- This article is about the city in England. For other articles with the same name, see Liverpool (disambiguation).
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside in north west England, on the north side of the Mersey estuary.
The city is governed by Liverpool City Council, one of five councils within Merseyside. The population of the borough in 2002 was 441,477, and that of the Merseyside conurbation was 1,362,026. Liverpool is the second largest export port of the United Kingdom. Whilst it has lost most of its manufacturing base, Liverpool is still internationally famous as a port, and the city from which The Beatles originated. In sport terms, it boasts two internationally known football clubs, Liverpool F.C. and Everton F.C.. In the year 2008, Liverpool will become the European Capital of Culture.
Liverpool runs directly into Bootle in Sefton, and Huyton in Knowsley. It faces Wallasey and Birkenhead across the River Mersey.
Inhabitants of Liverpool are officially known as "Liverpudlians", but more commonly known as "Scousers". They are noted for their distinctive accent, called Scouse.
In 1190 the place was known as 'Liuerpul', meaning a pool or creek with muddy water. Other origins of the name have been suggest including 'elverpool', a reference to the large number of eels in the Mersey.
The origins of the city are usually dated from August 1207 when letters patent were issued by King John advertising the establishment of a new borough at Liverpool, and inviting settlers to come and take up holdings there. It is thought that the king wanted a port in the district that was free from the control of the earl of Chester. Initially it served as a dispatch point for troops sent to Ireland, soon after Liverpool Castle was built, which was removed in 1726. For four centuries, Liverpool was relatively unimportant. In the middle of the 16th century the population of Liverpool was only around 500, and the port was regarded as subordinate to Chester until the 1650s. A number of battles for the town were waged during the English Civil War, including an eighteen-day siege in 1644.
In the year 1571 the inhabitants of Liverpool sent a memorial to Queen Elizabeth, praying relief from a subsidy which they thought themselves unable to bear, wherein they styled themselves "her majesty's poor decayed town of Liverpool." Some time towards the close of this reign, Henry Stanley, 4th Earl of Derby, on his way to the Isle of Man, stayed at his house at Liverpool called the Tower; at which the corporation erected a handsome hall or seat for him in the church, where he honoured them several times with his presence.
Liverpool, from this time till the end of the next century, made but a slow progress either in the extent of its trade or in the number of its inhabitants; nor is there any remarkable occurrence recorded of it, except the siege of it by Prince Rupert, in the English Civil Wars in 1644; some traces of which were discovered when the foundation of the Liverpool Infirmary was sunk, particularly the marks of the trenches thrown up by the prince, and some cartouches, etc., left behind by the besiegers.
In 1699 Liverpool was made a parish on its own by Act of Parliament, separate from that of Walton-on-the-Hill, with two parish churches. From that time may be traced the rapid progress of population and commerce, until Liverpool had become the second metropolis of Great Britain:
In the 18th century, as trade from the West Indies was added to that of Ireland and Europe, Liverpool began to grow. The first wet dock in Britain was built in Liverpool in 1715. Substantial profits from the slave trade helped the town grow and prosper. Liverpool's Black community dates from this period and grew rapidly, reaching a population of 10,000 within five years. By the beginning of the 19th century, 40% of the world's trade was passing through the docks at Liverpool.
- Far as the eye can trace the prospect round
- The splendid tracts of opulence are found;
- Yet scarce a hundred annual rounds have run.
- Since first the fabric of this power begun;
- His noble stream, inglorious, Mersey roll'd,
- Nor felt his waves by lab'ring art controll'd:
- Along his side a few small cots were spread,
- His finny brood their humble tenants fed;
- At op'ning dawn with fraudful nets supply'd
- The padding skiff would brave his specious tide,
- Ply round the shores, nor tempt the dangerous main,
- But seek ere night the friendly port again.
Liverpool expanded significantly in the 19th century and a number of major buildings were constructed (St. George's Hall, Lime Street Station etc.). When the American Civil War broke out Liverpool became a hot bed of intrigue. The last confederate ship, the CSS Alabama, was built at Birkenhead on the Mersey and the CSS Shenandoah surrendered there. Liverpool was granted city status in 1880.
During the first part of the 20th century Liverpool continued to expand, pulling in emigrants from Europe. It has been claimed that Adolf Hitler stayed in Upper Stanhope street in Liverpool, with his sister, in the 1910s, but this claim is not considered reliable by most historians (see website).
