Courts and Derby Square  

 

Liverpool was where David Maxwell Fyfe first embarked on his 'Political Adventure.' However the city has changed since he was living and working there. After Oxford he studied law and was called the Bar in 1922. Among his colleagues at the courts was Hartley Shawcross who later was involved as Chief Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials. The Courts he worked at have been replaced by the new Queen Elizabeth II Courts. The only remaining architecture he might have known is the Victoria Monument which was erected in 1906 on the site of the former Liverpool Castle. The monument stands in the centre of Derby Square which is an oasis of calm in the busy city. People seem to use the square to eat their lunch or have a bit of peace and quiet. As the court building was entirely changed from when Maxwell Fyfe was there, it was difficult to feel an immediate sense of history as in Edinburgh for instance where the views from the hills remain unchanged.

The Port and Slavery Museum

 

The area in and around the Port of Liverpool is a rather destitute and would have been even more so when Maxwell Fyfe lived and worked there. Where ships would once have docked at the Port bringing cotton and other commodities, there are now a series of museums telling the stories of the area from the Maritime history to the history of the city. A big part of the history of Liverpool is slavery and we visited the International Slavery Museum when we were there as they were having a museum conference. Henrike Zentgraf, curator of the permanent exhibition of Courtroom 600 in the Nuremberg Court House, whom we have met several times while visiting Nuremberg, was there talking about her work on the exhibition and we caught up with her in a tea break. It's interesting how these museums are linked because they all are telling stories linked with freedom.  

 

Maxwell Fyfe describes his first encounter with Liverpool in his autobiography saying that it had rained when he arrived and didn't stop for six weeks. However when we visited the city, it was a sparkling sunny day where all the buildings reflected in the water and the sun bounced off the red brick buildings.

Chambers  

 

The places where Maxwell Fyfe worked are very near each other as his Chambers (offices for Barristers) was on Lord Street, just adjacent to the courts. Although the building that Marldon Chambers or 7 Harrington Street Chambers look as if they are rather old, it was difficult to see whether they were same that he worked in with George Lynskey. Lord Street is filled with the usual shops and department stores that you would expect from a major town but this hasn't changed from when Maxwell Fyfe was here as he says in his autobiography 'A provincial barrister has not got the charming gardens and courts of the Temples and Lincoln's Inn. There are his chambers; next to them there may be solicitors' or accountants' offices, or the habitat of ordinary commercial agencies.'  

Click on a small image to enlarge

'The beginning of my lifelong legal and political connection could not have been less inspiring. It was raining when I arrived, and continued to rain almost without intermission for the following six weeks. I did not know a soul in this vast, cloud-enshrouded, mushy and weeping city.'

from David Maxwell-Fyfe's autobiography, Political Adventure

'The Chambers into which I went were 25  Lord Street - the address the Law List which had once been that of F E Smith - and had another entrance into Harrington Street, which runs parralell to Lord Street.'  

from David Maxwell-Fyfe's autobiography, Political Adventure

Click on a small image to enlarge

'...I was immediately entranced by my work in Chambers, and my interest and excitement were further increased in the following January when the Assizes were held at Liverpool and I joined the Northern Circuit.'  

from David Maxwell-Fyfe's autobiography, Political Adventure

Panorama Derby Square plus Monument

Liverpool

Victoria Monument in Derby Square

Panorama of Derby Square

Derby Square

Panorama Dockside

On the Dockside

Panorama Docks

Albert Docks from the International Slavery Museum