This building is difficult to date but has stylistic similarities with 52 Bold Street which was completed in 1853 but also with 96 Bold Street, completed in 1866. The ground floor has three arched pediments above windows, in each a design of swags and seashells. The pediment between arches is interrupted by lions head shields hanging below a complex relief, the underside of each arch is heavily decorated. At first floor level, the seven windows are below arches, each centred on an alternating design of female heads and stylised roses. Above that, there is another story of broken pedimented dormer windows interrupted by a balustrade. Although now painted, like similar buildings of the time it may have originally been in brick with stone dressings.
This building is presently occupied by The Halifax Building Society. Gore's Liverpool Directories indicate a rich and varied past for number 30 but do not help us to date this building. In the 1840s, number 30 was Foreman & Forster's Mourning Warehouse. A Mourning Warehouse was a retail establishment selling clothes and accessories to the bereaved. This was a highly specialised niche market in a time when mourning etiquette, especially for the wealthy, was changing.
By 1859 the address was occupied by four registered businesses: a milliner, an upholsterer, a watchmaker and a photographic artist, George Millichip. By 1864 the address was registered as being shared by Millichip and the Liverpool portrait artist Richard Norbury, who taught at both the Government School of Design at Somerset House and later at its offshoot, the Liverpool School Of Design. Perhaps the present building dates from 1868, at which time Maison Doree had moved from 32 to occupy number 30 with their superior drapery selling 'silks, mantles and novelty clothing'. By 1890 it had become Roberts and Roberts, purveyors of fine teas and coffee, a business which lasted well into the twentieth century.
Alan Maycock © 2008
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