Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880. Liverpool has a population of 435,500, and lies at the centre of the wider Liverpool Urban Area, which has a population of 816,216.

Historically a part of Lancashire, the urbanisation and expansion of Liverpool were broadly brought about by the city's status as a major port. By the 18th century, trade from the West Indies, Ireland and mainland Europe coupled with close links with the Atlantic Slave Trade furthered the economic expansion of Liverpool. By the early 19th century, 40% of the world's trade passed through Liverpool's docks, contributing to Liverpool's rise as a major city.

Inhabitants of Liverpool are referred to as Liverpudlians but are also known as "Scousers", in reference to the local meal known as "scouse", a form of stew. The word "Scouse" has also become synonymous with the Liverpool accent and dialect. Liverpool's status as a port city has contributed to Liverpool's diverse population, which draws from a wide range of peoples, cultures, and religions, particularly those from Ireland.

The popularity of The Beatles and the other groups from the Merseybeat era contributes to Liverpool's status as a tourist destination; tourism forms a significant part of the city's modern economy. In 2007 the city celebrated its 800th anniversary, and in 2008 it holds the European Capital of Culture title together with Stavanger, Norway.


King John's letters patent of 1207 announced the foundation of the borough of Liverpool, but by the middle of the 16th century the population was still only around 500. The original street plan of Liverpool is said to have been designed by King John near the same time it was granted a royal charter, making it a borough.The original seven streets were laid out in a H shape:
Bank Street (now Water Street)
Castle Street
Chapel Street
Dale Street
Juggler Street (now High Street)
Moor Street (now Tithebarn Street)
Whiteacre Street (now Old Hall Street)

In the 17th century there was slow progress in trade and population growth. Battles for the town were waged during the English Civil War, including an eighteen-day siege in 1644. In 1699 Liverpool was made a parish by Act of Parliament, that same year its first slave ship, Liverpool Merchant, set sail for Africa. As trade from the West Indies surpassed that of Ireland and Europe, and as the River Dee silted up, Liverpool began to grow. The first commercial wet dock was built in Liverpool in 1715. Substantial profits from the slave trade helped the town to prosper and rapidly grow. By the close of the century Liverpool controlled over 41% of Europe's and 80% of Britain's slave commerce. By the start of the 19th century, 40% of the world's trade was passing through Liverpool and the construction of major buildings reflected this wealth. In 1830, Liverpool and Manchester became the first cities to have an intercity rail link, through the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. The population continued to rise rapidly, especially during the 1840s when Irish migrants began arriving by the hundreds of thousands as a result of the Great Famine. By 1851, approximately 25% of the city's population was Irish-born. During the first part of the 20th century, Liverpool was drawing immigrants from across Europe.

The Housing Act 1919 resulted in mass council housing building across Liverpool during the 1920s and 1930s. Thousands of families were rehoused from decrepit inner-city slums to well-equipped new homes on suburban housing estates which offered a far higher standard of living. A great deal of private houses were also built during this era. The process continued after the Second World War, with many more new housing estates being built in suburban areas, while some of the older inner city areas where also redeveloped for new homes.

During World War II there were 80 air-raids on Merseyside, killing 2500 people and causing damage to almost half the homes in the metropolitan area. Since 1952 Liverpool has been twinned with Cologne, Germany, a city which also shared the horrific experience of aerial bombing. Significant rebuilding followed the war, including massive housing estates and the Seaforth Dock, the largest dock project in Britain.

In the 1960s Liverpool became a centre of youth culture. The "Merseybeat" sound which became synonymous with The Beatles and fellow Liverpudlian rock bands of the era catapulted the city to the front of the popular music scene.

From the mid-1970s onwards Liverpool's docks and traditional manufacturing industries went into sharp decline. The advent of containerization meant that the city's docks became largely obsolete. In the early 1980s unemployment rates in Liverpool were among the highest in the UK. In recent years, Liverpool's economy has recovered and has experienced growth rates higher than the national average since the mid-nineties.

Previously part of Lancashire, and a county borough from 1889, Liverpool became in 1974 a metropolitan borough within the newly created metropolitan county of Merseyside.

At the end of the 20th century Liverpool was concentrating on regeneration, a process which still continues today. To celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 2002, the conservation charity Plantlife organised a competition to choose county flowers, the sea-holly was Liverpool's final choice

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.

In 2004, property developer Grosvenor started the Paradise Project, a £920 m development centered on Paradise Street, which involved the most significant changes to Liverpool's city centre since the post-war reconstruction. Now known as Liverpool one, opened in May 2008.

2007 was the anniversary of the foundation of the city (1207), for which a number of events were planned. Liverpool is the European Capital of Culture for 2008. For what is said to be the main part of the celebrations, a French-based production company named La Machine has built La Princesse, a giant mechanical spider, reaching 50 feet, and weighing 37 tonnes. La Princesse was designed by engineering genius François Delarozière. La Princesse roamed the streets of Liverpool in September 2008, to the delight of her fans, young and old. After winning the hearts of all in Liverpool, La Princesse bowed out in a tremendous and epic fashion, and backed into the Queensway Tunnel entrance. It is said that plans are afoot to secure La Princesse as a permanent feature in Liverpool, and some talks are believed to have already taken place. The news has been met with excitement, the public believing it to be a great idea, and are hoping it goes ahead, and La Princesse will return, for good, to Liverpool, which is seen as her home city.


