George and Annie Jane Goodison

Towards the Foundation of a Stadium, and how Classical Egypt came to Waterloo

Mike Royden

The name ‘Goodison Park’ has always had a touch of class about it, but it so easily could have been called ‘Mere Green’ or possibly ‘Walton Stiles’:  Mere Green being the land leased (and later purchased) for the new Everton FC stadium, and Walton Stiles being the ancient footpath that once ran from the Walton Church area, approximately along what is now Goodison Road, down Spellow Lane and on to County Road.  

But where did the name originate, and how did it become the name of the road?

This particular ‘Goodison’ name actually had its origins in Leeds, where in the suburb of Holbeck, George William Goodison was born on 8 October 1843, the son of Samuel Goodison, a milk dealer, and his wife Elizabeth.  As George reached his mid-teens, Samuel was of sufficient wealth to be able to support his son’s education to train as a civil engineer, a career that was becoming increasingly recognised as respectable profession, with financial rewards to match.

Baptism of George William Goodison
The Goodison family (bottom entry) in Hunslet – 1851 Census
Goodison at the home of Alfred Taylor at Kilshaw Terrace, Crosby – 1861 Census

Mid-nineteenth century engineers eagerly sought social gentility, with the associated estate and lifestyle, especially as their credibility and qualification had been enhanced following the establishment of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in 1818. George Goodison became a pupil of a qualified engineer, Alfred Taylor in 1859, who at twenty-six, was only ten years George’s senior, and a fellow Yorkshireman, although from Sowerby Bridge, some distance from the Beeston/Hunslet suburb of Leeds.  His tutelage came with board and lodging – in Taylor’s Crosby home at Kilshaw Terrace – and as an articled apprentice position with Taylor in his Canning Chambers office, 4 South John Street, Liverpool.  There he worked on various bridge, sewerage, land drainage, and road works projects. He also gained experience in canal navigation, while serving as assistant to the Chief Engineer of the Bridgewater Trust.

However, tragedy struck the family when Alfred died just three years later in 1864, at the age of only thirty.  He was interred in Toxteth Cemetery on 27 October.   Work colleague Thomas Mellard Reade, architect, and engineer, swiftly went into partnership with George, purchased Taylor’s business, and carried on trading in the same office as ‘Reade and Goodison, Architects, Civil Engineers, and Surveyors.’   There is something Dickensian regarding Reade’s actions following Taylor’s death, not only did he take over the business, the offices, his clients, and his apprentice, within eighteen months he also married his widow Emma Taylor in a move that Uriah Heap would have been proud of. 

Liverpool Mercury, 12 November 1864

Reade was foremost an architect, but also an engineer, who had recently patented apparatus for regulating and controlling the supply of fresh water to water closets and for other purposes. This sphere of water supply and drainage became a specialist profession for the business over the next few years, while George completed his articles of apprenticeship under Reade’s guidance.  

Dr William Duncan

Yet this was no ordinary line of work.  Back in 1832, after visiting Liverpool during the cholera epidemic of that year, Doctor William Duncan saw at first hand the conditions which soon led him to put the causes firmly at the door of poverty and overcrowding, both rife in the squalid housing of the poor in the streets below his practices. He was shocked at what his researches into their lives revealed, and so began a lifelong campaign to improve their housing conditions and sanitation. His early theories were published in the Liverpool Medical Gazette in 1833, where Duncan wrote and analysed the 216 cases he had attended, of which fifty-six had died. The vast majority were living in courts and cellars, where a quarter of those deaths had occurred, while only a seventh of the deaths were in the minority of those cases living in decent housing.  He talked of the need for community strategies to fight disease, and how private health was not enough. Then after a decade of experience in the field and collecting information through his practice at the Liverpool Dispensaries, he gave lectures on his findings which he published in a pamphlet entitled ‘The Physical Causes of the High Mortality Rate in Liverpool in 1843’. (1)

With cholera sweeping its way through the slums of the great towns of the period, Edwin Chadwick in his Parliamentary inquiry concluded that the most important measures which could be taken to improve the health of the public were ‘drainage, removal of all refuse from habitations, streets and roads and the improvements of the supplies of water.’ (2) But water companies were reluctant to take measures to ensure the purity of their product, however, public pressure was stronger than their resistance, and the first of the Public Health Acts was introduced in 1848 to enable local authorities take control of their environmental health. (3)

Liverpool court housing

Liverpool authorities, however, had already made moves, and in April 1845 the Health of Towns Association in Liverpool was established – with Duncan a key member – and they helped to create Liverpool’s first Sanitary Act in 1846. The following year on 1 Jan 1847, Liverpool Town Council finally acted on Chadwick’s 1842 Report on the sanitary conditions, when they appointed Doctor William Duncan as the country’s first Medical Officer of Health.

James Newlands

He took a scientific approach to his work, carrying out research, collecting data and analysing his findings, before producing pamphlets to circulate his reports. In one inquiry looking into the average age of deaths, he revealed that in Wiltshire it was 36.5 years, while in Liverpool the 1841 figure had been reduced to only nineteen. Furthermore, he revealed that the annual death rate in Liverpool was one in twenty-eight, while in Birmingham it was one in thirty-seven. Although the analysis wasn’t scientific by modern standards, it was certainly something the local population could understand, especially as during the 1840s, constant outbreaks of typhus, cholera and dysentery had been decimating the local population by the thousands. 

