In order to make space for new entries it has become necessary to put some of the shorter entries together on one page.  Scroll down to find entries for:
  1. BELL COX, James
  2. BEN-TOVIM, Atarah
  3. BLAIN, Herbert Edward
  4. BOOTH, Lydia Allen
  5. BOOTLE, Stan (aka Stan Kelly)
  6. BRINDLE, Robert
  7. BROPHY, John



BELL COX, James [1837 - 1923]

The city of Liverpool is no stranger to matters of religious controversy but it is astonishing to think that in May 1887 the Reverend James Bell Cox, vicar of St Margaret’s Church in Toxteth, was committed to Walton Gaol consequent to having performed such rituals as using lighted candles, singing the Agnus Dei and celebrating the Eucharist facing east.

James Bell Cox was born in Norfolk in 1837 an after attending Cambridge University he was ordained as deacon at Salford in 1862. In 1869 he came to Liverpool, appointed as assistant curate at St Margaret’s Church in Princes Road, Toxteth. His first home was as a lodger at 101 Upper Stanhope Street L8 (now demolished). He had not been in post for long when the church was embroiled in controversy. The vicar, Rev. Charles Parnell had accepted an invitation to the consecration of the new Greek Orthodox church opposite St Margaret’s on Princes Road, a ceremony to be performed by the Archbishop of Syria. Parnell subsequently invited the Archbishop to attend a service at St Margaret’s and agreed to his request to deliver a blessing to the congregation. Nowadays this would be viewed as a praiseworthy piece of ecumenical brotherhood but in the heated atmosphere of Victorian ecclesiastical affairs it brought down upon the vicar the wrath of the ultra-protestant Church Association in the person of its chairman, Liverpool surgeon Dr James Hake. Hake, described by the Liverpool Review as a “bigoted busybody” was a leading light in a number of protestant organisations. Hake accused Parnell of violating church regulations by allowing a Greek Orthodox archbishop to ‘preach’ in a C. of. E. church and pressured the bishop to take action. Proceedings rumbled on for some two years before Parnell decided to end the controversy by resigning. This left Bell Cox as the vicar and he was soon to feel the full force of Hake’s wrath.

In 1874 Prime Minister Disraeli, seeking to curry favour with the ‘low church’ Queen Victoria passed the Public Worship Regulation Act (PWRA) with the explicit aim of 'putting down ritualism and the mass in masquerade'. In keeping with the wishes of his congregation James Bell Cox followed many of the rituals which the aforementioned act had outlawed. Matters were note helped when, in 1880, Liverpool was established as a separate see from Chester and the evangelical J.C.Ryle was appointed as the city’s first bishop. Ryle wrote to Bell Cox requesting that he desist from the various banned rituals but the incumbent of St. Margaret’s refused to change his ways. Frustrated by Ryle’s failure to take action James Hake took a private prosecution against the ‘errant’ vicar for his contravention of the PWRA.

He indicted the vicar on twelve counts; use of lighted candles, vestments, elevation of the sacrament, mixing of water and wine in the chalice, celebrating the Eucharist facing east, singing the Agnus Dei, making the sign of the cross, washing the chalice during the service, kissing the gospel book, bowing towards the altar cross, obscuring the manual acts and genuflecting during the prayer of consecration. In September 1885 the Court found against Bell Cox but he took no notice of the verdict. Hake was not to be thwarted and he petitioned for the vicar’s arrest. In May 1887 he was duly taken into custody and incarcerated in Walton Gaol. He spent 17 days in prison before his release was ordered by the House of Lords.


SOURCES AND FURTHER READING

Much of the information on James Bell Cox was gleaned from press reports in Liverpool papers. There is some useful information on him on a website entitled the athenaeum.org


St Margaret's Vicarage, 3 Princes Road L8

BEN-TOVIM, Atarah [1940-2022]

Atarah Ben-Tovim was born on 1st October 1940, the daughter of Harry Ben-Tovim and his wife Gladys Rachel (née Carengold). Her mother had been born in Bridgend, Wales in 1906, the daughter of a Jewish immigrant draper from Russia. Unusually for a woman at that time she attended the University of Wales, gaining a B.A. in 1927. Harry Ben-Tovim was a general practicioner. He was living in Doncaster during the war but afterwards the family lived in Wallasey. When she was eight they moved to Ealing in London.

Having been principle flautist with the National Youth Orchestra in 1963 she came to Liverpool to take up the same position with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, taking over from Fritz Spiegl. (One of the unsuccessful candidates for the position was James Galway.) She stayed with the RLPO until 1975 and during this time she developed an interest in taking music to children. The Phil gave school concerts and she was appalled by them, finding scant interest amongst the audience and having to play amidst flights of paper planes. Her criticism drew a response that she was welcome to try to improve matters and she did just this. Initially she got together a group of half a dozen friends from the orchestra and played at a school for disabled children at which a friend worked. The success of her venture led to the transformation of the ad hoc ensemble into Atarah’s Band and she left the RLPO to concentrate on its development.

