Saturday, 9 March 2013

13 North Drive, New Brighton, Wirral

13, North Drive (middle house with door showing)
Lowry was born at 13, North Drive, New Brighton on 28th July 1909:

On Thursday 29th July, the births columns in the Liverpool Echo announced: ‘LOWRY – July 28th, at Warren Crest, North-drive, New Brighton, to Mr and Mrs Arthur Lowry, a son’.  (Gordon Bowker, Pursued by Furies Pg.7)

In the past, the address has been problematic for commentators and biographers for 2 reasons - the geographical location of the address and whether Lowry's former home was still standing. Both problems were resolved with the 2009 publication of the book From the Mersey to the World.

If we look at the history of Lowry’s birthplace, this confusion amongst different commentators becomes understandable. In 1909, North Drive was in New Brighton, which was part of the County Borough of Wallasey. The electoral ward of New Brighton and later Warren (New Brighton was split into several different voting wards as the town grew) was in the Parish of Liscard. In 1909, Wallasey was in the County of Cheshire; but in 1974 it was amalgamated, along with other districts – including Birkenhead – into the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. Because of the nearness of Liverpool, and Lowry’s association with the city, some commentators have also incorrectly given Liverpool as Lowry’s birthplace.

Lowry’s brother, Russell, stated in the Malcolm Lowry Review in 1987 in response to a piece by Mark Thomas, entitled ‘Pilgrimage to Caldy’, in the same journal: "Warren Crest wasn’t worth looking for. It isn’t there any more. Wallasey suffered heavy bomb damage during WW2. I understand the site has been redeveloped". (Malcolm Lowry Review Numbers 21 & 22 Fall 1987 & Spring 1988 Pg. 102)

The electoral register for 1909 and 1911 had Arthur Lowry living at No. 13, with no mention of Warren Crest. 

The 1911 Gore’s Directory above confirms that Arthur Lowry was living at No. 13 and additionally that the property was called Warren Crest – which to date is the only documentary evidence of this, other than the birth record in the Liverpool Echo and Russell Lowry’s statements. 

Evidence collected from maps, electoral rolls, photographs and documentary evidence established that 13 North Drive was not damaged in the war and survived. (From the Mersey to the World Pg ).

Since the publication of From the Mersey to the World, further evidence has emerged in the form of the deeds for the house which establishes beyond a doubt that Lowy's birthplace still exists:

The deeds also show that  developer for 13 North Drive was David Benno Rapport, who also developed houses in Caldy where the Lowry family moved to in 1911 taking up residence at Inglewood.

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