Laurences Liverpool Temperance Hotel

Thomas Davey Laurence Thomas Davey Laurence[/caption]


In the 1861 census there is a small girl of 10 called Rosamond Evison and her sister Mary Ann in her uncle William’s hotel Laurences Commercial and Family Temperance and both are observing Williams father, Thomas, age 79 ruddy faced coal merchant from another era in deep discussion with his son.

Others present are her relatives: William Michaels wife, Francis Ann Laurence 42, Emily Laurence 19, Fanny Caroline Laurence 5, Charles Michael Laurence 4, and the hotel’s customers: William Davies 41, commercial traveller, David Bickerton 30, commercial traveller, and the hotel’s employees that later in life she will join Mary Milling 33, waitress, Helen Parsons 23, housemaid, Mary Ann Halliday 22, kitchen maid, Elizabeth Meakin 28, chambermaid, Jane Carson 47, cook , William Williams 21, boots. William Michael’s son Thomas Davy, her cousin is due to transfer to the Newcastle Quaker meeting on 28 August 1862 and live and work at 174 the High Street, Sunderland, age 14 training with Quakers Joshua Wilson & Brothers to be a wholesale grocers’ assistant. His future wife, Kate, age eleven, lived with her father Reverend William Parkes from 1855 to 1864 in Monkwearmouth, Sunderland. Maybe, they met. 

`Family and Commercial’ perfectly describe the Laurence family through the Nineteenth Century. 

Thomas Davy Laurence the later proprietor of the Temperance Hotel was born in Sheffield in 1846 to William Michael Laurence and Frances Davy. William Michael LAURENCE was a son, one of five children of coal merchant Thomas LAURENCE and his wife Mary TEFT who lived and worked in Louth, Lincolnshire. William moved to Sheffield where he married Frances Anne DAVY who came from a very respected Quaker family, originally from a small village outside Keighley.

 He married Kate on 6 July 1870 at Great Georges Street Chapel in a ceremony conducted by her father William Parkes who was an Independent Minister. They did not live at the hotel and over the years moved to various properties in the more prosperous areas of the city, accompanied by at least two servants and a monthly nurse. 


Thomas Davy returned to the Liverpool Quaker meeting on 25 April 1867. In his will his father William Michael added a codicil to his original. The codicil dated 19 August 1869 stated ” I have lately entered into Articles of partnership with my son Thomas Davy for the carrying on the business of Hotel Keeper at the Temperance Hotel, Clayton Square, Liverpool for a term of five years and have also sold unto him one half of all the household goods furniture and other effects in the said Hotel including one half of the Goodwill for the sum of three thousand pounds to be paid and secured to me with interest …” It also states that his son could purchase the Hotel for twenty thousand pounds or write a letter to his executors and purchase it for three thousand pounds. His father died on 3 February 1874. The five year term would have expired on 19 August 1874.


Achitecturally, the hotel is made up of two early Victorian classically styled houses. They often had decorative French balconies on the first level. LAURENCES Temperance Hotel was made up of two properties, 20 and 21, Clayton Square. 

20, Clayton Square 

After four years William Brown moved his business here in 1841 to re-establish his Browns Commercial And Family Hotel. It had twelve rooms. One famous occupant was the American Frederick Douglass who wrote a letter to various English newspapers expressing his dismay at the racial prejudice he experienced from the Captain and crew of the ship, Cambria. 

March 1854, William was involved in a court case, involving theft. On Saturday in October 1853, Mr BEVERIDGE, a commercial traveller in confectionery, who had used the Hotel for four years, left his writing desk containing £64.00 some of it in gold, with other writing desks in the hotels commercial room. On Tuesday the desk had disappeared to be found later rifled through. The court found in favour of Mr. Brown, as Mr Beveridge had not properly looked after his property. 

By the 1851 census William Brown had moved to Sheffield, his wife’s birthplace, to take up the trade of Fruiterer. His hotel was now the home of John Arkwright, married, 50 (b 1811) who was a mariner from Liverpool, Lancashire and his wife Jane also from Liverpool and their son and daughter, James and Margaret Ann. William took over 21, Clayton Square first in May 1856, acquiring 20, Clayton Square between 3 May and 13 May 1864.

21, Clayton Square

 In 1822 it was the home of Mr Hartley of the English Opera House who gave a series of lectures on poetry, and in the same year the residence of Mr Young who performed part of Shakespeares King Richard the Third. 

