After the tiring visit I made to the Custom House at East End, Old Dock yesterday, I had intended to have a day in the open air, but half an hour ago a messenger delivered a permit from the Excise Office for me to carry out a visit. The sulphurous fog of a thousand coal fires has dispersed and it is now a crisp, cold morning. So for once the walk to Hanover Street will be enjoyable; but what shall I find behind those "hallowed" portals? After a brisk walk through near deserted streets, I reached No. 58 Hanover Street ~ the Liverpool Office of His Majesty's Commissioners of Excise. In the centre of the large oak front door, is an oversized brass knocker which I duly make use of. After about five minutes, a small rotund figure ushered me into the vestibule where I am put in the care of a uniformed gentleman who is to be my 'guide' around the offices. Contrary to the dismal conditions in the Custom House, the first office we come to is light and airy and is occupied by just seven souls:
Joseph SIMPSON ~ Collector William Newby PLANT ~ Inspector and the clerks: Adrian LOWE Robert WOLLACOTT Robert LAWN William TUCK Samuel HOLT
Beyond an elaborate carved mahogany and etched glass screen is the office of the Import Department.
James BELL and Robert HETHERINGTON ~ Port Surveyors. Lancelot FISHER, Thomas PRICE and Edward METCALFE ~ Port Guagers. James ROSS ~ Sample Drawer.
My hopes that the conditions in the whole of this building were far superior to those I found in the Custom House, are dashed when passing into the barn like gloom of the office occupied by the Import Officers, who act as Landing Waiters.
Richard OSBORN, Jeremiah SWINBURNE, Henry ROBINSON, Thomas STOTT, John WOODRUFF, Will SPENCER, Stephen HAWKESWORTH, William POWELL, William BELL, Henry RUDD, Griffith JONES, Jesse HINKLEY, George BUSTARD, John WILSON, Thomas THOMPSON, William ARUNDELL and Samuel SEWARD.
From here you enter a very large warehouse type building, around the bare brick walls of which are many small timber offices ~ not much larger than the average scullery or wash house! In these are housed a variety of people from the Export Department.
Henry MITCHELL, Jeremiah FIFIELD and Thomas MAY ~ Tobacco Warehouse Keepers. Jonas STEVENS and William REZEY ~ Tide Surveyors; who are responsible for 40 tidesmen and 8 boatmen. Morgan JONES ~ Supervisor of 1st District. William HOLME ~ Supervisor of 2nd District. John JONES ~ Supervisor of 3rd District. Thomas WARD ~ Supervisor of 4th District.
In addition to the occupants named in the Excise Offices, there are also thirty-three division officers, seventeen assistants and eight permit writers at the Permit Offices in Gradwell Street and Hatton Garden. However, having spent two days tramping through both the Custom House and the Excise Offices, I have decided that this chapter of my perambulations through Liverpool is at an end and that I am going to resume my visits to the dock side and walks through the streets later this week.