inspectors, from the Professors of the Liverpool University ; letters from his Grace the Archbishop of Westminster and the bishops and clergy all over the British Isles. A vote of sympathy was passed by the Association of Principals of Training Colleges holding their annual Conference in London, and “carried in silence,” wrote the President, “by the whole body of members rising in their places.” A deputation from the University conveyed expressions of esteem and regret from that body ; and the Liverpool Education Committee passed a unanimous resolution : “That this Committee desire to express their deep regret at the death of Miss F. M. Lescher, Principal of the Mount Pleasant Training College ; to place on record their high appreciation of the services rendered to the cause of education in the city ; and to convey their sympathy with the authoritieS of the college in the loss they have sustained.”

The main lines, large and simple, of Sister Mary of St. Philip’s striking personality were apparent to all who came into even passing contact with her. A countenance, noble and eminently good, and easy dignity of presence that was far removed from stiffness or condescension, and above all the genuine and unaffected interest which she took in the doings, plans, joys and sorrows of the most casual visitor, and what someone has happily called “that princely gift of making herself all in all,” these things charmed and won multitudes. Multitudes too, recognised and admired her royal gifts of mind—her quick and sure judgment, her wise and temperate counsel, her quite exceptional capacity for organisation and. administration • and few who knew her ever so little, but felt the charm of the freshness, the enthusiasm, the youngness of heart which were so beautiful and harmonious a contradiction of her ripe years. Others have been privileged to see more— the grand simplicity of her daily life, devoting to others, without suspicion of heroism, time, talents, labour ; the large sympathy that went out to the smallest the most trivial of sorrows ; the ever-growing gentleness and forbearance and long patience ; and that lowliness of spirit which was so marked and beautiful a trait in one so great. The fragrance of all these things and many more is with those who immediately lived and loved and laboured under one roof with Sister Mary of St. Philip, and they are to them part of her very name. Yet not to them alone does that name belong, but to the whole Catholic Church in England, to the poor of Christ and the priests of Christ, wherever they suffer and toil between its three seas. R.I.P.

The Sisters of Notre Dame, Mount Pleasant, desire to thank most warmly all those who have written to express sympathy with them in their sorrow. Owing to the large number of letters received from friends and from students, past and present, it is impossible to write an individual acknowledgment.

The above text was found on p.26, 31st December 1904 in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .


Liverpool riots 1909


A disturbance arose in Liverpool on Sunday during the passage of a procession of Catholics of St. Joseph’s parish through a part of the city in which an Irish population predominates. [St Joseph’s was in Grosvenor Street, off Rosehill. It was Liverpool Scotland ward, which returned the only Irish Nationalist M.P.outside the island of Ireland, between 1885 and 1929.]  A disturbance a fortnight ago, reports The Manchester Guardian, resulted in the arrest and conviction of two members of the Orange party on a charge of smashing windows in the house of an Irish family. The party is said to have threatened reprisals, and yesterday there was serious rioting, followed by thirty arrests.

During the week notice was issued calling upon Orangemen to gather in force and prevent any “illegal procession “ taking place, the assumption being that the Catholics would carry in the procession the host, but this, it is said, was never intended. It is also asserted that a contingent of Orangemen arrived on Saturday night from Belfast. But whether this is true or not, it is certain that nearly an hour before the time fixed for the procession to start the Orangemen invaded the neighbourhood of St. Joseph’s Church in great force. Consequently, when the procession started, it was thought wise to confine it to the immediate neighbourhood of the church. The Orangemen seemed determined to prevent even this, and the two bodies came into collision. Bricks, bottles, and other missiles were soon flying, and the fight continued for a considerable time, in spite of the efforts of between 500 and 600 police, including a mounted contingent. Those arrested include both Catholics and Orangemen. A number of people were treated for cuts on the head and other injuries. The police assert that many Orangemen carried naked swords beneath their coats, which they brandished in a menacing manner when the two parties came into collision. During the whole evening the district remained in a ferment of excitement, although the police patrols prevented any further organised attacks. The prisoners will be brought up at the police-court this morning and charged with rioting.