Liverpool has three tiers of goverance; the Local Council, the National Government and the European Parliament. Liverpool is officially governed by a Unitary Authority, as when Merseyside County Council was disbanded civic functions were returned to a district borough level. However several services such as the Police and Fire and Rescue Service, continue to be run at a county-wide level.

Local Council

See also: Liverpool City Council
The City of Liverpool is governed by Liverpool City Council, and is one of five metropolitan boroughs that combine to make up the metropolitan county of Merseyside. The council consists of 90 elected councillors who represent local communities throughout the city, as well as a five man executive management team who are responsible for the day to day running of the council. Part of the responsibility of the councillors is the election of a council leader and Lord Mayor. The council leader's responsibility is to provide directionality for the council as well as acting as medium between the local council, central government and private & public partners. The Lord Mayor acts as the 'first citizen' of the city and is responsible for promoting the city, supporting local charities & community groups as well as representing the city at civic events The current council leader is Warren Bradley, and current Lord Mayor is Councillor Steve Rotheram.

For local elections the city is split into 30 local council wards, which in alphabetical order are:

As of September 2008 the council is controlled by the Liberal Democrats who took 45 seats to Labour's 39 in the most recent local election. Of the remaining seats the Liberal Party won three, the Green Party claimed two and the last one went to an independent councillor. The Conservative Party, one of the three major political parties in the UK had no representation on Liverpool City Council. Officially the result was classified as no overall control in the city, however following the defection of Croxteth Independant Councillor Nadia Stewart, the Lib Dems increased their number of seats to 46 allowing the current administration to continue. In February 2008, Liverpool City Council was revealed to be the worst performing council in the country, receiving just a one star rating (classified as inadequate). The main cause of the poor rating was attributed to the councils poor handling of tax-payer money, including the accumulation of a £20m shortfall on Capital of Culture funding.

Parliamentary constituencies and MPs

See also: List of Parliamentary constituencies on Merseyside
Within Liverpool there are five parliamentary constituencies through which Members of Parliament (MPs) are elected to represent the city in Westminster: Liverpool Garston, Liverpool Riverside, Liverpool Walton, Liverpool Wavertree and Liverpool West Derby. At the last General Election all were won by Labour with representation being from Maria Eagle, Louise Ellman, Peter Kilfoyle, Jane Kennedy and Bob Wareing respectively. In proposed constituency boundary changes for the next UK election, Liverpool will only have four seats completely within the city boundaries after the announcement of plans to merge Liverpool Garston with Halewood (which was previously part of Knowsley South), creating a cross-boundary seat.


At (53.4, -2.98), northwest of London, the city of Liverpool is built across a ridge of sandstone hills rising up to a height of around 230 feet (70 metres) above sea-level at Everton Hill, which represent the southern boundary of the West Lancashire Coastal Plain. The Liverpool Urban Area runs directly into Bootle, Crosby and Maghull in south Sefton to the north, and Kirkby, Huyton, Prescot and Halewood in Knowsley to the east. It faces Wallasey and Birkenhead across the River Mersey to the west.

Liverpool experiences a temperate maritime climate, like much of the British Isles, with relatively cool summers and mild winters. There is regular but generally light precipitation throughout the year with an average of 282 days of rain per annum which compares with the UK average of 154.4. Snowfall is not a common sight in the city, with an average of only 22 days per annum.


As with other major British cities, Liverpool has a large and diverse population. At the 2001 UK Census the recorded population of Liverpool was 441,900, whilst a mid-2007 estimate by the ONS had the city's population as 435,500, which would make it the sixth largest district in the UK (N.B. This figure includes only those areas officially within the city boundaries). Liverpool’s population peaked in 1930’s with 846,101 recorded in the 1931 census. Since then the city has experienced negative population growth every decade, with at its peak over 100,000 people leaving the city between 1971 and 1981.. Between 2001 and 2006 it experienced the ninth largest percentage population loss of any UK unitary authority, although it has been suggested that overall the city's population is now stabalising after rapid decline in the 1980's and 1990's.

In common with many cities, Liverpool's population is younger than that of England as a whole, with 42.3 per cent of its population under the age of 30, compared to an English average of 37.4 per cent. 65.1 per cent of the population is of working age.

Liverpool is home to Britain's oldest Black community, dating to at least the 1730s. The Chinese community also has a long history in the city and the city's Chinatown is home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe, with many of the original members of the community arriving as seamen in the nineteenth century. The city is also known for its large Irish and Welsh populations. In 1813, 10 per cent of Liverpool's population was Welsh, leading to the city becoming known as "the capital of North Wales". Following the start of the Irish Potato Famine, 2 million Irish people migrated to Liverpool in the space of one decade, many of them subsequently departing for the United States. By 1851, more than 20 per cent of the population of Liverpool was Irish. At the 2001 Census, 1.17 per cent of the population were Welsh-born and 0.75 per cent were born in the Republic of Ireland, with 0.54 per cent born in Northern Ireland, but many more Liverpudlians have Welsh and Irish ancestry.

