Robert Griffiths’ Toxteth Park: Dickenson’s Dingle

Robert Griffiths wrote “The History of the Royal and Ancient Park of Toxteth Liverpool” in 1907. This book is a must for anyone interested in Liverpool’s history and has been invaluable to me when researching the area, as such I carry a copy with me to work and often return to it whilst my train cuts through the areas he describes. Over 100 years after it was written, and with the benefit of Google, I often try to find out more of the people and places he mentions. In my next few posts I hope to shed a little more light on some of the locations and people featured and hopefully this may prove of interest to any like-minded people.

Part of the character of the book is that although Griffiths has given each area of Toxteth a chapter: Dingle, St Michaels, Aigburth and Otterspool, some information is scattered throughout and sometimes this can be a bit confusing even though I have lived in the area most of my life. My first subject is one of the ancient lost streams, Dickenson’s Dingle.

From the 1950s to 1970s my Dad worked in the water work department for “The Corpy” (Liverpool Corporation) and he would tell us that our house on Bryanston Road was built near to an ancient stream and beneath some of the houses was sand. Years later I lived in the old Bank of Liverpool on the corner of Ashfield and Aigburth Roads, again built on top of a stream, although this still flows underground and emerges across the road (in weakened form) in Otterspool Park. One winter, after a really bad storm, the basement flat flooded to the depth of several feet, perhaps due to the stream beneath.

Dickenson’s Dingle

As detailed in my first post, Toxteth Park (originally a hunting ground for King John) was a rural beauty spot until the mid 19th Century. The park had four streams leading to the Mersey, Dickenson’s Dingle ran through the area that was to become St Michael’s Hamlet. In most modern sources it is spelt Dickinson’s Dingle, but I will use Griffiths’ (and the original) spelling:

“Formerly a brook rose in the eastern side of Parliament Fields, at the north end of the township, and ran down to the river near the boundary in Parliament Street, being used to turn a water-mill just before it fell into the river. About the middle of the river frontage is a creek called Knot’s Hole, and a little farther to the south another creek once received a brook which rose near the centre of the township; the Dingle lies around the former creek, and round the latter the district is named St. Michael’s Hamlet, from the church. Just beyond the southern boundary is the creek called Otterspool, receiving a brook, known as the Jordan, which rose near Fairfield, formed the boundary between Wavertree and West Derby, and then flowed south to the Mersey; it was joined by another brook, rising in Wavertree and flowing south and west past Green Bank. Portions of them are still visible in Sefton Park, part of the course having been formed into a lake there.”
Townships: Toxteth Park’, A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 3 (1907)

Shown below are three maps from 1816 to the 1860s. By the late 1880s terraced housing covered most of the area, luckily the region is still full of green spaces and is often described by estate agents as “leafy South Liverpool”. Hopefully it will stay that way, but recent threats include housing on Sefton Park Meadows, Aigburth Cricket Club and Tesco building houses on the now wild ground next to St Charles Church. Added together these will make South Liverpool a little less “leafy”.

Prince's Park Appraisal final illustrated version with coverJames Sheriff’s Map of 1816 showing the deep gorge of Dickenson’s Dingle and the newly built Church of St Michael’s (built between 1813 and 1815) using cast iron in its structure and built by John Cragg, the owner of the Mersey Iron Foundry.
This gave the nearby beach its name “The Cast Iron Shore”. The path of the stream north can be seen as it predates the landscaping of Princes Park.

Stream Tithe Award 1845
1845 Tithe Award Map.

18641860s Ordnance Survey, the Cheshire Lines Railway now cuts right through the area. This map is reproduced courtesy of The National Library of Scotland. (See bottom of post) 

Griffiths mentions Dickenson’s Dingle in St Michael’s Hamlet quite a few times, here he details its path (in 1907):

“As a matter of fact the district derives its name from the present Church of St. Michael’s. Before its construction in 1815, the land on which the present “Hamlet” is situated was simply known as “Dickenson’s Dingle.” The stream which gave Its name to this locality was that which flowed past the “Higher Lodge” in Lodge Lane. Its ancient course may still be traced. Almost within living memory, as we have already stated the placid verdure-fringed lake in Princes Park was a running brook flowing onward down the deep declivity in the park, crossing what is now Ullet Road, the deep valley which runs behind the gardens in Alexandra Drive, through the dip in Aigburth Road, the ravine at the bottom of Dalmeny Street*, entering the Mersey through the gorge in Cain’s Fields. This stream is marked on all the older maps of Toxteth Park.”

“When the outlet sewer was being constructed through the low-lying part of Ullet Road some years ago, the workmen came across the ancient bed of this stream, with a gravel bottom, and small boulders at a considerable depth below the surface of the road. A pencil sketch in the Liverpool Public Library, which we reproduce, shows this stream flowing through Cain’s Fields, with the tower of St. Michael’s reflected on its surface, as it appeared one hundred years ago.”