Another message says that the police made charges upon the crowd, which would otherwise have got beyond bounds. Some took refuge in passages and backyards from the cover of which they pelted the police with stones. Several were struck and injured by other missiles. Meanwhile, quite a number of houses were being wrecked, and windows were smashed in a wholesale fashion. In one case a house was fired. Upwards of fifty arrests were made, many of the prisoners being injured. About a dozen policemen were also injured, and treated at hospitals.

For two or three days the rioting was followed by brawls and disturbances in the quarter affected. On Tuesday there was a conflict between the children of St. Polycarp’s Anglican Schools and of the Catholic Schools of St. Anthony’s. This caused a disturbance between their respective mothers. Uneasiness among the mothers increased during the afternoon, and they began to apply at the schools for the release of the little ones to get them home in safety. In many cases excitement outran discretion, and mothers forced an entry into the schools and dragged out the children by force. The result of this was that some fifty schools in the Scotland-road district were promptly closed by the Education Committee.

The above text was found on p.39,26th June 1909, in “The Tablet: The International Catholic News Weekly.” Reproduced with kind permission of the Publisher. The Tablet can be found at .



Liverpool Workhouse

Brownlow Hill Workhouse, © University of Liverpool. The site is now the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King.

The Poor Law Institution, or Work House, on Brownlow Hill had been a shelter for Liverpool’s destitute from 1771 until 1928 when the revision of the Poor Laws brought the property on to the market. In 1800 one thousand inmates had been on its register, in 1900 over four thousand,  over half of whom were Catholics. Many of them were Irish people driven from their own country by famine. In 1930 the Catholic diocesan authorities purchased the nine acre site for £110,000, as the site for the new Roman Catholic cathedral. The workhouse was a tough hard place.

The following is taken from Tom Burke’s ” Catholic History of Liverpool “, 1910. He is not a disinterested party. He was Liverpool born and bred, with Irish parents. He was for many years, a magistrate, councillor, and Alderman on Liverpool City Council where he represented Vauxhall ward as a member of the Irish Nationalist Party.  None of this really detracts from the power of Tom Burke’s writing, or his analysis of politics in the city. The original footnotes from the book are bracketed, and in italics, along with a couple of additional explanations of mine also in bracketed italics.

Another public body came into existence as a consequence of the new Poor Law, [1834]  the Liverpool Board of Guardians, better known by its official title, the Select Vestry. The first elections resulted in the return of a solid phalanx of Tories, due to the extraordinary behaviour of the returning officer. Dr. Bilsborrow, late Bishop of Salford, described the Guardians as ” that awful Protestant body,” [ In a conversation with the writer at St Charles , Aigburth Road,] and good reason he had for so naming it. In 1839, under the old law, Father Parker, of St. Patrick’s, reported that during the month of October, he had heard the master of the workhouse school, addressing the children in the schoolroom, say that ” every Catholic would go to Hell with a Testament in his hand.” Of the hundred children thus addressed a small proportion were Catholics, and in their presence he held up a wafer, with the blasphemous observation, ” this is the God of the Papists. “ An inquiry was held, and the charges sustained, but the Orange party would permit no punishment beyond a mild censure. In 1841, Father John Dawber asked the Vestry to allow him the use of a room in which to say Mass, and in a very modest appeal pointed out that it was a great hardship for old and infirm people to be compelled to rise early in all kinds of weather, and walk half-a-mile to hear Mass outside. The ” Liverpool Courier,” the Conservative organ, opposed this proposal as ” an act of Popish aggrandisement.”

The Vestry held its meetings for the first year with closed doors, the ” Liverpool Mercury,” which took the most active share in bringing about a change in its composition, describing it as ” the secret conclave.” The Liberals and Catholics joined in a cordial union to alter its complexion, and at the Easter of 1845, returned Messrs. Bright, Thorneley and Maynard, to fight for equality and open dealing, against twenty-six of the most illiberal men who ever possessed a share in the government of the town, municipally or parochially.

