MERSEYSIDE - Liverpool, City Centre, Peter Kavanagh's
National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors Part One
2-6 Egerton St, Liverpool, L8 7LY
(off Catherine St)
Tel: 0151 709 8443
Public Transport: Railway Station: Liverpool Lime Street; Mersey Rail: Central
Listed Status: Grade II
View this pub on a local map
This unique pub interior is the result of a refitting in eccentric fashion in 1929 by Peter Kavanagh. The layout is a typical northern one of a drinking lobby with rooms at the front and rear of the building – both are served from doorways to the servery and have remained virtually unaltered. Situated at the end of a terrace of houses dating from 1840, the pub, originally 2 Egerton Street, was rebuilt in c.1877 and has a cream and burgundy tiled façade added in c.1920. In 1927 the Rialto ballroom complex opened closeby and with no alcohol on sale it led to an increase in trade for the pub. In 1929 Peter Kavanagh was able to buy the pub on a 99 year lease from Liverpool council and then drew up plans for exterior and interior alterations to the pub.
Subsequently, 4 Egerton Street was added initially as a beer store and then in 1964 altered into a new lounge bar with a servery being installed; also new ladies and gents toilets were added. The pub was carefully extended into 6 Egerton Street in 1977 when the lounge bar servery was removed to insert a staircase giving access to the new trading area. All the later alterations have not impacted on the 1929 scheme. Peter Kavanagh was licensee from 1897 until his death in 1950 and at 53 years service this makes him one of the longest serving licensees in the country. He was also a successful businessman, designer and alderman.
The exterior and interior lobbies have mosaic floors. From the front door a passage leads to the centrally placed public bar with fielded panelled bar front with a copper top, leaded glass windows behind the servery but covered up by mirrors, a large collection of nick-nacks hanging around the bar and from the ceiling, just bar stools and no tables. In the two snugs are colourful leaded windows installed by craftsman William English, who also installed large stained-glass windows in Worcester Cathedral. There are a set of four attractive windows in the rear room – the first is of an 18th-century coach and horses; then the coat of arms of Oxford University, coat of arms of Cambridge University, and finally one of Stephenson’s famous steam locomotive ‘Rocket’. In the bay window of the front room are three stained and leaded windows ‘The Lighthouse’, ‘Galleon in full sail’ and ‘Crossed Oars’ being a reminder of Liverpool’s seafaring links.
Both snugs have curved wood panelled walls with original 1929 fixed seating and above are original paintings by Eric Robinson (a Scottish artist) that date back to 1929 and a shelf and up to the ceiling are curved stained and leaded glass panels at the top. In a frame on the wall is what appears to be a pub myth “it states that he ran up a beer bill on a slate but couldn't pay it to Peter Kavanagh and said he would paint the pub. It says Kavanagh expected a lick of paint but got two fascinating murals of scenes from Pickwick Papers instead! However, the truth is that Peter Kavanagh commissioned Scottish painter Eric Robinson to complete two murals – one based on scenes from Dickens for the front room and another based on the work of Hogarth for the rear room. The eleven feet long one in the front ‘Pickwick Room’ is a variation on a scene from Pickwick Papers and the thirteen feet wide one encapsulating several scenes, all of which depict some form of drinking and merriment and has led to the name of ‘Hogarth Room’. Also in the front room is a mural being a variation of the Tony Weller ejects Mr Stiggins scene from ‘The Posthumous papers of The Pickwick Club’ and two other murals situated either side of the fireplace. A door at each end of the servery provides service to drinkers in each snug. Also, more 1929 fixed seating under the exterior windows.
Throughout the pub are a number of hand-carved oak woodwork such as some 28 corbals as extra supports for the shelves, four beautiful oak wood panels depicting drinking scenes in the eighteenth century situated either side of the