The name Bramley-Moore has been to the fore in recent years as Everton F.C. look to build their new stadium on the dock which bears that name. But what of the man, James Bramley-Moore, after whom the dock was named ? Firstly you will look in vain for any baptismal records of that name, as when he was born in Yorkshire in 1800 he was plain John Moore. His grandfather is said to have sailed around the world with Captain Cook. He went to Brazil as a young man and it was while there that he adopted the ‘Bramley’ part of his surname, possibly because he thought it would enhance his prestige in the world. Another step that, intended or not, placed him close to people of influence when he married the exotically named Seraphine Hibernia Pennell, the daughter of the British Consul-General for Brazil.
He returned to Britain in 1835, settling in Liverpool as a merchant with a home in affluent Aigburth. By 1841 he had become an alderman and in 1846, in his position as Chairman of the Dock Committee he made his most important contribution to the city’s commercial health. This was to negotiate with Lord Derby for the city to obtain two and a half miles of shoreline to the north of the city to allow the building of six new docks. One of these was named the Bramley-Moore Dock and opened on the 4th August 1848. In the same year he was elected Lord Mayor of Liverpool.
A supporter of the Conservative Party he made several unsuccessful attempts to enter parliament, before winning the seat of Malden in 1854. He lost this seat in 1859 but served another term from 1862 to 1865 as the member for Lincoln. His political colours are suggested by this contemporary account of an event during his period as Chairman of the Dock Committee
“ Another incident (in July 1848) was the Chartist movement. He discharged about six hundred dock labourers who had refused to be sworn in as special constables; sleeping for two nights in an Albert Dock warehouse, on the Monday morning himself stood at the gate to refuse work to the recusants, and to protect the others from molestation” [Orchard: see sources below]
Another contemporary source described him as “(having) a handsome person, a good-humoured look, a careless swagger, and an air which denotes a love of mischief. Sometimes he is pompously solemn, but generally he is merry in the Council chamber, and if not a wit himself he has often been the cause of with in others.” [Shimmin: see sources below]
After his retirement he lived at his home in Gerrard’s Cross, dying in Brighton on 19th November 1886, aged 86 years. He was buried in the churchyard of St Michael in the Hamlet, Aigburth.
In some early documents Bramley-Moore was shown as living in Aigburth at ‘Carioca Lodge’ but I have been unable to unearth any information to enable this to be located. From the late 1860’s the address is shown as ‘Aigburth Ash, Ashfield Road’ and I am fairly sure that this is number 1 Ashfield Road, the old mansion being a large part of what is now the Ash Surgery medical practice.
A portrait of Bramley-Moore round about the time he was Lord Mayor of Liverpool.
Bramley-Moore's house now incorporated into a surgery in ashfield Road.
The most interesting accounts are to be found in two contemporary works. Liverpool's Legion of Honour [B Guinness Orchard 1893] and Pen and Ink Sketches of Liverpool Town Councillors [Hugh Shimmin 1866]. Unfortunately these are not too easy (or cheap) to come by. The Oxford Dicionary of National Biography is fairly thorough and the Wikipedia entry gives the basics.
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