In the 1851 census the property was leased by a Joseph MARTIN, a Widower, aged 53, Hotel Keeper Kirby, Warwickshire MARTIN, Charles Son Unmarried M 23 1828 Clerk In An Office Liverpool, Lancashire BOOTHBY, Harriet Esther Servant Unmarried F 41 1810 House Keeper Treuddyn, Flintshire DIX, Sarah E Unmarried F 18 1833 Bar Maid Fenton, Staffordshire JONES, Catharine Unmarried F 28 1823 Cook North Wales WILLIAMS, Jane Unmarried F 24 1827 Chambermaid Welshpool, Montgomeryshire FOSTER, Jane Unmarried F 21 1830 Waitress Huyton, Lancashire IRVING, Mary Widow F 23 1828 Kitchenmaid Holyhead, Wales JONES, Mary Unmarried F 21 1830 Waitress Welshpool, Anglesey HEWETT, Ivar F 16 1835 Chamber Maid Flintshire, Wales BIRCHELL, Eliza F 23 1828 Chamber Maid Manchester, Lancashire RADCLIFFE, Sarah Servant Unmarried F 27 1824 Waitress Bedford, Lancashire, Anne Unmarried F 16 1835 Kitchen Maid Taplow, Flintshire, Wales EMMERY, Henry Servant Unmarried M 21 1830 Porter To Boots Stone, Staffordshire JONES, Thomas Servant Unmarried M 36 1815 Porter To Boots Kearn, Montgomeryshire, Walesn SHEEN, Charles Servant Unmarried M 14 1837 Porter To Boots Liverpool, Lancashire MOORE, Edward Widower M 47 1804 Agent Isle of Man GILL, William Visitor M 47 1804 Gentleman Isle of Man BRINSLEY, Richard Visitor Unmarried M 40 1811 Commercial Traveller Southport, Lancashire MORGAN, John M Visitor Married M 33 1818 Commercial Traveller Maiden, Essex HOGG, John F Visitor Married M 54 1797 Commercial Traveller Hull Kington Hall WHITE, Edward Visitor M 54 1797 Commercial Traveller Leicestershire nf BAKER, Joseph Visitor M 36 1815 Commercial Traveller Littleworth, Leicestershire PLUMLEY, Josiah F Visitor M 34 1817 Commercial Traveller Wolverhampton BLOGG, John Visitor M 45 1806 Commercial Traveller London

The Hotel in Manchester

In 1849, William bought the lease for a hotel at 30, Piccadilly, Manchester and moved to that city with wife and family. In the Leeds Mercury dated Saturday June 24 1843 A.H.Smith the new owner of 30, Piccadilly advertises the opening of his new hotel as a Temperance Hotel and family and commercial boarding house ‘within a few minutes walk of the Centre of the Town, and very favourably situate for those en route to and from London. Omnibuses pass the House to and from the the various Railway Stations. Private sitting rooms with cheerful aspects.’ His next advert in the Leeds Mercury, Saturday, May 11, 1844 describes the Hotel as ‘having been considerably enlarged’ and it provides ‘Breakfast on the Table upon the arrival of the London Early Train at Five a.m., and well-aired Beds always ready.’ I have not discovered why A.H.Smith decided to leave as Hotel Proprietor. In the Advertisements & Notices section of The Liverpool Mercury dated Tuesday, February 6, 1849 William Michael Laurence published his first advert for his new venture. It announced the opening of Laurences Temperance Hotel Family and Commercial Boarding House 30, Piccadilly (late Smiths). The Above house is within five minutes walk of the London and Birmingham and Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Station. The House has been thoroughly refitted and beatified, and every attention will be paid to the comfort of Commercial Gentlemen and Families who honour us with their patronage. Excellent Private sitting rooms and every attention has been paid to the comfort and cleanliness of the tied rooms. In the March edition there is a second and last advert exactly the same as the above. William and his young family lived at number 28, according to the water damaged 1851 census.

Where did Thomas Find The Money To Buy A Hotel?

In the Manchester Examiner for Saturday, December 20th, 1851 are advertised THE BRITISH MUTUAL LOAN ASSURANCE CLASSES FOR MANCHESTER. It states “The FOURTH MEETING of Class no.1. and the FIRST MEETING OF Class B, no.9, will be held at Laurences Hotel, 30, Piccadilly, on Friday evening, the 26th instant, at six o’clock, when a SALE of SHARES will take place. These loan classes afford great opportunity to the borrower, for return of capital, by easy payments spread through a term of four years, whilst they secure a most ample return to the investor. Applications for shares, and other information, may be obtained on application to Mr.Laurence, at the hotel.”