Dickensons Dingle 1820

*Update Nov 2017

A photograph of Dalmeny Street, taken in 1908, appeared on the excellent Twitter site of @angelcakephotos. This photo, taken just one year after Griffiths wrote his history of Toxteth, clearly shows the ravine that he mentions.

Dalmeny StreetDalmeny Street 1908, showing the ravine that Griffiths mentioned. This is the bed of Dickenson’s Dingle. Photograph: @angelcakephotos.

Dalmeny Street Google street viewA Google Street View 100 years later; I had to go back to a 2008 view to match the 1908 photograph as a block of modern houses now obscures the backs of the terraced houses on the right. Seeing the ravine explains why the houses that were built on the old playground we used to call ‘The Tarmac’ are on a lower level.

Princes Park

Dickenson’s Dingle was dammed to make Princes Park, designed by Joseph Paxton and James Pennethorne and opened in 1842. The bed of the original stream can still be seen running parallel to Ullet Road and is known locally as the Roly Poly Hill, its steep, curved bank being perfect for children to roll down.

Princes Park MansionsA postcard showing Princes Park Mansions: still grand and elegant today.

bank 2

CIMG2943Two views of the Roly Poly hill, the bed of Dickenson’s Dingle, running parallel to Ullet Road.

dickensons dingle 1907
From Robert Griffiths’ book. This area is now built over with houses, the last remaining land after Princes park is on a little field off Tramway Road.

The path of Dickenson’s Dingle

After leaving the park the stream crossed Alexander Drive, then through the dip in Aigburth Road. After this point I have often tried to work out where the stream joined the Mersey as most of St Michael’s in the Hamlet is a steep uphill climb to the river. Griffith’s says the stream entered the Mersey through the gorge in Cain’s Fields. In fact Cain’s fields are mentioned several times and as yet I have been unable to find it on any map or any other reference to it. At first I thought it might of been a literal description of the land owned by the brewing magnate Robert Cain. Cain lived at Barn Hey, a house on the land occupied by the shops adjacent to the HSBC bank but this is too far to the West of the Church. Instead, by following its logical path down what is now Neilson Street and then Neilson Road (divided for St Michaels School), the stream made its way past the East side of St Michael’s church to what is now the bottom of Tramway Road next to St Charles Primary School. Here was once the Corporation Engineering Works where coaches for trams were built, giving the road its name.

Once you walk through the gates today it is not difficult to imagine the stream on its final leg to the Mersey. At the far end of the field past the St Michaels “Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Field” is a grass bank lined with trees, this corresponds with the trees that separate the grounds of St Michael’s Old Hall and Ivy Lodge on the Ordnance Survey map of 1864. The raised area of the field to my knowledge has not been built on, there were extensive concrete Anti Aircraft Gun emplacements nearby but they were in the grounds of Larkfield. Here by the trees, Dickenson’s Dingle took a right hand turn. Walking up the hill and facing right, a modern housing estate is built over the final part of the stream. By here, after Rosebourne Close meets the Railway, lay the Cave (Ice Cellar) mentioned by Griffiths. Further on to what is now Riverside Drive where the Folly Castle and a Limekiln. (not mentioned by Griffiths).
Here the banks of the Mersey lay, reclaimed in later years.


tramway signThe cast iron sign on the old Rivoli Cinema wall, now the Grace Family Church.

The entrance next to St Charles Primary School.


The real deal: Dickenson’s Dingle, the trees on the bank were the boundary of two houses, Old Hall and Ivy Lodge/Cottage.

Murphy hillOne of our favourite places to walk our dog Murphy, and Alex takes advantage of the goal posts. The houses to the right are built on the filled in river bed.

CIMG2843The top field: Alex goes for goal, behind the trees is the TA Barracks on Aigburth Road.

John Dickenson

The cave mentioned, as Griffiths states, was actually a subterranean ice house built on the banks of the stream. This would be filled with ice from the stream in winter and used to store fish. I have found that the man who owned the fishyards and also gave the name to the stream was John Dickenson. Lancashire County Council Archive department hold a record for “Authorization to John Dickinson to take up waifs and strays, etc. Toxteth Park 5 Jun. 1797″. This put me on a false scent as for several days I was trying to find a children’s home or orphanage in Toxteth Park. I didn’t realise that before the term was a metaphor for abandoned children, it applied to property or animals found on your land:

Waif and stray was a legal privilege commonly granted by the Crown to landowners under Anglo-Norman law. It usually appeared as part of a standard formula in charters granting privileges to estate-holders, along the lines of “with sac and soc, toll and team, infangthief and outfangthief” and so on.