When Duncan was appointed Medical Officer of Health, he was joined by two further notable appointees, creating a powerful and effective triumvirate tackling the problems of poor housing and sanitation. James Newlands was the new Borough Engineer, and Thomas Fresh, Inspector of Nuisances. Newlands came to the post with very little experience. He was the son of an Edinburgh ropemaker, studied mathematics and philosophy at Edinburgh University, then worked as an apprentice to a local architect. Nevertheless, he soon proved more than capable by engineering the world’s earliest integrated sewerage system in Liverpool. He worked closely with Dr Duncan, researching the links between poor sanitation and disease and they called for the clearance of cramped, insanitary slum dwellings to be replaced by spacious and well-ventilated new housing.

Yet another cholera epidemic broke out in Liverpool in 1854, but the measures had begun to take hold, and deaths were down by 80% on the 1849 outbreak. Although a corner seemed to have been turned, there was still a long way to go. In 1858 for example, scarlatina killed almost 1,200 children, and measles another 520. Diphtheria and whooping cough were also serious killers among the young, while tuberculosis claimed around 2,000 young and old each year. Nevertheless, death rates were declining.

Dr Duncan died on 23 May 1863 aged 58 and was succeeded in his post by Dr W.S. Trench, who continued the methods which Duncan had pioneered. It was not until the Royal Sanitary Commission of 1870 and the subsequent Public Health Acts of 1872 and 1875 that it became a statutory responsibility for districts to appoint a Medical Officer of Health. Despite the continuing problems of poor housing, conditions did improve from the 1870s, with the construction of new, healthier housing. The Act required local authorities to implement building regulations, or bye-laws, which insisted that each house should be self-contained, with its own sanitation and water. This change in the design of housing complemented the public investment in sewers and water supply. In the last quarter of the 19th century, huge numbers of new houses were constructed, with long rows of terraced housing, in grids of streets, easily cleaned and inspected.

Consequently, there was a great demand for qualified architects and engineers, many in private practice, to see these plans through, and of course, to reap the benefits.

Into this maelstrom of urban development, the Institution of Civil Engineers played its key role, regulating its membership, tightening apprenticeship and examination standards, while also seeking political and legal recognition of its status. Members aspired to conform with the higher standards of family life, accumulate impressive estate, while contributing to church and local society.

According to R. A. Buchanan, eighteenth-century British engineers had been a ‘motley crew,’ and were generally classed as skilled artisans, along with mechanics, smiths, moulders, and millwrights. (4)    But some, like Brindley, Telford, and Jessop, rose to a higher position by the design and building of public works and large industrial machinery. The major canal, railway, and waterworks projects of the first half of the nineteenth century made the reputation of civil engineering.  The apogee of this phase cumulated in the achievements witnessed at the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851.  In a new world in which anything seemed possible, engineers were to revel with unique self-assurance in the great Victorian period of prosperity that followed.

Both Reade and Goodison realised the kudos that membership of a professional body would bring to their business, and both were proposed for associate membership into the prestigious Institution of Civil Engineers in early 1871.  George’s sponsor stated;

‘…he served a pupillage of 5 years 1859-64 to the late Mr Alfred Taylor C.E., Liverpool, and during that period was employed on various bridge, sewerage, land drainage, navigation, and road works; was for a short time assistant to the Engineer to the Bridgewater Trust; and from 1864 to the present time has been in private practice, as a member of the firm of Reade and Goodison, Civil Engineers, engaged in designing and in carrying out numerous important works, including, among others, the main sewerage works of Woolton, Walton on the Hill, Birkdale, Blundellsands and Little Crosby; likewise street improvements, and public and private roads, and in laying out building estates at Blundellsands, Great Crosby, Little Crosby, Birkdale and Freshfield and in preparing plans for irrigation works at several of those places and also for gas works at Birkdale.’ (5)

With the support of ten seconders, he was elected into the Institution on 4 April 1871, as was his partner Thomas Mellard Reade, further raising their profiles as qualified professionals. (6)

Goodison’s membership of the Institution of Civil Engineers 1871

Although engineers were becoming more respectable, only a minority held the coveted status of ‘professional consultant.’  On 9 January 1865, Goodison’s worth to the locality and their urgent sanitation programme had already been recognised, when he was appointed Civil Engineer for the local boards of both Walton-on the-Hill and Much Woolton.  (Walton did not become part of Liverpool until 1895).  Their first project was immediately commissioned; to lay out the roadway and flag the pavements in Church Road, Walton, linking County Road and Walton Lane.  

Liverpool Albion, 9 January 1865
Liverpool Mercury 23 January 1865
Crosby sewerage tenders – Liverpool Daily Post, 11 September 1865
Crosby sewerage tenders – Liverpool Daily Post, 11 September 1865
Liverpool Albion, 25 May 1868
An extract from Nature Magazine, 13 October 1870, on Reade & Goodison’s work laying drains and sewer pipes in the area.

In 1868 Goodison presented his ‘Report to the Walton Local Board on the Sewage of the District and Disposal of the Sewage of Walton and West Derby by Irrigation’ (7) with an ‘Appendix on Facts in Sewage, Farming etc’ (8) by both Reade and Goodison.  They showed how much fertilizing power was being thrown away by the present ineffective sewerage systems, and how great a source of profit the sewage they were so anxious to get rid of could be made instead with their recommendations, while also showing how large portions of the Walton district were well suited to sewage farming. (9)     The plans were approved, and put to tender, the work commencing in mid-1869. 

Liverpool Daily Post 12 April 1869

His position in his profession and society now assured, he was now able to marry and to purchase a residence to reflect his social standing.  By 1868, he moved from Marine Cresent in Waterloo to a fine town house; Gateacre House, in Grange Lane in the centre of the pretty village of Gateacre (now demolished, the site under modern housing in Grange Lane/Eaglehurst Road).