As of mid-2005, an estimated 92.3 per cent of Liverpool's population is White, 1.9 per cent Asian or Asian British, 1.8 per cent Black or Black British, 1.9 per cent mixed-race and 2.1 per cent Chinese and other.


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added (GVA) of Liverpool at current basic prices published (pp.240-253) by the Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of pounds sterling.
Year Regional Gross Value Added Agriculture Industry Services
1995 4,394 3 950 3,440
2000 5,681 4 1,033 4,644
2003 6,595 6 953 5,636

The economy of Liverpool is beginning to recover from its long, post-World War II 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 job growth was 9.2% compared with a national average of 4.9% for the same period, 1998-2002. However, Liverpool is still comparatively poor; a 2001 report by CACI showed that Liverpool still had four of the ten poorest postcode districts in the country, and almost 30% of people aged 65 or over are without central heating.

Like the rest of the United Kingdom the city has seen a large growth in the service sector, both public and private. Government offices include parts of the National Health Service, Revenue and Customs and Home Office agencies such as the Criminal Records Bureau and the Identity and Passport Service, formerly the UK Passport Agency. Major private sector service industry concerns have also invested in Liverpool especially the financial services sector with Barclays, JPMorgan, Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester, Royal Bank of Scotland Group, HBOS and the Bank of Ireland either opening or expanding their sites, a number of major call centres have opened in recent years too and the professional advice sector. The activities of the port had, due to containerisation and reduced levels of commerce, left the region with a communications infrastructure that exceeded its requirements, however the port's cargo volumes have picked up significantly.

Growth in the areas of New Media has been helped by the existence of a relatively large computer game development community. Sony based one of only a handful of European PlayStation research and development centres in Wavertree, after buying out noted software publisher Psygnosis. According to a 2006 issue of industry magazine 'Edge' (issue 162), the first professional quality PlayStation software developer's kits were largely programmed by Sony's Liverpool 'studio'.

Tourism is a major factor in the economy and will be of increasing importance in the run up to the Liverpool's year 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 cities around the world and making it the second most filmed city in the UK. Liverpool is also one of the few cities in the world where cruise liners can berth in the city centre, and from 2008 a significant number of ships will either set sail or call at Liverpool's cruise liner terminal, including the Grand Princess, and the QE2. Large naval ships coming in to dock also draw large crowds on sunny days. Liverpool and its boroughs have a large number of sandy beaches accessible by Merseyrail, which prove popular in the summer months.

Car-manufacturing also takes place in the city at the Halewood plant where the Jaguar X-Type and Land Rover Freelander models are assembled.

The owner of Liverpool's port and airport, Peel Holdings, announced on March 6, 2007 that is had plans to redevelop the city's northern dock area with a scheme entitled Liverpool Waters, which may see the creation of 17,000 jobs and £5.5bn invested in the vicinity over a 50 year period. This is coupled with a sister scheme on the other side of the River Mersey, called Wirral Waters.

Liverpool's main shopping area is Church Street, lying between Bold Street to the East and Lord Street to the West. The first phase of Liverpool One opened in May 2008 and is due to be complete by September 2008, and will be Europe's largest retail development when finished, being the redevelopment of a large part of the postcode area L1—hence the name.


Liverpool's history means that there are a considerable variety of architectural styles found there. Its role as a major port in the British Empire means that many of finest buildings in the city were built as headquarters for shipping firms and insurance companies, whilst the great wealth this afforded the city allowed the development of grand civic buildings, designed to allow the local administrators to 'run the city with pride'. There are over 2,500 listed buildings in Liverpool (of which 26 are Grade I listed and 85 are Grade II* listed) and only the UK capital London, has more.. It has been the beneficiary of high-minded public spirit since the late 18th century, largely with Dissenter impetus, resulting 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. Renowned architects are particularly well represented in Liverpool, including Peter Ellis, John Wood, the Elder of Bath (commissioned in 1749 to design the original Public Exchange which later became the Town Hall), Thomas 'Greek' Harrison, James Wyatt, Harvey Lonsdale Elmes, Philip Hardwick, Jesse Hartley (Dock engineer and architect of the Albert Dock and Stanley Dock), Charles Cockerell, Thomas Rickman, John Foster, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, J.J. Scholes, Sir Joseph Paxton, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, J.K. Colling, J.A. Picton, George Edmund Street, John Loughborough Pearson, E.W. Pugin, E.R. Robson, Edmund Kirby, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Sir Frederick Gibberd, Alfred Waterhouse (who was born in Aigburth), W.D. Caroe, Leonard Stokes, Norman Shaw, James Francis Doyle, Walter Aubrey Thomas (architect of the iconic Royal Liver Building on the Liverpool waterfront), Gerald de Courcy Fraser, Charles Reilly and Herbert Rowse (architect of Martins Bank, Queensway Tunnel and India Buildings).