The Select Vestry had decided, in obedience to Dr. McNeill, that no religious service of any kind for the Roman Catholics should be permitted inside the workhouse. Mr. Bright sought to remove this restriction by a proposition that the use of the dining hall be allowed for the celebration of Mass. The Rector of Liverpool was, ex-officio, the Chairman of the Board, [ This anomaly was removed by Mr. Gladstone’s Parish Council Act, 1894.]  and on this occasion he declared that the law of the realm did not contemplate the performance of any religious ceremony, other than those in conformity with the laws of the Established Church. No doubt this was a perfectly accurate statement, but it did not help to remove an irritating restriction from a Catholic point of view, or prevent gross abuse from the point of view of good administration and discipline, inmates being allowed to go out on Sundays, without supervision, if they declared themselves to be Catholics, whether they were so or no. [ Bedclothes, linen, &c., were stolen by the inmates, who declared themselves Catholics in order to get out and sell the articles thus obtained.]  Mr. Bright’s motion was rejected. At the same meeting it was decided to ask permission from the Bishop of Chester to allow Divine Service to be held for the Protestant inmates of the Kirkdale Schools, in the dining hall of that institution.

Mr. Bright observed that as the Rector had objected to Divine Service for Catholics in a dining hall, he ought surely, on ecclesiastical or rubrical grounds, to object in this instance. Mr. Rector Brooks did not reply, but a Mr. Bremner retorted, “ No ! not at all ; the one is Popery, the other the Established Church.” The language of this gentleman was so offensive that five Conservatives voted for Mr. Bright’s motion. It was urged that, as sixty-one inmates, owing to ill-health, were unable to attend Mass outside, a room might be set apart for the purpose of a private celebration. But to no avail. Mr. Bremner represented the whole trend of Tory Protestantism.

Catholics and Liberals, at the following elections, made one supreme effort to secure further representation, and carried eleven seats out of twenty-one. Three out of four overseerships also fell into their victorious hands. Mr. John Yates, junior, was the first Catholic Poor Law Guardian. The concession of a room was granted, and peace prevailed for a short time. In the Council, Mr. Blackburn, member for Vauxhall Ward, made a last despairing effort to break down the policy of exclusion embarked upon by the Church party, but failed, and never again did Catholics appeal to that Municipal body for any concession.



Tory and Catholic relations in Liverpool in the early C19th.

This is taken from Tom Burke’s ” Catholic History of Liverpool “, 1910. He is not a disinterested party. He was Liverpool born and bred, with Irish parents. He was for many years, a magistrate, councillor, and Alderman on Liverpool City Council where he represented Vauxhall ward as a member of the Irish Nationalist Party. Liverpool Scotland constituency, which Vauxhall was part of, returned T.P. O’Connor as an Irish Party M.P. for 44 years between 1885 and 1929, the only constituency outside Ireland ever to return an Irish Nationalist Party MP. None of this really detracts from the power of Tom Burke’s writing, or his analysis of politics in the city. The rest of the post of his with the original footnotes from the book bracketed, and in italics, along with a couple of additional explanations of mine also in bracketed italics.

Princes Dock, Liverpool

It is extremely probable that a great number of Irish labourers found work in the year 1819, in excavating the Prince’s Dock. Most of the docks were constructed by Irish labourers, and other works of a similar character requiring muscle were so carried out by them. The Orangemen of the town appear to have had their political passions inflamed by the presence of a large Catholic and Irish population in their midst, and the development of church buildings as well as the marked tolerance of the Liberal party aggravated the situation. They began a series of attacks both wordy and physical on the Catholic Church and Ireland, which to them as to more enlightened persons were regarded quite erroneously as synonymous terms. Retaliation was inevitable. On the 12th July, 1819, when the Orange body celebrated the famous scrimmage “twixt a Dutchman and a Scot ” [See humorous squib, Dublin Leader, July, 1908.]  they were waylaid at the corner of Dale Street [The exact spot where the Holy Cross procession was attacked on May 9th, 1909.] and Byrom Street by a host of Irish labourers who made a desperate onslaught on them. Stones, sticks and other weapons were freely used, and both sides sustained severe injuries. It was the beginning of that wretched race quarrel on false issues which was assiduously kept alive by one political party in the city for the most unworthy ends, [the Tories] and continued to disturb the harmony of the citizens for half a century.

Caroline of Brunswick, c.1804.

