"The Baltic Fleet pub was at the epicentre of Liverpool’s Hispanic waterfront community. Now it’s the only original building left standing."
(image and text © copyright to K Hooper 2012).

Hispanic Liverpool

Dr Kirsty Hooper

Ongoing (as of 2012)



Landmark historic OS maps available through Digimap

UK Census

Church and Civil Records

Trade Directories


Sources: Digimap; Ancestry; Find My Past; Historical Directories

Dates/Editions: All available.

Scales: All available.

Cultural Studies; Business; Migration; Maritime and Community History; Architecture; Town Planning; Geography; Archaeology

Hispanic Diaspora; Maritime; Community; Demolished Neighbourhoods

Publishing Institution

Hispanic Studies at the University of Warwick

Hispanic Liverpool (project website)


This project aims to uncover the traces of Liverpool’s role as a hub in the 19th-century networks that connected Spain and Portugal with Latin America, Africa and the Pacific. Liverpool merchant and shipping families such as the Holts of Sudley House, the Booths and the Larrinagas played an important part in the development and exploitation of trade routes, which in turn facilitated the development of networks – of kinship and friendship, social, cultural and business relationships – that not only connected Liverpool with the Luso-Hispanic world, but also brought thousands of migrants from the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking worlds to Liverpool. 

The core of the project is the Hispanic Liverpool database, which currently contains records of some 2000 foreign-born members of Liverpool’s vanished Hispanic communities: Argentineans, Andalusians, Asturians, Basques, Brazilians, Cape Verdeans, Castilians, Catalans, Chileans, Cubans, Filipinos, Galicians, Panamanians, Portuguese, Peruvians and Uruguayans all made their homes in Liverpool during the 19th century, and the database records individuals, families, and the connections between them.

In addition, the project aims to trace and record the locations where Hispanic Liverpudlians lived and worked, many of which have already disappeared, or exist only as ruins. 

Aims & Objectives

  • Recover the history and geography of Liverpool’s lost Hispanic communities

  • Uncover the traces of Liverpool’s role in 19th-century Luso-Hispanic global networks

  • Identify the commercial, social, cultural and kinship networks that connected Liverpool to the Luso-Hispanic world

  • Trace and record locations where Hispanic Liverpudlians lived and worked

  • Work with families, communities and heritage institutions in Liverpool and the Luso-Hispanic world to create a dynamic record of this important community


Because there is so little existing information about Liverpool’s Hispanic communities, the project started from scratch, with a strong element of hope rather than expectation – I simply didn’t know what I would find, if indeed I found anything at all. I needn’t have worried!

Phase 1 (completed), which involved trawling the UK census returns for Liverpool and surrounding areas from 1851-1911, turned up nearly 2000 individuals born in the Luso-Hispanic world, including well-known names such as the Basque photographer Eulalia de Abaitua (resident in Everton in 1871) and the battlefield reporter and first Spanish woman to appear on radio, Teresa de Escoriaza (at convent school in Toxteth in 1911).

Phase 2a (ongoing) complements the census data with information drawn from additional sources: church and civil records (births, christenings, confirmations, marriages, deaths, burials, probate records), occupational records (seamen’s tickets, business archives, business and trade directories) and other sources, such as phone books and ships’ passenger lists. This phase has turned up many more Hispanic Liverpudlians who have slipped between the cracks of the decennial censuses.

Phase 2b (completed for existing data, awaiting translation to database) uses the Historic Digimap collection to locate each address cited in census and other records, and to track individuals, families and businesses around the city.


We now know that there was a significant Luso-Hispanic community in Liverpool during the long nineteenth century, and we have a very good idea of its demographic profile and geographical spread.

The core of Hispanic Liverpool was the dockside community of Basques, Galicians, Filipinos and others who inhabited the streets and alleys inland from the Wapping Dock. The majority of these streets have either been erased entirely, or remain as ghostly outlines, entirely stripped of buildings and other landmarks. One of the most important destinations for freshly-disembarked Basque immigrants in the first phase of in-migration (1871-1881) was Charlotte Place, off Wapping, where many spent their first months or years, before moving to more permanent accommodation nearby.

Charlotte Place is long gone, like most of the surrounding area. However, by using the Historic Ordnance Survey maps available via Digimap, I was able to establish that even when the last Basques were settling there, in 1881, the street was on its last legs – in fact, it had disappeared from the map by 1891, which suggests that the conditions for its Basque residents in the years leading up to demolition were probably not ideal.

Now that we have established the empirical basis for the project, we can begin to reconstruct the social history of these ghostly streets and the people who lived in them. The next step, to be undertaken over the coming academic year, is to develop the database for publication as part of a digital community resource.

References & Acknowledgements

My thanks to Pete Mallinson for his work in constructing the ‘beta’ version of the online database, and to all the families and descendants of Hispanic Liverpudlians who have shared their information and their memories.