A waif was an item of ownerless and unclaimed property found on a landowner’s territory, while a stray referred to a domestic animal that had wandered onto the same land. Both terms originated from Anglo-Norman French. A grant of waif and stray permitted the landowner to take ownership of such goods or animals if they remained unclaimed after a set period of time. Wikipedia

The waifs and strays then refer to articles washed up on the ‘Strand’ or Shore of the Mersey. John Dickenson owned the land and the stream he gave his name to, was on the grounds of Dingle Cottage, later Ivy Cottage. In Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire for the year 1855 the whole area and detail of the landowners is detailed. It also mentions most of the figures mentioned by Griffiths:

“John Garter, aged 71, in the employ of Messrs. Troughton and Ryan, Sefton Street, recollects the shore very well between Liverpool and Garston, having lived servant with John Dickenson, at Dickenson’s Dingle, upwards of fifty years ago, (1805) says the fishyards, when he first knew them, were at Jericho, Dickenson’s Dingle, and Knott’s Hole; rent he understood to be paid to Lord Sefton either in cash or fish. He says that about fifty years ago a court or courts were held at Mrs. Gore’s, in Stanhope Street, but never heard what business was transacted, though several of the landlords, particularly Mr. Bisbrown, attended.”

“John Dickenson, aged 68, lives at the Tall House, formerly lived with his father (upwards of fifty years ago), at an estate of Lord Sefton’s, now Mr. Woodhouse’s recollects himself, and has heard his father say, that carts going to and from Liverpool, passed along the shore, particularly in winter time, when the roads inland were so bad they could not be used ; also that a footpath went through the fields on the edge of the river between the same places. Says his father had a warrant or authority to take all strays or wreck on the shore for Lord Sefton, which was continued to him but in consequence of not receiving any remuneration for his trouble, he has now given it up. Recollects a variety of articles being taken, for which Lord Sefton was always paid his demand”.
Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire for the year 1855

The articles washed up on the shore and claimed by Lord Sefton include vessels, cotton, a bulk of timber and “a whale being cast upon the shore, near Jackson’s Dam, in the year 1790.”

ice houseThe Ice Cellar as it appears in Robert Griffiths’ book “The History of the Royal and Ancient Park of Toxteth Liverpool”

I was interested to discover on Mike Royden’s history site that one of these still exists in Hale and is detailed by him here: Royden History

The Tall House, home of John Dickenson

Some mystery surrounds the purpose of this house so I was pleased to find John Dickenson as an occupant and shed some more light onto the subject. A description of this unusual landmark appears on the Historic Liverpool site:

“A ferry had been proposed as early as 1775, at around the time Bisbrown was planning New Liverpool, and a tavern and landing stage were built. The tavern was known as the Tall House, due to its loftiness and isolation in this undeveloped part of the region. Unfortunately, the scheme was before its time, and was eventually abandoned. The ferry station was used as a ‘Ladies’ School’, later a tavern itself, and was demolished in 1844. In later years a ferry service began between the shore near the Tall House, taking passengers towards New Ferry.

the tall houseTinted stone lithograph of The Tall House by W.G.Herdman, published in Pictorial Relics of Ancient Liverpool, 1843. Courtesy of

A violent robbery at the home of John Dickenson

On August 20th 1789 the Toxteth farm of the Dickenson family suffered a violent break-in. One of the robbers was armed with a poker but Dickenson’s son, also John, managed to hit him in the face with a chair twice and “caused a considerable effusion of blood”.

derby-mercury-20-august-1789Derby Mercury 1798. Find My Past Newspaper Archive

Ivy Lodge

In the “Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire” the home of John Dickenson prior to The Tall House was formely “at an estate of Lord Sefton’s, now Mr. Woodhouse’s”. This house was Ivy Cottage also known as “Dingle Cottage” (not to be confused with another Dingle Cottage at the Dingle). The Dickenson’s occupied the house from at the very least 1800 (Griffiths mentions it being on the Sheriffs map of 1768), then the next occupier found  is William Woodhouse from around 1832 and Hannah Mary Rathbone (writer and painter. “The Diary of Lady Willoughby”) from around 1860, her family were still there until at least 1919.

William Woodhouse gets quite a write up in Griffiths’ book as he describes in much detail “The Cave” and the Castle mentioned earlier being on the grounds of his house.

“Ivy House” appears in Gore’s, as such, for the first time in 1832. At about that date Mr. William Woodhouse became the possessor, and when, apparently, the alterations and additions were carried out. The “well” and subterranean passage referred to in this lady’s letter, is, of course, another ice-house. “Dingle Cottage” was probably, at one time, occupied by a family of fisherfolk connected with the numerous fishyards which existed on the shore in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centnries. The ice and the numerous cisterns, spoken of as existing in the grounds of  “Ivy House” would be used for packing and storing fish. Mr. William Woodhouse was the son of Mr. John Woodhouse of Bronte House, Everton…
..Mr. Woodhouse, a gentleman who in 1770 had founded large wine estates in Sicily, purchased the Pilgrim estate from Mr. Atherton and renamed it “Bronte” from his connection with the Bronte estate on that island, the dukedom of which had been bestowed
 on Lord Nelson for his great services. The agreement for the supply of Marsala wines from this estate to the British fleet was signed by Lord Nelson on March I9th 1800..”