Waterfront and docks museums

In 2004, Liverpool's waterfront was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site, reflecting the city's importance in the development of the world's trading system and dock technology.

The docks are central to Liverpool's history, with the best-known being Albert Dock: the first enclosed, non-combustible dock warehouse system in the world and is built in cast iron, brick and stone. It was designed by Jesse Hartley. Restored in the 1980s, the Albert Dock is the largest collection of Grade I listed buildings in Britain. Part of the old dock complex is now the home to the Merseyside Maritime Museum (an Anchor Point of ERIH, The European Route of Industrial Heritage), the International Slavery Museum and the Tate Liverpool. Other relics of the dock system include the Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse, which at the time of its construction in 1901, was the world's largest building in terms of area, and is still the world's largest brick-work building. Also the ill-fated passenger liner RMS Titanic was registered in Liverpool.

The Pier Head is the most famous image of Liverpool, the location of the Three Graces (a fairly recent phrase), three of Liverpool's most recognisable buildings. In ordefrom north to south they are:

They were built on the site of the former George's Dock and Manchester Dock.

Kings Dock immediately south of the Albert Dock is the site of the Liverpool Echo Arena and BT Convention Centre which officially opened on the 12 January 2008.

In front of these buildings at the water's edge are the memorials to the men of the merchant navy who sailed out of the port during both World Wars. Memorials to the British mariners, Norwegian, Dutch and to the thousands of Chinese seamen who manned Britain's ships cluster together here. Perhaps most interesting is the Chinese memorial to the men forcibly deported from the city after World War Two and to the families they left behind.

Places of worship

The thousands of migrants and sailors passing through Liverpool resulted in a religious diversity that is still apparent today. This is reflected in the equally diverse collection of religious buildings, and two Christian cathedrals.

The parish church of Liverpool is the Anglican Our Lady and St Nicholas, colloquially known as "the sailors church", which has existed near the waterfront since 1257. It regularly plays host to Catholic masses. Other notable churches include the Greek Orthodox Church of St Nicholas (built in the Neo-Byzantine architecture style), and the Gustav Adolfus Kyrka (the Swedish Seamen's Church, reminiscent of Nordic styles).

Liverpool's wealth as a port city enabled the construction of two enormous cathedrals, both dating from the 20th century. The Anglican Cathedral which was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and plays host to the annual Liverpool Shakespeare Festival, has one of the longest naves, largest organs and heaviest and highest peals of bells in the world. The Roman Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral, on Mount Pleasant next to Liverpool Science Park was initially planned to be even larger. Of Sir Edwin Lutyens' original design, only the crypt was completed. The cathedral was eventually built to a simpler design by Sir Frederick Gibberd; while this is on a smaller scale than Lutyens' original design, it still manages to incorporate the largest panel of stained glass in the world. Appropriately enough, the road running between the two cathedrals is called Hope Street. The cathedral is colloquially referred to as "Paddy's Wigwam" due to its shape and the vast number of Irish men who worked on its construction and are living in the area.

Liverpool contains several synagogues, of which the Grade I listed Moorish Revival Princes Road Synagogue is architecturally the most notable. Princes road is widely considered to be the most magnificent of Britain's Moorish Revival synagogues and one of the finest buildings in Liverpool. Liverpool has a thriving Jewish community with a further 2 Synagogues, one in the Greenbank Park area of L17 and a second in the Childwall district of the city where a significant Jewish community reside. Liverpool has had a Jewish community since the mid-18th century. The current Jewish population of Liverpool is around 3000.

Liverpool also has an increasing Hindu community, with a Mandir on Edge Lane; the Radha Krishna Hindu Temple from the Hindu Cultural Organisation based there. The current Hindu population in Liverpool is about 1147. Liverpool also has the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurudwara in L15.

The city had one of the earliest mosques in Britain, founded in 1887 by William Abdullah Quilliam, a lawyer who had converted to Islam. This mosque, however, no longer exists. Plans have been ongoing to re-convert the building where the mosque once stood into a museum. Currently there are three mosques in Liverpool: the largest and main one, Al-Rahma mosque, in the Toxteth area of the city and a mosque recently opened in the Mossley Hill district of the city. The third mosque was also recently opened in Toxteth and is on Granby Street.

Other notable buildings and main museums

The area around William Brown Street has been labeled the city's 'Cultural Quarter', owing to the presence of the William Brown Library, Walker Art Gallery and World Museum Liverpool, just three of Liverpool's neo-classical buildings. Nearby is St George's Hall, perhaps the most impressive of these neo-classical buildings. It was built to serve a variety of civic functions, including both as a concert hall and as the city's law courts. Its doors, inscribed "S.P.Q.L." (Latin senatus populusque Liverpudliensis—"the senate and people of Liverpool"), as well as its grand architecture proclaim the municipal pride and ambition of the city in the mid-nineteenth century. Also in this area are Wellington's Column and the Steble Fountain.

Liverpool's Town Hall dates from 1754 and has an interior considered beautiful. The city's stock exchange and financial district are set immediately behind this building, and show how closely government and commerce were tied in the city's development.

