We dig football!

13 July 2015 by Liz

old map showing houses and fields, with one property highlighted

Detail from James Newlands’ 1847 map of Liverpool showing the Queen’s Head. Courtesy of Digital Archives Association

This weekend, on Saturday 18 July, our archaeologists will be heading out looking for a pub – but this one won’t serve them a pint, it’s the site of an important historical event, and is under the ground!

The Museum of Liverpool archaeology team will be leading a community excavation in search of the Queen’s Head, Village Street, Everton in partnership with Friends of Everton Park . We’re looking to find the spot where the agreement was made to rename St Domingo’s Football Club – it became Everton FC in 1879, and from this time grew in size, and became a founder member of the Football League in 1888.

Local historian and former Liverpool Echo sports editor Ken Rogers, author of the best-selling ‘Lost Tribes of Everton’ books has undertaken considerable research about the building, and has discovered that the pub was used for club meetings as Everton’s first secretary John W Clarke was the son of the landlord. Map evidence suggests that the Queen’s Head was built around the 1830s, possibly originally as a house. At some point the ratepayer at the house paid their 2 Guinea for a license under the 1830 Beer Act, and were able to sell beer, developing the house into a pub. The building may only have had one room on the ground floor, but maps also show that there was also a paved area in front which might have been used.

Ken’s research shows that while the football club went from strength to strength, the old pub didn’t: its last landlord was Edwin Pike who closed it in 1895 in the face of increasingly strict legislation on pubs. The property lay empty for two years until, in 1897, it began to deal in milk instead of beer. Mrs A Sutton, described as a Cow Keeper, moved in with her animal/s and started one of many urban dairies supplying fresh milk locally. The dairy continued to operate, under the name Holmes Dairy until around 1960.

This excavation is part of the Walk on the Wild Side event across Everton Park and we’re hoping it may be able to locate the building, and help us learn more about its size, structure, and functions. Everyone’s welcome to come along and enjoy the day’s events , see what we’ve found and perhaps even try your hand at a bit of digging – we’ll be just off Village Street 10am-4pm on Saturday 18 July.

  1. Jan Syme says:

    Looking closely at the map, it shows the pub to be near to the junction of Everton Rd and Everton Valley?? As I went to Everton Valley school and lived off Heyworth St, near St Benedict’s church, I find this confusing. Do you have any other maps available?

  2. Liz says:

    Hi Jan, Thanks for your comment. The pub stood on Village Street, our documentary research suggests it was built, probably as a house, around 1830 and stood until around 1960 – later in its life it was used as a dairy. Come along on Saturday to see what we’ve found and learn more! Liz

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