Annie Jane Padley

By the 1860s, George had made the acquaintance of Annie Jane Padley – no doubt through meeting as neighbours (Goodison had lived in Dean Steet with the Taylor family, just at the other end of East Street which faced Picton Cottage, her home), while probably moving in the same social circles.  Born in 1845, Annie was the niece of builder John Padley, and grew up in the Crosby area near to George.  The census of 1851, records the family living at Picton Cottage; – John Padley and his wife Jane (b.1809), niece Annie Jane, and Jane’s unmarried sister Isabella Nunn (b.1813) who was listed as ‘Housekeeper.’   The sisters had grown up in Pembrokeshire, in the small Welsh community of Slebech in the Picton Park wooded estate dominated by Picton Castle and Slebech Hall on the banks of the River Cleddau. They were the daughters of James Nunn, a ‘plowman’ (plough man) and his wife Elizabeth.  The population today is still a sparce 120, and would have been even less in the early nineteenth century when the Nunn sisters were born. 

Baptism of Isabella, daughter of James Nunn, a ‘plowman’ (plough man) and his wife Elizabeth, of Slebech, Pembrokeshire. Isabella was the mother of Annie Padley.
Slebech in the Picton Park wooded estate dominated by Picton Castle and Slebech Hall, Pembrokeshire

Opportunities for the daughters were very few, and Jane soon left home for the expanding port of Liverpool, where she met John Padley from a family of builders and tradesmen, and married him at St Mary’s, Edge Hill on 18 October 1834.  Jane’s sister Mary travelled up from Slebech for the wedding and signed the register, along with John’s carpenter brother Charles.  They moved to Waterloo, Crosby, where they settled in Picton Cottage, possibly named as a reminder of home.  (Although, Picton Road is presumed to have been named after Welshman Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Picton MP, who was killed at Waterloo, which is in keeping with many of the original street name origins in the locality). (10)(11)

Jane may have been accompanied by her younger sister Isabella, when she first moved to Liverpool, but whatever the case, she was certainly living with John and Jane in Picton Cottage by 1841.   However, by early 1845 Isabella had become pregnant, and Annie Jane was born later that year on 5 November.  To be an unmarried mother at this time, and in a ‘respectable’ part of the town, this could have been a social disaster for the family.  Whereas some unmarried mothers were often turned out of the house to avoid the stigma, in a move to stifle the local wagging tongues, James gave Anne his surname and they continued to live as a family. (12)

Annie recorded in Picton Cottage, Crosby – 1851 Census
Picton Cottage, Waterloo (right)
Picton Cottage (right) in relation to Adelaide Terrace, Beech Lawn, Waterloo

Annie was well educated, and began to develop a keen interest in Egyptology and archaeology. However, her studies were interrupted with the death of her uncle and guardian, John Padley, after he suffered an epileptic fit on 6 August 1859. He left the family estate worth around £7,000, a considerable sum at the time, worth approximately £1.1 million today. Sometime between 1861 and 1868, they moved just a few hundred yards to Adelaide Terrace in a more pleasant aspect on the coastal frontage, overlooking the Mersey.

1 Beech Lawn, Adelaide Terrace, Waterloo
1 Beech Lawn, Adelaide Terrace, Waterloo

Meanwhile, Annie’s fascination in Egyptology took her to Chester, where she was likely to have been furthering her studies, possibly on courses organised by the Chester Architectural, Archaeological, and Historic Society, which had been established in 1849.  There were also several private schools for ladies in Chester, so it is possible she was also teaching at the same time, while living in Paradise Row on the north side of the racecourse. (13)

In 1868, George followed Annie to Chester, where they married on 19 August in St Bride’s Church, and on their return to Liverpool, they settled down to married life in Gateacre House.  Not only was she now a talented young Egyptologist, but she was also becoming an avid collector of artefacts and was keen to add to her collection.  As the wives or daughters of wealthy industrialists, many such women had financial independence. They could travel abroad and even fund the work of archaeologists. They met explorers and made friendships with museum curators, sharing adventures and knowledge. Their passion for collecting enabled them to satisfy their curiosity and demonstrate their status in society. During her studies, Anne became an acquaintance of the Reverend Greville John Chester, also a collector of Egyptian artefacts, who assisted in purchasing Egyptian antiquities for the British Museum in London. Many of the artefacts purchased or collected by Anne were as a result of his advice.

At the time of the 1871 census, George was recorded alone at home in Gateacre, suggesting that Annie may have been abroad on one of her expeditions (she has yet to be traced elsewhere on the census).  Her fascination would remain as an ever-present – and serious – pursuit throughout their four decades together. 

1871 Census – George Goodison in Grange Lane, Gateacre

Three years later, George’s partnership with Thomas Reade came to an end when it was dissolved on 7 August 1874, following which Goodison went into partnership with Atkinson and Forde, taking a Liverpool office in Orange Court, Castle Street.  An early contract was overseeing sewer improvements at Kirkby Sewage Farm for the Walton Local Board.

Tender for laying a sewage pipe in Kirkby, Liverpool Mercury, 7 April 1875
Liverpool Mercury, 26 August 1878
Liverpool Daily Post, 26 June 1879

Further contracts for the Board followed.  Following their purchase of Skirving’s flower and vegetable nursery, which lay between County Road and Mere Green, George W. Goodison surveyed the land and drew up plans for the main extension sewerage system, eventually laid out in Walton in 1878, followed by Rice Lane and the Lower Breck area in 1879, thus enabling the extensive development of artisan terraced housing throughout the area. The scheme was such a success that in acknowledgment the newly laid out road along part of the route of the ancient Walton Stiles footpath was later named after Goodison.

Walton Nursery (Skirving’s Nursery) – 1850
Maps of the Goodison Road area and the course of the Walton Stiles footpath, published 1850/1 and 1894 (surveyed before the construction of Goodison Park in 1892) – Many thanks to Darren White for the route mark and pitch highlights.

