We were warned about what lay under St George’s Hall, we did not know what to expect…
The Catacombs tour of St Georges Hall opened with our tour guide setting the scene of Victorian Liverpool, a place riddled with inequality and poor conditions for the lower class (almost feeling uncomfortably relevant). Following this, youths descending from each staircase fighting each other, displaying there tattered clothes and the little that was available to them.
We ascended the stairs to see a saddening but powerful monologue from a ‘prostitute’ of Liverpool, regaling her tales of beatings and abuse from the local townsfolk. Coming up the stairs and into a gangway you are spooked by a large bald man, dressed as a poor worker from the docks whom has a confrontation with a robber, taking his fairly earned money, therefore the worker swears revenge on him.
After the conflict, we see a young boy dressed in grey Victorian period clothing with bruising on his face where we are led into the courtroom awaiting his trial for killing another child! There are some creepy looking dolls as placeholders for what would of been the jury. We are told to rise for the judge whom makes a grand entrance.
The description of the events that happened to the poor boy who was killed, created a gruesome picture for the spectators. The child who killed him is sentenced to 12 years imprisonment with little remorse shown for his actions. After his sentencing we descend down steps down towards the cells where we encounter the poor worker who gained his revenge by attacking the robber, to applause from the spectators.
We then get to by far the highlight of the whole show, the performance of the boy-killer now grown up, clearly psychopathic following the murder displaying a creepy personality which was brilliantly portrayed – reminiscent of the Joker in the Dark Knight. If you were to go for any reason he would be one of the main ones.
We are then taken out of the cells and across and old bridge where we enter and witness more of the female tale of Victorian Liverpool. An Irish woman attacks another poor woman the hatred from the Irish woman felt unsettling and well done.
The tour guide then lead us into the catacombs, which are dimly lit and rather unusual in design where we witness a fight between the two factions of Irish men that arrived in Liverpool.
One ended up killing the other which caused an unfortunate woman in our group to faint! Thus cutting short our journey as she had to be treated, she came round and seemed to be ok.
The interaction with the guests was excellent, there was a rather unruly boy who was making some comments or laughing at somewhat inappropriate times but credit to the performers who took it within their stride interacting with him and the other guest making it enjoyable and joyfully uncomfortable.
In summary this tour was incredibly interesting and had some outstanding performances especially the boy killer however the stoppages to arrange the people in preparation for the performance and noise from the workers disrupted the Victorian illusion and engagement somewhat. Plus for the price of £15 (plus £2 fee) felt a little high for what lasted approximately an hour, saying that if you do have that sort of money then even with a slight interest I would say it was definitely worth doing (there will be future tours with hints relating to a war themed one.)
For more information on upcoming tours please visit: www.lovehistory.co.uk