Fulwood Park, Sefton Park, Liverpool
Fulwood Park was an exclusive development laid out in the 1840s. It was a magnet for rich merchants (including some on our bloodline) and it illustrates the high end of conspicuous consumption. Some of its old estates on Fulwood remain, the most famous of which is Park Lea, 6 Fulwood Park, Class II listed. English Heritage has a 1916 photo (below, left) of the marble-lined bathroom which includes an electric fire and a discreet toilet:
Another photo, from the exhibit below, shows the dining room (photo right, above) of Enmore, 34 Alexandra Drive, another exclusive residential area. Enmore was owned by a guano (ie, bird dropppings) importer.
In 2007 Liverpool's Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, hosted The Merchant Palaces: Liverpool and Wirral Mansions, an exhibition of Bedford Lemere photographs, curated by the architectural historian, Joseph Sharples, author of the Pevsner guide to Liverpool (accompanying book: Joseph Sharples, Liverpool Bluecoat Press, £9.99 ISBN-1904438504).
The following is taken from a web-essay by Peter Elson, “Merchant Palaces of Merseyside,” icLiverpool website, 2007.
“That [business] success meant excess...The worst offender is Gunavah, Aigburth Drive, the home of a Greek couple, Ambrose Vlasto, (who worked for the Ralli brothers) and his wife, Anastasia. This 1892 drawing room is more an Arabian nights boudoir, with its tented canopy over a massive settee, strewn with plumptious cushions, plus couches and prayer rugs. ‘This is a very intimate space, the antithesis of the formal public room or the stylishly respectable. It looks more like an opium den,’ says Sharples.
“Equally jaw-dropping is a doorway in Constantine Ralli's home at 31 Croxteth Road. This portiere hall curtain is so fussy and finicky that a door stop limits the door opening too far and disturbing the complex arrangement.”