Liverpool’s Brownlow Hill workhouse had been a home for the city’s destitute from 1771 until 1928 when the revision of the Poor Laws brought the property on to the market. It was visited by social reformers including the author Charles Dickens and campaigner Josephine Butler.
In 1800 one thousand inmates had been on its register, in 1900 over 4000, of whom over half were Catholics. Many of them were Irish people driven from their own country by famine.
Charles Dickens and the Liverpool Workhouse.
The Great Tasmania, visit of Mr Charles DICKENS to the Liverpool Workhouse
On Saturday last, Mr Charles DICKENS visited at the Liverpool Workhouse the invalid soldiers who arrived from India in the Great Tasmania. Mr DICKENS remained for about two hours, and during that time engaged in conversation with several of the unfortunate men, in whose statements he appeared to take great interest. This is the second visit of this popular writer to Liverpool within the last month.
Liverpool Mercury, March 27th, 1860
In 1930 the diocesan authorities purchased the nine acre site for £110,000. Edwin Lutyens, (1869-1944) famous for his palatial country houses, memorials to the fallen of the First World War (including the Whitehall Cenotaph) and the monumental Viceroy’s palace in New Delhi, was commissioned to design a cathedral to contrast with the Gothic gem of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott which was rising at the other end of Hope Street, where building had started in 1904. Three years later the foundation stone was laid, on Whit Monday, 5 June 1933.
The Liverpool Workhouse was located at 144A Brownlow Hill.