Saturday, 24 November 2007

R.P. Daglish, pawnbrokers of Liverpool

This painting of R.P. Daglish Ltd., pawnbrokers, on the corner of Ellison Street and Great Homer Street in Liverpool, is by Billy Schwartz and appears on his page on the Scottie Press site, which covers the local area.

Billy's first job was working in the shop at the age of ten and he posts his memories of the shop as it was in the early 1960s:

The shop was split into two. The front shop sold jewellery, watches, bedding, linen, rugs, pumps (shoes) and all kinds of household goods. The back shop was dark and dingy - and very Dickensian. This was the pawnshop, and every Monday morning ... all manner of items were pawned by the less fortunate ... - and then when Friday afternoon or Saturday morning came around they would be redeemed for the weekend.

The place was like and Aladdin's cave with rooms upstairs crammed to the ceiling with all kinds of stuff. There was a rope and pulley, and trap doors in the floors from the top of the building to the bottom, and this was how all pawned items were transported to the storerooms.

The business had been founded in the nineteenth century by two brothers, Robert Pemberton Daglish and John Henry Daglish, the sons of John Daglish of Wigan (engineer, coal owner and farmer). It is Robert's name that appeared over the shops, and in historical directories he is described as a clothier and outfitter and pawnbroker.

By 1895 the chain of shops had extended as far as St. Helens, and the high point was reached in the early years of the twentieth century when there were two dozen branches around northern and eastern areas of inner Liverpool, with more throughout the wider area.

Robert died in 1904 and on 25 April the Liverpool Echo reported:

Mr Robert Pemberton Daglish, who during many years carried on an extensive business in Liverpool and St Helens as a pawnbroker, died yesterday morning, at his residence, 19 Falkland Road, Liscard. Mr Daglish was sixty-five years of age. His health for some months past had been the cause of grave anxiety. Early yesterday morning he suddenly became worse, and death supervened about four o'clock. The deceased, who was unmarried, was a Conservative, but although approached on several occasions to become a candidate for municipal honours declined to enter public life.

After his death the business continued in his name run by a syndicate of other pawnbrokers. By 1971 the chain had shrunk to one shop in Goodison Road, Everton, and two in West Derby Road, and the business was finally wound up soon after.

Robert is buried at Anfield cemetery in Liverpool with an ornate memorial markerd "RPD" at each corner. This picture was taken in 1991.

In his Will, Robert left money to several local charitable organisations and also for two memorial windows to be erected in Christ Church, Everton - one for his sister Ann Abigail who had married Thomas Abbay and died in 1897 and the other in his own memory. Christ Church was destroyed by bombs in May 1941, leaving no trace of the windows.

This is abbreviated from an article prepared by Richard Daglish, a second cousin three times removed of the brothers John Henry and Robert Pemberton Daglish. If you are interested in more details, or have any memories of the shops, please let me know and I will be happy to put you into contact with Richard.

Steve from the Friends of Anfield Cemetery has kindly sent me an updated photo of the memorial as it is today. Steve writes: "Shame it is starting to fall apart and taken over by the tree. The inscription is hardly readable."

June 2009:

Since the above picture was taken, work has taken place to clear the monument (see below). Thanks to Martin Doherty, the cemeteries manager, and the Glendale the ground staff and also to Steve for the further update.


Brian Cowen said...

My grandfather worked as a pawnbroker's assistant from the age of 14 in 1909 at RP Daglish at 74 Goodison Road. He had been at the Bluecoat from 1905. From 11 December 1909 he was apprenticed to Daglish. We don't know how long he worked in pawnbroking but after going to war on 1 October 1915 and surviving a gassing, he went on to other jobs.

We have a photographic postcard via my mother which shows Daglish premises at the corner of Nesfield Street. This street had corners with Everton Valley/Walton Lane and Sleepers Hill/Walton Breck Road. It shows 5 people posing outside of the shop, 2 children, 2 young men and, possibly, the manager standing in the doorway.

Brian Cowen

The entry on my website is:

Jonny Andrews said...

My Great Grandfather started his apprenticeship at R.P Daglish pawnbrokers on the 2nd of November 1890. I have his detailed contract which is which is signed by himself, my great great grandfather, A mr Thompson and R>P Daglish.