This development of Walton was the most extensive yet witnessed in the area, but some looked upon the ‘wanton destruction’ of the countryside, its ancient properties, and footpaths, with utter dismay. In 1879, just as Everton Football Club had completed their first season under their new name – and as George Goodison’s land drainage and sewer system was being laid out across Skirving’s Nursery and the land between County Road and Walton Lane –  ‘W.G.H’ of St Domingo Vale wrote to the Liverpool Mercury, bemoaning the swifty disappearing landscape, while appealing to its readers to protect what would soon be gone forever…



“Gentlemen -Those who take an interest in the antiquities and early styles of domestic architecture in Liverpool have now an opportunity of seeing the last remnant left in the good old town, but will not be spared long, as we believe it will be taken down within a fortnight.  We allude to Spellow House, Walton – till lately enclosed by Skirving’s gardens.(14)  This singular specimen of the thoughts and ideas of the architects of some 600 or 700 years ago, is the more interesting when we reflect that it is much older than either Bank Hall or Speke.  The mortar and tenon style and the square-headed windows of private mansions did not commence till the reign of Henry VIII, and were brought to great perfection in the time of Elizabeth.

Some date this mansion as far back as early in the twelfth century; but we have some data to reply on, as the ancient wooden mill belonging to the estate was known to be 500 years old at the commencement of the present century. It existed in the year 1825, when it was burnt down. We, however, had taken care to make a drawing of it before its unfortunate destruction, which may be seen at the gallery of views of Ancient Liverpool, at Messrs. Brown, Barnes and Bell’s, Bold Street.  The mill stood upon a narrow country lane leading westward to the rising ground above Mr Lunt’s farm on Walton Road.(15)   There was a magnificent sea view from the mill grounds, and Liverpool was then an invisible solitude, little dreaming of its coming greatness.  There were very extensive grounds belonging to Spellow House, and its fine avenue of noble trees, which led from the front of the mansion to the road, 12 certainly there yet, but alas, all lying cut down, not one remaining to show their ancient grandeur, for they must have been fine trees from the immense circumference of many of them as they lie in their ruin and desolation now.  It seems melancholy to reflect that no hope is visible of preserving any of the numerous well-wooded districts around and close to Liverpool. Everything falls before the ruthless hand of the builder, and all the fine wooded lanes and fields around Anfield, Everton and Walton are hastening to the destination which has brought the town to its unenviable title of “treeless Liverpool.”

The lands of Spellow House extend chiefly westward before the front of the mansion, probably as far as Westminster Road. They were bounded on the east and north sides by two footpaths, which we should like to call public attention to, as they seem at present likely to be absorbed by the builders, which is very wrong, as they have been very useful, probably for many centuries, and we have always entertained the idea that public footpaths used for unknown time were public property, belonged to nobody, and could not be claimed as private property.  Both these public footpaths, which we knew well 60 years ago, seem now in progress of being built upon, which we consider an unlawful act, and of the authorities should look after it. 

The one on the east side of Spellow House is as yet intact [i.e. Walton Stiles]. It takes the pedestrian a useful short cut straight from Walton Lane across the fields to Walton.  We must call attention to the land between this footpath and Anfield Cemetery, because this land belongs to nobody. It is what is called ‘No Man’s Land.’  No one could ever show a title to it, yet it is being encroached upon by someone, and it should be looked after.*  It has been for ages a boggy wet land, the water draining into it from the rocks of Stanley Park; and lately, when some sewers were made along the road past the cemetery, they kept pumping them daily, and were filled as fast as they emptied.

The second, or north path, led from Lunt’s (or Lund’s farm past Spellow Mill over the then fields to Westminster Road. It was the boundary of the Spellow Estate northwards, the fields beyond it being church lands, belonging to Walton Church.  This useful path seems in danger of immediate destruction.  Little is known by whom the mansion was erected, or what family or families resided at it in early times.  There has long been tradition that one of the Edwards, probably Edward I, was entertained a night at this house on his way to Wales.”

W.G.H.,  St Domingo Vale  (–  Letter to the Editor, Liverpool Mercury, 1 July 1879).

[*This was Mere Green – later to become Goodison Park and the Bullens Road streets.  The author may have believed this to be common wasteland without ownership, but George Mahon took a rental lease on the land in 1892, before its outright purchase. The pump mentioned can be seen on the bottom of the 1850 map just inside Stanley Park].

This is quite possibly the only known eyewitness description of the land, which by 1892, would become Goodison Park


The correspondent was, in fact, well known in Liverpool, and remains so to this day – William Gawain Herdman (1805–1882), landscape painter, teacher and author. Indeed, no other city in England possesses such a fine collection of sketches and paintings documenting the architecture and landscape of a nineteenth century locality.  It is highly likely that most readers resident in the Merseyside area have come across his drawings and paintings, as they grace a plethora of books and articles about Liverpool and the Wirral, not to mention those hanging in the museum galleries and libraries throughout Liverpool.  Although his claims of a historical nature in the article are tenuous to say the least, what is of most value are his contemporary observations of the surrounding landscape. He was there, and he walked it, as well as recording much of it with his pencil or brush.  His sons William, William Patrick, John Innes, and Stanley carried on his work, with varying levels of success.  Liverpool Central Library purchased a large part of their work in the late nineteenth century which consists of over 1,200 watercolours and sketches. (16,17,18)

The view from West Villa, 41 St Domingo Vale, Everton, from 1855 until his death, the home of William Gawain Herdman, painted by his son James Innes Herdman. (Looking towards Breck Road and the Water Tower on Margaret Street).

