How many customers at the Grapes Hotel ever wonder what these steps outside the entrance are for?
I suspect most of us would guess that there's a connection between them and earlier forms of transport such as wagons or coaches.
In fact, they're a 'Mounting Block'. They are there specifically to help a rider mount his or her horse more readily. According to Wikipedia they were:
Usually made from stone or wood before the era of the motor car they were common. Some have three or more steps leading up to a platform which gave extra height and therefore easier access to the saddle and less chance of falling when dismounting.
A few had a wall or some other support to one side of the steps. Some were built as memorials and bear inscriptions. They were built with bricks, ashlar and even occasionally from a single stone block.
There are modern versions available normally in stables or equestrian centres, there they are there mainly for the benefit of the horses. They help to prevent a horse's body twisting when riders mount the horse distressing or injuring the horse in the process.
I don't know about you but if you let your imagination go a little, it's easy to imagine former bowler-hatted, portly, red-faced Victorian and Edwardian residents of Formby and Freshfield leaving the Grapes after a good night's drinking, playing darts, cribbage or crown green bowling being taken home by a patient knowing horse. No need for a 'Sat Nav'.
No cars , little street lighting, lots of potholes, plenty of rural peace and quiet. The good old days!.