Her success led to many appearances on TV and radio including her own series, Atarah’s Music, aimed at primary school children. She also presented the long-running ITV series for schools Seeing and Doing and was the subject of an edition of BBC’s Omnibus. She founded the Children’s Music Centre at Haslingden, Lancashire, a music school-cum-youth hostel of which she was artistic director for over 20 years. She wrote many books, some with her second husband, BBC producer Douglas Boyd.

Atarah Ben-Tovim had one daughter by her first marriage. During her time in Liverpool she lived at 12 Princes Park Mansions L8. In later years she lived in south-west France. She died on 20th October 2022.

Princes Park Mansions L8

SOURCES AND FURTHER READING

The obituary in the Daily Telegraph is quite informative. (subscription required). Wikipedia entry is fairly basic. There is an interesting interview with Atarah Ben-Tovim on YouTube in which she talks in some detail about what led her to form Atarah's Band. A search on YouTube will reveal other interviews and clips from her TV appearances. She wrote an autobiography in 1976 entitled Atarah's Book  [Benbo 1976].

BLAIN, Herbert Edward [1870-1942]

A pioneering figure in the development of trade unionism amongst municipal workers, Herbert Blain was eventually knighted for his services as principal agent of the Conservative Party.

Herbert Edward Blain was born at 341 Upper Parliament Street L7 on 14th May 1870 the son of Arbuthnot Harrison Blain, a chemist and druggist, and his wife Elizabeth (née Stalker). After attending the Liverpool Technical School, in 1886 he started work as a clerk with Liverpool corporation. On 26th October 1892 he married Clara Louisa (1869-1940), the daughter of a barraitser, John Betterville Brake. The couple made their home at 24 Lesseps Road L8.

In 1896 Blain was one of the main founders of the Liverpool Municipal Officers’ Guild. It was the first organisation of its kind outside London, providing social and educational benefits for its members and their families. Herbert Blain was the Guild’s first secretary. His particular skill was shorthand and in his time in Liverpool he became a prominent figure in the National Federation of Shorthand Writers Associations, serving as secretary, treasurer and president in the 1890’s.

He left Liverpool in 1903 to take up a position in London as tramways manager for West Ham corporation. He continued his work in organising clerical and local government workers and was a key figure in the 1905 conference which led to the founding of the National Association of Local Government Officers (NALGO). Blain served as NALGO’s first chairman. In 1913 he moved to the London Underground Railways and London General Omnibus Company, becoming operating manager in 1914.

It was in this role that Blain became increasingly involved in road safety matters, organising the London Safety First Council and becoming its honorary secretary. Awarded a CBE in 1921, he was instrumental in the founding of the National Safety First Association (NSFA). In 1941, when the NSFA was granted a royal charter, it was Blain who proposed that the association change its name to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Notwithstanding his trade union background, in 1924 he too up post as principal agent of the Conservative Party, charged with the task of modernising the party’s organisation. The Conservatives had lost office to Labour in the 1923 election and their success in the October 1925 general election was in some part due to Blain’s innovations. He was knighted in 1925 for public and political service. He left the Conservative party job at the end of 1926, subsequently holding positions on the boards of a number of companies and continuing his work in the safety movement.

His first wife died in April 1940 and he was remarried a month later to Carol Louise McDowell. He died, aged 72,  at his home in Burgess Hill on 16th December 1942.


24 Lesseps Road L8

Blain's home until his move to London in 1905.

SOURCES AND FURTHER READING

There is an extensive biography of Herbert Blaine at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and an outline at Wikipedia.

BOOTH, Lydia Allen [1838 - 1923]

When the Liverpool Women’s Suffrage Society (LWSS) held its first annual general meeting on Friday 11th January 1895, the woman presiding was the wife of Liverpool shipowner Alfred Booth. She was an American, born Lydia Allen Butler in Norfolk, Virginia in 1839. Her father, Benjamin Franklin Butler, was a prominent lawyer and served as U.S. Attorney General from 1833 to 1838 under President Andrew Jackson.

Liverpool businessman Alfred Booth and his brother Charles had founded a shipping line to trade with the USA and to manage its interests established an office in New York. His American connections enabled him to meet Lydia Butler and on 24th October 1867 they were married in Manhattan, New York City. She came to Liverpool with her husband where they lived for many years at 46 Ullett Road L17.