Herdman died in 1882, although he did see the initial development of the Anfield area, which was just a few yards from his house at West Vale, 41 St Domingo Vale.

The land he described as ‘No Man’s Land,’ and the ‘boggy wet land’ was undoubtedly Mere Green – which was being encroached upon as he described.  This was the initial laying out of the Gwladys Street-Leta Street area, and the Bullens Road area near to the Anfield Cemetery gates. (Earliest maps show ‘Bullins‘ Road, after the nineteenth century owner of Walton Hall, Richard Bullin).   The Walton Stiles football and cricket pitches would soon be swallowed up by housing, but part of Mere Green was preserved.  That is until 1892 of course, when Everton director George Mahon revealed he had taken out a lease on the property, once it became clear that the future of the club was no longer at Anfield.

Mere Green Surveyed 1890
Showing the beginning of the encroachment upon the ‘common land’ of Mere Green. At the bottom can be seen the initial layout and name of ‘Bullin’ Road, while at the top left lies the church plot and mission house, later to be St Luke’s Church
St Luke’s Mission 1895
Committee Minutes, 25 January 1892 – confirmation of selection of the proposed new site at Goodison Road, should the dispute with Houlding remain unresolved. (The Everton Collection)
Committee Minutes 20 June 1892, which included the naming of the new ground (The Everton Collection)

Nevertheless, despite Goodison’s programme of improvements to make locality fit for housing, there was still much to do to turn this common wasteland into something resembling a football ground capable of hosting an expanding fanbase around a pitch worthy of the Football League.  Firstly, the field had to be cleared, then levelled, a drainage system installed, and the new playing area turfed.

According to Thomas Keates,

“A Mr Barton was contracted to do this on 29,471 square yards a 4 ½ d per square yard, a formidable initial expenditure.  Then Mr J. Prescott, a prominent local architect and surveyor was engaged. He lived in a fine old house on the border of the estate, and was an enthusiastic, jolly, sportsman in his leisure hours.   On June 7th a contract was made with Kelly Brothers, the Walton builders, to erect two uncovered stands to accommodate 4,000 each, and a covered stand to accommodate 3,000, for £1,640** – with a penalty clause in the event of non-completion by July 31st. On June 20th another contract was made with them to erect outside enclosing hoardings at a cost of £150.  Twelve turnstiles were ordered at £7 15s each; on August 9th a third contract was with Kelly Brothers for gates, sheds, etc, for the sum of £132 10s, to be completed by August 20th.”

Keates, Thomas, History of the Everton Football Club 1878-9–1928-9; A Jubilee History (1929), p.44

 [**Worth around £270,000 today]

George Mahon, Everton F.C. Director

After a celebratory dinner at the Adelphi Hotel on 24 August 1892, chaired by Mr George Mahon, the dignitaries repaired to Goodison, where Lord Kinnaird, President of the F.A., declared the ground open, to the thunderous applause of 12,000 spectators there to witness the event, which continued as the party paraded around the ground.  A programme of sports events followed, the band of the 3rd King’s Liverpool Regiment provided stirring music, and the day was rounded off with an impressive firework display.

The inaugural game was a friendly against the formidable opposition of Bolton Wanderers on Thursday 1 September 1892.  Mr Mahon ceremoniously kicked off, Everton won the fixture 4-2, but the real start against league opposition came two days later on Saturday 3 September, in the opening league game of the 1892-93 season, when Everton drew 2-2 with Nottingham Forest in front of a crowd of 14,000.   

The enduring story of Goodison Park was officially underway.

The first team selections for the first few home games at the new Goodison Park stadium,
Minutes of the Everton FC Committee, 30 August 1892 (The Everton Collection)
Goodison Park by 1905


Meanwhile, despite still acting as Civil Engineer to the Walton Local Board, George Goodison took a house with wife Annie in the Lake District in 1878, following the lead of many of the Liverpool merchant and commercial class who had moved into local properties for the summer or retirement.  Indeed, the house they moved into was later owned by the Liverpool shipowners, the Brocklebank family. The property was Esthwaite Lodge, a nineteenth century house on the west shore of Esthwaite Water (between Coniston and Windermere).  A two-storey stuccoed villa in design, today the lodge is a Grade II listed building, operated as Hawkshead Youth Hostel, after it was purchased by the Association in 1942 [where this author stayed several times while hiking the Lakeland fells in his youth].

What may have become a holiday retreat, appears to have become more permanent by 1879.  Keen to become an active part of the Hawkshead community, George was appointed church warden in Hawkshead Parish Church in Easter 1878, and on 22 August 1879 he offered a cup worth £5 in winnings at the Hawkshead Agricultural Society Show, known as the Esquire’s Special Prize for the best General Stock. Another trophy was presented by Major Benson Harrison of Coniston Bank, whose acquaintance would prove beneficial to the Goodisons a few years later.

There is no doubt, however, that members of the Walton Local Board (of which accountant and Everton FC director George Mahon was a part) were becoming exasperated with Goodison, not only regarding his relocation to the Lake District, but also the expenses he was charging for his commute, while he continued to act as their Civil Engineer. The matter was raised and discussed at a meeting in May 1880, much to the chagrin of Goodison, who in the heat of the moment dashed off a non-too-complimentary missive to his critics, accusing them of ‘conduct other than manly.’ Consequently, at the next meeting, a resolution was passed asking Goodison to resign.  Realising he had gone too far, Goodison wrote to the Chairman of the Walton Local Board withdrawing the letter, and even offered to reside in the district of the board as requested – and to make ‘amicable arrangements’ with them. This was quite climb-down  – preparing to move back from the Lake District and acquiesce to all of the Board’s demands.

