The Grave of Alderman Thomas Menlove

One of Liverpool’s most famous addresses is 251 Menlove Avenue, the childhood home of John Lennon. The boulevard on which he grew up was developed in the 1920s and named after a local councillor who had died the previous decade and was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Wavertree.

Menlove wasMenlove Avenue born at Wockley Hall in Ellesmere, Shropshire in 1840 an educated at Shrewsbury School. He came to Liverpool in 1863 and set up a drapery in Church Street, later opening a branch in London Road. He did a lot of trade locally as well as on the trans-Atlantic liners.

Menlove first entered public service in the early 1880s as a member of the Select Vestry, taking an active interest in the care of the aged poor and young children that were looked after by the parochial authorities. In 1886 he was elected as a Conservative to the city council and appointed as a justice of the peace in 1892.

In 1898 Menlove was appointed as Chairman of the Health Committee. Amongst the tasks he had to oversee in his role as Chairman of the Health Committee where the sampling of tinned meats from America, inspecting sanitary conditions in boarding houses and encouraging vaccinations. Menlove continued to be a JP and had an unusual case in 1899 when seven teenagers appeared before him having been caught playing football in Smithdown Road. He told them there were plenty of green spaces nearby and fined them two shillings each.

Menlove retired from his business in 1906 but continued his public duties. Lancashire Lives described him as an excellent city gentleman who was of courtesy and good grace. He lived with his wife and a servant at Aston House, Hunters Lane, Wavertree and was actively involved with the nearby Holy Trinity Church. By 1913 his health Menlove Avenuewas failing and he resigned from the his chairman role, but remained an alderman.  He died at his home on 30th November that year.

When he died his funeral took place at Holy Trinity Church and he was buried in the graveyard. The strong wind and rain meant that Archdeacon Madden struggled to make himself heard as he read the burial service at the graveside. He left a total estate valued at £14,545 the equivalent to £1.5 million today.

In the 1920s, Liverpool Corporation began developing wide boulevard type roads with tram tracks running down the middle. These were developed due to the anticipated expansion of the city into rural areas. One of those was an old track was widened to become Menlove Avenue, where John Lennon lived at number 251 from 1946 to 1963.