At 40 storeys, West Tower is Liverpool's tallest building.

The Adelphi Hotel on Ranelagh Street is the most famous hotel in Liverpool and was very popular in the days when luxury liners crossed the Atlantic when it was described as the great Cunard liner stuck in the middle of the city. A 'fly-on-the-wall' TV documentary series was made on it and its staff.

The Atlantic Tower hotel near pier head was designed to resemble the prow of a ship to reflect Liverpool's maritime history.

The term Red Brick University, applied to British universities dating from a similar period, was inspired by the University of Liverpool's Victoria Building, noted for its clock tower.

Some of Liverpool's landmarks are better known for their oddness rather than for their role. The Williamson Tunnels are architecturally unique as being the largest underground folly in the world. The Philharmonic Dining Rooms are noteworthy for their ornate Victorian toilets, which have become a tourist attraction in their own right.

On Renshaw Street there is the new alternative shopping centre Grand Central Hall—which has not only fine external architecture but also has much to offer inside, such as the metalwork and ceiling decoration of the Ground floor and the fantastic domed ceiling of Roscoe Hall. It was originally built in 1905, under the guidance of the Methodist Church, as a 2,000-seat cinema. The original organ of Roscoe Hall still remains and is a listed item itself, although recent shop additions to the hall have obscured the view somewhat.

In the south of the city, the art deco former terminal building of Speke Airport, used from the 1930s to 1986, has been adapted for use as a hotel, and is now the Crowne Plaza Liverpool John Lennon Airport. The terraces from which fans welcomed home The Beatles have been preserved.

Everton water tower is a Grade II listed building.


Mersey crossings

There are three tunnels under the River Mersey: one railway tunnel, the Mersey Railway Tunnel; and two road tunnels, Queensway Tunnel and Kingsway Tunnel.

The Mersey Ferry continues to provide an important link between Liverpool and the Wirral, as well as a tourist attraction. Made famous by the song Ferry Cross the Mersey by Gerry and the Pacemakers, the song is now played on the ferryboats themselves every time they prepare to dock at Liverpool after a tourist cruise.

The Mersey is crossed upstream from Liverpool at Runcorn and Widnes, by the Silver Jubilee Bridge (usually known simply as the "Runcorn Bridge") and the Runcorn Railway Bridge.

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Built between 1770 and 1816 the Leeds and Liverpool Canal links Liverpool and the Mersey to Leeds and the River Aire. Its terminus had been at Old Hall Street, Pall Mall, Chisenhale Street, but that section now ends at Eldonian Village. A flight of locks just north of there takes the canal down to Stanley Dock, famous for the Tobacco Warehouse, and on to the main dock system.

A new link across the front of the Pier Head buildings will link the northern docks to the Albert Dock is presently under construction, with the plan being to open it during Liverpool's Capital of Culture Year of 2008.


Opened in the 1930s, Liverpool Airport, is situated near Speke in the south of the city. It was renamed Liverpool John Lennon Airport in 2001, in honour of the late Beatle John Lennon. The airport's logo consists of a sketch that John Lennon had drawn of himself, and the words "Above us only sky", lyrics from his song Imagine. The sensitivity surrounding the airport's name change meant that the logo had to be designed in secret before it could be unveiled by John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono. The airport was the starting point for Beatles tours in the sixties, and images of the boys boarding planes there were seen throughout the world. In 2006 the airport handled nearly 5 million passengers and now serves 64 destinations, including many key European cities. New routes to New York and Toronto in summer 2007 were withdrawn towards the end of the year, as was the route to London City Airport, due to low passenger numbers.


In 2002, 716,000 passengers used the Port of Liverpool, with the Isle of Man and Ireland being the two most important passenger routes, goods trade which was very low in the past decades, is growing up now. Together, the Port of Liverpool and Manchester Ship Canal offer a comprehensive range of port facilities, handling more than 40 million tonnes of cargo and 15,000 ship movements a year – making the River Mersey Britain's third busiest estuary.

The Port and Canal form the "green" gateway to an economy of more than 120,000 industrial and commercial enterprises and a population equal to that of greater London.

The Port of Liverpool and the Manchester Ship Canal are now as one under the banner of Peel Ports, the UK's second largest ports group.


Liverpool is served by the Merseyrail urban rail network. The sections in the city centre are mostly underground. It has three lines: the Northern Line, which runs to Southport, Ormskirk, Kirkby and Hunts Cross; the Wirral Line, which runs through the Mersey Railway Tunnel and has branches to New Brighton, West Kirby, Chester and Ellesmere Port; and the City Line, only from Lime Street, for St Helens,Wigan, preston, Warrington and Manchester.

The city's main railway station for longer-distance services is Lime Street station, one of the most famous train stations in Britain. Trains operate to destinations including London in 2 hours 1/2 with Pendolino trains, Birmingham, Newcastle upon Tyne, Manchester, Preston, Leeds, Scarborough, Sheffield, Nottingham and Norwich.

The London line was one of the first electrified in Britain with wire (with Manchester and Glasgow).

