Wednesday 13 February 2008

Phil Moss and Queens Square, Liverpool


This is Phil Moss with Mum and Dad. Phil was a close family friend of the Edwards family for many years. Brought up in New Zealand his family moved to England and he joined the army for World War II and it was there he adopted the name Phil – his real given names of Clarence Albert being the sort that would have led to too much ribbing in the forces.

The family were part owners of a fruit wholesalers – Leeman and Moss – which for many years was based just off Queens Square in the centre of Liverpool where all the major fruit merchants could be found.

This photo from a book about Liverpool shows Queens Square with all its fruit merchants – I would guess it was from the 1940s. In the late 1960s all the firms moved to the new Fruit Market on Edge Lane and I worked there at Leeman and Moss for some of my college holidays. During one of those I went from office junior to office manager in the space of two months as crisis after crisis hit the firm. I was offered a full time job but everyone there warned me it was a real cut-throat business so I went back to college and finished my degree instead. (And then entered local government which makes any business seem gentile by comparison!)

Phil came on holiday with the family for many years, often providing or hiring the car, and with him we stayed at various places in the Lake District, once in mid-Wales and toured Scotland. Later, after GB and I had left home, Mum and Dad continued to holiday with him and I joined them for a holiday in North Wales and a tour of Southern England.

Queens Square nowadays is hardly recognisable from the days when it housed the fruit merchants and amongst the many buildings demolished was the Stork Hotel.

The Union Cold Storage, another landmark building in old Liverpool, also disappeared.

Fortunately the Playhouse is untouched from the early Queens Square days and remains one of the main theatres in Liverpool.

It was Phil who introduced me to his bank – Midland in Queens Square – just seen to the right of the Magic Clock (a noted gay pub in those days). The pub and bank went years ago and now the Midland isn’t even the Midland anymore – it’s the HSBC. It seems strange to say I’ve had an account at the same bank for over 40 years when the building has moved and the name has changed!

GB, Nana, Dad, Mum, Phil in the early 1960s


  1. I have just found your wonderful Blog. I was looking for pictures of Queens Square Wholesale Mkt. I have memories of standing on the back of my dad's lorry at 6 years old in the earlyand my grandad getting me to read out lines from the newspaper to fruit porters who couldn't read. I don't know what the point of that was. My Dad's driver used to encourage me to throw any rotten fruit he could find at the porters and when they rushed over all mad he would point to me and say 'it was him'. Basically taking the mick but it always seemed to be a place where they all enjoyed their work, well they had fun doing it. My Dad & Grandad used to trade with Leeman & Moss, buying produce to sell on our pitch in Warrington. I took over the business and by then we were going to Edge Lane Mkt L & M were there and there a chap called Peter Moss, a mate of my Dad's, I used to deal with. I, now, suffer from a neurological condition so I have time at home to look for things that interest me. Thank you for your blog.

  2. After leaving Bebington secondary Modern.The
    local Youth employment officer arranged for me
    to take up my first job at "Leeman and Moss.
    In Queens Square Liverpool.I started work there in September 1955?? Not long after I
    started my knew job, I was called in by Mr Moss Senior.He took me down to the Fruit AND
    VEG Showroom were he introduced to Two
    gentlemen Customers According to Mr Moss they were my Grandfathers Brothers and they
    ran a retail fruit and veg in the lovely town of Ellesmere.So Some 55 Years a head I am trying to identify there names as I am
    attempting to secure information for my Family Tree.So I AM Hoping that there is someone out there who could assist me. During my time at Leeman and Moss the company were part owned by Ridley and Holding a London based company