Mike Royden's Local History Pages


THE GREEK GENTLEMAN

Anne.L.Crowther M.A.


Anne Crowther graduated from Liverpool Institute of Higher Education in 1995, with a B.A. (Honours) in History and English. She remained at the College until 1997, under the tutorage of John Davies and Michael Hopkins, where she obtained an M.A. in Contemporary History. From there Anne carried out numerous Oral History Recordings for the North West Sound Archive. Anne L. Crowther is the author of a booklet based on Alfred Rodewald and the Music Scene in Liverpool in the 1880's-1890's, which is currently being considered for publication.

THE GREEK GENTLEMAN

"My mother, Helen, knew how to bake the bread for the Holy Communion. Her Grandmother was a priest's wife. I had other worries on my mind. Away from my family, I was trying to survive."(1)

About 5 o'clock on Saturday afternoon, January 15,1870 the Archbishop of Syra and Tenos and a member of the Holy Synod of Greece, arrived at the Greek Orthodox Church of St Nicholas bounded, in a triangle, by Prince's Park Road,Berkeley Street and Upper Stanhope Street. Accompanied by Vespers, they deposited on the altar relics of martyres of the Greek Church. They placed them on a silver plate, covered and arranged in three, emblematic of the Holy Trinity. Two lighted candles were placed on the altar and a watcher was left inside the building during the night.(2)

Early 20thc aerial view of the Greek Orthodox Church, Princes Road. (centre foreground)

The inquest of Konstantine Anastatiades, aged between 45 and 51, was held before Mr Sampson, a Bristol man fond of music, golf and boating and Coroner since December 1891(3),on Tuesday, May 28th, 1895. A Hanson cab driver, named John Cox, said he saw the deceased in Princes Road, shortly before 5 o'clock on Saturday morning. He was standing in front of the Greek Church, and had a letter in his hand.(4)

"We have on our books 350 families and there are more we don't know about.We do not have a roll of membership.We tried it and it was not liked by the Community"(5)

Among foreign merchants, the Greeks occupied a prominent and important place as gentlemen of position, wealth and intelligence. Five shipping lines exported to Greece: Leylan, Moss, Cunard, Papayanti Johnstone and Prince's Line. Of the first four companies, one boat of each line was sent every week. The goods which passed through Liverpool destined for Greece included Yarmouth Herrings. Other items of export were soda ash, caustic soda, steel, iron and every kind of Birmingham goods and manufactured articles from Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham and every part of the kingdom. Large consignments of hides also formed a proportion of Grecian bound cargoes. The return cargoes mostly comprised various kinds of fruit, oil, vegetables and wine.(6)

"In my village they had grapes, the main produce and other little fruit trees for their own use: Almond trees, Carob trees, Pomegranate trees and lemon trees (7)

Peter Garraty, Anastatides's father-in-law, told the Court that, "Anastatiades had at one time, occupied a high position in Norfolk, and had been worth thousands of pounds." Now he was "working as a Dock Labourer."(8)

"I was working as a fish and chip shop man. You have to make a living. That was available to me at the time, so I took it. I was working in London for about five years." (9)

In time of short supply any man could be taken on at the docks. But inexperienced workers were a danger for the job required a knack of handling and moving large weights.(10)

The Greek community had no public place of worship, they assembled for service in a house in Sandon terrace. Church plans were prepared by Mr Henry Summers, fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architiects, and of the firm Culshaw and Summers, of Rumford Court. It was built to accommodate only 600 persons. The entire cost of the structure was about 14,000.(11)

"It is a very beautiful building, not just because it is our building. It has four domes, three at the front and one in the middle"(12) it has eight Sicilian white veined marble columns, from Mr Fabbricotti's quarries at Carrara and standing 22 feet and 2 inches high. (13)

