Queens Stores Co., Liverpool
The Lost Ships Chandlers
The story of this location goes back a couple of years to when a good friend of mine Maria alerted me to this, knowing I would be interested in photographing it. Maria gave me some background information and promised to ask the [then] current owner for permission to go inside and photograph the interior. All I was told was that up until some years ago a very old couple carried on working inside the premises after the main business had ceased to exist. They also lived inside the building up until they passed away. Subsequently the premises was closed altogether and their son would arrive periodically to collect mail but hadn't been seen for some time. I've ben told recently that the son has recently passed away so I'm not sure who owns the building now. The company who have bought the adjoining building and are currently renovating it have enquired about buying this one too.
After being first told about this location I looked at it but it was obvious that there wasn't a means of accessing the interior legally to photograph it so left it at that. That was until recently and a brief period of a few weeks allowed access to be gained. So the window of opportunity arose and me and my fellow photographer David went inside to see it for ourselves.
Inside is pretty much as it was left when it closed. The top floor of the building which has 4 floors in total and a cellar is where the sewing machines are, over-sized industrial machines. The sign outside states that the business made ship's sails and turbine bags. These were probably constructed on this floor ready for shipping. The sign also mentions ship's chandlers which are dealers who specialise in supplies or equipment of all types for ships. The items left inside the building suggest many items were made including buoys and life jackets.
The 2nd floor is where the main Mackie spinning machine is still in situ complete with dozens of multi-bobbin thread spools with their white thread still attached. The machine was turned off long ago and just left to gather dust.
The first floor is where the main office and reception area is located. The office still brimming with paper work and letters giving a glimpse into the workings of a factory in the 20th century when Liverpool was at the heart of the shipping industry. Even a vintage receipt machine still sits on the cluttered desk in the office, a reminder of how things were prior to when computers replaced more rudamentary - yet eloquent - equipment.
A bedroom is on the first floor, a little living area for the couple who spent their life here.
Truly a remarkable place. Mainly intact albeit covered in the remnants of pigeon meals and dust. A throwback to lost industry. As with all these types of locations, its best outcome would to be preserved as a museum. Unlikely I know, but one can dream.
At the time of writing this, I've been told that the building has again been fully secured and access is no longer possible. It remains to be seen how long the building stays as it is or is lost to the developers once and for all and yet more of our industrial heritage vanishes into the past.