City centre's lost bus station where many day trips began

Ribble Bus Station, Skelhorne Street, Liverpool. February 13, 1978
-Credit: (Image: Mirrorpix)

A lost city centre bus station that operated for years is still remembered as being the starting point of many day trips across the region and beyond.

Decades ago in the city many will remember heading to Liverpool's bus terminal at the Pier Head or the 'bubble bus stops' on Roe Street. But for years, many commuters will also remember another site located a stones throw away from Liverpool Lime Street.

For years, Skelhorne Street was home to a giant two-deck bus coach station, built by Ribble Motor Services. Ribble was a large regional bus operator in the North West and well-established in the holiday tours business.

READ MORE: 54 brilliant photos of Glastonbury Festival through the years

READ MORE: 'Down to Earth' pub that was a 'throwback to the dark ages'

It saw people from across the city heading to the Skelhorne Street station now only to to travel elsewhere on Merseyside, but also to other destinations and day trips across the UK. On July 30, 1959, the ECHO reported how work was almost complete on the site.

Commuters were told the site and would soon be dealing with express coaches linking Merseyside with Lancashire holiday resorts, the Lake District, Scotland, North Wales, the North East coast, the West Midlands, Bristol and South West England. At the time, a Ribble spokesperson said: "The new station will bring under one roof our local, interurban and long distance services, tours and excursions and so enable passengers to transfer easily from one service to another."

A view of the new Ribble bus station site looking up Skelhorne Street from Lime Street, with the Adelphi Hotel seen on the right, and a glimpse of Lime Street Station on the left. July 30, 1959
A view of the new Ribble Bus Station site looking up Skelhorne Street from Lime Street,. July 30, 1959 -Credit:Mirrorpix

By summer of 1960, the modern terminal, which became the starting point of a wide range of bus and coach services, was fully operational. Prior, it had only been in partial use to the public for some time.

On July 6, 1960, the ECHO reported: "The need of such a centre was apparent In 1958 when the company first entered upon negotiations to acquire the site now occupied by the new premises. After the war, planning permission was granted and the land was acquired by the company.

Do you remember the Ribble Bus Station in Liverpool city centre? Let us know in the comments section below.

"Clearing of the site was started in August. 1956. The contour of the land made it possible to construct a coach station at higher level, while retaining the complete area of the site at a lower level for the purpose of a bus station.

"A two-storey office block, with cafeteria and staff rooms takes up 728 square yards, leaving about 2,707 square yards for the bus and coach station buildings. Ten feet overhead, and occupying an area of 1,353 square yards, the coach station has been erected by bridging over the section forming the bus station passenger platform, which includes a left luggage office, public bar, tea bar with automatic vending machines and a traffic control office."

Through the years, many will remember the bus station on Skelhorne Street, whether you used it or walked nearby on your commute to work. These images, courtesy of our archives, Mirrorpix, are also bound to stir some memories.

Ribble Bus Station, Skelhorne Street, Liverpool. February 13, 1978
Ribble Bus Station, Skelhorne Street. February 13, 1978 -Credit:Mirrorpix

Unseen for years, they are bound to stir some memories for those who remember the Ribble Bus Station. One image shows a view of the site before it opened in 1959, whereas another captures outside the station when it was still in operation in 1978.

In its time, the site was also home to a café. Many pints were also had to the Ribble bar.

But by the end of the 1980s, life at the site completely changed. In 1989, the closure of the Skelhorne Street bus station was announced.

In September that year, a Merseytravel advert stated: "From last bus on Sunday 10th September 1989, the Skelhorne Street Bus Station in Liverpool city centre will be closed (the coach station will close later in September).

"Those bus services which presently terminate at the bus station will now stop at various points within the city centre, but in most cases, will terminate outside the city centre." By the early 1990s, commuters said goodbye to the Ribble Bus Station near Lime Street Station and hello to a new nightclub.

The Liverpool ECHO recently took a look back at Buzz nightclub, which officially opened in the city centre back in 1992. It opened on part of the site of the former Ribble Bus Station on Skelhorne Street and it was Merseyside nightclub owners Fallows who were behind the club, which had been derelict before its transformation.

Buzz club on Skelhorne Street, Liverpool city centre
Buzz club on Skelhorne Street -Credit:Trinity Mirror/Reach Content Archive

On February 18, 1992, the Liverpool Daily Post reported: "The old Skelhorne Street bus station - closed over two years ago - is now home to The Buzz nightclub, the first phase of a 6m development which will eventually incorporate a conference centre and 105-bed hotel. The nightclub opens it doors next week, while the conference centre upstairs is due to open in late June.

"Merseyside nightclub owners Fallows are behind the scheme to regenerate one of Liverpool's best-known sites, although they are hoping to pass on the hotel site to a separate developer. If all goes according to plan, the hotel could be open by the end of the year. In total, the three parts of the development are expected to create 180 jobs."

At the time, Geoff Fallows said: "This site was derelict for two years and has taken a lot of work and money to redevelop. We were keen to invest in Liverpool once again and we believe it will add another dimension to nightlife in the city centre."

Skelhorne Street area, Liverpool city centre, before its redevelopment
Skelhorne Street area before its redevelopment -Credit:Trinity Mirror/Reach Content Archive

Buzz DJ and promotions manager John Cotton explained that the plush 1,000-capacity club offered a 127-space attended car park and that a 15-kilowatt sound system had been installed together with lights at a cost of £350,000.

Many will remember nights out at Buzz nightclub through the years. In the next decade, the site became known as Zub, Metro and then Pulse.

But through the years, the club was fairly troubled, being at the centre of a number of incidents. These included a catalogue of violent incidents and drug taking, as well as different licenses being revoked.

In 2001, arsonists caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to the Pulse nightclub, and 30 firefighters battled through the night to contain the flames. The building has since been demolished. In recent years, the area around Skelhorne Street and Lime Street has seen much redevelopment.

Unseen for years, we also recently rediscover images of the nightclub site in its latter years. They show what the site once looked like outside when it was operating and how the building looked before its demolition.

It's now been decades since the days of the Ribble Bus Station and the site's nightclubs. But these images will stir memories of how part of the city used to be.

Receive newsletters with the latest news, sport and what's on updates from the Liverpool ECHO by signing up here