Lord Street

This postcard from 1905 shows the wide variety of architecture on Lord Street.
Dan Longman collection

Lord Street is at the heart of Southport – the first road of the new seaside resort which developed into a prime shopping street lined with gardens and wide pavements sheltered by verandahs.

The earliest hotels were set among the sandhills at what is now the south end of Lord Street, at the junction with Duke Street. New buildings sprang up northwards on either side of the dip behind the dunes – in 1821 Christ Church was the most northerly building, but within a decade the street was built up along its length.

Why is Lord Street so wide?

On the seaward side there were primarily shops and public houses, but the other side of the street was mainly houses with long gardens in front of them. The wide elegance of Lord Street – 80 metres between the rows of buildings – is due to the marshy, sometimes flooded ground in the dip between the sandhills, where no one wanted to build.

The earliest two storey shops and houses were gradually replaced with taller commercial and institutional buildings on both sides of the street. Their architects chose a wide range of styles – look up and you’ll see mock-Tudor timbers, blue tiles, stone columns, Islamic-inspired arches and lots of decorative brickwork.

Verandahs and gardens

Many of the shops have iron and glass verandahs in front of them, creating a near continuous shelter from the weather. Look closely at the ironwork and you’ll see lots of variation in their design, and sometimes the name of the manufacturer.

Most of the front gardens on the opposite side are now public spaces, lined with trees, water, grass and plenty of seating for people – and building – watching.

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