Mr LYNN and the Waterloo Hotel Liverpool

The Era, July 31st 1870

Mr LYNN and the Waterloo Hotel Liverpool

The modern ogre of civilisation, the railway, is gradually swallowing up our old landmarks, and constantly and ruthlessly demolishing buildings and sites of historical interest. This week the London and North Western Railway Company have driven trains under Carnarvon Castle, and in a few months the Great Northern and other allied railway companies will have for ever removed from the face of the earth the Waterloo Hotel in Ranelagh St, one of the few buildings in Liverpool which is famous beyond our town, and has for nearly half a century been one of the most popular hostelries in Great Britain.

During the last few days the entire contents of the Waterloo Hotel have been sold at auction, and are being dispersed into hundreds of fresh channels. Mr LYNN was born on the 5th July 1792 in a small town in Sussex and was 26ys of age when he came to Liverpool. For 3 or 4 years previously he had been a waiter at the London Coffee House in the metropolis and was induced to come to Liverpool by the late John LAIRD, father of the present Member of Birkenhead and Mr STANNIFORTH a partner of Mr LAIRD’S and also distributor of stamps in Liverpool.

The Waterloo was opened in September 1818 and was the first building in Liverpool that was known by the name of an “Hotel” The Lyceum in Bold St was built at this time. The building belonged to Mr Alderman GORE. Subsequently Mr JEVONS, an ironmonger purchased the hotel buildings from Mr STANNIFORTH but Mr JEVONS failing shortly afterwards, Mr LYNN continued the tenant of the creditors for some years and a considerable addition was made to the premises by building over a yard at the south side. Ultimately the property was sold to Mr LOCKE, Mr BRASSEY and Mr Samuel HOLME for the sum of £30,000 to £40,000. These gentlemen remained the landlords till the building was purchased recently by the railway company. Mr LYNN for the past 30yrs has not had not had any lease on the premises, for 16yrs after he took possession of the Waterloo he had no lease, but has had one since that expired. Before the era of steam in connection with the navigation of the Atlantic, Mr LYNN’S house was a very favourite resort of American “packet-ship” captains and in a room at the hotel called the “captain’s room” there was no less than 72 likenesses of captains, of whom only some 3 or 4 still survive in the trade. Until the introduction of steam, and for many years until the Washington and other houses diverted a portion of the business, Mr LYNN’S hotel was the chief resort of many American visitors to Liverpool. With regard to Professional people, the Waterloo Hotel has some very quaint memories. The elder Charles MATHEWS, for instance always stayed here, and young Charles MATHEWS [alas! himself now old} came there as a boy, and was playmate of Mr LYNN’S own son. KEAN the elder and the late Charles KEAN constantly came to the Waterloo when in Liverpool, as also did Alfred MELLON and the BATEMANS. About 12mths after Mr LYNN had been established in Liverpool he became caterer of the Town Hall dinners and entertainments, a position which he held up until his retirement.

In 1828, Mr LYNN with two partners, leased the Liverpool racecourse at Aintree. It was faming land at the time, realising £4 an acre. Mr LYNN and his partners took about 800 acres and laid out about £20,000 in building the grand stand, the stables, the hotel, the ordinary stand and booths below the grand stand, and the cock pits. At the time cock-fighting was a popular English pastime. Lord Derby, grandfather of the present Earl known as “the cock-fighting Earl”, was the great local patron of the sport at the time, and for him Mr LYNN built a cockpit. This Earl of Derby and General PEEL usually fought the famous “Preston main” at Preston.

The Grand Nation Steeple Chase is not so old as the Aintree races, Mr LYNN got up the first Grand Nation Steeple Chase about 24 or 25yrs ago.

We now touch upon the origin of the Waterloo Course Meeting, Mr LYNN being one of the largest tenants of Lord SEFTON, that nobleman granted him a days coursing every year over Altcar, the only day’s coursing which was granted by Lord SEFTON to anybody except the Altcar Club, which itself consisted for the most part of noblemen. Mr LYNN used to take out about a dozen friends with him on these occasions. After a time they established a local plate, Mr LYNN used at this time to run Lord SEFTON’S dogs, having only a few of his own.. The Plate in 1835 was won by William NORRIS, in 1836 they established a great stake of £1 each which they called the “Waterloo Cup” and this was first won by Mr LYNN with a dog of Mr STANLEY’S. This was his Waterloo Stake. In a year or two Mr LYNN got it up to 16 dogs of £1, then it increased to £2, and to 32 dogs,. They then tried to get it up to 64 dogs, and the applications to the advertisement issued numbered 12 or 14 more than the dogs actually required. Mr LYNN had almost the sole management of this meeting, and always acted with the late Lord SEFTON’S sanction, with whom he was on excellent terms. The course latterly had lasted for 3days, but when they had 32 dogs they had only 2days coursing.

With regard to the Aintree Race course, after some years Mr LYNN and his partners got Lord SEFTON to re-purchase the race course giving him a sum of money, some £3,000 or £4.000. Lord SEFTON then let the course to Mr TOPHAM who is the present lessee. Mr LYNN whose public and private charities have long been notorious, was particularly active at the time of the calamity of the loss of the emigrant ship “Ocean Monarch” in 1847, in collecting subscriptions for the sufferers. At the time the Brazilian Minister in London was about to visit Liverpool, and ordered rooms at Mr LYNN’S hotel. When he came down Admiral GRENFELL and several others went out to sea with him on board the Brazilian steamer ALPHONSO. Before they had finished breakfast, they saw the Ocean Monarch on fire off Abergele. They immediately went to her and brought off 160 of the poor creatures. These were landed at Liverpool, and provided for mainly through the kindness of Mr LYNN and a few friends, Mr LYNN organised a subscription through the tradesmen of the town, which realised between £200 and £300. Mr LYNN was well known by the Earl of WILTON and other noblemen, and on very friendly terms with the late Earl of Derby and late Earl of Sefton, and has up until the present year officiated as secretary of the Grand Waterloo Course Meeting. He was for years the most well known caterer for banquets in the north of England and although twice married [his second wife is still living] has only one son, who holds an appointment in connection with the Government dockyards.

We understand, Mr LYNN, whose health, we regret to say, has been for some time delicate, intends residing in Liverpool in the midst of his family and friends.


Harriette wife of William LYNN of the Waterloo Hotel, died on the 16th June 1846, a few months later on the 16th Sept 1846, at Worcester, William LYNN married Mary Anne 2nd daughter of Thomas REAVES, Coach proprietor of Worcester.

William LYNN died on the 11th October 1870, his son William LYNN Jnr died at his residence in South Kensington, London on January 2nd, 1876.


copyright 2002 / To date