The same interest in providing financial services continued when he moved to Clayton Square. The Liverpool.Mercury for Monday, December, 30, 1861 has William as one of five trustees of the SECOND ROCK PERMANENT building society and in an advert in the Liverpool Mercury, Monday, April 6, 1863, W. M. Laurence is quoted as the President of the CROMWELL PERMANENT BENEFIT BUILDING SOCIETY and Mutual Investment Fund. In the Daily Post, Thursday, December 19, 1867, he is quoted as one of the persons to communicate with if you wish to join the THIRD PRUDENTIAL BUILDING SOCIETY. In the Daily Post, Wednesday, March 11, 1868 for the EIGHTH ANNUAL MEETING of NESTOR PERMANENT BUILDING SOCIETY W.M.Laurence is president.

In 1864 when Thomas purchased the other half of the hotel he began to develop it. The best description of what it became is in an advertising article called “A Century of Progress” published in 1900. It states, “the number of rooms was increased from tweve to “boast of no less than eighty. The premises, as they at present stand , consist of an exceedingly handsome four-storeyed brick building, with a bold frontage of seventy feet, and having an ornamental balcony running the whole length of the first storey. On the ground floor there is a capital billiard saloon, perfectly equipped, and provided with a first-cla

1915 Advert

1915 Advert

ss full-sized table; a large and exceedingly comfortable dining room, and a capitally appointed commercial-room, besides ten well-lighted stock-rooms, several of them of a very large size. Ascending to the first floor, one comes upon a cosy coffee-room, private sitting-rooms, and apartments en suite. Here again we find several new stock-rooms. The upper-floors are fully utilised for the bedroom accommodation, each chamber embodying all the latest hygienic improvements in the way of lighting, ventilation, &c. “


At Preston in 1833 Joseph Livesey opened the first temperance hotel. In simplistic terms the battle in Liverpool was between Cain, a Conservative who owned breweries, pubs and hotels and the Liberal party that promoted temperance. Thomas Davy was an elected member of the Liberal party. He promoted temperance through encouraging speakers such as the American Neal Dhow, who was also a Quaker. Neal Dhow on his visit to England to promote ‘The Maine Liquor Law’ had a public breakfast at Laurences. In 1857, J B Gough, recently disembarked from The Niagara steamship, the eloquent temperance advocate’, also had a public breakfast at Laurences, before delivering a two hour lecture promoting the ‘Maine Law’. 


In July 1865, a crowd gathered in Clayton Square awaiting Liberal candidates who had been defeated in the local election to appear and make speeches from the elaborately decorated balcony of Laurences Hotel. Thomas Davy was elected to the Lime Street ward in 1890, having in 1877 been a Liberal member of the Liverpool Select Vestry that managed the cities Workhouse. 


The longest serving staff member was linenkeeper Rosamond EVISON, a niece of William Michael LAURENCE. She was born in Quarry Lane Louth on 1 August 1850 the daughter of Mary Ann LAURENCE and John EVISON, a local butcher. Mary Ann was one of the daughters of Thomas Laurence and sister to William Michael Laurence. From 1861 she is registered on the census as living and from 1871 as working at Laurences Temperance Hotel. She never married and the last reference to her I can find is at the age of 61 in the 1911 census performing the same job she began about 40 years ago. Her sister worked briefly there too, as Housekeeper. There were a succession of housekeepers, the last one I can find is Alice S BINNS in 1911. The earliest advert for staff at the hotel was in the May 2nd 1856 Liverpool Mercury and requests a plain cook. Other adverts ask for an Under Boots, Ostrich Feather Hands and Laundress. On each census the staff differ, apart from Rosamond. 

One employee, Elizabeth VIGGER, a ‘young woman’ appeared in Liverpool Police Court accused of stealing from the hotel a leather bag, worth £4.00. Using the census material there are approximately 20 Staff to 15 customers. 


There are families mentioned as staying at the hotel, but lone commercial travellers are the most common. Some customers, such as John White used the hotel as a contact address for his business selling leases for property or, advertising their services, as A Gentleman Wants an engagement as a selector of cheese and butter in America. Others wrote letters quoting the address of the hotel. 

