View of the docks and church of St. Nicholas. Notice how close the water's edge is to the church.

A short history of Liverpool.

And The Monro's place in it.



“Pool” in old English means inlet of water.  You can see the inlet that came in from the River Mersey, in both the painting and on the map. It was useful to pull in there with your small sailing barge and unload goods at the small dock. 


The first part of the name is thought to be derived from the Welsh word "Llif", meaning flood, so the name Liverpool, literally means a flooding pool or inlet.





The castle can be clearly seen on the map and the painting, which was built in 1247 but was a ruin from the 1700’s.  To the right of the pool were fields and “Park Road”. This road still exists today and took you to the King’s deer hunting ground of Toxteth Park.


The area on the right side of the pool is where The Monro now stands, but what caused that side of the pool to be developed?





In 1715 that pool was encased in stone around the edges while the upper reaches were filled in.  It became the first ever enclosed dock in the world and was designed by Thomas Steers.
Within 50 years, the increase of trade from the new dock led to the right hand side of the new enclosed dock being developed.

The Monro appeared for the first time on a map in 1750.  The Monro is actually two merchants homes joined into one.


There were still green fields owned by Mrs Colquitt (Colquitt Street is named after her) next to The Monro. There would have been fine views from The Monro towards the dock allowing the merchants to see what was going on.


This is why in the very early days Duke Street became full of merchants homes like these ones in Williamson Square.

"Pool" of Liverpool 1572
The castle can clearly be seen in the centre. Still open country on the right side of the map where The Monro now stands.
Painting of Liverpool "pool"
The castle as seen in this painting can also be seen on the map as a square.  It was demolished in 1726.
View of the old dock 1780
View of the original old dock with the Customs House added in 1780. Sadly demolished in 1948.
"New" houses in Williamson Sq
The creation of the dock brought on a Georgian building boom across Liverpool.
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Who lived at The Monro?

The wealthiest merchant and shipowner of his generation John Bolton (1756 1837) used to look out of his front door to the docks beyond and watch his ships sailing into the old Liverpool dock.


He was friends with George Canning (of Canning Street fame) and  William Husskison (of Husskison Dock). All of these people would have visited The Monro when it was his home.


John Bolton’s other famous friends included the famous poet William Wordsworth and many other celebrities of the day. His wealth grew so much he bought a country mansion in Cumbria , Storrs Hall on the shores of Lake Windermere Cumbria. It’s now a hotel and you can go for a coffee and see for yourself his former luxury home.(

John Bolton lived at The Monro when it was a merchants home.  He fought the last dual with pistols - and won at Otterspool.

The Monro is born in 1817.

Duke Street by the turn of century had been transformed into a bustling area serving the shipping industry.  The merchants moved fuerther out to Toxteth and Everton.


Duke Street had several public houses and beer houses. Beer houses sold beer and could be set up in your front room while public houses were for the sale of spirits as well as beer, with or without overnight rooms.


The Monro started off as a beer, wine & spirit merchants, and you can see from this advert we used to sell ales and deliver them to the fine houses in the local area.

Even at that time there were mansions with gardens nearby.


Where is the name of The Monro from?


The Monro is named after the 3 masted sailing ship "The James Monro" which was part of the famous Black Ball Line formed in 1817. The Monro was in turn named after the then US President, James Monro(e).


The Monro packet ship was the first regular scheduled transatlantic ship service between Liverpool and New York carrying various non bulk cargoes like apples and hops and indeed passengers to the New World. The Monro stayed in service until 1850.



Original advert from the Liverpool Mercury

The M.V, Monro launched in 1817

The sad decline of our great city

Cargo ships grew and grew in size and the old dock was soon filled in and new docks were built to the north and south of the city.


By the 1970's & 80's many of the docks were derelict as the new container ships docked at the new port in Seaforth. For another 30 years The Monro struggled on, in a largely derelict street, as a filthy, and mostly derelict pub.

The Monro was a derelict pub in an area of town that had seen a long decline since the 1960’s.  


The big idea was the new fangled gastropub and the new owners, Will & Nikos took a train to London see what it was all about.  What they found shocked them to say the least.


The London gastropubs served great food but the pubs were really rundown. “We have one of those” quipped Nikos at the time.


Will was equally unimpressed, “Is this what all the fuss is about? Great food while sat on a slashed bench seat? There’s no way that would work in Liverpool". They knew at the time any future customers would want to eat in a spotless, yet cosy environment. So they restored and refurbished, blending the classic with the contemporary, adding more and more architectural detail that had been lost through the years.




The mission was now to make, bake and create genuinely fresh food. London had its fresh food markets, Liverpool didn’t. Another plan was needed to bring fresh ingredients to The Monro, long before farmers markets became fashionable.


So using copies of the Yellow Pages (remember them!) with visits out to farms and long drives to unique suppliers, this all became part of The Monro’s DNA that still exists today and is loved by all.

Check out our Liverpool gallery 

Taking you from 1600's to the present day.

Liverpool Docks Herdman 1862 copy
1911 Mounted Police transport strike Livepool
Rodney street in 1904, Livepool
St Johns beacon, Livepool under construction
1860 Map of Livepool
118 Duke Street Livepool
Georgian houses in Williamson Square, Livepool 1868. copy
Liverpool Castle 1600's
Old Liverpool Custom house & castle
1725 Map of Liverpool
1765 Map of Liverpool
George's Dock 1858
Liverpool Dock &  St Nicholas Church
Liverpool Docks 1862
Georgian houses in Williamson Square
Painting circa 1868 not the newly built M&S, left side of painting at the back, which was originally a hotel.
Park Lane, Liverpool
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© 2020

The Monro, 92 Duke Street, Liverpool, L1 5AG   Tel: 0151 707 9933

Open 12pm-7pm Thursday to Sunday. Food served all day.

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