The Sanctuary, raised by three steps above the floor of the church, is shut off from the church by a screen,(14) "I had no knowledge of anything that was going on behind the screen. I had no experience of what a priest does." (15) The screen extends the whole width of the church and is made of Dantzic oak, old English Oak and Walnut.(16)

The Pulpit is placed against the North Wall.(17) "I don't preach to them,a sermon at the service.But every Sunday,we have a sermon,in Greek and English on paper." (18) It stands about 12 feet from the floor and is supported by a richly carved pendant base attached to a pilaster built into the wall. It is approached by a steep staircase of oak.(19)

Anastatiades had experimented with the raising of silk worms. He wanted to replace imported raw silk, used by Manufacters in Macclesfield, with English silk from his own silk worms. Kept in open trays, the silk worms need fresh White Mulberry leaves every hour or two. In the early stages the leaves must be finely cut up and fed to the Silkworms in limited quantities. In 2005, five white mulberry trees are growing in Liverpool. From one ounce of eggs come about 30,000 worms which eat a ton of mulberry leaves and produce twelve pounds of raw silk. To make a single dress is needed one pound of raw silk.

He spent money in preparation. He made arrangements for holding an exhibition of silk worms at Walton Hall, owned by the Greenall (Brewing) family, in June [NB this is the Walton Hall near Stockton Heath, Warrington, not Liverpool]". When Sir Gilbert Greenall died in 1894, he left the use and enjoyment of Walton Hall to his widow, complete with an annuity of 8,000. (20) The kitchen of the hall is remembered by the cook's niece, for its "very big old fridge from which the cook made ice cream. Lunch was plain food, roasts, meat and plain vegetables or stews, hot pots, pies."(21) They were supplied by Millings, the grocers in Warrington. Riley's,the fish mongers too. My mother on the Home Farm would also use them. A boy used to come along on his bike on a Tuesday and my mother would give him the order, he'd write it down in a book and then it would be delivered on Friday. My aunt, the cook lived in, but the Butler, Mr Ashley, lived in a big white house, just going up towards the canal. And Doris Hall lived at the last cottage along. Her father was the Chauffeur, Mr Hall. She'd wait on. All these houses were on the estate so it was estate folk that lived in them. Mr Hall was always very smartly dressed in his uniform and Mr Ashley was a very jovial, big, happy sort of man." (22)

Walton Hall, Higher Walton, near Stockton Heath, Warrington. The former seat of the Greenhall Brewing Family

All Anastaiades needed to transport them there was a covered box and to keep them away from direct sunlight. But on Sunday week last, he learnt that he could not have use of the Hall. Tickets had been issued for the exhibition. Money taken. "It preyed on his mind, people would think he was acting dishonestly."(23)

On a foggy Sunday, January 16th, 1870, shortly after nine o'clock(24) the consecration of the Greek orthodox church began.

"We had no regular priest. Someone was sent from abroad but they had problems blending with the community. So they thought about someone who belonged to the community. After many refusals I said "Yes!" I was 50 years old"(25)

Entry was by ticket only. Russian, Greek and Turkish Consuls were present, each in his official uniform. Rev. George Butler, principal of Liverpool College, represented the Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Chester. Rev.Dr. George Williams represented the Archbishop of Canterbury. Almost to the steps of the sanctuary was crowded with gentlemen.(26)

A procession formed, leading outside, headed by the choir, followed by the priests. Candles of enormous proportions were borne aloft. The wind caused the tallow to run down and some of the elegantly dressed gentlemen, in evening costume, were spattered with grease. Round the building, three times they went, each time stopping before the vestibule of the church to offer prayers. On the last time, the archibishop in a loud voice exclaimed "ye everlasting doors and the King of Glory shall come in." The church was empty but for one priest, who repied "who is the King of Glory?" The archbishop answered, "The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle, He is the King of Glory." The questions three times put and three times answered, the Archbishop, with the holy relics, made the sign of the cross upon the middle door. The doors were thrown open and the procession entered, the choir and congregation singing a hymn. The Ceremony of consecrating the exterior was complete.(27)

