South Shore in 1797
Dam and Cottages 1850
Old Peacock Inn 1829
Hole in the 19th Century
on the Osklesbrok near Otters Pool
|At the time of the
Norman Conquest (1066), Toxteth was part of the
West Derby forest. The name appears in the
Domesday Book of 1086 as Stochestede,
which could be Old Norse for Toki's landing
place or Anglo-Saxon for stockaded place.
The Domesday Book
also records the village of Esmedune,
later Smethedon and other variants, which
only survived as the later Smithdown Lane.
|The area became
King John's hunting park in the early 13th
century, when he established the Borough of
Liverpool. It reached from the Pool of Liverpool
to Otterspool: three miles along the waterfront
and two miles inland. He took over Esmedune in exchange for Thingwall
and the village subsequently disappeared. Toxteth Park remained a
private game park, completely rural in character,
until 1604, when farming began. It was apparently
never completely wooded and must have been very
attractive countryside. Four streams traversed
it: an unnamed brook from the Moss Lake, Dingle Brook, Dickenson's Dingle and the Osklesbrok.
erected two hunting lodges, the Higher Lodge
at the junction of Lodge Lane and Ullet road
(both ancient byways) and the Lower Lodge
at Otterspool on the north bank of the Osklesbrok
on the site of the disused Otterspool Station.
The Higher Lodge was apparently built into the
structure of the present-day Park Lodge.
Fragments of the Lower Lodge are said to be
visible near the railway bridge over the
carriageway through Otterspool Park. Toxteth Park was granted to Sir
Thomas Stanley in 1447 and to Henry Earl of Derby
in 1593. It ceased to be a hunting park in 1591
and was disforested for farming by 1605, when it
was transferred to Sir Richard Molyneux, to whose
family the park had been leased since 1346.
|The Ancient Chapel of Toxteth was built sometime between 1604
and 1618 on Park Lane. Richard Mather, a Puritan, was
master of the local school. By 1635 he had fallen
inexorably into conflict with the church
authorities and set sail for Boston in the USA.
Nearby was the celebrated Park Coffee House,
later the Old Peacock Inn.
|The area south
of the modern Aigburth Road and west of
Otterspool was settled by Puritans from about
1600 and was known as Jericho Farm. The
land was donated by Sir Richard Molyneux, who was
himself a Roman Catholic. The Lower Lodge was the
birthplace in 1619 of the famous astronomer
Jeremiah Horrox, who was taught by Richard Mather
as a boy, and, among a number of discoveries,
predicted and observed the transit of Venus in
|By the middle of the
18th century, Park
Lane was the
major route across Toxteth Park township,
beginning at the Pool, where there was a ferry.
In 1771 it was intended to develop the northern
end of Toxteth as a new town to be called Harrington.
A street plan was laid out but only St. James's
church (completed 1775) was built. The turn of
the eighteenth century brought instead the
expansion of industry and docks to the south of
Liverpool and with it the development of dense
and insanitary courts and terraces.
|However, the southern
part of Toxteth developed in quite a different
way. The wealthy started to establish their
villas near the shore here in what was evidently
attractive countyside crossed by picturesque
little streams. 1794 saw the opening of the
famous Herculaneum Pottery Company near
the Dingle on the site of a former copper works.
The pottery went on to produce fine china but was
dismantled in 1841. In 1810 the Mersey Steel and
Iron Company opened The Mersey Forge,
also known as the Toxteth Iron Works,
adjacent to the pottery. John Cragg's iron framed
St. Michael's Church and Hamlet appeared from 1815.
|The docklands continued
to expand to the south: Queen's Dock in 1796,
Brunswick Dock in 1832, Coburg Dock in 1840,
Toxteth Dock in 1842, Harrington Dock in 1844 and
Herculaneum Dock (near the site if the pottery)
in 1886. Dock trade here was dominated by timber.
With this came the inevitable expansion of the
population, the poorer people near the docks and
the wealthy further inland, e.g., Fulwood Park
(1840s) and along Prince's Road (laid out in
1846), where Prince's Park and Sefton Park were opened. Toxteth Park
Cemetery opened in 1856 to cope with the growing
population. However, from the Dingle to the
south, Toxteth remained gentrified and semi-rural
until about 1900. The Liverpool Overhead Railway,
with its terminus in the Dingle where the
Cheshire Lines Railway already came in from the
south, opened in 1893.
|By the end of World War
II, much of the 19th century housing that had
survived bombing was declared unfit for
habitation and a massive program of slum
clearance began in the 1950s. Social problems did
not disappear, however. Unemployment began to
rise following the run-down of the docks and
after a long period of racial tension between the
black community and the police, the Toxteth Riots
broke out in 1981. The Merseyside Development
Corporation was formed in 1981 and began by
redeveloping a former landfill site into the
International Garden Festival in 1984. Since then
Toxteth has been on the way up, though social
problems remain. The waterfront has become a
pleasant leisure area, the docks have been
redeveloped for high-end apartments, marinas and
businesses and extensive new housing areas have
been built inland.
Road Windmill and St. James's Church
Mersey Forge in 1907
Herculaneum Pottery c.1806
Dingle and St. Michael's Church in 1820
Cragg's House in St. Michael's Hamlet.