19th century Liverpool was home to thriving Spanish, Basque, Galician, Filipino and Latin American communities who lived and worked in the maritime and trade networks.
Visitors brought along family photographs and shared their stories with each other. One of these fascinating stories was that of Rosario Perez who was a housekeeper at Buena Ventura, a large mansion house, at 2 Greenbank Drive, near Sefton Park, the home of Miss Asuncion de Larrinaga. (The de Larrinaga family were a successful Basque shipping family in the city).
Alice, Rosario’s daughter-in-law, and Elisa, Alice’s daughter (Rosario’s granddaughter) told us all about her and kindly brought photographs along which were scanned for the Hispanic Liverpool Project.
It was interesting to hear that Rosario spoke mainly only Spanish all of her life. She came to Liverpool 1921, aged 23 from Valencia, Spain and met and married Jose Maria Perez, also from Spain, here in Liverpool in 1930. They had both travelled to Liverpool for work.
Rosario worked for Miss Larrinaga for around 20 years and Jose sailed on the Larrinaga ships. The family lived in L8 and Elisa stayed at Buena Ventura in the summer holidays when Miss Larrinaga travelled back to Spain every year (usually for 6 weeks). Elisa remembers Miss Larrinaga with fondness;
“She bought beautiful presents for all of the family and we always appreciated her kindness. She got us a turkey every Christmas. When we were young my dad would go to collect the turkey from a butcher in Smithdown Road and take us to see her with a bouquet of flowers. She would have the most wonderful boxes of chocolates for my brother Michael, sister Christine and I, which had drawers in the boxes or were engraved, not the usual Milk Tray that was popular at the time. There were suits of armour in the house, a grand piano and a horse in the grounds. To me, as a kid living in Liverpool 8 in the 1960s it was a different world.
We still have a very strong connection to Galicia and have gone to Santiago de Compostela many times”.
Miss Larrinaga died aged 92 in 1990.
The legacies of the Hispanic Community in Liverpool run very deep and reveal many fascinating stories. If you have any stories or photographs about your family’s history please add them to the project website.
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