The area of Gerard, Hunter, Lionel and Whale streets, off Scotland Road, was referred to as Little Italy. Inspired by an old Venetian custom, Liverpool was 'married to the sea' in September 1928. Liverpool was also home to a large Welsh population and was sometimes referred to as the Capital of North Wales. In 1884, 1900 and 1929, Eisteddfod was held in Liverpool. The population of the city exceeded 850,000 in 1930.
During World War II there were eighty air-raids on Merseyside, with an especially concentrated series of raids in May 1941 which interrupted operations at the docks for almost a week. Although only 2,500 people were killed, almost half the homes in the metropolitan area sustained some damage and 11,000 were totally destroyed. John Lennon, who later founded the pop group called The Beatles, was born in Liverpool during an air-raid on October 9, 1940.
Significant rebuilding followed the war, including massive housing estates and the Seaforth Dock, the largest dock project in Britain. However, the city has been suffering since the 1950s with the loss of numerous employers. By 1985 the population had fallen to 460,000. Declines in manufacturing and dock activity struck the city particularly hard.
Historically Liverpool was part of the traditional county of Lancashire, Liverpool had become independent of Lancashire in 1888 when it became a county borough. In 1974, it became a metropolitan district within the newly created metropolitan county of Merseyside.
In the 1980s several councils in Merseyside including Liverpool City Council were taken over by the far-left wing Militant group, under the de facto leadership of Derek Hatton (although Hatton was formally only Deputy Leader). This was one of the reasons for the abolition of the Merseyside county council in 1986.
In 1989, 96 Liverpool fans died or were severely injured in the Hillsborough disaster at a football game in Sheffield. This had a traumatic effect on people in both cities, and resulted in legally imposed changes in the way in which football fans have been accommodated in football stadiums since. A similar outpouring of grief and shock occurred in 1993 when two year-old James Bulger was killed by two ten year-old boys, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson.
In weeks following October 7, 2004, much of Liverpool once again united in grief following the news of Kenneth Bigley's beheading in Iraq – Bigley was a Liverpudlian civilian whose kidnapping and execution was felt by at least some persons living in Liverpool as a particularly Liverpudlian tragedy. A highly controversial editorial in The Spectator promptly labelled this behaviour as 'vicarious victimhood' in its "Bigley Editorial" as part of a wider accusation that Britain was indulging in insipid sentimentality. The article also dredged up the disaster at Hillsborough, claiming Liverpudlians had shirked responsibility for the disaster (in this capacity revisiting the accusations of The Sun) and contributed to a high-profile public outcry – evoking the vehement outcry that The Sun had faced years before.
The city has emphasised its cultural attractions, winning the accolade of European City of Culture for 2008. Capitalising on the popularity of the 1960s pop group The Beatles and other groups of the Merseybeat era, tourism has also become a significant factor in Liverpool's economy.
Liverpool has a vibrant artistic life. Several pre-Raphaelites are among the important paintings in the Walker Art Gallery. The other main galleries of pre 20th century art in the city are the Sudley and Lady Lever Galleries.  The Tate Liverpool gallery houses the modern art collection of the Tate in the north of England. The Liverpool Biennial is a festival of arts held (as the name implies) every two years. The festival generally runs from mid September to late November and comprises three main sections; the International, The Independents and New Contemporaries although many fringe events are timed to coincide.
A flourishing orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra performs in its own hall, the Philharmonic Hall. The city also became well known for the Liverpool poets, of whom Adrian Henri and Roger McGough are among the best known. The city is also home to several successful theatre companies - The Everyman & Playhouse  as well as The Unity Theatre .
In 2003, Liverpool became European Capital of Culture for 2008 and started a £750 million regeneration of the city centre. In addition to the money being invested in the city centre, a tram system is being developed, which will hopefully complement the city's train and bus services.
Liverpool has two Premier division football clubs - Liverpool F.C. at Anfield and Everton F.C. at Goodison Park. Over the water at Tranmere are Tranmere Rovers F.C..