Griffiths surmises that the Castle Folly was an ornamental summer house built by Woodhouse and that he extended the Ice Cellars to store the wine.

Two maps I have overlayed to show the location of Dingle Cottage/Ivy Cottage, left shows 1864 and right a satellite image. The grounds of Ivy House appear to be Cain’s Fields Griffiths refers to. The numbers are shown slightly away from the location not to obscure them:
1: The House, 2: The Cave, 3: The Limekiln and 4: The Castle Folly.
The Limekiln here is not mentioned by Griffiths but another is further towards Otterspool.
1864 map is reproduced courtesy of The National Library of Scotland.

I’m not sure when Ivy Cottage was demolished but the site on Aigburth Road is now occupied by Givenchy Court, Fleming House, Florey House buildings (built possibly in the 1950’s). On an Ordnance Survey map of 1908 at the time Robert Griffiths wrote his history it appears unchanged from the 1864 map.

Robert Griffiths, “The History of the Royal and Ancient Park of Toxteth Liverpool”can be purchased from Amazon for around £15. Incredibly a copy of the 1923 reprint can be picked up for almost the same price. Best of all, support to your local Library (as Liverpool Council is threatening to close half of them!), as it was reprinted to Celebrate the 800th anniversary of King John’s Charter.

For further reading on the area visit:

Photograph that perfectly demonstrates the dip in Aigburth Road

Toxteth Park and Dingle

King John’s Hunting Lodge, Toxteth Park

Aigburth Road and St Michael’s Hamlet

Maps, National Library of Scotland
This website has an amazing resource of maps dating between 1560 and 1961 relating primarily to Scotland but also have maps including maps of England and Great Britain, Ireland, and Belgium. The maps are incredibly high resolution and can be purchased both printed and digitally, highly recommended. See them here:


44 comments on “Robert Griffiths’ Toxteth Park: Dickenson’s Dingle

  1. Darren White says:

    Hi Glen, Dickenson’s Dingle. Has Robert Griffiths, in his book, made a mistake when he credits the 1820’s sketch of Dickenson’s Dingle as being viewed from Mr Cains’ fields? I would say the view is of a lake rather than a stream. Bennison’s map of 1835 shows a thin-lined stream running through the land which was to become Barn Hey (house) and later Cains’ Fields behind it. However, next door, at Grove House, there is a lake. Could that be a candidate for the artist’s vantage point instead?


    • Glen Huntley says:

      Hi Darren
      It could well be as I have been really confused by that sketch as it looks like the stream flows to the west of the church instead of the east. Good work with your map it makes it so much easier to see. The only other place I thought it could be was near to the site of the cave where I have numbered 2 on my overlayed map as there would be a steep embankment there.

      I saw on map drawn in 1911 on the “A sense of place” blog about a proposed Aigburth Dock. I noticed that even at this date the are quite a few large visible lakes/ponds in the grounds of the houses in the area that must of been fed from the different streams:

      Another thing that intrigues me is that the stream cuts right across what was to become Aigburth Road and then reaches Laurel Mount and Grove House. I wonder if it was underground at this point as there is no mention of a bridge in early descriptions but as it was a strong stream at one point it seems odd to place a road at right angles to it?

      Regarding the name of Cains Fields, I mention in the post that Robert Cain lived in Barn Hey so it couldn’t have been on his grounds as it was not the right position but when I replied to your comment about The Hollies I remembered that the Cains lived there also after Barn Hey. I have had a quick look on my maps but can’t find The Hollies, I presume because of the newspaper clipping that it was closer to Fulwood park but maybe it was the grounds of that house and not Barn Hey that was Cains Fields or just another biblical reference.

      Do you know the location of The Hollies? I thought it could be the same as Fulwood House?
      I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for your input.

  2. Darren White says:

    Hi Glen
    I suspect the stream crossing Aigburth Road, supplying Dickenson’s Dingle, was buried beneath the road in a drain culvert – like this one painted by W.G. Herdman in 1863 of the Moss Lake Fields culvert, junction of Grove Street with Oxford Street. There’s also a possible culvert at the junction of St Michael’s Road – as the stream appears to pass beneath the road on Jonathan Bennison Map 1835.

    ‘Lakes / ponds in the grounds of the houses’. Yes, I’ve been wondering the same thing. For instance, how did my 3xgt grandfather water his farmland, on either side of the Dingle? Was water diverted into ponds via the stream to assist irrigation? I imagine there must have been a system rather than just relying upon pot luck for it to rain. This was the first thing that crossed my mind when I saw the pond at the rear of Grove House, as it’s clearly on the path of the Dickenson Dingle stream. Maybe it served a purpose, rather than being a decorative feature in someone’s garden?