His appeal fell on deaf ears. It was moved “that in consequence of Mr Goodison not having complied with the invitation of the board at the ordinary meeting of 1 July 1880 calling upon him to resign, it is now resolved that he be not further consulted in his professional capacity by this board, other than is necessary for the carrying out of any work he has in hand and now in progress, and the general superintendence of the laying of the tramway, if satisfactory terms can be arranged with regard to his scale of charges.”  The Chairman Joseph Oliver seconded the motion, and it was carried by eight votes to one. (19)  

There was to be no going back. One can only imagine the rection of his business partners on hearing the news, and reading the damning verdict in the pages of the press.  Nevertheless, it was announced on 4 November 1880, that Goodison, Atkinson & Reade would be the engineers for the Blackpool, St Anne’s & Lytham Tram Company Limited, to construct the new tram system throughout the coastal towns. (20)  This was considerably nearer to his new lakeside residence, and may have been more convenient for Goodison, nevertheless, the partnership with Atkinson & Reade lasted little more two more years, when it was recorded in London Gazette, on 20 February 1883 as dissolved. 

London Gazette, 20 February 1883

Meanwhile, in the Lake District, both George and Anne threw themselves wholeheartedly into local society.  George invested capital in the Coniston Green Slate Company, the main employer in the village, becoming a partner in this local industry in the fells above Coniston village.  He helped found the Institute in Hawkshead, with its library and reading and recreational rooms, becoming its first Chairman of Trustees until 1891, then continuing as a trustee until 1905. He was also a member of the Rural Sanitary Authority giving them the benefit of his broad engineering expertise in the field.

He continued to be involved in local farming, seeing himself as a kind of local squire.  He became a patron, participant, and judge for the North Londsdale Agricultural Society, taking several prizes for his exhibited geldings, as he did at the Westmoreland Agricultural Show and Hawkshead Agricultural Show.

Goodison also spent many hours on the bench after taking his oaths at Lancaster in 1877, becoming a J.P. for the County Palatine of Lancashire. While resident in Coniston, he attended Thursday sittings of the Ulverston Bench, and while at home in Waterloo he also occupied the bench at Liverpool County Sessions court in William Brown Street.

Anne Goodison continued to pursue her career and fascination in Egyptian studies. It is known that she visited Egypt in 1886-7, but she may have taken a trip in 1881, as although George is recorded at home in Esthwaite at the time of the census, Anne is absent, and has not been recorded elsewhere, suggesting she may have been out of the country.  In 1887, she was nominated to become a member of the Biblical Archaeology Society while, in 1889 she donated one off her Egyptian artefacts to the Kendal Museum.

Esthwaite Lodge 1881 Census – only George and house staff at home
The new residence of George and Annie at Coniston Bank, above Thurston, while their neighbour and friend of the Goodison’s, John Ruskin, lived at Brantwood at the bottom of the map
Goodison’s Coniston Bank, and neighbour John Ruskin’s Brantwood on the shore of Coniston Water
Coniston Bank (Thurston Outdoor Education Centre)

Although George and Anne retained their town house at 1 Beech Lawn, Adelaide Terrace, in Waterloo, their main residence, by 1889, was Coniston Bank, leased from Major Harrison (today known as Thurston Outdoor Education Centre, owned, and operated by South Tyneside Council). This was just a short distance over Hawkshead Moor from Esthwaite, and lying on the east shore of Coniston Water, opposite the village of Coniston. His next-door neighbour was the renowned writer and polymath, John Ruskin, who lived at Brantwood from 1872 until his death aged eighty, in 1900. Both men also served together as governors and official visitors at the local school. 

In 1890-91, George and Anne spent the winter in Egypt, and as an avid buyer and collector of Egyptology, she brought back enough artefacts dating from 3,000 BC to 200 AD for her expanding collection that would later fill a large ‘Museum Room’ at their Waterloo home – which she frequently opened up to visitors.   The collection ranged from simple small stone fragments and pot shards, that she picked up like souvenirs while walking around ancient sites, to other larger objects purchased from dealers. Also among the collection are letters sent between her and the Egyptologist Charles Edwin Wilbour, who helped her learn hieroglyphics.

They continued to travel after George resigned from some of his commitments (such as the Hawkshead representative on the Ulverston Board of Guardians on 14 April 1892).  On their return in early 1894, Anne advertised for the services of domestic staff in the pages of the Soulby’s Ulverston Advertiser and General Intelligencer on 29 March, but for their Waterloo residence, not Coniston.  In fact, on their return to Beech Lawn, Adelaide Terrace, they were accompanied by sisters Sarah and Mary Newby, both in their twenties from Coniston, now employed as house servants.

1901 Census – resident in their Waterloo home at Beach Lawn

Around 1902, George and Annie moved residence once more, this time to retire to Halsteads House, just outside the small Yorkshire village of Thornton-in-Lonsdale.  Anne passed away at Halsteads on 17 November 1906, and was laid to rest in the nearby parish churchyard of St Oswald’s.  Anne left her effects to George, valued at £4,207, a considerable sum, worth the equivalent of around £650,000 today.

On her death, the Soulby’s Ulverston Advertiser and General Intelligencer commented on her passing,

‘Mrs Goodison took much interest in Egyptology, and several very interesting articles thereon from her pen appeared from time to time in the Advertiser. Of great amiability and disposition, Mrs Goodison united with it a sweet geniality which made her an ideal hostess.  Her heart was ever open to the necessities of her less favoured sisters and brothers, and she took a large share in all the philanthropic works of the districts in she for the time resided.’

