Friday, 20 February 2009

Corner of Upper Parliament Street and Great George Street

David Lewis - Founder of Lewis's Liverpool


I was born in Park Place Toxteth and christened in St James Church. I moved away in 1986 and am writing up some historical recollections of my youth between 1977 and 1981. I am trying to recall the large building that sat on the Corner of Upper Parliament Street and Great George Street. It had multiple uses, as a child I had to go to a clinic there and before it was demolished it was a men’s hostel. I think it was named after a person but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was called.

Do you have any ideas?



Ian Jones

01872 261429


  1. Hello Ian,

    the building was the David Lewis Theatre/Hostel/Club. Sad to say but it was demolished in 1980. Please see the attached photo.

    The theatre was erected as part of the David Lewis building in 1906 and it was intended primarily as a music hall for men using the David Lewis Hostel and Club. It was first licensed (as a music hall) from January 1907, but, as it was a large and quite elaborate structure, it was felt it would be bad economy to limit its use to just a music hall, so arrangements were made with local amateur dramatic societies to stage their productions there. The first theatrical licence was issued in October, 1910.

    Tuesday night shows were introduced and people from the local neighbourhood were charged much lower prices than they would pay elsewhere. There were concerts on Sunday evenings - "an hour and a half's good music for 2d". Films were shown as well, the first cinema licence was issued in January 1914. (The management of the soon to be opened St. James' Picturedrome objected, to no avail).

    A scheme was also developed for the showing of films to school children. In the 1920s, a licence for boxing was obtained, and in the 1930s, billiards was introduced.
    The theatre could accommodate about 1000 people.

    In 1936, two sound film projectors were installed. During the war it was described as the David Lewis Garrison Theatre.

    In 1960, the floor was levelled and a new stacking system of 296 seats was used. Dancing was introduced but film shows and theatrical productions continued to be staged. The 470 seats in the balcony remained unaltered.

    The David Lewis Theatre ceased being "a place of public resort" when the certificates expired on 30 November 1977.

    Demolition of the complex was completed in October, 1980.

    The site has been redevelope

    Best regards

    Rob Ainsworth
    Webmaster/Programme Secretary
    Liverpool History Society

  2. In the(vague)period June to December 1944 I was posted from 5ACRC Regents Park to 19 PACT 13 Tithbarn St (and at a technical training college nearby. Domestically we were accommodated in David Lewis Hostel then controlled by Coastal Command RAF. The airmen's mess/NAAFI was on the ground floor. The first floor was single room accommodation. The second floor had cubicle accommodation (walls and doors open topped)-very spartan! The redeeming feature was the Gt George Street entrance to a YMCA? canteen which served real tea and jam sandwiches very thick and very oozy.

  3. iya 2 all that looks at my message i was a young ballrina and tap dancer whitch i dance on the davy lewis i was only 7 at the time i had 3 acts on ther was so proud got 3 medals in a row i love it so muh im now 45 i still love 2 dance lol my teacher was called margret cox dose any 1 know ov her?if u do email me or could u send me sum piks of davy lewis if any 1 has any thanks

  4. David Lewis (1822-1885) was a successful businessman who founded his first shop in Liverpool in 1856 and opened his second shop, a major retail department store, in Manchester 1880. He left his fortune to be used for the benefit of the working class people of Manchester and Liverpool and The David Lewis Trust was founded by Benn Wolfe Levy, one of his executors, on 7th July 1893. Two committees were established, one for Liverpool and one for Manchester. A group of people in Manchester who wished to provide facilities for people with epilepsy applied to the David Lewis Trust for support. This must have caught the imagination of the Manchester Committee who purchased the land and established the Sandlebridge Campus which they donated by Trust Deed on 8th September 1904. The David Lewis Centre accepted its first two residents on the 11th October 1904 with the one hundredth resident arriving on 27th July 1905 and the thousandth resident arriving on 13th May 1916.

    Rob Ainsworth

    Liverpool History Society

  5. Rob, you seem to be the man to ask, for my particular question. My dad's family are originally from Liverpool and they all basically lived around Smithdown road to Upper Parliament Street. My great grandparents lived in no. 42 Webb Street, L7 (this was in the 20's & 30's). Their daughter lived across the road and I wondered if it's possible to get a list of residents for the time? I know the christian names of the 4 daughters, but not their married names.
    Would be grateful for the least information, thanks

    Brian G Woodward

  6. Hello ~Brian,

    here are really only one possible way to source their names, by using copies of the Gores or Kellys Street directories but these are probably only locally obtainable via Liverpool or Merseyside libraries and do not list all Liverpool residents. The other method would be using a service such as but they usually rely on Government data that is not released for 100 years.


    Web Administrator
    Liverpool History Society

  7. Liverpool Central Library certainly had some Gores and Kellys,a few in book form, and most on Microfilm up on the fourth floor. The whole place is being re-furbished at present 2011 and probably inaccessible until further notice

  8. Hi Rob, Good information on the David Lewis Hostel. I lived in Great George Street on corner of Alfred Street from 1943-1955 and my mother worked at the hotel as housekeeper during that period. I remember the manager and his wife, Major and Mrs Webb lived in a flat on the premises. I went to St James Road infant school and Windsor Street junior school and would love to hear any information you have of this time and these places.