Walking on Water Street

A stroll along the original shoreline of the River Mersey (and a wander up some of Liverpool’s ancient streets)

Written by an Athenaeum proprietor and published June 2022. The foreword to this book (by Joseph Sharples, author of the acclaimed Pevsner Architectural Guide to Liverpool) reads:-

History book? Guide book? Urban commentary?  Walking on Water Street is hard to classify. Like volume two of Picton’s Memorials of Liverpool, or like Reilly’s Some Liverpool Streets and Buildings in 1921, each chapter takes a specific part of the city centre and goes on to analyse its character and development. But Graham Jones’s focus is tighter than either Picton’s or Reilly’s.

Most of his chapters are concerned with a single street, sometimes a single building, and the level of detail is forensic. The text is packed with information, all carefully researched and referenced, but what makes the book irresistible is the illustrations… ranging from historic maps to obscure pieces of maritime ephemera. Drawn from the hidden riches of the Liverpool Record Office, the Athenaeum library and the author’s own collection, they represent an extraordinary feat of picture research. I have spent half my life studying pictures of Liverpool, but on almost every page of Walking on Water Street there are images that I have never seen anywhere else.

Walking on Water Street

Just as fascinating as the old photographs from the archives are the new ones taken by the author himself. They show things that usually go unrecorded – transient scenes of demolition and construction, for instance – and they vividly reflect the changing urban landscape. They will be prized by future historians of 21st-century Liverpool. Perhaps the kind of book that Walking on Water Street most resembles is a scrapbook: a personal collection of words and pictures compiled with knowledge, but also with feeling. From his flat in Tower Building at the foot of Water Street itself, Graham Jones has been able to study his subject in close-up, investigating its past while at the same time observing its present. He has produced a book as multi-layered as the city centre he describes.

With 448 pages (208mm wide by 264mm high) and 800 illustrations, the book’s 34 chapters provide a series of historical journeys through the central waterfront area during the centuries of Liverpool’s growth from a town into a city. Fully referenced and comprehensively indexed.

First published in November 2021 for complimentary distribution to libraries, universities, societies, and the author’s family and associates, its encouraging reception has prompted a second printing this year for sale as a limited edition (ISBN 978-1-915292-48-3). Click on this link to view a pdf of sample pages.

Special Athenaeum members’ discounted price of £39.95. Other purchasers £49.95 (the RRP). Plus £4.45 postage (Royal Mail 2nd Class Signed For) if not collected from the Athenaeum Reception.

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