The Booth family, whose roots went back to acquiring the manor of Dunham Massey in Cheshire in 1409, were of a liberal political disposition, Charles Booth gaining fame as a pioneer of methodical social research. It was therefore not surprising that Lydia Booth should be at the forefront of the suffrage movement in Liverpool and efforts to support women. Along with Edith Bright and Nessie Stewart-Brown she was instrumental in founding the LWSS in 1894, Eleanor Rathbone becoming its secretary in 1897. It was in her house, in May 1897, that the plan for the establishment of the Victoria Settlement at 322 Netherfield Road L5. The settlement provided girls’ clubs, a dispensary for women and children and the first classes for ‘crippled children’ in Liverpool. In 1897 she was elected president of the National Council of Women Workers, a press report of the time describing her as “one of the most cheeriest and sympathetic of women”.

Alfred Booth died in 1914 and Lydia later moved to London to be nearer her daughters, dying on 30th October 1923 aged 85.


46 Ullet Road L17

The home of Alfred and Lydia Booth from the time of her arrival in Liverpool c.1867 to c.1920 when she moved to London.




















SOURCES AND FURTHER READING

There is a mention of Lydia Booth in the Wikipedia entry for the Liverpool Women's Suffrage Society. I also found some references to her work in the book Eleanor Rathbone and the Politics of Conscience  [Susan Pedersen 2004 Yale University Press].


KELLY, Stan (born Stanley Bootle) [1929 -2014]

Stan Bootle left his mark by notable success in the fields of science, music and football, emphasising his versatility by passing through life with three different names.

He was born Stanley Bootle on 15th September 1929, the son of plumber Arthur Bootle and his wife Ada (née Gallagher). At the time of his birth the family were living at 8 Epworth Street L6, which ran from Prescot Street to Erskine Street (the road still exists but the housing has been demolished). In the early 1930’s they moved to 27 Olton Street L15, which remained the family home into the 1960s.

Stan Bootle attended the Liverpool Institute (1941-47) and was a pupil of extraordinary ability, gaining his School and Highers School Certificates with distinctions in nine subjects. He won an Open Exhibition at Downing College, Cambridge in 1947 but before pursuing his degree he chose to do his National Service. From 1948 he served in the Army (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) gaining the rank of Sgt. Instructor, Radar.

He completed a science and maths degree and then one of the first graduate diplomas in computer sciences. He went on to work for IBM, lecture at Warwick University and became head of university systems at Sperry Univac in 1970. Moving to Silicon Valley in California in the late seventies, he was a prolific author of articles and books including the very successful Computer Contradictionary.

Alongside his scientific career he developed the alter-ego Stan Kelly, beginning at University in 1950, performing and writing as folk-singer Stan Kelly. His most well-known song was Liverpool Lullaby (“Oh you are a mucky kid….”) which was made famous by Cilla Black, also being recorded by Judy Collins. As a performer he sang alongside international stars, notably Paul Robeson and Pete Seeger, and great names of the folk scene (Ewan MacCall, Peggy Seeger, The Spinners, The Dubliners and many more). He also collaborated with Fritz Spiegl on the Learn Yerself Scouse books. Seeking to marry his corporate and musical personas he began to style himself Stan Kelly-Bootle.

Bootle’s third realm was football, being a devoted fan of Liverpool F.C. Describing himself as the club’s “semi-official bard” he travelled with the team home and away in the seventies, producing the ‘LP’ (album) O Liverpool We Love You. His football involvement was not limited to music, for a couple of years he was the manager of Kevin Keegan, Tommy Smith and Larry Hughes.

He returned to the UK in 2004, linked up again with the British folk scene, and continued to publish widely in his scientific discipline. He died, aged 84, on 16th April 2014, in hospital at Oswestry.

Stan Bootle married a Liverpool girl, Margaret ‘Peggy’ Jones, in 1948. They had three daughters, Carol, Michelle and Anna, and two sons, Edmund and David. The couple divorced in 1975. He had two daughters, Cressida and Kate, from later relationships.

27 Olton Street L15

The Wavertree home where Stan Bootle grew up.

SOURCES AND FURTHER READING

The Wikipedia entry has some useful information. Also worth looking at are the Guardian obituary, and an archive of his website giving biographical data. A entry on the confidentials.com website includes a delightful video of him singing Liverpool Lullaby at his son's wedding.

BRINDLE, Robert [1837-1919]

In late January 1885 the relief column sent to relieve General Gordon at Khartoum arrived to find that two days earlier the city had fallen and Gordon was dead. At a memorial service held for him four army chaplains officiated, one of them being the Roman Catholic Robert Brindle. The future Field Marshal Sir Evelyn Wood was a member of the relief column and he said of Brindle he “was doubtless the most popular man in the Expedition”. The leader of the Expedition, Lord Wolseley, kept a picture of Brindle on his mantlepiece and described him as “one of the finest soldiers in the British Army”. Lord Kitchener would remain a close friend until the two men died within weeks of each other in 1916. At the time of his death Brindle was the most decorated Roman Catholic chaplain ever to have served in the British Army. And he was a son of Liverpool.

