As a third generation real estate agent, it’s fascinating to look back on the family history and discover the places and homes, where my predecessors lived and worked.
My Grandfather Hugh Toner was an estate agent and auctioneer in New Brighton & Liverpool, England in the first half of the 1900’s.
The town of New Brighton is at the mouth of the Mersey River, directly opposite Liverpool Docks, on the west coast of England. These days the two are connected by the Mersey Tunnel, as well as the traditional ferries.
Ferries also still run from Liverpool to Belfast and Dublin in Ireland, as well as to Douglas on the Isle of Mann – made famous by the yearly motorcycle races round the island.
Grandpa Hugh’s business was established way back in 1898, in a whole different era when Liverpool was probably one of the busiest ports in the world.
Hugh also had offices over the river in Liverpool on Paradise Street – it was featured in a recent book “Merseyside War Years – Then and Now” showing a building with Toner’s Auction Rooms on the facia and the rest of the street bombed by the Luftwaffe.
Click the photo for a really big page view …
Hugh was clearly well off, as he built this large house in the center of town with it’s adjacent “New Brighton Estate Office”. This is the house where my father Tony Toner grew up, along with his brother (standing the the doorway) and sister. Looks like there were lots of fireplaces 🙂
The house does not exist anymore as it was torn down after WW2, and the site used to construct a block of flats (condos).
But the really surprising thing, is the estate office still exists to this day! Here it is now, pictured by my wife on our recent trip back to England:
The property now is occupied by a photographer who has his studio there.
The only part of the old house left, is the wall on the front boundary – you can still see the remains of the railings on the top of the wall where they were sawn off 🙂
On this trip back home my sister in law Pat Toner, who still lives in New Brighton, showed us a couple of the homes that my Grandpa occupied – the first two were after and the two on the right before he built the Victoria Road edifice.
Lastly, here is a later picture of Hugh, in the back of a convertible, make and model unknown.
From the look of the hats, it would seem to have been taken in the 1920’s during the flapper period, when women driving an automobile was considered flouting social norms – I wonder what Grandpa thought of that?