Saturday, 11 June 2011


Regarding the Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool, where I'm attending the first national conference of Philosophy in the Pubs (PIPs): the first Adelphi Hotel on the present site was opened in l826 by owner James Radley. It soon became the most popular hotel in the city, and gained a reputation throughout Britain and Europe.

In 1912, another great hotelier, Arthur Towle, acquired and rebuilt the Adelphi. Today’s building still reflects his care and ambition to make it one of the most luxurious in Europe, with solid marble walls in many of the bedrooms, a fine indoor heated swimming pool, sauna and full central heating. The Sefton Suite in the hotel is in fact a replica of the First Class Smoking Lounge on the ill-fated Titanic.

Many famous visitors have stayed in the Adelphi, including Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger, who were  supposed to have made a grand entrance from the mezzanine floor to the main lounge.

'Abdu'l-Bahá stayed in the Adelphi Hotel for three nights in 1912 on his historic speaking tour in the West. He arrived in Liverpool on Friday 13 December, on board the SS Celtic which had sailed on 5 December from New York (photo above). This was 'Abdu'l-Bahá's second visit to these shores, having already been in England from 3 September to 3 October 1911. Find out more about 'Abdu'l-Bahá's visits to Britain here.

While in Liverpool, 'Abdu'l-Bahá made two addresses, one to the Theosophical Society on the evening of Saturday 14 December and one at Pembroke Chapel, a Baptist church, on Sunday 15 December. He left for London the next morning. 

A famous photo of 'Abdu'l-Bahá was taken during his stay in Liverpool. This much loved picture (a detail from which is reproduced above) has been treasured by Bahá'ís throughout the world for generations and can be seen in many Bahá'í  homes and centres and has been used in a variety of books and other publications.

In 1987, more than 400 people gathered to celebrate the 75th anniversary of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's visit to Liverpool, tracing his route from the Pier head to the Adelphi Hotel. The photo below shows a group of celebrants gathered together shortly before the procession.

I was at that event. I came up from Oakham with other members of staff from the Bahá'í Publishing Trust  to run a book shop for those attending. I wouldn't have seen anything of the procession because I'd have been in the Adelphi, erecting and stocking the book shop, for those who were coming in the procession - and many more besides. I didn't stay in the hotel overnight though, as we were put up by friends outside the city in Newton-le-Willows.

Preparations are currently under way to mark the centenary of these memorable visits, in 2011 and 2012-13 respectively - and not only in Liverpool, but also in the other places 'Abdu'l-Bahá visited in Britain (Bristol, Edinburgh, London, Oxford and Woking - where he visited the Mosque joined by members of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths together with distinguished visitors from east and west).

I wonder if this is the first time anyone has mentioned Roy Rogers and Trigger and 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the same breath? Worse still, when googling for information and images about this topic, I had to put 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Celtic side by side in the search box!

1 comment:

  1. Pete Hulme has written a nice post on his blog, Everybody Means Something, about the centenary of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's visit to Liverpool and his talk to the Theosophical Society there: