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Derby Lane

Derby Lane.

This page will take you on a tour of Derby Lane and some of the shops and roads that ar eassociated wit it.
You may not remember some of the shops but if you lived in or around Derby Lane, you'll know someof the streets featured. Acanthus, Ionic, Corinthian Avenue etc, being built in the early 1900's.

Derby Lane around 1900.

In the late 18th Century, when Old Swan was a popular visiting place, courting couples used to enjoy a stroll along the lane, which was then, a narrow cart track bordered by a grass verge and a hawthorn hedge.
The road was widened in the 19th century, houses and cottages were built, followed by works and other buildings.
Amongst the most notable buildings in Derby Lane was Harry Coghill's Borax Works, which stood between Brookland Rd and Albany Rd for many years.
The family, although wealthy, were not noted for their generosity and the low wages paid to their workers led to frequent strikes.
The works were demolished in 1930 and the Littlewoods Mail Order Stores were built later on the site. This has since been replaced by an Old People's Home.

The pic above shows Derby Lane in the 1920's. The building on the left belonged to a Joiner named Richard Taylor and later became the site of the Cygnet Hotel. Next door to Taylor's premises stood St Anne's School, now demolished and the site is a Housing Office.
Further down on the left is the Police Station, the Fire Station is just hidden from view, set back, by the Police Station.
Down the right hand side were all residential properties, now some are Shops and Dentists.

A Tram passes the Cygnet and top of Derby Lane, circa 1930's.

The original "Martin's Bank" at the top of derby Lane circa 1920's.
The "Red House Pub in the centre with the "White House Pub" to the right.

A view "from" the top of Derby Lane, up St Oswalds St in 1958. The year after the last Tram ran in Liverpool.

Some of the original large houses have been changed into Flats, Billy Martins ( as shown above ) and Nurseries. Derby Lane 20th July 1960. Thanks to Ged Fagan for this pic.

                         Derby Lane Fire Station  "Old Swan Fire Station - as it was in 1905".

The original fire station was built in 1842 and manned by the Old Swan Voluntary Fire Brigade, whose initials appeared above the doorway of the single bay, single storey building.
Below is text from the Fire Brigade Historian Simon Ryan, who kindly gave me this information.

Derby Lane Crew, going to a fire in 1942. Courtesy of Somon Ryan.

Derby Lane Fire Station in 1963 - credit MF&RS

Derby Lane Fire Station late 1960's - credit MF&RS WDVFB            

Key to abbreviations below:

West Derby Volunteer Fire Brigade      
WC                   Watch Commitee
HD                   Horse Drawn                                    
LPFB                 City of Liverpool Police Fire Brigade
WrE (F)             Waste Tender Escape ( Foam )            
FS Commitee     Fire Service Commitee
PST                   Pump Salvage Tender                        
CLFS                 City of Liverpool Fire Service
MP No               Motor Pump 


1883 - A new station opened by the WDVFB at 3 Derby La, next door to a school and Lancashire Constabulary opened a Police station
1886 - The premises were extended to provide accommodation for the Foreman
1895 Apr 23 - WC authorised the rental of a 6-stall stable at 20/- per week from the Old Swan & Tuebrook Carriage Co pending the erection of stables to the adjoining Old Swan FS.
Nov - The 2-bay station taken over from the West Derby Volunteer Fire Brigade, it housed a Shand Mason HD Steamer, reel cart and an escape ladder and there was accommodation for the Foreman
Dec 2 - The Surveyor reported to the WC the Head Constable had informed him that telephone instruments in addition to the alarm bells recently fitted were essential. The National Telephone Co had quoted a rental of 15/- per anum for the two instruments here and at Ivanhoe Rd and the surveyor recommended that the communication be established, approved
1896 - On station: HD Steam engine, HD Manual, escape, reel cart, set of ladders
May 28 - Report to the WC regarding proposed building works at Derby La, new engine house, convert the former weights and measures office into stables., fireman’s room, bathroom and kitchen
1897 Nov 29 - WC received a report from the Local Government Board that they had approved a loan of £2,900 to cover building works at Old Swan [£2,000] Westminster Rd and Lark La fire stations
Dec 13 - WC approved the purchase of land on Greenfield Rd to provide additional space for the new station
1898 Aug 22 - WC approved a tender from J Paterson & Sons, Soho St, Liverpool, of £1,992 to build the new station, this had been reduced from £2,369 as only £2,000 had been borrowed to fund the works.
1899 - The old station and the Foreman’s accommodation were demolished and a new 3-bay station built on an adjoining site
Aug - New station completed
1900 Mar 19 - WC noted the purchase of land for 5 residences from George Grierson for £150 on Mar 12 - 1 fronting Greenfield Rd for the Engineer and 4 fronting the station yard, estimated the houses would cost £3,000
Properties deferred and never built, meanwhile 28 Greenfield Rd was leased on a temporary basis, linked to the station by a call bell, the cost of which was approved by the WC on 30 Apr
1901 Mar 11 - WC approved the construction of an examination pit and hose gallows at a cost of £23-18s-4d
1902 - On station: HD Steamer John Hughes, HD Chemical 1st aid, HD Hose carriage & manual Escape
1905 - WC approved works to attend to the ventilation of the stables, cost estimated at £38.
1912 - On station: 2 HD Steam engines [Maxwell & ], HD Chemical 1st aid, HD Hose carriage & an escape
1916 - 1 HD Steam engine [Maxwell], HD Chemical 1st aid, HD Hose carriage Escape on station
May - The last LFB horse drawn appliance to answer a call was the station’s 1st turn chemical engine. Merryweather Fire King SM No 5 went on station
1919 - A second Fire King No 4 on station, kept as brigade reserve
1922 - Belsize Morris MP No2, KB 1817 ‘James Heald’ on station, replaced the operational SM
1923 - WC approved the plan to build residences on Corporation owned waste land at Old Swan fire station
1924 Sep 23 - WC approved payment of £121-18s-1d, being the fees due to date relating to the erection of the new married quarters at Old Swan
1925 - The reserve SM was sold
1926 - LPFB’s first reserve MP Belsize, No4, K 1690, on station, manned when required by off duty men who lived in the Greenfield House flats.
1934 - Leyland replaced MP No2 Belsize which became a brigade reserve.
1938 Sep 27 - The WC approved the installation of 2,000g underground fuel tanks and a petrol pump at a cost of £720 at Longmoor La, Allerton, Old Swan and Garston fire stations. In war it was calculated the LPFB could require 2,000g of fuel per hour.
1939 - Leyland MP No 8 No KB 8411 on station from Longmoor La, reserve 1942 Nov - WC approved that the former Mounted Police saddle room should be converted into a telephone room
1941 - MPNo11 KB 788 on station ex Banks Rd, reserve 1943
1948 Apr 01 - Became CLFS station North 6 now housed 2 Leyland PE and an Austin K2 PST, GLE 870.
1950’s - Report to WC, Derby La was considered as unsuitable. A 3.08 acre site on the East side of Queens Dv north of Alder Rd was identified part of a site extending to over 12 acres bought by the Council in 1954, the remaining land to be developed for housing. The Brigade’s plot was to provide a new HQ, Workshops as well as a replacement station for Derby La, however the land had a restrictive covenant on it and the Brigade reconsidered matters.
An alternative site of 1.125 acres on the West side of Queens Drive, then leased by the City for use as a football field was for the new station only , as it was too small for the remainder of the planned development which was now switched to a site on Edge Lane to be sited with a replacement station for Durning Rd.
1954 April – The FS Committee approved the alternative plan for the west side of Queens Dv - Work began to extend the 1st floor over the Hose Repair Shop and store on the ground floor at the rear of the station
1955 - Work on the extension was completed allowing the use of 2 flats in Greenfield House as station accommodation to be discontinued.
- Completion by the City of the purchase of the football field, known as the Sandfield Park site, this was then transferred to the FS Committee.
Planning permission was then granted for the erection of a fire station
1957 - An Automatic Telephone Co, Columbus-Dixon remote control was installed in the Watchroom allowing operation of the new traffic lights on the Prescot Rd / St Oswald St / Derby La junction. The system was switched on at 14.30 on Friday 17th Jan 1958.
1964 - Became station North 3. It was planned the project to build a new station would commence in the FY 1968/69, financial restrictions however meant the project was deferred.  
By now the former stables in the yard were in use as a mess room
1971 - There was pressure from Councillors to release the land for housing development, the site having remained derelict for some 18 years; this was however successfully resisted by CFO
1974 - Station passed to Merseyside as South 8, 1963 Dennis F24 WrE(F) 7705 KD & a 1967 Dennis F34 WrT (F) MKD 902F.
1999 - A new 3-bay station opened on Queens Dv. Derby La became a School of Dancing.
By 2005 - The Greenfield Flats next to the church on Greenfield Rd had been demolished
2006 - The Police station closed and was taken over by the Probation Service

Another great picture ( below) of the police station and you can see the chimney of the Borax Factory in the distacnce, on the right.


Looking down derby Lane on a cold wet night in 1955. To the right is Ravenswood rd.

Littlewoods Building - Derby Lane.
This stood on the site of the old Borax Factory, which was sold in 1936.
The pictures below date from 12th August 1960.

I'm pretty sure they must have demolished these and built a higher building ! 

Brian Hogarth kindly provides this great pic of H.Livesey.
This was situated opposite to where Littlewoods buildings were.

Derby Lane Post Ofice
Here in 1926

Derby Lane Post Office corner of Derby Lane and Woodgreen Rd - Courtesy of Jimmytx3 from
Yo Liverpool.

Above is the Post Office Today

Brian Hogarth passed me the next two photo's of his relatives shop "Mac's"on Derby Lane, just past the Post Office.

The pic above shows Brian's Mum, outside the shop

Below is No's 112 to 120 Derby Lane circa 1920's and as it looks today
John Butler is the man to thank for some of these great "unseen" pics from 1912 of the row of shops on Derby Lane and the streets off Derby Lane.

 Further down Derby Lane, No's 134 to 144, just after opening !

Just off Derby Lane at the "S" Bend is Derwent Rd. Here is a pic from the LRO, of Derwent Rd.
Now actually on Derby Lane, looking at the top of Derwent Rd in 1938, St Pauls Church is behind the wall to the right. The Freehold Land for sale to the right, became a chemist and is now a Greek Restuarant. You can also see the first house in Stoneville Rd. Just to the right of that freehold land stood "Moss Farm Dairy", part of the original Moss Farm estate, discussed on the "Estates" page.

And here is Stoneville Road, courtesy of a neighbour of Paul Brown.
The little boy in the pic could even be the neighbour, as he lived in the house he is outside and is still going strong in his nineties !  Below this is the "Now" version of the pic, taken by Paul Brown. I suspect the original is from the md 20's to 30's.

Undercliffe Rd is just showing on the right hand side of this pic from the LRO.

Another view of the Dairy, from 1924.

A Turn of the century view of St Pauls, dominating Derby Lane.

Originally, Derby Lane met up with the original Black Horse Lane. Part of Black Horse lane was incorporated into Queens Drive. This picture below ( from 1911 ) shows the junction where they used to meet. Derby Lane is going off into the distance, Black Horse Lane is to the left and to the right would have been Moss Lane, also taken up with Queens Drive. Moss House is for sale, behind the wall on the right.
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