London Road’s lost institutions from Legs of Man to Woolworths

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Back in its glory days, London Road sat at the centre of the city's nightlife with 27 different pubs to choose from.

Not only this, but it was also home to two cinemas and a string of popular shops, from Nanette's to Woolworths.

It was thanks to this vibrant social scene that people would come in their droves to visit London Road by day and night.

Sadly these institutions no longer exist and many people feel the city centre street has been forgotten.

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However, with new businesses starting to open up in the area, the famous road could be embarking on an exciting new chapter.

Back in October 2019, we asked out readers to share some of their memories of London Road and the businesses they wished could be brought back.

Here are the venues we have loved and lost on the street over the years.

Odeon

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Odeon Cinema London Road Liverpool, early 1950s

The Odeon on London Road opened for business on October 15, 1934 and became the home of first dates, nights out and even some of Liverpool's biggest gigs and events for 74 years.

It started life as one of the seven UK Paramount Theatres, cost £240,000 to build and was the largest cinema in Merseyside.

On December 7, 1963, The Beatles played twice at one of Liverpool's largest cinemas which was also the venue for the northern premier of A Hard Day's Night in 1964.

ECHO readers have fond memories of nights out at the cinema and the dance club upstairs.

Brian Comber, said: "1984, all I wanted to do was to go and see Ghostbusters.

"My mum and dad tricked me on a Friday night after school and told me we were going shopping for carpets in town but they took me to the Odeon instead. It was the best day ever, I miss that cinema."

Terry Loftus, said: "I remember queueing up outside the Odeon around 1973, for the Exorcist! I was only 15 and there were priests and nuns outside passing leaflets out saying don’t go in. It was as scary as anything before the movie even started!"

ECHO reader Robbie Foley added: "I worked in the Odeon in 1998 for three years and loved every minute of it."

And Tony Dalton added: "The Odeon was a focal point in town for couples to meet outside, when arranging their first date."

Legs of Man

Looking up a very busy London Road, the Legs of Man was once a popular pub, especially with theatre-goers.

The Legs of Man was a popular pub on the corner of Lime Street and London Road, next to the Empire Theatre.

In its heyday it was a regular haunt of Empire actors, theatregoers and lawyers working at Liverpool’s main courts at St George’s Hall.

The iconic venue was run by Sadie Coventry from 1962 until her retirement in 1981.

Sadie had lived and worked at the pub, where her father was licensee before her, since 1948 and was well-loved by the punters. She sadly died in 2013 at the age of 86.

The Legs of Man had its fair share of celebrities walking through its doors including the likes of Bruce Forsyth, Carry On star Charles Hawtrey and comics such as Les Dawson and Norman Wisdom.

Despite fierce opposition the pub was demolished in 1999 to make way for an extension to the Empire.

Nanette's

One dress shop which was popular with women back in the day was Nanette's.

ECHO reader, Linda Clark, said: "Nanette’s the ladies' dress shop, I used to treat myself on special occasions in there."

General scene of London Road Liverpool 26th February 1989

Barbara Griffiths said: "I bought my wedding dress from Nannette’s in 1966."

Jacqueline Blackall added: "Haha, I got my wedding dress from Nanettes as well."

Harrises

Cathy Mcelhinney, said: "I worked in a shop called Harrises on London Road, it was opposite the Co-Op.

"l worked on the toy department. I can't remember the year but l was only 14 and I am 60 now."

Customers crowding round a cigarette counter in the Co-op on London Road, Liverpool, where prices were cut.14th January 1967.

Sampson and Barlow's

Sampson and Barlow's was a restaurant on London Road which was popular during the 1960's and 70's.

The building was also home to the Peppermint Lounge and Gullivers night club at one time.

Rita Wilkinson, said: "I had my wedding reception in Sampson and Barlows in 1969."

Barry Fairfield added: "Samson and Barlow's and the Peppermint Lounge."

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The Cassanova Club

The Cassanova Club moved to its new location above Sampson & Barlow's Restaurant at 39 London Road on February 9, 1961. It had previously been based at the Temple in Dale Street.

That year, The Beatles played there several times and it was here that what is believed to be the earliest known film footage of the band was taken.

The Peppermint Lounge

The Cassanova Club was later replaced by the Peppermint Lounge, which brings back fond memories for people in the area.

The building was also home to Gulliver's nightclub at one time.

Woolworths

Staff stock up new Woolworth's Store, London Road, Liverpool, 14th November 1962.

The third Woolworths store to open in the UK was on London Road in February 1910.

Located just two miles away from the first store on Church Street, Woolworths was a store which will long be remembered for its array of items including childhood clothes and board games and a legendary pick and mix counter.

F W Woolworth Department Store, Liverpool, 11th March 1982.

Following the closure of Woolworths, the London Road building became an amusement arcade for a short time in the early noughties.

Brenda Jones, said: "I worked in London Road's Woollies during flower power time, on the cake counter."

Tam O'Shanter

The Tam O'Shanter was a pub which many people remember visiting for a pint or two back in the day.

ECHO reader, Maria Parisi, said: "There was a pub called the Tam O'Shanter. It was a nice little ale house.

While Mark Davies, said: "The Tam O’Shanter. A great roughhouse pub on London Road."

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Burtons

Describing London Road as "the greatest thoroughfare" back in the day, one ECHO reader reminisced about his time working at Burtons on the street.

Thomas Mcdermott, said: "My first job was in Burtons at 1-3 London Road.

"On Saturdays when Liverpool or Everton were at home and the football specials arrived in Lime St, the visiting supporters would march past the bottom of the road.

"There was a large number of buses that went down London Road and the amount of people that shopped on it, it had to be the GREATEST thoroughfare."

Pickwicks

Bernard Sumner of New Order at Pickwicks in 1980 by Francesco Mellini

Pickwicks was one of several clubs in Merseyside owned by body-building champion Terry Phillips.

Terry ran a gym and later went on to become a Knowsley councillor, serving for both the Conservatives and Labour. He died in 2013 at the age of 73.

Photos from our archives show Bernard Sumner of New Order performing at Pickwicks in 1980.

The Star and Garter

The Star and Garter on London Road is one of many pubs that people wish would make a return to the street.

Judy Wall, said: "The Star and Garter and I loved the downstairs area of the hangover bar."

The Shakespeare Pub

ECHO reader, Mollie Kins, said: "The Shakespeare pub, Legs of Man and The Swan."

Brenda Jones added: "I loved the Shakespeare!"

Browns Jewellers, Jerome's Photography and Moby Dicks Cafe

Other lost businesses that are worthy of a mention include Browns Jewellers, Jerome's Photography and Moby Dicks Cafe.

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