This was the first ‘highway’ linking Lord Street to the seashore, built in the 1830s and named after James Nevill from Wigan, one of the first Southport residents.
As Southport expanded along Lord Street, the two landowners, Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood and Sir Henry Bold Hoghton, invested in building a road along the boundary between their lands. It was ‘made in a substantial manner’ and soon attracted buildings with the Victoria Baths and the Victoria Hotel at the top on the new Promenade.
…the subjects of our Lady the Queen may go return pass and travel upon through and over the same [Nevill Street] on foot and on Horseback with their Horses Coaches Carts and Carriages without danger
A buried street
Today, Nevill Street rises up to the Promenade, but originally the road was cut through the sandhills and under a bridge to reach the seashore. There were shops and cafes on that level, but at extreme high tides, the sea poured through the gap and flooded Lord Street.
In 1903, the old underpass was filled in and the low-level buildings demolished. The street now led directly up to a new pavilion at the entrance to the Pier. Although there are many stories of buried shops surviving under Nevill Street, so far no evidence has been found.
Who was James Nevill?
He gave his name to one of Southport’s most important streets, but we don’t know much about James Nevill. He was a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) from Wigan and was one of the early residents and promoters of Southport.
More pictures and information at Built on Sand – Nevill Street