Liverpool had been home to the first electrically powered overhead railway in the world. Known as the Liverpool Overhead Railway or (Dockers Umbrella) it opened on February 4, 1893 with an eventual total of 14 stations. The line suffered extensive damages during the second world war and was eventually closed down on December 30, 1956 with considerable protest. The tunnel portal in Dingle is one of the only surviving signs of the railway's existence as the iron bridges were removed for scrap.


Long distance coach services arrive at and depart from the Norton Street Coach Station. Local buses serve the whole of the city and its surrounding areas. The two principal termini for local buses are Queen Square Bus Station (located near Lime Street railway station) for services north and east of the city, and Paradise Street Interchange (located near the Albert Dock) for services to the south and east. Cross-river services to the Wirral use roadside terminus points in Castle Street and Sir Thomas Street.

Historic tramway and railways

Historically, Liverpool had an extensive tram network, consturction of which started in 1869 by the Liverpool Tramways Company; however, this was dismantled in the 1950s. Other railway lines, such as the Canada Dock Branch from Edge Hill to Kirkdale, no longer see passenger services, or have been removed completely, such as the North Liverpool Extension Line.

Proposed new tram

In 2001, a plan to build new a light rail system, Merseytram was developed. After central government insisted on additional guarantees prior to the release of previously committed funds, it was cancelled in November 2005. However, it is to be included in the transport plan from 2006-2011, as it is deemed to be an important part of Liverpool's development.


Liverpool is internationally known as a cultural centre, with a particularly rich history in popular music (most notably The Beatles), performing and visual arts. In 2003, Liverpool was named a European Capital of Culture for 2008, the other site being Stavanger, Norway. A series of cultural events during 2003-9 is planned, peaking in 2008.


Liverpool has a rich history of musical innovation, including the sea shanty, Merseybeat and The Beatles.


During the late 1960s the city became well-known for the Liverpool poets, of whom Roger McGough and the late Adrian Henri are among the best known. The anthology The Mersey Sound, by Henri, McGough and Brian Patten, has sold over 500,000 copies since first being published in 1967.

In recent years The Dead Good Poets Society and particularly poets like David Bateman and Jim Bennett, both of whom at various times have been called the best in Liverpool, have ensured that the reputation of Liverpool based performance poetry has been maintained.

Theatre and Performing Arts

Liverpool has a strong history of performing arts which is reflected in its annual theatrical highlight The Liverpool Shakespeare Festival which takes place inside Liverpool Cathedral and in the adjacent historic St James' Gardens every summer, and in the number of theatres in the city, including the Empire, Everyman, Neptune, Royal Court and Unity Theatres, and the Liverpool Playhouse. The Everyman theatre, Unity Theatre and Playhouse theatre all run their own theatre company.

A flourishing orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, performs in its own home, the Philharmonic Hall. The city also features a youth orchestra.

Since the 1960s, Liverpool has been famous for its thriving music scene.

Visual arts

Liverpool has long had a reputation in the visual arts. Painter George Stubbs was born in the city in 1724. Pre-Raphaelites are among the important paintings in the Walker Art Gallery. Sudley House contains another major collection of pre 20th century art. Liverpool has more galleries and national museums than any other city in the United Kingdom apart from London. The Tate Liverpool gallery houses the modern art collection of the Tate in the north of England, and was until the opening of Tate Modern the largest exhibition space dedicated to modern art in the United Kingdom. The FACT centre hosts touring multimedia exhibitions.

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 fringe events are timed to coincide. It was during this event in 2004 that Yoko Ono's work "My mother is beautiful" caused widespread public protest by exhibiting photographs of a naked woman's pubic area on the main shopping street. Despite protests the work remained in place.

In 2008, Liverpool University's Victoria Building was re-opened as a public art gallery and museum to display the University's artwork and historical collections, including the second-largest display of art by Audubon outside the US. The Ceri Hand Gallery also opened in 2008, presenting contemporary art.


In Liverpool primary and secondary education is available in various forms supported by the state including secular, Church of England, Jewish, and Roman Catholic. Islamic education is available at primary level, but there is currently no secondary provision. One of Liverpool's important early schools was The Liverpool Blue Coat School; founded in 1708 as a charitable school.

The Liverpool Blue Coat School is the top-performing school in the city with 100% 5 or more A*-C grades at GCSE resulting in the 30th best GCSE results in the country and an average point score per student of 1087.4 in A/AS levels. Other notable schools include Liverpool College founded in 1840 Merchant Taylors' School founded in 1620. Another of Liverpool's notable senior schools is St. Edward's College situated in the West Derby area of the city. Historic grammar schools, such as the Liverpool Institute High School & Liverpool Collegiate, closed in the 1980s are still remembered as centres of academic excellence. Bellerive Catholic College is the city's top performing non selective school, based upon GCSE results in 2007.

Liverpool has three universities: the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and Liverpool Hope University. Edge Hill University, originally founded as a teacher-training college in the Edge Hill district of Liverpool, is now located in Ormskirk in South-West Lancashire.

