Mansions of Wallasey

Around Albion Street

Sand Rock

'Sand Rock' (later 'The Cenacle') stood at the top of Atherton Street adjacent to St. George's Mount. It was built on one of the highest places in the area and before Wallasey was fully developed it could be seen and recognised from Liverpool. It was a Gothic style house with pointed windows, tall decorated chimneys and moulded parapets. The exterior walls were stucco finished etched in a stone blocked pattern and painted white or grey. The site was quite well wooded and on windy nights when the branches creaked and swayed the evening light caused shadows on the painted walls making it look quite ghostly to such an extent that when it had been vacated it acquired the reputation of being haunted. The grounds were quite extensive and originally stretched down as far as Albion Street, and over to the west almost as far as where Gorsehill Reservoir now stands. There was a lodge adjacent to the drive entrance at the top of Atherton Street with adjoining single storey buildings which presumably served as stables and a coach house, and nearby there were greenhouses and possibly a summer pavilion. The garden to the north of the house, due to the incline of the ground, appears to have been left as a lawn surrounded by trees and bushes and with a decorative bed of flowers in the centre.

The earliest occupant so far traced was James Stringer, a partner with his father-in-law Thomas Lowry and his brother-in-law William Mann, both of 'Zig Zag House', in the form of Lowry, Stringer and Mann, (later Stringer and Mann) Merchants, Steam Sawmill and Salt Proprietors, of Seel Street, Liverpool. He was living in the house in 1850, having previously resided at 'Garden House', Garston and then 'Grassendale House', well known for many years as the home of the Lockett family, and later in Montpellier Crescent, in Wallasey. By 1853 he had retired from business, and presumably he died soon afterwards, as the name of his widow appears in 1860.

In 1868 Peter L. Henderson, Merchant, was the next occupant to be followed by Patrick Keith, partner in the well known firm of Liverpool Merchants and Shipowner's, John Gladstone & Co., who spent nearly ten years there. It has not been possible to ascertain his immediate successors, but in the 1890's there was in residence a Mr Joseph Loughran, a Colliery Proprietor, who later lived for a short time at 'Olinda', in Rowson Street, prior to that houses' conversion to its final role as Workingmen's Institute.

The first three years of the present century showed a Captain Thomson in occupation at 'Sand Rock', to be followed by Alfred Coker, the well known Liverpool shipowner, who was there until 1907. After one further occupant, the house was purchased by a Religious Order in 1912, and for the next few years became the Convent of Our Lady of the Cenacle, a cenacle being a super-room, particularly that in which the Last Supper was held. During the First World War it was used as a military hospital, but its history subsequent to that is rather obscure. In 1932, the foundation stone of the new Catholic Church of St. Peter and St. Paul was laid in the grounds, and the building operations involved the demolition of the house.


This impressing house, built in a classical style with a painted stucco finish, was situated at the lower corner of Albion Street and Atherton Street, and was probably built about 1850, or even earlier. It was known as 'Gorselands', and in 1857 it became the home of Thomas Addison, a well-to-do Liverpool Stockbroker, who immediately previously had been living at 'Earlston House', now part of the Central Library, and prior to that at 'The Mount' in Mount Road. It would appear that he died some time before 1872, as in that year his wife Margaret is shown as being in residence at 'Gorselands', remaining in occupation until the early 1880's.By 1887 the house had a new owner in the person of Henry Flinn, a well known Liverpool shipowner. Mr Flinn was born in 1820, according to one report in Sussex and to another Devonshire, but whatever was the case, he went to sea in his early teens, and by the age of 22 had obtained his first command. He later founded the firm of James Flinn & Co., sailing shipowner's, and in 1870 became a partner in the firm of Flinn, Main & Montgomery, founders and managers of the Liverpool & Mississippi Steamship Company, later to become the Mississippi and Dominion line, better known as the Dominion Line. This Line, which had been incurring losses, changed hands in 1894, and was ultimately incorporated into the International Mercantile Marine in 1902, the better ships being transferred to the White Star Line, which company by that time had become a member of the group.