    The Hollies – this one’s still a mystery to me. Although, I received a post on facebook recently saying that ‘the Hollies’ was listed in the following order on the 1881 Census. The properties along Aigburth Road are listed as:

    Brookland farm, Brookland Cottage, Shrewsberry (House), Ellerslie (House), Dingle Farm, Laurel Mount cottage, Laurel Mount, Woodcote cottage, The Hollies, Barn Hey, Glen Huntley, Old Hall, South Grange, Homeleigh, Stoneleigh, Ivy Cottage, Ivy Lodge, Larkfield, Fulwood, Fulwood Lodge, Ash Villa, Dudley House and the Three Sixes.

    So possibly, Grove House? It did have a substantial garden.

    Best regards,

    • Glen Huntley says:

      Hi Darren
      I’ll check my stuff for the Hollies and see if I can find it.
      That’s interesting about your ancestors, I remember seeing a pump shown in the grounds of Parkfield that must of been fed from the same stream.
      My posts have slowed down as I’ve been researching my own family and although they go back to Toxteth to 1850 they are in Court housing, or should I say the women are as the men are sailing around the world in the merchant navy or later fighting in the Boer War.
      Maybe the women had it worse?

      I would like to find the statue of the lady of the dingle. I reckon it could still be in the Turner Home but I contacted them and didn’t get a reply.

  3. Darren White says:

    Hi Glen
    Roscoe’s Nymph of the Dingle. I thought there were three sculptured versions of the lady? The actual one is probably in the Turner home, as you suspect though. It would be nice to see the same statue that inspired William Roscoe, back in 1790, when he wrote his poem.

    The Hollies, thanks for offering to look. I did find one record online connecting Cain to the address.

    Good luck with your family history research.

  4. Darren White says:

    Hi Glen,

    Thanks for additional information on the Hollies. I managed to copy some of the text from the newspaper article you quoted.

    ‘Mr. Cain obtained a licence for the mansion known as “The Hollies” in Aigburth-road, but associated with the grant were certain magisterial conditions, besides the application abandonment of live other licences. The premises are not to be metamorphosed into a tavern of the ordinary kind and are not to be adorned with alluring signs. The Hollies is to be conducted as a sort of suburban hotel, and the bench hope that this will prevent the neighbourhood being prejudiced, while its presumed Hants are supplied. But the point to which attention it! directed is not the mission which The Hollies may- fulfil under the nuspices of Mr. Cain, or tho extent to which the abandonment of ttirec public-houses and two beer-houses will serve tho cause of C may….’

    It looks as though Robert Cain had business in mind for “The Hollies”. Perhaps an upmarket hotel of sorts?

    • Glen Huntley says:

      Thanks for that article, I must read the full Robert Cain book at some point to see if any of this is in it.
      I noticed that in the original newspaper clipping I sent shows that he is blackmailing the residents into approving his plans by threatening to build court dwellings on the grounds if The Hollies and fill it with labourers to lower property prices. Either way you look at it, either for the residents or the poor workers he would cram into the courts, Cain doesn’t come out good.
      I realised that the picture you posted shows us what Grove House’s grounds looked like so I’ll have to do another update.
      The culvert pic was excellent too, thanks.

  5. Darren White says:

    The above article is from the Liverpool Courier: Saturday, August 28, 1897 – Page 15

  6. Darren White says:

    Hi Glen,

    Sounds like Robert Cain used very sharp business practices in his day-to-day dealings. He sounds like someone used to getting his own way.

    Switching to another Robert for a moment, amateur artist of The Hollies, Robert Coltart. I found some other watercolours by him.

    Aigburth Road by Moonlight, c1880.

    Aigburth Road, east side corner of Livingstone Drive, c1880. 2 watercolours

    Next time I’m in Central Library, I’ll have another look through the Local Collection again for properties on Aigburth Road – now I’m familiar with all the house names.

    One final watercolour labelled as ‘Cottage named “Frog Hall”, Aigburth Road, Grassendale. Artist’s name looks like ‘J. Pennington’ though is mostly illegible.

    • Glen Huntley says:

      Hi Darren
      Those images are great, Frog Hall in particular but all together the provide a really good insight into the area before the Terraced houses and shops took over.

      I look forward to seeing any more of your discoveries. With your permission I’d like to put them in a post of their own with full credit to yourself. Just in case anyone doesn’t read the comment section. (Often as big as the post itself!)

      I had a brainstorm whilst looking for my ancestors! I was on Findmypast and realised that by putting an asterix in the names section and selecting Census I could turn it into a house search instead of a person search. The Census docs show the houses in order so The Hollies is next to Barn Hey – I’m really pleased with this and wish I’d thought of it before!

      I don’t know if this link will work without a subscription but here is the URL of a search I did for The Hollies using this method and if you look at the left hand column you can see how I got the search to work. Liverpool for main search, then Toxteth Park for district and then you can search by house. This brings up a list and if you select “All” every house in the area shows up by name with the inhabitants and all the staff!*&firstname_variants=true&lastname=*&lastname_variants=true&keywordsplace=liverpool&keywords=st%20michaels%20road&registrationdistrict=toxteth%20park

      Without a subscription you won’t be able to see the listing or the census doc but if you want to see one let me know as I have it for a few weeks more. So much easier than looking in directories. Some houses show up that i have never heard of and as they are in order on the actual census doc you can work out where they are. They must of re-numbered Aigburth Road when more properties were built though as the do not correspond with modern numbering.
      I’ll look for Toad-Sorry-Frog Hall when I get a chance.

