The small temple-like monument in the centre of St James' Gardens is the Huskisson Mausoleum. William Huskisson, born in Warwickshire, was a radical Conservative. He had already held several positions in government including President Of The Board Of Trade, before succeeding George Canning as M.P. for Liverpool in 1823. A supporter of Free Trade, of Liverpool's interests and of catholic emancipation, he is nevertheless destined to be remembered for one singular fact. He was the world's first passenger railway fatality, killed at the opening of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway in 1830. This internationally sensational death perhaps caused a greater outpouring of public grief than for a mere M.P. His funeral cortege was said to be 2000 yards long, those at the rear had barely left the Town Hall as the van approached The Oratory Chapel. Vast crowds also lined the route. John Foster junior, who had presided over the conversion of the former quarry into St James' Cemetery, designed this small domed temple to stand above Huskisson's grave and from 1882 to 1968 it contained a marble statue (by John Gibson), a classicised version rather than a likeness, (The street already bearing his name was nearing completion, high above the cemetery). The statue was removed from vandal's contempt in 1968 and is now in the keeping of The Conservation Centre. Near copies were also made, one in marble now stands in Pimlico Gardens, London and a bronze cast, made in 1836, which survived the 1941 May Blitz and the Toxteth Riots of 1981, now sits near Duke's Terrace, a short walk down Duke Street.
Alan Maycock © 2007
Walk 002 | Home