Soulby’s Ulverston Advertiser and General Intelligencer, 29 November 1906

Liverpool Daily post and Mercury, 10 April 1908

George seemed to have little interest in her collection of Egyptian treasures, and put the artefacts up for sale in 1907, with an asking price of £400 (worth around £62,000 today), but understandably the small Bootle Museum and Art Gallery did not have that kind of cash to spare.  Thankfully, a local benefactor by the name of Thomas Davies J.P. of Bootle (a retired businessman who had spent most of his working life in Egypt) purchased the entire collection and donated it to the museum.  

And there it remained until 1974, when the museum doors were closed for the last time.  The objects were then transferred to the Botanic Gardens Museum in Churchtown, and then to the Atkinson Art Gallery in Southport in the 1990s, where the forty-box collection remained in storage until 2014. Following an injection of Heritage Lottery funding, 300 items from the 1,000-piece collection were put on permanent show for the first time in forty years in a newly dedicated Egyptology Museum exhibition within the Atkinson Gallery.  However, the fact that Anne was a collector rather than an archaeologist, has resulted in less detail being documented about her life, but this summation of her career does not do justice to the hugely impressive collection now on display.

(photo: The Atkinson Gallery)

Coffin lid from Thebes (The Atkinson Gallery)
Some of the items from Annie Goodison’s Collection. (clockwise: Glazed faience beadwork 900BC (photo: Simon Critchley) / A wooden ba-bird was placed on top of a coffin or shrine to allow the deceased person’s spirit to gain mobility / A pair of silver penannular earrings / 2nd Century wooden label for identifying a mummy/ A gold hair ring from the 18th Dynasty / Fragment of sandstone from the Tell el Amarna archaeological site (photos: The Atkinson Gallery).

Jo Chamberlain, documentation officer at the gallery, part of the team preparing the collection for display said,

Annie Goodison’s Collection was an integral part of The Sacred Landscapes of Ancient Egypt exhibition created by Dr Steven Snape of Liverpool University and Sefton Council documentation officer Jo Chamberlain at The Atkinson (photo: Southport Visiter)
Paddle Doll (photo: The Atkinson Gallery)

‘Anne Goodison was way ahead of her time. She was a student of hieroglyphics, which was revolutionary at the time, and visited Egypt twice. She really had an eye for the most interesting objects, not just pretty pieces of jewellery, but artefacts that have thrilled and fascinated Egyptology academics because they are so fantastically well preserved…Egyptology was her life and obsession, to the point where she would spend eight hours a day teaching herself hieroglyphics. It is an amazing collection and it normally bowls any academics over.

One of the more unusual items is a Butterfly Clamp which was used to stop stone columns toppling over when they were being assembled. There is also a pair of Egyptian sandals – trendy by today’s standards with a toe-post – perfume bottles, amulets and ‘Shabtis’ – tiny servant figures laid in tombs who, it was believed, would spring into service in the afterlife.

We have an amazing collection of Paddle Dolls – they look like a wooden spoon with hair and were fertility symbols – and it’s very rare to find them so well preserved. We also have scarabs which have knitted or woven wings, which rarely survive, but we have them intact, which is just incredible.

The new gallery has given us the opportunity to examine the items once more and through working with many specialists, fabulous new information is coming to light.’ (21/22)

Beadwork cover from a mummy c930BC. (photo: Simon Critchley)

Some of the pottery was studied by Dr Ashley Cooke, of World Museum Liverpool, who recognised markings that can be traced back to the famous Egyptologist Flinders Petrie;

Reverend Chester was known to be a good friend of Flinders Petrie, so it’s not surprising that a quantity of artefacts from his excavations have made their way into this collection.  It adds a provenance that makes the collection even stronger.(22)

(photo: The Atkinson Gallery)
(Photo: The Atkinson Gallery)

George meanwhile, now with a tidy sum to see him through retirement, moved out of their Yorkshire home and headed for the Cotswolds.  Not only did he take his long-serving maid Sarah Ann Newby with him; he married her in 1908. They settled into retired life in Elm House in the village of Stratton, near Cirencester in Gloucestershire.

1911 census – George Goodison, remarried to Sarah, his housemaid, with her sister Mary as cook.

Their time there was short however, when after only five years of marriage, George passed away aged sixty-nine on 7 February 1913.  Sarah was the main beneficiary of his £7,305 estate, apart from £50 bequeathed to her sister Mary Newby, in gratitude for her service to George and Ann while living in Coniston.

St Oswald’s, Thornton-in-Lonsdale (photo: Bill Cumming)
The Goodison grave is the celtic cross centre right foreground
Annie Jane Goodison (1845-1906)
George William Goodison (1843 – 1913)
(photos: Tony Onslow (EFCHS) )

George was brought back to Thornton-in-Lonsdale, where he was laid to rest alongside Anne in the local church yard. The Newby sisters, meanwhile, moved back to Westmoreland, to 21 Parr Street, Kendal.

And what a legacy this unusual Goodison couple left behind.  In Southport, an unexpected treasure trove can be discovered by visitors to the cultural centre, exhibited to inform and educate about Egyptian classical history.  While her husband George, who played a key role in the draining and layout for the development of several areas across the city of Liverpool and Sefton – most prominently the Walton area, where the naming of a road acknowledged his impact, resulted in the famous stadium indirectly taking his name – Goodison Park.

Mike Royden

[NB.  For the sake of clarity – and contrary to claims by certain writers, including The Atkinson Gallery in Southport – Goodison Park was not named after William (or Anne) Goodison. It was named after the adjacent and closest road that already bore his name. An important distinction!].