The University of Liverpool, was established in 1881 as University College Liverpool. In 1884, became part of the federal Victoria University. Following a Royal Charter and Act of Parliament in 1903, it became an independent university, the University of Liverpool, with the right to confer its own degrees.

Liverpool Hope University, founded in 1844, is situated on both sides of Taggart Avenue in Childwall and a second Campus in the City Centre (The Cornerstone). Hope is quickly making a name for itself within the Liberal Arts, the University has also enjoyed successes in terms of high graduate employability, campus development, and a substantial increase in student applications from outside of the City.

The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, founded to address some of the problems created by trade, continues today as a post-graduate school affiliated with the University of Liverpool and is one of only two institutions internationally that house the de facto standard anti-venom repository.

Liverpool John Moores University was previously a polytechnic, and gained status in 1992. It is named in honour of Sir John Moores, one of the founders of the Littlewoods football pools and retail group, who was a major benefactor. The institution was previously owned and run by Liverpool City Council.

The city has one further education college, Liverpool Community College.

There are two Jewish schools in Liverpool, both belonging to the King David Foundation. King David School, Liverpool is the High School and the King David Primary School. There is also a King David Kindergarten, featured in the community centre of Harold House. These schools are all run by the King David Foundation based in Harold House in Childwall; conveniently next door to the Childwall Synagogue


Liverpool is associated with a variety of sports.

Liverpool has two Premier League football clubs: Liverpool F.C. at Anfield and Everton F.C. at Goodison Park. Liverpool are the most successful English football club of all-time, having won the league title 18 times, FA Cup seven times, Football League Cup seven times, European Cup/UEFA Champions League five times and UEFA Cup three times and leading the all-time top division table 4 points ahead of Everton. Everton have also enjoyed spells of dominance, having won the league title nine times, FA Cup five times, and the European Cup Winners' Cup once. Their most recent success was the FA Cup in 1995. Liverpool is the only city to have staged top division football every season since the formation of the Football League in 1888, and both Liverpool and Everton have played in the top division every season since 1962. Twice a season, they engage in the Merseyside derby. South Liverpool were once another successful professional side, however they have experienced a turbulent history and are currently in the Liverpool County Premier League. The amateur side Liverpool Ramblers were the first team from the city to enter the FA Cup.

Professional basketball is played in the city with the addition of Everton Tigers into the elite British Basketball League in 2007. The club is associated with Everton Football Club, and is part of the Toxteth Tigers youth development programme, which reaches over 1,500 young people every year. The Tigers will commence play in Britain's top league for the 2007-08 season, though their home venue has yet to be confirmed. Their closest professional rivals are the Chester Jets, based 18 miles away in Chester.

County cricket is occasionally played in Liverpool, with Lancashire County Cricket Club typically playing one match every year at Liverpool Cricket Club, Aigburth.

Aintree Racecourse to the north of Liverpool in the adjacent borough of Sefton is home to the famous steeplechase, the Grand National, One of the most famous events in the international horse racing calendar, it is held in early April each year. In addition to horse-racing, Aintree has also hosted motor racing, including the British Grand Prix in the 1950s and 1960s.

Liverpool Harriers, who meet at Wavertree Athletics Centre, are one of five athletic clubs. Liverpool has a long history of boxing that has produced John Conteh, Alan Rudkin and Paul Hodkinson and hosts high level amateur boxing events. Park Road Gymnastics Centre provides training to a high level. The City of Liverpool Swimming Club has been National Speedo League Champions 8 out of the last 11 years. Liverpool Tennis Development Programme based at Wavertree Tennis Centre is one of the largest in the UK. Liverpool is also home to the Red Triangle Karate Club, which provided many of the 1990 squad that won the World Shotokan Championships in Sunderland. Luminaries include Sensei Keinosuke Enoeda, Sensei Frank Brennan, Sensei Omry Weiss, Sensei Dekel Kerer, Sensei Andy Sherry and Sensei Terry O'Neill, who is also famous for various acting roles.

Rugby league is played at amateur and student level within the city; the last professional team bearing the city's name was Liverpool City, which folded in the 1960s. Rugby Union has a long, if low key, history in the city with Liverpool Football Club were formed in 1857 making them the oldest open rugby teams in the world. They merged with St Helens RUFC in 1986 to form Liverpool St Helens . In Sefton there is Waterloo Rugby Club located in Blundellsands. Established in 1882 they now play in National Division Two.

Liverpool is one of three cities which still host the traditional sport of British Baseball and it hosts the annual England-Wales international match every two years, alternating with Cardiff and Newport. Liverpool Trojans are the oldest existing baseball club in the UK.

The Royal Liverpool Golf Club, situated in the nearby town of Hoylake on the Wirral Peninsula, has hosted The Open Championship on a number of occasions, most recently in 2008. It has also hosted the Walker Cup.

Sports stadia

The City of Liverpool is home to two professional football clubs, Everton and Liverpool. Liverpool is the only English city to have staged top division football every single season since the formation of the Football League in 1888, and both of the city's clubs play in high-capacity stadiums.