The Irish Catholics of the early years of the nineteenth century were accused by interested politicians of disloyalty, an accusation which has not yet been discontinued. Strangely enough it was their loyalty to the unfortunate Queen Caroline which accounted for their first appearance in the political arena of Liverpool, the prelude to effective interference in much more important matters both of religion and politics. The sympathies of the great bulk of the Liberal party lay with the persecuted consort of a worthless Hanoverian, and when the news reached Liverpool that she had triumphantly vindicated her honour, they organised a huge public demonstration to express their delight, in November 1820. [Support for Queen Caroline meant opposing Lord Liverpool’s Tory administration who were siding with George IV ]In the public procession which wound up the festivities the Catholic and Irish Societies took no unimportant place. They had at length lifted their heads, and begun to realise the duty they owed to the city of their adoption.

An unfortunate incident occurred in the month of February 1840, which illustrated the delicate relations between the English and Irish Catholics of the town, and the ease with which the susceptibilities of the latter could be touched in a tender spot. The developments of the political situation in Ireland had gradually removed O’Connell from his great and influential position as a purely Catholic leader. Catholic Emancipation was one thing, Repeal of the Union another. The glamour of O’Connell’s personality had captured in any case the support of the Irish in Lancashire, whilst many Englishmen who were still under a deep debt of gratitude to him for his great services to the Catholic cause, had their doubts as to the wisdom of the new movement. Irishmen, on the other hand, failed to recognise the right of an English Catholic to his own views on important imperial political questions, such as the restoration of the Irish Parliament.

St Patrick’s, Park Place, Toxteth.

Friction was inevitable, and unfortunately the parish priest of St. Patrick’s was the central figure if not the actual cause. His strong personality refused to adapt itself to surrounding conditions and as the result he became at once unpopular, if not obnoxious, to his Irish congregation. A petition to Parliament demanding the repeal of the Union was placed outside the doors of St. Patrick’s Church for signature on a certain Sunday morning. Father Parker forbade the promoters to place the petition there on the ground that to act otherwise would be an infringement of the trust deed, and, secondly would cause dissension in his congregation. The more ardent Irish spirits declined to accept his explanation and attributed his action to pro-English prejudices. As a matter of fact this was far from being the truth, and had Father Parker not set up the groundless contention of violation of the trust deed the difficulty might have been smoothed over.

Daniel O’Connell

He then committed the mistake of appealing to O’Connell himself, which only seemed to irritate the Repealers, and the more so as O’Connell’s letter severely censured the opponents of the rector. It was a curious revelation of O’Connell’s views on the legitimacy of Anglo-Irish interference in the Repeal movement, to find Father Parker reminding him that during a previous visit to Liverpool they had both discussed the advisability or otherwise of pushing forward the agitation in Liverpool, and that O’Connell had advised the inexpediency of such a proposal, being of opinion that it would be illegal.

“Since that time,” wrote Father Parker, ” an association of Repealers has been started in a way calculated to do serious injury to the cause of civil and religious liberty.” O’Connell’s reply is not without interest : ” I am deeply shocked at hearing of the conduct of the Repealers in the vicinity of your chapel, and more disgusted than I can express at men using disrespectful language towards any of their respected clergy. The Repealers have no right to bring their petition into the vicinity of your chapel without your permission.”  O’Connell then goes on to say that the rule in Ireland, ” never broken,” was to ask permission from the parish priest, and concludes a vigorously written letter by emphatically declaring that he ” will not accept any support from Liverpool Repealers if they shew any further disrespect to the clergy of the town.”

Instead of following O’Connell’s advice, a Liverpool Repealer, also named O’Connell, entered into a lengthy correspondence with Father Parker, the net result being a widening of the breach, and though the strain was relieved to some extent later on, this painful display of want of confidence in each other s integrity had the effect of severing the Irish and English Catholics of the town from working harmoniously except on rare occasions, and in later generations helped to undo the fine work accomplished heretofore by united effort.


Rickman pedigree from 1480.

This post derives its content from two different  sources. The first was a hand written family tree on lined paper, along with two cuttings from “The Times” from 1961, in a book called “A Hundred Years of Enterprise, – Centenary of the Clay Cross Company Ltd, 1837 -1937”. They had all been in an old tea chest for at least thirty five years. The second source was from My Ancestors, By Norman Penney, F.S.A,, F.R.Hist.S. Printed For Private Circulation By Headley Brothers, Bishopsgate, Ex., And Ashford, Kent, 1920.” found online back in February 2017.