The body of Konstantine Anastatides was found at about 6.15am, near the Greek Church. Close by lay a revolver, one chamber of which was discharged.(28) In the year 1895, nine men aged between 40-50, attempted suicide in Liverpool.(29) Revolvers were sold by the thousand in one city alone at the price of 1s 6d.(30)

The alter stone, inside the sanctuary is white marble about 3 feet thick. Beneath is a hole into which the silver box used in the consecration is placed. A composition of gums of various kinds, with resin, and other articles, was melted in a vessel over a fire burning near the sanctuary and this was bought into the sanctuary by a priest. The archbishop then took part of the liquid (which forms a very hard cement when cold) and filled up the hole containing the relics. The top of the table was lifted into place, and in a few moments became immovable.(31)

On the Church wall close to him, a suicide note,written in Greek, was gummed.(32)

Four pieces of fragrant aromatic soap formed the cross on the table. Warm water was poured in the form of three crosses and then the table was washed, accompanied by the words "purge me and I shall be clean". It now was sprinkled with orange flower water. With ointment the sign of three crosses were made and then cleaned off with small pieces of linen, which from that moment became consecrated. The linen clothes would now receive, in Constantinople, the printed impressions of incidents mentioned in the Evangelists. Produced anywhere, in some other church, a private house or even by the roadside, would hallow that place for the service of the Eastern Church. (33)

"It is up to the Cantor to make the service shorter or longer.The way he sings"(34) Some of the music was extremely sweet and harmonious, but sometimes it was quite the reverse. Two or three priests reciting at the same time and in strangely different keys."(35)

"They make the excuse they don't understand and that is why they don't come to church. But it is not that. They have the translation. They can follow the service" (36)

His wife, Elizabeth, was left pregnant with their second son Theodore Peter.

On the back of an exhibition card he had written that he had left a silk sash with a gentlemen in Norfolk, and asked that this should be procured and sent to the Crown Prince of Greece, so that people might remember him.(37)

The Consecration service lasted four hours. The character of the congregation may be inferred from the fact that 200 was deposited in bank notes, and nearly 300 in gold and silver. People from the neighbourhood gathered to catch a glimpse through the open doors and twelve policemen and two inspectors were on duty, including six detective officers in the chapel but they were not needed.(38)

Anastatiades lies in a public unmarked grave.


Anne.L.Crowther (2005)


Footnotes


1. Oral History interview with Father Kasinos. Father of the Liverpool Greek Orthodox Church of St Nicholas. Recording lodged at North West Sound Archive
2.Liverpool Mercury (Throughout)Monday, January 17,1870
3.Tuesday August 2,1898
4.Wednesday May 29,1895
5.Father Kasinos Op cit
6. Wednesday April 7,1897
7.Father Kasinos Op cit
8.Wednesday May 29,1895
9.Father Kasinos op cit
10.Liverpool Dockers and Seamen 1870-1890. E.Taplin (1974)University of Hull.
11.Monday January 17,1870
12.Father Kasinos
13.Monday January 17,1870
14.Ibid
15.Father Kasinos
16.Monday January 17,1870
17.Ibid
18.Father Kasinos
19.Monday January 17,1870
20.Friday January 8,1897
21.Oral History Interview with Betty Henry. Niece of Cook at Walton Hall.Recording lodged at North West Sound Archive
22.Ibid
23.Wednesday May 29,1895.
24.Monday January 17,1870
25.Father Kasinos
26.Monday January 17,1870
27.Ibid
28.Wednesday May 29,1895
29.Liverpool Police Annual Report 1895-1900
30.Thursday December 9,1897
31.Monday January 17,1870
32.Wednesday May 29,1895
33.Monday January 17,1870.

The Greek Orthodox Church today. Much needed renovation work is still to be completed and more help is still required. Can you help?



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