Robert Brindle was born in Toxteth, Liverpool on 4th November 1837, the son of William and Elizabeth (nee Harrison) who had been married a year earlier at St Patrick’s RC Church in Park Place. I have unearthed little information about his early life the only other record being the 1851 census which shows him as a 13 year-old ‘stepson’ of the head of the household Ann Brindle, living at 68 Blundell Street L8 (now demolished). In the 1853 Gore’s Directory of Liverpool Ann Brindle of this address is shown as running a “milk house”. It seems likely that his mother had died and his father had re-married as there is a marriage of a William Brindle to and Ann Morris in 1842 at St Peter’s RC Church.

Robert Brindle was ordained at the English College, Lisbon in 1862. After serving as a priest in Plymouth he was commissioned as a military chaplain in 1874 and would serve for 25 years. After service at the Woolwich Garrison and 5 years in Canada in 1882 he accompanied the expeditionary force against Arabi Pasha in Egypt. It was his exceptional behaviour on the expedition to relieve Gordon that his reputation was made. Choosing to march with the men, and on one occasion rowing with them up the Nile, he had an exceptional influence upon the troops, ever ready “to carry a man’s rifle or give away drink from his water bottle”. He never shirked the responsibility to be with them on the front line.

After spell back in England in 1896 he was back in Egypt, attached to Kitchener’s Expedition to reconquer the Sudan. Brindle once again stood out for his utter devotion to duty and his men. When cholera broke out he worked tirelessly and fearlessly to tend the victims. On 2nd September 1898 he was involved in the Battle of Omdurman near Khartoum, it being recorded that in each of the three main attacks of the engagement “the heroic priest was in the fighting line”. In November of that year he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

After he left the army he was appointed Roman Catholic Bishop of Nottingham. He died on 17 June 1916 and was buried with full military honours in the crypt of St Barnabus Cathedral, Nottingham.


SOURCES AND FURTHER READING

There is a useful short paper published by the Journal of the Society for Army History Research (2009) entitled The Military Career of Bishop Robert Brindle by James Hagerty. This can be viewed on the JSTOR website. 

BROPHY, John [1899-1965]

In 1943 20th Century Fox released a wartime action film, Immortal Sergeant, set in the North African campaign with top star Henry Fonda playing a corporal lacking in confidence who, with the help of his experienced old sergeant (Thomas Mitchell) finds himself, leads his men to victory, is promoted and gets the girl, in this case the lovely Maureen O’Hara. Not one of Hollywood’s greatest, it is however interesting in that the film was based on a novel written by Liverpool-born author John Brophy.

He was born in the very last days of the 19th Century on 6th December 1899 at 87 Everton Road L6, his father John was an earthenware dealer. By 1901 the family had moved to 39 Langton Road L15, and by 1911 to 37 Norton Street L3. Little is recorded of his early life but the outbreak of the First World War saw him, aged just 14, disguising his age and enlisting in the army. (His address was given as 98 Islington L3). He served four years and after the war returned to Liverpool to take a degree at the University. On 6 June 1924 he married Charis Weare Grundy, the daughter of a Liverpool-based Chicago clergyman, and then took a teaching job in Cairo.

Returning to Liverpool he took a job writing advertising for a Liverpool store and this led to him securing the post of head copywriter for a leading advertising company in London. At this time his interest in writing developed, becoming a reviewer of fiction for the Daily Telegraph. In 1928, drawing upon his wartime experiences, he published his first novel, a semi-autobiographical work The Bitter End. He published novels throughout the 1930’s but his main success was a fictional life of Shakespeare, Gentleman of Stratford (1939). His wartime output ranged from successful action novels, such as the aforementioned Immortal Sergeant and Spearhead (1943) to writing manuals for the Home Guard, in which he served..

He continued to publish a variety of work after the war and even though his reputation declined, there were high spots. His 1959 novel The Day They Robbed The Bank of England was made into a successful film with Peter O’Toole. The cinema was a much better source of finance for him than book sales. His 1946 novel, City of Departures was set in his home city of Liverpool (I have a first edition).

John Brophy died of heart failure on 12th November 1965, aged 65. He is one of the many Liverpudlian figures whose prominence has faded almost to the point of oblivion, an unfair reflection on his literary standing. His daughter Brigid Brophy also became a successful author.

Only 39 Langton Road L15 of his Liverpool homes is still standing.

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39 Langton Road L15

The Brophy home in 1901 shortly after John's birth

SOURCES AND FURTHER READING

There is an extensive biography of Brophy in the  Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The Wikipedia entry gives a brief resumé of his life and work.