Initially, I was very impressed that Mme. Rickman had traced the family back to 1512, though because she was doing direct  descendants, it could be frustrating at times, because it would name a great, grandfather, for example, and “4 other sons”. The direct great-grandfathers are in bold.

Richard Rickman Born in Wardleham, Hampshire, England in 1480, and had a son called Richard

Richard Rickman 1512 – ???? Born on 1512 to Richard Rickman. Richard married Isabell – unknown surname and had 3 children. He died in Wardleham, Hampshire, England.

  1. Robert Rickman
  2. John Rickman 1542-1599
  3. William Rickman 1547-1609

William Rickman 1547 -1609 Born in Wardleham, Hampshire, England on 1547 to Richard Rickman and Isabell unknown surname  He died in 1609 in Stanton Prior, Somerset, England. Mme Rickman’s notes continue; ” He removed to Stanton Prior, near Bath where he possessed the manor, advowson [ the right to appoint the priest] , and other appurtenances. “ He had a son, John:

John Rickman  1587 – ???? Born to William Rickman and unknown wife. John married Edythe Bally, and also married Ophelia Marchant and had a child. Mme Rickman’s notes continue; ” He was baptised at Stanton Prior on 25th March 1587.”

  1. John Rickman 1611-1680

John Rickman. Born on 1611 to John Rickman and Ophelia Marchant.Mme Rickman’s notes continue; ” He was baptised at Stanton Prior on 7th July 1611.” John married Alice Dunn Unknown-1680 and had 2 children. He died in 1680 in Selborne, Hampshire, England.

  1. John Rickman 1656-1722
  2. Joseph Rickman 1657-1745

John Rickman Born in Inams, near Great Hamwood, in the parish of Selborne, Hampshire, England on 1656 to John Rickman and Alice Dunn. John married Margaret Knell 1659-1704, [Mme Rickman has her as Margaret Edwards. She is, in fact, both, because it was a second marriage] and had 8 children. John married Abigail Reynolds Unknown-1723 and had a child. He died in 1722 in Hurstmonceux, Sussex, England. Mme Rickman’s notes continue; ” He was the first who joined the ‘Friends’ [Quakers].”

  1. Joseph Rickman 1691-1747
  2. John Rickman 1681-1713
  3. Mary Rickman 1683-Unknown
  4. Gershan Rickman 1688-Unknown
  5. Margaret Rickman 1689-Unknown
  6. Ambrose Rickman 1690-Unknown
  7. Nicholas Rickman 1695-1713
  8. Elizabeth Rickman 1698-Unknown
  9. Benjamin Rickman 1707-1751

Joseph Rickman was born in the village of Gardner Street, near Hurstmonceux, Sussex,  on 1691 to John Rickman and Margaret Knell. Joseph married Ann Baker 1694-1778 and had 4 children. He died on 7 Feb 1747 at Park Farm, in Hellingly, Sussex, and buried in Gardner Street.

  1. Joseph Rickman 1714-1776
  2. John Rickman 1715-1789
  3. Thomas Rickman 1718-1803
  4. Elizabeth Rickman 1722-1757

John Rickman 1715 – 1789  married Elizabeth Peters and had 8 children, according to one account, or 10 according to another. Born in Hurstmonceux, Sussex, England on 1715 to Joseph Rickman and Ann Baker. He died in 1789 in Lewes, Sussex, England.

  1. Elizabeth Rickman 1743-1797
  2. Richard Peters Rickman 1745-1801
  3. Joseph Peters Rickman 1745-1810 married Sarah Neave 1747-1809 died in Dublin. They had three sons: Thomas Rickman 1776-1841, John Rickman 1779-1835 this one appears to have married Sarah Godlee,1798 -1866,  George Peters Rickman 1785-1875.
  4. John Rickman 1747-1764 died aged 17
  5. Samuel Rickman 1755-1799 died aged 44
  6. Ann Rickman 1757-1793
  7. Sarah Rickman 1759-1837
  8. Thomas Clio Rickman 1760-1834

Richard Peters Rickman 1745 – 1801 married Mary Verrall 5th June 1767, and had 9 children, or possibly 16 children, or even 17. All the children were apparently educated at Ackworth school in Yorkshire,He died in 1801 in Lewes, East Sussex, England.  Richard Peters Rickman was the elder of twin brother, and had rather more children than his brother Joseph Peters Rickman who seems to have only had three.

