History of 54 St James Street
54 St James Street was developed as part of the 'WICED' project to create a Women's International Centre for Economic Development. The project incorpoarted the creation of the business centre along with development of an international research hub around Women's Economic Development.
When creating the meeting and conference space at 54 St James Street, The Women's Organisation wanted to pay tribute to some of the inspirational women who have paved the way for such projects. Each room was named after one of these amazing women.
Historic Baltic Triangle
Over the last few years the area now referred to as the 'Baltic Triangle' within Liverpool has changed dramaticly. Now thriving as a creative business hub the derelict warehouses are gradually be redeveloped. 54 St James Street was once a bear patch of land.
But prior to the bohemian revival within the Baltic Triangle, and long before it was a forgotton end of the city, the area was indeed a business district just with a somewhat different face.
St James Street
41 Bridgewater Street
Corner of Watkinson Street.
Mustang Planes on Upper Parliament Street on D-Day 1944. Only the large warehouse block shown in the distance near the river still exists.
Washington Street view of the Anglican Cathedral in 1948
George Garrett Archive Project
George Garrett, Merchant Seaman, writer, playwright and founder member of Liverpool’s Unity Theatre, was a radical activist who travelled the world and wrote a series of short stories, stage plays and documentary reports about poverty and struggle in the 1920’s and 30’s. He occupies a unique and significant position as the central point of a compass that links Liverpool's literary, cultural, and maritime history.
Seagoing was central to George Garrett’s life. Here he learned everything about comradeship, whether as galley boy or as a member of the ‘down below’ crew amid the fearsome toil of the stokers. The sea gave him a taste of the cosmopolitan, encouraged him to jump ship in the great ports of Latin American or New York, just as it enabled him to return home, and never left him through all his bouts of unemployment in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
George Garrett lived a life that few of us these days could imagine. Born to a protestant and a staunchly catholic mother, his early life was characterised by uncertainty and poverty; born out of these circumstances was a burning hatred of injustice, and a desire to escape.
Upheaval came early. Shortly after his birth in 1896, in Seacombe on the opposite bank of the Mersey, the family were forced to move across to Liverpool after his father lost his confectioners business to drink. They built a new life in the slum areas around Park Road on the Dingle, living within sight of the docks and the river, which were to shape both the man and writer until the end of his days.
George lived, among other places throughout his life, at No 2 Windsor Street, 52a St James Street and 64a Dingle Lane.
He wrote three plays; one set in Liverpool and two in New York (where he lived in 1920/21 and between 1923 and 1926), a series of short stories, which were published, alongside major literary figures WH Auden and Christopher Isherwood, in London based literary magazines of the day, a series of reportage about unemployment and the hunger marches in 1921/22. He was a founder member of Merseyside Left theatre, which later became The Unity Theatre, and in 1937 showed author George Orwell around Liverpool when Orwell was researching his seminal work on poverty in the 1930’s, The Road to Wigan Pier. Orwell said of him, 'I was very greatly impressed by Garrett. Had I known before that it is he who writes under the pseudonym of Matt Low in the Adelphi (a magazine published in the 1920's and 30's) and one or two other places, I would have taken steps to meet him earlier.'
He has been described a ‘one of the most significant working class writers of his generation’.
The George Garrett Archive Project, run by Writing on the Wall with the backing of the Heritage Lottery Fund, is designed to celebrate and preserve George Garrett’s legacy.