Welcome again to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Merseyside streets, landmarks and buildings from bygone days with how they look today.

Our main image this week shows the newly opened Gerard Gardens housing development which replaced the terraced homes of the Little Italy area off Scotland Road in 1935.

Designed by city architect Sir Lancelot Keay, the distinctive new flats followed continental models for modern living. They soon became a source of pride for the people who moved in.

The smart new Art-Deco buildings boasted all mod cons, including baths, hot and cold running water, coal fires, gas and electricity and ample room for living. Outdoor facilities included verandas and a play area for children.
 

 
Liverpool housing department were keen to display the new development too. Our photo from September 1937 shows council officials and members of the public being welcomed for a guided tour.

Gerard Gardens were occupied for half a century until the development was threatened with demolition in 1986. Residents campaigned fiercely to save their flats – and even won a reprieve from the council.

But the respite was brief as the buildings were torn down a year later in the project to improve access to the Kingsway Tunnel.

Gerard Gardens provided the backdrop for two films – Violent Playground in 1958, starring David McCallum and Stanley Baker, and Coast to Coast in 1986 with Pete Postlethwaite and Lenny Henry.

As photographer Nicola Mazzuia’s modern image shows, bungalows now occupy the site where the impressive arched entrance to Gerard Gardens once stood.