Everton’s concrete jungle from the church tower in 1948.
THE CHANGING COMMUNITY – JANE AUSTEN
St George’s and the Jane Austen link, a new dense urban working class parish, before the controversial clearances create the ‘Lost Tribe of Everton’.
Millions have a passion for Jane Austen and classic books such as Pride and Prejudice. Few make the link between Jane and her greatest friend and confidante Anne Sharp who loved St George’s Church and lived in nearby York Terrace.
Anne had become a governess for Jane’s brother Edward Austen Knight in Kent, but finished her days in Everton. By 1823 Anne was running her own boarding school for girls at 15-16 Everton Terrace near the church. Her young pupils would have received a unique insight into one of the world’s most famous authors. Jane Austen died aged 41, but she confided with her Anne right until the end. Anne was buried in our churchyard in 1859.
By this time, the St George’s congregation had changed dramatically. In the middle to late 1800s the mansions of the merchants who built the church were swamped by a mass building boom from the docks to the summit of Everton ridge, inspired by the devastating 1844 Irish Potato famine. Tens of thousands of desperate migrants, initially passing through the city, chose to stay and hundreds of back to back terraced streets now swept up the hill to meet the demand.
St George’s and other local churches proudly served these new parishioners for over a century before a controversial 1960s clearance programme saw over 100,000 in the district moved to council estates and new towns across the city and beyond. Our congregations have changed, but our remit to serve our community remains the same.
A typical Everton Street in the 1960s;