  1. Royden, Mike, ‘Doctor William Duncan,’ in Tales from the ‘Pool, (2018) pp.51-63.
  2. Chadwick, Edwin, Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain, (July 1842)
  3. The 1848 Public Health Act
  4. Buchanan, R. A. ‘The rise of scientific engineering in Britain.’  British Journal for the History of Science, 1985. Vol 18: pp.218-33
  5. Application records, Membership of the Institute of Civil Engineers (1871)
  6. Daily Telegraph & Courier (London), 8 April 1871
  7. Goodison, G.W., Report to the Walton local board, on the sewerage of the district and disposal of the sewage of Walton and West Derby, by irrigation; with an appendix on facts in sewage farming and the principles of the utilisation and purification of town sewage by irrigation. Liverpool (1868).
  8. Goodison, G.W., & Reade, T., Walton and West Derby sewerage. Utilisation and purification versus the waste of sewage, the fouling of the Mersey, and the pollution of its shore; being an examination of a report by Robert Rawlinson esq. C.B., to the Walton Local Board, on Messrs. Reade & Goodison’s plans for the sewerage of the township of Walton. Liverpool (1868).
  9. Liverpool Albion, 25 May 1868
  10. Waterloo was historically part of Lancashire, and originally an area of Crosby, named Crosby Seabank. At that time, it consisted mostly of cottages, the beachfront, sand-hills and fields. The area grew in popularity with wealthy visitors from Liverpool prompting the planning and construction of a large hotel in the Georgian style to be named the Crosby Seabank Hotel. The grand opening on 18 June 1816 coincided with the first anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, and was named the Royal Waterloo Hotel in honour of the event. Gradually, as population increased and the area became an identifiable location, it became known as Waterloo, with several streets taking the name of names associated with the battle cementing the association. –  ‘The Battle of Waterloo: Merseyside township celebrates battle’s bicentennial.’ Liverpool Echo. Retrieved April 2023     
  11. Although, Picton Road wasn’t laid out until the late 19th/early 20thc, at least 60 years after the Padleys first moved into the cottage.
  12. Birth record of Anne Jane Padley, and the Padley family census of 1851
  13. Scientific and technical subjects developed on a more permanent basis in response to a growing demand from older students, encouraged by several professional men in Chester, among whom Charles Kingsley, a canon at the cathedral, was the most notable example. A mechanics’ institute was formed in 1810 and reorganized in 1835, moving to St. John Street in 1845, from which a public library developed in 1874. A school of art was organized in association with it after 1853 and regular classes in science were also held after the founding of the Chester Society of Natural Science, Literature, and Art in 1871. Other branches of learning were stimulated by the Chester Architectural, Archaeological, and Historic Society, which was established in 1849. J S Barrow, J D Herson, A H Lawes, P J Riden and M V J Seaborne, ‘Leisure and culture: Education’, in A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 2, the City of Chester: Culture, Buildings, Institutions, ed. A T Thacker and C P Lewis (London, 2005), pp. 277-291.
  14.  By the nineteenth century, Spellow House was a large farm with associated buildings, lying close to the site now occupied by the Spellow Hotel.  
  15. This has been difficult to track down as has the painting of the mill (work ongoing), but probably stood close to the Spellow House buildings.
  16. Stewart-Brown, Ronald, ‘The Herdman Drawings of Old Liverpool’, Transactions of the Historical Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, Vol   1911
  17. Herdman, W.G., The Pictorial Relics of Ancient Liverpool (1843)
  18. Herdman, W.G., Herdman’s Liverpool (1874). Pictorial Relics contained 62 drawings on 49 plates, which he published in 1843 and 1856. Herdman painted around 2,000 watercolours of Liverpool scenes which were included in the 1874 book, Herdman’s Liverpool. Herdman had eleven sons and five daughters; some were successful artists in their own right: William, William Patrick, John Innes, and Stanley. At least one of his daughters was an art teacher. Liverpool Central Library holds the Herdman Collection of over 1,200 drawings; 73 by W. G. Herdman himself, 26 by W. Patrick Herdman, 20 by J. Innes Herdman, and 945 by William Herdman, three of his sons. This does not include the 141 drawings now in the Art Gallery. Herdman resided nearly all his life in Everton: in earlier years in Lansdowne Place; and subsequently at West Vale, 41 St. Domingo Vale. He died in March 1882, aged seventy-seven, and was buried in Anfield Cemetery.
  19. Liverpool Echo & Liverpool Mercury, 6 August 1880
  20. Liverpool Mercury, 4 November 1880
  21. Goodison Egyptology collection in Southport exhibition,  24 October 2014
  22. Egyptians Brought Back to Life at The Atkinson

Buchanan, R. A., The rise of scientific engineering in Britain.  British Journal for the History of Science, volume 18 (1985)

Corbett, James,  Everton – The School of Science (MacMillan 2003)

Duncan, Dr William, The Physical Causes of the High Mortality Rate in Liverpool in 1843’  (1843)

Keates, Thomas, History of the Everton Football Club 1878-9 – 1928-9 – A Jubilee History, (1929)

Royden, Mike, Tales from the ‘Pool – A Collection of Liverpool Stories, (2018) 

Liverpool Echo

Liverpool Mercury

Liverpool Albion

Backhouse, Dr Jo,  Mrs Goodison’s Egyptology Collection, An Online Talk  lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Liverpool

Onslow, Tony, Goodison Park! I Gave That Ground its Name  (article hosted by Smith, Billy, Everton Chronicles

Goodison, Annie J., Literature in Ancient Egypt,  Soulby’s Ulverston Advertiser and General Intelligencer 20 August 1896. P.6.

Stewart-Brown, Ronald, ‘The Herdman Drawings of Old Liverpool’, Transactions of the Historical Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, Vol   1911.

Herdman, W.G., The Pictorial Relics of Ancient Liverpool (1843)

Herdman, W.G., Herdman’s Liverpool (1874)

The Atkinson, Southport


By Mike Royden


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