  7. Darren White says:

    Hi Glen, yes, please use the images for your blog – but I would be grateful if you didn’t use my name as the source or credit. You can credit Liverpool Record Office if you wish? Many thanks for the consideration though.

    Well done in finding a way to use the Findmypast Census data to build up a picture of a house’s history, and that of its immediate neighbours. Very useful in our case for ID-ing The Hollies. The footprint of Grove House hasn’t changed since 1835, so interesting to know we’re dealing with Mr Dempsey’s house originally.

    Thanks for the Findmypast look-up offer. Like you, I’d be interested to see if “Frog Hall” puts in an appearance somewhere.

    • Glen Huntley says:

      I had a good search for Frog Hall but no luck so far. I started to look on maps but couldn’t see it do far but there is a group of cottages in the 1840s map on the oldmaps site that look like good contenders. I’ll have another look over the next few days. Thanks for letting post the pics you’ve found and I may wait till you see if anything else turns up and do just a picture page.

  8. Darren White says:

    I’ve booked a slot into Liverpool Central Library Search Room for next Wednesday. I’ve requested to look at four more paintings of Aigburth Road, and two of the Dingle. But alas, the information they give in the description is quite limiting.

    • Glen Huntley says:

      Sounds good, good luck. I look forward to seeing anything that turns up. Did you see Ross’s photos? They are new to me.
      I’ve found nothing on frog hall so far. I wonder if it was a nickname? Maybe it had a pond on the grounds?

  9. Darren says:

    Sorry, who’s Ross? More photos, great, sounds intriguing.

    Frog Hall – I’ve made some progress. The painting is signed “J. Pinnington”. James Pinnington actually bought Stanlawe Grange – and documented it extensively with paintings, photographs etc… The Frog Hall painting is dated c.1871.

    Mike Royden’s research on Stanlawe Grange:

    • Glen Huntley says:

      Hi Darren
      Well done with your research on Frog Hall.
      Ross Walsh has also been commenting on this blog with some excellent information and recently posted links to photos of the Lark Lane area.
      You can find it in the comments under the “Masonic also used as a mortuary” post.

  10. Darren says:

    Thanks for the link to Ross’s photos. I spotted an outbuilding to Barn Hey, which is being used as a Bank. It’s the building on the left, nearest to the photographer. I’ve also put tone on the map to indicate its position.

  11. Darren says:

    Forgot to say: the “A” & “B” references on the photo only apply to the encroaching buildings from Chetwynd Street (the lighter tone on the map).

  12. ross walsh says:

    Hi Glen Thanks for pointing me in the direction Darren’s posts. Interesting to see how the buildings facing Lark Lane today correspond with those on the sepia photo. I could never quite work out what was on the left.

    I’ve come across a few Dingle pictures along the way but I’m sure you’ll have seen most I guess. These are three of the older ones I found:

    I’m guessing this first one is in Dingle Lane looking towards Aigburth Rd

  13. Darren says:

    Hi Glen, that’s a great follow-up post on James Pinnington. And thanks for the Census information on Aigburth Hall Road. Pinnington was 15 years old on the 1861 Census, so born c.1846. That makes him 25 years old when he did the Frog Hall painting in 1871.

    I haven’t got a Findyourpast subscription, but you have given me an idea, based on how the Census sheets are organized on the site. The Frog Hall painting was done in 1871, there is also a 1871 Census. If we found one house on Aigburth Road, Grassendale – and then scroll left or right, Frog Hall might make an appearance? Unless ‘Frog Hall’ was Pinnington’s pet name for it???

    James Pinnington, I find out, was responsible for adding this name plate to the wall of Stanlawe Grange.

    Stanlawe Grange at Aigburth
    [from your ‘Transactions of The Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire’ – link below]

    I thought this was interesting. ‘Dripstones’ a window hood mold, is the feature I pointed out earlier on the Old hall. Even the author, writing in 1919, states that ‘dripstones, take us back some hundreds of years’.

    ‘wall, and plastered together with red clay. The
    doorways and windows, above which were huge flat
    blocks surmounted by dripstones, take us back some
    hundreds of years, and could not fail to impress the
    beholder that he stood before what were in all prob-
    ability the most ancient structures in the neighbour-
    hood of Liverpool.’

    Window hood molds: comparison between Stanlawe Grange and the Old Hall.

  14. Darren says:

    Hi Ross, thanks for the links.

    1. Dingle, 1845. Yes, Dingle Lane in all likelihood. The cottage is old – stone mullions and window hood molds (see my post above) are an indicator of houses built up to the late 17th, early 18th century, before Georgian period.