  1. Elizabeth Rickman 1768-1833 married John Hodgkin of Pentonville (1766-1845), , had four sons of whom the first two died in infancy. The third son, Thomas Hodgkin MD (1798-1866), Thomas Hodgkin MD married relatively late and left no children: with Sir Moses Montefiore he travelled to the Holy Land and Morocco to plead for better treatment for Jews in those areas; it was on a journey to the former that he died in 1866, and he is buried in Jaffa.It is from his younger brother, John Hodgkin junior (1800-1875), that the contemporary Hodgkin family descends. John Hodgkin junior’s first wife, Elizabeth Howard Hodgkin (1803-1836), was the daughter of the meteorologist and chemist Luke Howard (1772-1864), perhaps best known for his system of describing clouds.
  2. Lucy Rickman 1772-1804 married her first cousin Thomas Rickman 1776-1841, the son of her father’s twin brother, Joseph Peters Rickman.
  3. John Rickman 1774-1859 had a son also called Richard Peters Rickman (probably) and seems to have left about £120,000 when he died. RP Rickman II died in 1876 leaving £45,000. Seems to have been somewhat miserly, according to the book “The Quakers of Lewes”
  4. Sarah Rickman 1776-1837
  5. Ann Rickman 1780-1830
  6. Samuel Rickman 1782-1836 
  7. Jane Rickman 1785-1846
  8. Susanna Rickman 1787-1859
  9. George Rickman 1791-1835

Samuel Rickman 1782-1836 removed to Liverpool from Lewes in 1809. He married Hannah Cooke 1790 – 1873, in Liverpool, on September 1, 1816, in a joint wedding with his brother-in-law, Isaac Cooke, who married Sarah Robson. Sam and Hannah had two children. Sam was buried in the Friends Burial Ground, in Hunter Street, Liverpool, and Hannah, thirty seven years later in the Friends Burial Ground, in Liscard, Cheshire.

  1. Mary 1814 -1849
  2. Samuel (1815 – 1885)

Samuel Rickman (1815 – 1885) m. Catherine Throp (1820 – 1903) 4th February 1845. They had  8 children

  1. Samuel Rickman 1846 – 1917 m. Emily Rachel Binns 1849 – 1935
  2. Mary  1847 –   Unknown but after 1901
  3. Charles William 1849 –  Unknown
  4. Reginald John 1850 –  Unknown
  5. Frances Amy 1852 –  in 1901 she seems to be either domestic staff or teaching at Eton
  6. Wilfred 1854 –   Unknown .
  7. Kate 1856 –   Unknown, but after 1911 
  8. Josephine 1858 – 1930

There seems to be a curiously small amount of information on what happened to most of the children. Only Sam, and Josephine seem to have married. The 1871 census helps a little in telling us what the children were doing at the time. Both Mary and Frances are teachers, Charles and Reg are both book-keepers, 16 year-old Wilfred is an apprentice to a ship broker and 25 year-old Sam’s a cotton broker. There doesn’t seem to be any further records of the three younger sons.

In 1881, Kate is a nurse at Westminster Hospital aged 24, and then rather curiously staying in St Helens with the Morris family in 1911 Max Morris is 32, and born in Kiev. Mary his wife is 28. Kate is 52. Mary Morris’s retired parents are also living there, so she may well still be nursing

In 1891, Mary is 43 and living with her widowed mother at 14 Slatey Road (1 Cambridge Terrace), Claughton cum Grange, Birkenhead. By 1901 they have moved to Arnside in Westmorland in the Lake District. Catherine Rickman is now 81.

Samuel Rickman 1846 – 1917 m. Emily Rachel Binns 1849 – 1935. They have 3 children

  1. Reginald Binns Rickman (1882 -1940)
  2. Florence  who marries Theo Kimber and has a daughter Nancy
  3. Rachel unm.