Henry Flinn, then a widower, retired in 1895 and died in 'Gorselands' the following year, leaving two daughters and two sons, one of whom, F.W Flinn, was a Justice of the Peace, living at 'Grassheys' in Grove Road until the 1930's, when that house was demolished to make way for a new road called 'The Aubynes'. For the record, Henry Flinn was of the Catholic faith, and was buried at St. Swithin's, Gill Moss, which in those days was a small village well out in the country beyond West Derby. After his death, 'Gorselands' was presumably sold.

Some years later, Mr. F.Glynn Baker, late Housemaster of St .Cyprians Eastbourne, started a Preparatory School, in January 1914 to be exact, known as 'Somerville School for Boys'. Pupils were taken as boarders from the ages of 7-14½ years. Classes were presumably on the ground floor and dormitories on the first floor. In the grounds were two large playgrounds, cricket nets, lawn tennis courts and gardens. The pupils were taught French, Algebra, Geometry, Latin, Carpentry, Rifle Shooting, Swimming and there was also a Cadet Corps, and a Band Board and tuition for three terms per year came up to 30 guineas per term.

There was also a Lower School for Juniors and Girls on the opposite side of the road in a smaller detached house run by the headmaster's sister Miss Ruth Glynn Baker. The house still exists today's as a private residence and is known as 'Rockland', now number 173 Victoria Road.

It's use as 'Somerville Junior School' did not last very long and it eventually reverted back to its former role of a dwelling. The main school was demolished before World War II when in charge of a Mr Baddeley and was replaced by modern houses. However some parts still remain and these are the stone boundary walls and the beautiful gate posts marking the original entrance to 'Somerville' alias 'Gorselands' and these are situated in Albion Street. When the house was first built the views from the site must have been quite splendid with the area around it undeveloped, and with the level of ground floor taken from Albion Street the building was set up high above Victoria Road.


'Warrenside', situated in Montpelier Crescent, opposite the end of Mount Road, survived until nearly the end of the 20th Century to remind us of the past glories of the area. It was an ashfar faced building with a porch of four fluted Ionic columns and a pediment above facing the Crescent and on the elevation facing the sea there was a curved centre section and a curved bay window each side. The building was admired for its architectural qualities until alien additions were make.

In the late 1970's the house was the subject of a Public Enquiry it being a listed building and the owners seeking approval for demolition for redevelopment were opposed by the Council who wished to see it preserved and perhaps restored. By then the once stately building had been mutilated inside and outside and also split into two dwellings, so it was perhaps felt that what was left was not worth saving and too costly to restore. It was of course demolished and the site is now 'Redstone Park' a development of houses facing on to Warren Drive and flats facing on to Montpelier Crescent.

The earliest occupant appears to have been Mr W.H Gilliant, a Merchant, who was there as far back as 1842. By 1855 he had been replaced by Mr J.K Gilliant, presumably his son, who in turn was followed in 1860 by Mr George Booker, one of the founders of what is now the well known Liverpool company, Booker Bros. McConnell & Co. He died in 1866 at the age of 67, and was succeeded at the house by Mr Thomas William Bouch, son of Thomas Bouch of 'Stoneby Green', a mansion previously where Lansdowne Road is now. There seems to have been a consolidation of family interest in as much as, in 1859, an elder brother of Thomas William Bouch, in the person of John Bouch, had married Margaret Booker, daughter of Rich Booker, also of Wallasey, at St. Hilary's Church. John Bouch died in 1882, at the age of 50, his wife in 1897 aged 63, and they both buried in St. Hilary's Churchyard.

Later residents of 'Warrenside' were Mr B. Strauss, a well known Liverpool Cotton Broker, and Arthur Bradbury, a merchant, at one time of 'Holly Mount', in Mount Road, the site of which later was occupied by a school. From 1935 onwards the owners of 'Warrenside' were the Scott family, of bakery fame, and they remained there until the house was sold for demolition.