    2. Dingle Point, 1825. This is, I think, a bit further south. I have the same image for Herculaneum Potteries, showing the worker’s cottage to the right.

    3. Knott’s Hole. The photograph you posted is of the (artificial?) sandy shore at the base of the Dingle, next to Knott’s Hole, which was off to the left (see photo link below). The reason it’s called “Knott’s Hole” is that it resembled a knot’s hole in a plank of wood. It was a natural amphitheatre, with raised sandstone walls enveloping those standing on the shore inside of it. I’ve put together an illustraton explaining what I mean:

  15. Darren says:

    Hi Glen, thanks for your comments on the Aigburth Road, Barn Hey photo. Lark Lane had already been ID’d on the photo, and the small shelter at the end of it was also on the map. Also, the 1908 map showed that the extent of Victorian houses finished three buildings down from Chetwynd Street. That, coupled with the gap before Barn Hey matched the photo to map.

  16. Darren says:

    Hi Glen, what a great set-up you have there: twin computer monitors: one for maps; t’other for Census info. Brill.

    Thanks for the Findmypast ‘free trial’ link. I may have a go. Just to try out the new way of working, geographically reading a street through the Census.

    Robert Griffiths was an excellent find too. Living at 104 Aigburth Road, which is now a cake shop: “Patti Cakes” (photo attached). This is also the site of Dingle Farm where my 3xgt grandfather lived & worked. I wonder did Robert Griffiths run his printing business from that address as well?

    • Glen Huntley says:

      Dingle Farm, isn’t it great to have a family link like that? Mine starts in Scotland in the 1700s, then Ireland as farmers, both sides of my mum’s family return in the potato famine and set up in Toxteth and Mount Vernon.
      I think Griffiths would of been amused that he himself has become part of the history of the area he obviously loved so much.
      I was contacted by the owner of the Brookhouse recently who asked if I knew anything of its history. I asked if the date stone was still there and he it is and he sent me a photo. I will do a post on it but it takes time to do it justice as I always try and find out new information instead of repeating what has been written before.
      I have read posts of people wondering if the old date stone is still there and it just goes to show that the internet isn’t the answer to everything. Sometimes it’s better to go to a library or in the case of the Brookhouse, the pub!
      I’ll post the pic tomorrow.

    • Glen Huntley says:

      Sorry I meant to say about the printing business.. I would of thought a small shop premises would of been small for what was probably a letterpress printing company. There used to be a printers in Dalmeny Street didn’t there? So I had thought it may have something to do with him in the past until I saw the census. I’m a 51 year old graphic designer so I know a bit about the trade pre-computers. Till recently a small family printers existed in Mersey Road called Crown Printing who still had letterpress machines so I have a good idea of the space required.
      Did you see Ross’s Aigburth Laundry vintage bag? Brilliant!
      Imagine if someone could put a site together where if you clicked on a property on a map all the past inhabitants popped up on a list?
      There’s an idea!

  17. Darren says:

    Dingle Farm: I was so excited to discover a family connection to it. I particularly enjoyed looking through the 1847 tithe map and schedules. Finding out things like, which field my 3xgtgrandfather grew potatoes, wheat or barley in. Also, learning the actual field names to either side of the Dingle. They conjure up an imagery all of their own: Nut-wood Hey, Roses Hey, Great Sheep Hey, West Sea Hey, Big Dingle Wood (and a personal favourite) Old Woman’s Hey.

    Changing tack – I like your interactive map idea, clicking on houses to reveal the Census data of its past inhabitants. I’d jump on that before Findmypast or Ancestry do? Good idea.

    • Glen Huntley says:

      You must be proud.
      Regarding water supplies, as the farmers must have irrigated their farms from the Streams, I wonder what happened when someone built a dam or water mill upstream or diverted the stream for their own use? I bet there are more land records about the farm for reasons like that.
      I think it is interesting how Liverpool’s population grew so fast they didn’t have the agricultural infrastructure to cope. Hence the call for urban dairys to cope with the thousands of new mouths to feed.

  18. Darren says:

    Thanks for the printing press information. No doubt Griffiths would have printed letter heads, calling cards, cash books, invoice headers, invitations etc, for the Aigburth elite. The bread and butter work of his press, I guess?

    Yes, both Pinnington and Griffiths would be surprised to learn that they are now part of Aigburth’s history too.

    • Glen Huntley says:

      Hi Darren
      Further to the conversation about the Brookhouse here are the photos I received from Paul Halligan the present owner. Paul had asked if I knew anything of the history of the pub as I had done posts on the Albert and the Masonic. The first thing I asked him was if the date stone mentioned by Robert Griffiths was still there as several local historians have not been able to find it. As you know the stone belonged to the original pub that was close by on Lidderdale Road. On a map from 1840s the land occupied by the new Brookhouse seems to be Penketh Hall:

      I have been researching the Broookhouse but before I do the post I thought you might like to see some photos Paul sent me. The picture is of a copy Paul made of the stone, the original is sill in the grounds of what was the Old Bowling Green:

      Here it is from Robert Griffiths book:

      Paul has a good idea of the history himself and is really keen to find out more, he said “The stone is located above a fire place. It also has a large wooden beam which has been carved which looks very interesting. Around the fire place there are some blue and white tiles which are currently covered but I believe are very old and rare”.
      “I was recently in contact with a lady who’s mother grew up here in the early 1900’s and was even married on the then bowling green here”

      On one of the photos is an interesting wooden beam with what looks like a really old carving. I have my doubts about the age of this (I am not an expert to say the least) as I think the colour of the wood is too light. Firstly for it’s age and secondly because of its place above a fire. What do you think?

