The building at number 92 dates from around 1872. It has a Graeco-Roman facade and open gallery on the top floor and is one of the seven listed buildings on Bold Street. It is presently occupied by Forbidden Planet. Previously it has housed jewellers, furriers, a portrait photographer and in 1898 it was shared by the boot-makers Warner and Son and the 'photographic artist' Francis Phillip Barraud. Barraud had inherited Nipper, a Jack Russell cross, on the death of his brother in Bristol. Nipper came to Liverpool and was fascinated by Barraud's phonograph. Three years after the dog's death the painter created 'Dog Looking At And Listening To A Phonograph.' It was this image which went on to become the trademark of HMV.
The next four buildings, numbers 94 to 100, confirm the history of Bold Street as one of style and distinction; as the Bond Street of the north. Number 94 presently needs a lick of paint to restore its elegant proportions, it has previously been a milliner's store, a shoe shop and a tailor and is presently a Turkish restaurant. Number 96, built in 1876 is the former Dreaper's Pianoforte Warehouse, now occupied by News From Nowhere. It is excellently maintained, having crisp decorative detail said by Pevsner to have musical allusions (the decoration is fascinating although the musical allusion is at best enigmatic). Number 98 was once an 'artificial flower' seller and was later successively a milliner, a perfumier and a confectioner.
Number 100 dates from 1879, a tall Queen Anne style building in red brick, it is presently occupied by Petticoat Lane and a newsagent. It has previously been Tyler's, an importer of 'Berlin Wools' and in 1864 it was occupied by William T. Elam, a maker of 'hygienic corsets'. Some sources site Lois Daguerre's Diorama at number 100 in 1825. This extraordinary entertainment was an early forerunner of the cinema in which the entire audience usually stood, sometimes on a moving platform while large painted scenes, typically 80 feet by 30 feet, were revealed to them. By using tricks of perspectives and clever lighting, tableaux of famous scenes including buildings, battles and other historical events, could appear as having real depth. The moving platform could rotate to reveal a second or third scene, the whole entertainment lasting some ten minutes per scene. Early 19th century audiences were bewitched.
The Bold Street Blog has claims for El Kabala Coffee Bar at both 96 and 100. Arthur Dooley is said to have bought drinks all round in El Kabala to celebrate his first commission.
Alan Maycock © 2008
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