Liverpool’s Time Slips and Mysterious Events on Bold Street

Liverpool Bold Street
Bold Street's Cripps photographed in 1966. (Image source: Reddit)
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There is a road in the United Kingdom that is claimed to produce more than its fair share of time anomalies.

Bold Street in Liverpool has been associated with time slips for decades, with many people having testified that this bustling, shop-lined high street contains a passageway to the past.

A police officer’s time slip story

One of the earliest known accounts is said to date back to 1996, when Frank, a police officer from Merseyside, went shopping with his wife, Carol. It was a sunny, Saturday afternoon and the pair agreed to split up: Frank wanted to look for a new CD at a music shop, and Carol wanted to go to Dillon’s Bookshop on Bold Street. Frank agreed to meet his wife at the bookshop, and so, after finishing at the music shop, walked into Bold Street. Upon passing The Lyceum, a nineteenth-century neoclassical building which marks the entrance of the road, Frank claimed to have felt a peculiar sensation. Everything had gone quiet.

Before he had a chance to ponder this change any further, a small box van supposedly honked its horn and skidded around Frank, narrowly missing him. The police officer claimed that the van looked as though it belonged in the 1950s, and had the name “Caplan’s” (or “Caplin’s”, depending on the variant of the story) stencilled on its side. Confused, Frank stepped out of the road and headed in the direction of Dillon’s Bookshop. As he got closer, however, he saw that the name “Cripps” hung above the shop, and that rather than displaying books, the windows were lined with women’s handbags and shoes.

According to the police officer’s story, it was then that he looked around and realised that people in the street were dressed rather strangely, seemingly wearing clothing from the 1940s and 50s. One person, a young woman in her twenties, stood out from the rest: she was dressed in a lime-coloured sleeveless top, and carried a handbag that Frank recognised as a popular modern-day brand. They smiled at each other as she passed him and headed into Cripps. As he followed her inside, it is claimed that the interior of the shop suddenly changed. Gone were the handbags and shoes, and in their place were bookshelves laden with paperbacks. Frank turned to the young woman, who seemed to be equally confused. When he asked her if she had seen what he had, she supposedly said yes and explained that she had thought it was a new clothes shop, and had been surprised to find the building full of books. Befuddled, Frank found his wife and went home, unable to shake his experience. 1

Later, he found out that a local business called Caplan’s did once exist, and that the bookshop he agreed to meet his wife in used to be a ladies’ shawl shop called Cripps. 2

Cripps Bold Street Liverpool
The building which Frank supposedly entered during his time slip was built by John Cripps, a shawl merchant and manufacturer, who moved in to the premises in 1848.

A shoplifter’s time slip experience on Bold Street

Frank’s story is far from singular. There have been many other strange reports from Bold Street, including one from a shoplifter called Sean, who – whilst running away from a security guard in 2006 – claimed to have been transported back to 1967. When interviewed by a journalist after his alleged experience, Sean stated that he felt a sensation of tightness in chest before realising that his surroundings had changed. Roadworks that he knew were there were gone and people were dressed oddly. At a newspaper kiosk, Sean claimed to have seen an edition of the Daily Post dating to Thursday 18th May 1967. 3

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Whilst it is easy to dismiss individual claims as either fanciful or fiction, the abundance of reports which connect Liverpool’s Bold Street with slips in time are difficult to ignore.

Explanations for time slips occurring on Bold Street

Several people have offered theories as to why Bold Street has produced so many similar accounts. A local journalist has stated that there is “a ‘crack’ in time in the vicinity”. 4

Others have pointed to the city’s underground railway system, claiming that the high voltage rails form a circle close to Bold Street, and that this might have something to do with the creation of a portal through time. 5

Rather eerily, people who worked and resided in Bold Street in the 1960s – the decade which many claim to have slipped back to – seem to have agreed that something was not quite right on their road. When Chris Gibson, the founder of the community and construction project “Future Liverpool”, went down into the cellar of one of Bold Street’s shops with a colleague in 2010, they were disturbed to find several unsettling messages written on the walls.

A photograph taken by Chris Gibson of the messages found underneath Bold Street, Liverpool. (Image credit: Chris Gibson / Future Liverpool)

One, which dated to February 1966, read, “God have mercy on all who enter here.”

Another, dated three years later, confirmed the first’s warning, stating “It’s no joke.”

Gibson also reported hearing bizarre “noises coming from within the room”, including “a low buzzing sound mixed with a sort of clattering”. 6

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About Laura 63 Articles
Falling more strongly on the side of scepticism, Laura's passion is for the details. She is fascinated by the culture implications and psychology of strange phenomena. Some of Laura's main interests are parapsychological experiments; the paranormal in history and folklore; and, haunted locations.