In1880 one customer, Thomas JONES, is given the headline An Madman At An Hotel. He was a gentlemanly looking man who formerly had been an officer in the London & Westminster Bank, Lothbury. At the time he was a pensioner of that institution on £87.10 a year. He had left home on Sunday 8th August, after having assaulted his mother-in-law, and physically threatened his wife. Since then his family had been trying to have him placed under necessary restraint. The necessary steps were being taken, but on Friday he was lost sight of . He had been confined in the Bethlehem Hospital and was discharged as it was thought he was on the point of death. Thomas recovered his health and mind. After booking into the Hotel, he cut up bedlinen (Rosamond would not have been pleased), threw a brick at the pier glass, doing damage to the cost of £30.00. In todays money this amounts to more than a thousand pounds worth of damage. He stated he had been tipsy from drinking champagne. The Court submitted him to the care of the workhouse. Curiously, Thomas was Chairman of the Liverpool Select Vestry who managed the City workhouse. 

1880 was an eventful year for the Hotel as it also featured in a jewellery robbery. In The Morning Post November 6th it was reported that The London and North Western Railway Company was entrusted on the 29th January with the delivery from Birmingham to Liverpool of three cases of jewellery. A commercial traveller called Mr. Holland, staying at Lawrences Hotel was to take the delivery. Two of the parcels arrived either on the 29th or the morning of the 30th, and were received by Miss Beresford, the clerk of the hotel. She had signed the van drivers note as if there were three, and realising her mistake spoke to the van driver who promised to go back and get it. This parcel consisted of gold pins, signet rings, and other articles. At the last Warwick Assizes the jury had ruled that the Railway Company should pay 1 shilling for the delay, and the value of the missing parcel £47.00. The Railway Company contended that Mr. Hindley, the van driver was not their employee, but the servant of Mr. Thurston, who was employed to collect all such parcels and goods for the Railway Company. Nothing was heard of the missing parcel until the 10th February, when Inspector Allenson of the Liverpool Police was called in by a pawnbroker (not I suspect a Laurence ancestor from Bridgewater Street) and shown several articles of the missing jewellery, which had been pawned by two men named Ralph and Buchanan, who were thereupon arrested on a charge of felony. However, there was no evidence to connect them with the Railway Company or their servants. 

In 1891, a five foot copper circulating boiler tank attached to the back of the hotel exploded. It rose into the air and over the surrounding buildings to land in the courtyard of the Central Railway Station. Thomas Davy was in his ground floor office at the time and came out to find out what caused the noise. The explosion caused extensive internal damage to the kitchen and scullery. Surprisingly, no one was hurt, but there were some close escapes. 


In the annual report of the Liverpool Investment Buiding Society stated January 1st. 1924 states

” The retiring Directors are…Mr. Thomas D. Laurence. Mr. Laurence does not seek re-election, owing to his having removed to Devonshire. He was the senior member , having been elected to the Board in 1893, and for several.years he filled the office of President.”


The hotel was demolished in June 1921. In the council demolition records the owner of the property is a Mr. Brown. On the back of the two photos of the demolition taken by the chief librarian of the day is a note stating that the demolition was due to the expansion of Browns Drapers. The Liverpool Echo for Tuesday, August 22, 1916 has an advert for Brown’s Drapers Rebuiding and Extension SALE advises “…To afford their thousands of customers every facility and comfort Brown’s have acquired the adjoining building at the corner of Clayton Square and Parker Street and it is now being ‘re-constructed for them.” The address for Brown’s was 12-14-16-18 Parker Street. Parker Street was immediately behind the hotel, so when it was sold Brown’s

Demolition, 1922

Demolition, 1922

was enlarged, enabling entrance via Clayton Square and Parker Street. The last advert for staff for the hotel is for a Woman Cleaner and appears in 14, December, 1918 Liverpool Echo.

In 1922 Thomas Davy retired from his role as Chairman of the Select Vestry and local magistrate to look after Kate, his wife who was very ill. They moved down to a place called ‘Brantwood’ in Torquay, leaving the Liverpool emerging to join the East Devon on 22 March 1922. When Kate died, her will bequeathed Rosamond £25.00. Later, Thomas would live the last years of his life with his remaining son, William in Chippenham, Wiltshire. On 20 August 1926 in his will Rosamond is to receive from the Trustees of his will out of the income of his residuary estate in every year commencing from his death during her life any sum of money not exceeding £65.00 in any one year free of death duty and income tax. Rosamund died in 1932 in Ormskirk Workhouse, euphemistically called 174, Wigan Road. Her occupation is described as housekeeper of a hotel at 14, The Promenade, Southport. The cause of death was senile decay, she was 81. Thomas Davy died two years later at the Chippenham home of his son Dr. George Laurence.


Article published in Liverpool Family History Journal




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