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Survived Nazi Germany, but not Liverpool’s property developers?

The unique art deco building that sits on Vauxhall Road, first built in the 19th century, is now being eyed for demolition by Liverpool’s notorious ’developers’. Destroyed in the Blitz amidst WWII, it was rebuilt by the people of Liverpool to retain the site’s magnificent architecture.

A distinctive beacon, it marks the transition between the city centre and the Vauxhall district and has served generations – for a time as a public house (Threlfellas Pub) and later as a community cafe (Marble Hall Cafe).

Despite standing the test of time, the fascinating history of the site only recently come to light in a BBC series called Inside Out, aired in September 2019…

The show followed the story of archeology student Emma Marsh from Liverpool, whose fascination with Crosby’s ‘Brick Beach’ led to a discovery that unearthed a lost tale of Vauxhall’s heritage. The name ‘Brick Beach’ was coined after the devastating German bombings left huge portions of the city littered with rubble. The need to clear the mounds of wrecked buildings saw the remains transported to Crosby’s coast.

Dumped across the two mile stretch of coastline, the bricks were covered in grass. But, 78 years later, the underlying debris has started seeping out – revealing Liverpool’s lost landscape.

A frequent visitor to Crosby beach with her family, Emma started a project to match bits of rubble on the beach to buildings that stood before being hit by the German Luftwaffe. One piece in particular caught Emma’s eye, and she described her findings to BBC Inside Out. “It’s really detailed, carved to a very high quality. You can see along the sides here, hidden by the seaweed, there’s these roses which have been carved in. And leaves reaching up here and ending is some sort of a spiral scroll design. Obviously it would have been on an important big building. This is some lettering. We can see the letters preserved here as A L L S. And I think that it most likely spelt out Threlfalls which was a very popular brewery which had many buildings across Liverpool”

To support her pursuit, Emma posted an image of the large slab of brick on her Twitter account, Archaeology Beach Project. Soon, a response came, locating the carving’s original location – the Thressals Pub on Vauxhall Road.

After extensive research looking at maps ranging from the 1890s to the modern day, Emma noticed the Thressals Pub, which had been blown apart during the war. Emma located the address on Google maps and discovered the structure had been rebuilt – matching the beach-bound piece of rubble.

Emma says on the show, “I would say they tried to recreate it after it was destroyed as accurately as possible. These tiles, they all match, they all look similar. I think the whole frontage would have been re-done, redecorated. It is a really good, really satisfying feeling. I feel like I’ve put the puzzle back together and it’s just great having access to other people through social media that can help me with this and then we can all find the answer.”

The most recent development update on from Acentus Real Estate, the marketing company behind the stalled Metalworks site, revealed in its latest investor update report that they soon plan on knocking the building down to build ‘luxury apartments’.

Although it combines an extraordinary tale of Liverpool’s forefather’s efforts to retain the city’s architectural integrity, with the ambitions of a Liverpool girl’s quest to piece back together the city’s lost history, the closing chapter of this marvelous story ends in defeat for Liverpool’s rich heritage.