Thursday, 26 July 2012

26 Thirlmere Street

The home of Lowry's youthful love Tess Evans (Janet Travena in Ultramarine) in Liscard, Wirral. Renamed Thirlmere Road in 1962/63. Tess lived their with her father Will and mother Eleanor and possibly two siblings. She must have moved out of the house before she was old enough to appear on the electoral roll. Her mother lived there until at least 1949. She sent 2 letters from this address to Lowry circa 1927/28 (Huntington Library Conrad Aiken Archive AIK 2585/2586). 

There are three specific references to the house in Lowry's first novel Ultramarine; Janet's letter to Dana is addressed 26 Dornberg Road, New Brighton, Cheshire, England. (Pg 168); the address is repeated again and (Pg. 169) and "Oh Dana, the sun is shining ever so brightly and the grass in the cricket field looks wonderful after the rain..." (Pg.169) - the rear of 26 Thirlmere Road looks over New Brighton Cricket Club which she would have seen if her bedroom was at the rear of the house. Lowry may have thought that the road was in New Brighton - it is near the boundary between Liscard and New Brighton. Since 1974, the area is in the Wirral Metropolitan Borough and not in the county of Cheshire. The change of name to Dornberg may have been suggested by a road close to where Lowry stayed during his time in Blackheath in 1928.

Note: 26 Thirlmere Street is the pebble dashed house in the above photos.

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