and the secret life of Pembroke Place
From 26 October 2018

Roller-skating Victorians, gruesome murders, forgotten zoological gardens, a bustling kosher butcher’s shop and a vibrant community are just some of the elements in an eclectic history uncovered in a fascinating corner of Liverpool.

Supported by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, made possible through money raised by National Lottery players, Galkoff's and the Secret Life of Pembroke Place is a new exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool, in partnership with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM). It is also the culmination of research, archaeological digs, a painstaking conservation project and the assistance of more than 70 volunteers.

At the heart of the display is the reconstruction of Liverpool landmark, Galkoff's Jewish butcher’s shop frontage. The beautiful 1930s emerald green tiles have undergone careful conservation, or in some cases replacement where the damage, due to weather exposure, was too great. The result is an impressive life-size reconstruction of the iconic façade with the original gold Art Deco embellishments and Hebrew signage.

Accompanied by detailed research into the Galkoff's family, which led curators as far as Poland and New York, and featuring photographs, objects and personal memories, the display highlights the story of Liverpool’s Jewish community as well as its long history of migration.

Galkoff's was located just a few doors away from the last remaining area of Liverpool court housing on Pembroke Place; back-to-back houses standing around central courtyards. This type of house - a full scale reconstruction of which can be found in  The People’s Republic gallery at the Museum of Liverpool - was a prevalent type of working class home in mid 19th century Liverpool. The new display includes information obtained from the geophysical surveys done in and around the vicinity, shedding new light on the realities of court house-living and the people who inhabited them.

The hard work of a group of dedicated volunteers has uncovered some fascinating research about the area from the 18th century onwards, stories rich in social history and wonderful eccentricities. One character who particularly caught their attention was Professor William Dawson Bellhouse, Professor of Electricity and Galvanism. Bellhouse was the centre of news reports in the mid 1850s when he was tried for fraud after persuading tenants to renew their leases at higher rents on the basis of his palm readings about their future. He also hand wrote a magic book containing spells, now kept at the New York Public Library.



Frequently asked questions about the Galkoff's and the Secret Life of Pembroke Place project.


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