Tour Locations | Liverpool History and Culture: From the Past to the Present
St. George's Hall
Hi. My name is Tommy Allen. Welcome to my audio historical and cultural tour of Liverpool city centre. You should be standing in front of St. George's Hall. But before we begin I'd like to tell you a little about myself.
I was born and raised in Liverpool. Until early adulthood I lived less than a half mile north of where you're standing. In my early twenties I studied History at Liverpool University. Following graduation, I began teaching both History and Sociology at Liverpool College. Leaving work in 2015, after more than 30 years in the teaching profession, I have written four books on different aspects of Liverpool history. I also offer private tours around the city.
Ok, on with the tour. Before we begin walking, I'd like to take a couple of minutes to tell you about the hall and plateau on which you are standing.
St. George's Hall was constructed as a courthouse also containing a main hall and a smaller concert hall. it was opened in 1854. It was designed to emulate the magnificent buildings of ancient Rome. The courtrooms closed in the 1970's, but the main hall and smaller hall remain in use. Many prominent people have performed here. For example, on several occasions, renowned author Charles Dickens read extracts from his novels in the smaller hall.
In August 1914, at the beginning of the First World Ear, the main hall was used to recruit and enlist volunteers for the British army. Tens of thousands of young men did so.
Meanwhile the plateau has been the scene of hundreds of commemorations, demonstrations and celebrations. Before you is the dominant feature of the plateau, the Liverpool Cenotaph. The cenotaph was unveiled in 1930 to commemorate the thousands of those young volunteers who lost their lives in the First World War. Annually, on the 11th November, a commemoration of the fallen takes place. The last largest of these, one in which I was present, was in 2018, the hundredth anniversary of the end of the war. A very sombre occasion indeed.
The plateau in the past and indeed today, was the location for demonstrations by many different groups. Before the First World War the Suffragettes, women campaigning for the vote, held several meetings here. Striking workers too often assemble. These demonstrations are very much peaceful nowadays, but in the past they often ended in violent clashes between the police and the protesters. More recently, in 2019, thousands of Liverpool schoolchildren left their classrooms to march to the plateau to protest against climate change. This was very loud, but very peaceful.
The hall and plateau has recently been a prime location for filmmakers. For instance they have appeared in two Harry Potter films and several episodes of the BBC drams series Peaky Blinders
Let's get going. I'll tell you more as you walk.
With St George's Hall on your left, walk to William Brown Street.
Finally, with respect to celebrations, the local football teams, Everton and Liverpool, have, for instance, paraded their winning trophies in front of thousands of ecstatic supporters. I have been present to witness a number of these events and I can tell you they have been amazing experiences in which to participate.
While you walk, I'll briefly explain how VoiceMap works.
It uses your location to play audio automatically at the right time and place. This means you can put your phone away now. Don't worry if I'm silent in between locations, this is normal. There's a map on your screen if you feel lost, and if you do get way off track without noticing, VoiceMap will let you know.
Continue to William Brown Street stopping at the end of the plateau. Here we will see buildings also in Greco-Roman architectural design and the Wellington Column.