Important landmarks and buildings
Pier Head area, seen from the Albert Dock
The built environment of Liverpool contains over 2,500 listed buildings (26 Grade I and 85 Grade II*) it is the inheritance of high-minded public spirit since the later 18th century, largely with Dissenter impetus, that has resulted in more public sculpture than in any UK city aside from Westminster, more listed buildings than any city apart from London and, surprisingly, more Georgian houses than the City of Bath.
In 2004 Liverpool was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the justification is Liverpool's importance in the development of world trading system and dock technology.
Amongst its superlatives: Liverpool has the largest panel of stained glass in the world (in Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral), the largest brick building in the world, and the first enclosed integrated dock system in the world. The Anglican Cathedral has the longest nave, largest organ and heaviest and highest peal of bells in the world. Architects well represented in Liverpool: Giles Gilbert Scott, Peter Ellis, Harvey Lonsdale Elmes, and John Foster. Sir Edwin Lutyens is represented by the completed crypt of his projected Metropolitan Cathedral, which was built to a simpler design by Frederick Gibberd.
In Liverpool primary education is available in various forms supported by the state include secular, Church of England, Islamic, Jewish and Roman Catholic. Currently no specific Islamic secondary education is provided.
One of Liverpool important early schools was The Liverpool Blue Coat School was founded in 1708 as a charitable school, it continues today. Liverpool College is the leading private school.
Liverpool has two universities, the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and one university college, Liverpool Hope University College. Liverpool John Moores University is one of the polytechnics given university status in 1992 and is named after the owner of the Littlewoods retail group. The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine was founded to address some of the problems created by trade, today it continues as a post graduate school.
The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts which was set up by Sir Paul McCartney in 1996, to train artistes and technicians, in the building which formerly housed the Liverpool Institute for Boys.
There are three tunnels under the River Mersey: one railway tunnel, the Mersey Railway Tunnel, and two road tunnels, Queensway Tunnel and Kingsway Tunnel. There is also the Mersey Ferry, made famous by the song Ferry Cross the Mersey by Gerry and the Pacemakers. In fact the song is now played on the ferryboats themselves every time they prepare to dock at Liverpool.
In 2001, Speke Airport was renamed Liverpool John Lennon Airport, in honour of the late Beatle John Lennon. The airport's logo consists of a sketch that Lennon had drawn of himself, and the words "Above us only sky", lyrics from his legendary song "Imagine". In 2002 716,000 passengers used the Port of Liverpool. The Isle of Man and Ireland being the two most important passenger routes.
Liverpool has a train system called Merseyrail, the sections in the city centre are mostly underground. The lines terminate at Southport, Ormskirk, Kirkby, Hunts Cross, Ellesmere Port and Chester. The inner loop from Edge Hill station to Kirkdale, no longer carries passenger services and Liverpool Overhead Railway has long since disappeared. Liverpool once possessed a very integrated transport system. Only now is a Tram system, merseytram, being planned to replace the one destroyed in the 1950s.
Many famous names have been associated with Liverpool; for a list, see List of famous people from Liverpool.
The city's has two daily newspapers, Liverpool Daily Post in the morning and the evening Liverpool Echo both published by the same company. The Daily Post, especially, serves a wider area, including north Wales. Broadcast media include BBC Radio Merseyside, Juice 107.6 and Radio City as well as Magic 1548, which are both based in St. John's Beacon which dominates the Liverpool skyline, all broadcast to the city and beyond.
The economy of Liverpool is beginning to recover from its long post WWII decline. Between 1995 and 2001 GVA per head grew at 6.3% annum. This compared with 5.8% for inner London and 5.7% for Bristol. The rate of Jobs growth was 9.2% compared with a national average of 4.9% for the same period, 1998-2002.
Like the rest of the United Kingdom the city has seen a large growth in service industries and has several major call centers. The activities of the port have left the site with a communications infrastructure that had for a long time exceeded requirements. Growth in the areas of New Media has been helped by the existence of a relatively large Computer game development community.
Tourism is a major factor in the economy and will be of increasing importance in the run up to the Liverpool years as European Capital of Culture. This has led to a great increase in the provision of high quality services such as Hotels, restaurants and clubs. The buildings of Liverpool not only attract tourists but also film makers, who regularly use Liverpool to double for many cities around the worlds and making it the second most filmed city in the UK.
Films Set In Liverpool
Districts of Liverpool
Last updated: 10-13-2005 01:55:36