      Paul has a good idea of the history himself and is really keen to find out more, he said “The stone is located above a fire place. It also has a large wooden beam which has been carved which looks very interesting. Around the fire place there are some blue and white tiles which are currently covered but I believe are very old and rare”.
      “I was recently in contact with a lady who’s mother grew up here in the early 1900’s and was even married on the then bowling green here”

      If anyone needs an excuse to go for a pint there is one.

      As always anyone who can contribute, or indeed write a guest post for inclusion on this blog is very welcome indeed!

  19. Darren says:

    Hi Glen, up until yesterday, I’d not heard of the Brookhouse before? I wasn’t brought up in Aigburth. I’m an architect by training so can still give you my best guess. The building looks as though it was inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement (1880-1910). They sort to offer an alternative to the age of mass production and promoted a return to traditional craft methods, often with historically linked decoration – like the Tudor-styled gables on the pub.

    Perhaps this is the origin of the inglenook fireplace beam? You’re right to query it. It looks far too new and clean to me. Old oak inglenook beams often have a much darker, golden patina about them. Some even turn black by the fire’s heat. They also have fissures in the wood. My friend’s cottage, in Lincolnshire, has an old inglenook oak beam with large black square nails hammered into it, as well as meat hooks. I suppose this beam lacks the telling signs of a past work life. It says Arts and Crafts to me.

    Just found one reference online, by Philip Mayer, saying that the Brookhouse opened in 1878, so a little earlier than I first thought.
    Brook House (1878), Smithdown Road, Toxteth, Liverpool.

    Old Brook House, Old Bowling Green, OS map, 1874-1893

    A blogging ‘research’ beer sounds good to me. Next week’s busy, but anytime after that would be good…

  20. Darren says:

    Hi Glen, thought you might be interested in this. It’s a work-in-progress view of the watercourses surrounding Aigburth, mostly from the Moss Lake Fields.

  21. […] The Parkfield Estate This extended a considerable way down Ullet Road, on the one side, and as far as Lark Lane on the other. Through it, under an avenue of trees, ran the stream known as Dickenson’s Dingle. […]

  22. Loraine says:

    Hi Glen am trying to find sketch of Ivy cottage that once stood on the site that is now Florey house Fleming house and givinchy court. Many thanks best wishes. Lorraine.

    • Glen Huntley says:

      Hi Moraine
      I’ll have a look but I think if I had one I would have posted it. Was it a relative who lived there?

      • Loraine says:

        No relative Ivy house. My nan lives Flemming house and I love the history of places and what buildings stood on land before now. Am fascinated with Ivy cottage was it a farm? Sometimes stand outside the dairy (oppersite the Army Barricks) look across to Florey Flemming and givinchy site and imagine how Ivy cottage looked. Thank you so much kind regards Lorraine.

      • Loraine says:

        Hi Glen if I owned Ivy cottage and land around it would still be standing to this day just as it was along with all the other sadly long gone places. Kind regards to you Glen. Lorraine.

  23. Glen Huntley says:

    Hi Loraine,
    Sorry just noticed I spelt your name wrong (typing on my phone!).

    I always try and find a photo or illustration of a house for each post but I couldn’t find a picture for Dingle Cottage/Ivy Cottage/Farm, I’ll have another look though. Have you read the other comments because I was really intrigued by the cast iron wheel behind the property that no one seems to know where it came from, Darren gives a good explanation of could be.

    I haven’t visited the area behind it (the bed of Dickensons Dingle) for a while but I believe that too may be turned into houses, I really hope not, Robert Griffiths will be turning in his grave as in 1907 he wrote of it:

    “…this ancient stream, down which the Royal barges of England may have passed when visiting the ancient lodges of the “Royal and Ancient Park of Toxteth” on a hunting expedition in the days of long ago”.

    Maybe there are archaeological finds to be discovered there? Sadly the council seems hell bent on “developing” every patch of green space in south Liverpool.

    The house would have had a farm but you can also see from the post it had a lime kiln and had connections with fishing on the Mersey due to the ice house used for storage that used to be on the grounds.

    Thanks for commenting and if I find anything else I’ll update the post.

  24. […] to Cragg developing the area, St. Michael’s was known as ‘Dickenson’s Dingle‘. This rural Dingle had one of four streams of Toxteth Park running through it. The stream […]

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