Utting Avenue, one of the boulevard style roads developed by Liverpool Corporation in the 1920s, is named after Sir John Utting, a doctor who was the city’s Mayor during the First World War.
Sir John was born in Norfolk in 1852. After qualifying as a surgeon he spent three years travelling abroad before settling in Liverpool in 1877, becoming a general medical practitioner in Anfield. In 1899 he was elected to the City Council as a Conservative member for the Kirkdale ward, putting great energy into serving others despite his already busy work schedule.
The three years that Utting had spent travelling made him an ideal candidate to be on the Port Sanitary Committee and Chairman of the University of Liverpool School of Hygiene. When war broke out i 1914 he joined the Reserve Medical Corps, being attached to the First Western Hospital at Fazakerley.
In 1917 Utting was released from his regiment to be Mayor of Liverpool. During a busy year as Mayor he raised £80,000 for the Red Cross and also set up the Million Shilling Relief Fund. This was established to raise funds for soldiers from Liverpool who were being held as prisoners of war in Germany.
After the war Utting became Chairman of the Finance Committee. He proved himself to be very shrewd with public funds and he always put the ratepayers’ interests first. He was knighted in 1924 and the same year it was announced that the new boulevard leading towards the corporation housing developments at Norris Green would be named Utting Avenue.
After a brave fight against pneumonia and pleurisy Utting died on 17th February 1927 at his home St Annes Hill, Anfield Road. This no longer stands was on the site of what is now a car park for Liverpool Football Club.
A memorial service took place at St Nicholas Church followed by a burial in Anfield Cemetery, where 5,000 watched his coffin being taken to the grave. Sadly his headstone is now lying flat with the inscription face down