Peephole into History - 4a Bold Street

We research every building that takes a Southport Townscape Heritage grant for refurbishment, so we can create a ‘Peephole into History’ information panel for passers-by. This is what we found out about 4a Bold Street – with a few extra bits that didn’t fit on the panel.

What’s special about this building?

4a Bold Street looks like the rest of the row, but it wasn’t always like that. It began as a single-storey building tacked onto three terraced houses at 4-8 Bold Street. It was probably the office for John Robinson, an accountant, who lived at number 4 – called Suffolk Villa – for over twenty years from the 1850s with his wife, Elizabeth. They didn’t have any children.

A map with buildings coloured in pink and glazed structures in blue showing the buildings on part of Bold Street with an arrow pointing to 4a.

The arrow is pointing to 4a Bold Street on this map of about 1890. It was squeezed into a gap next to what was the garden of a house on Lord Street.

By 1903, R Bentinck was using the office and he submitted two planning applications to convert the whole terrace into shops. No work was carried out, and 4a had become a confectioner’s by 1912.

A building plan showing a single storey brick building with an arched window and door attached to a taller building with a shop front.

This design was apparently never built – there were several proposals for the whole terrace in the 1890s and early 1900s.

In 1913, Elizabeth Higson put in more plans for shopfronts and this time the terrace was turned into three shops, with large glazed shopfronts. An extra floor was added to the office at number 4a at the same time.

A drawing on the left of a single storey building with a large shop window and a door attached to a taller building, and another drawing on the right showing it with the addition of a second storey with a bay window.

Elizabeth Higson was the daughter of a builder, whose family moved to Southport from Birkenhead in the 1860s. By 1901 the family, with four unmarried daughters, were running a boarding house at 62 Promenade, on the corner of Leicester Street. They later moved to Bournemouth, perhaps after the First World War, when 4a became a hairdressers, Bagshaw and Stefani. The Stefani family were still running it in 1951.

Although there have been changes through its history, the building still has an original sash window on the first floor. 4a Bold Street has had many different uses, and the next part of its history is as a café bar – Farmhouse Kitchen’s Grazing Lounge.

What did the grant do?

The building has benefitted from a Townscape Heritage grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund towards the cost of a more traditional shop front with sash windows. The verandah has taken a battering from the elements, so the owner has repaired and repainted it.

Picture credits: National Library of Scotland maps; Lancashire Archives, DDSc/155/1

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