Liverpool have played at Anfield since 1892, when the club was formed to occupy the stadium following Everton's departure following a dispute with their landlord. Liverpool are still playing there 116 years later, although the ground has been completely rebuilt since the 1970s and only the Main Stand survives from before 1992. The Spion Kop (rebuilt as an all-seater stand in 1994/1995) was the most famous part of the ground, gaining cult status across the world due to the songs and celebrations of the many fans who packed onto its terraces. Anfield is classified as a 4 Star UEFA Elite Stadium with capacity for 45,000 spectators in comfort, and is a distinctive landmark in an area filled with smaller and older buildings.

Everton moved to Goodison Park in 1892 after a dispute with their landlord caused them to pull out of Anfield. The ground is situated at the far side of Stanley Park to Anfield. Goodison Park was the first major football stadium built in England. Molineux (Wolves' ground) had been opened three years earlier but was still relatively undeveloped. St. James's Park, Newcastle, opened in 1892, was little more than a field. Only Scotland had more advanced grounds. Rangers opened Ibrox in 1887, while Celtic Park was officially inaugurated at the same time as Goodison Park. Everton performed a miraculous transformation at Mere Green, spending up to £3000 on laying out the ground and erecting stands on three sides. For £552 Mr. Barton prepared the land at 4½d a square yard. Kelly Brothers of Walton built two uncovered stands each for 4,000 people, and a covered stand seating 3,000, at a total cost of £1,460. Outside, hoardings cost a further £150, gates and sheds cost £132 10s and 12 turnstiles added another £7 15s to the bill. The ground was immediately renamed Goodison Park and proudly opened on 24 August 1892, by Lord Kinnaird and Frederick Wall of the FA. But instead of a match the 12,000 crowd saw a short athletics meeting followed by a selection of music and a fireworks display. Everton's first game there was on 2 September 1892 when they beat Bolton 4-2. It now has the capacity for more than 40,000 spectators all-seated, but the last expansion took place in 1994 when a new goal-end stand gave the stadium an all-seater capacity. The Main Stand dates back to the 1970s, while the other two stands are refurbished pre-Second World War structures.

There are currently plans for both stadiums to be pulled down and for the teams to relocate. Liverpool have been considering a move to a new stadium in Stanley Park since 2000; seven years on work has started and the 60,000-seat stadium is expected to be ready by 2010.

Everton have been considering relocation since 1996, and in 2003 were forced to scrap plans for a 55,000-seat stadium at King's Dock due to financial reasons. The latest plan has been to move beyond Liverpool's council boundary to Kirkby, but this has proved controversial with some fans, as well as members of the local community. At one point there were plans for Everton to ground-share with Liverpool at the proposed new stadium in Stanley Park, but these were abandoned.


The ITV region which covers Liverpool is ITV Granada. In 2006, the Television company opened a new newsroom in the Royal Liver Building. Granada's regional news broadcasts were produced at the Albert Dock News Centre during the 1980s and 1990s. The BBC also opened a new newsroom on Hanover Street in 2006. But with both broadcasters based in Manchester, the arrangement is sometimes controversial, with Manchester's perceived influence over the region's media.

ITV's daily magazine programme This Morning was famously broadcast from studios at Albert Dock until 1996, when production was moved to London. Granada's short-lived shopping channel "Shop!" was also produced in Liverpool until it was axed in 2002.

Liverpool is the home of the TV production company Lime Pictures, formerly Mersey Television, which produced the now-defunct soap operas Brookside and Grange Hill. It also produces the current soap opera Hollyoaks, which was formerly filmed in Chester and began on Channel 4 in 1995. All three series were/are largely filmed in the Childwall area of Liverpool.

The city fares better with regards to other media. The city has two daily newspapers: the morning Daily Post and the evening Echo, both published by the same company, the Trinity Mirror group. The Daily Post, especially, serves a wider area, including north Wales. The UK's first online only weekly newspaper called Southport Reporter (Southport & Mersey Reporter), is also one of the many other news outlets that covers the city. Radio stations include BBC Radio Merseyside, Juice FM, KCR FM and Radio City 96.7, City Talk 105.9, as well as Magic 1548. The last three are based in St. John's Beacon which, along with the two cathedrals, dominates the city's skyline. The independent media organisation Indymedia also covers Liverpool, while 'Nerve' magazine publishes articles and reviews of cultural events.

Liverpool has also featured in films; see List of films set in Liverpool for some of them.

Liverpool will be the host city for the 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards.

Famous Liverpudlians

Many famous names have been associated with Liverpool; see People from Liverpool. Liverpool has also played a large part in UK (and sometimes world) Pop Music culture since the 1960s. For a list of some noteworthy groups from the area, consult the list of famous bands from Liverpool. The most popular group from Liverpool are The Beatles.

The Wall of Fame is located opposite the famous Cavern Club, near the original one where bricks are engraved with the name of bands and musicians who have played at the Cavern Club.

Liverpool has also been home to numerous football stars. Wayne Rooney, Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Phil Thompson, Mick Quinn, Peter Reid, John Aldridge, Lee Trundle, Tommy Smith and Steve McManaman are just some of the many famous footballers to have been born in the city.

Nel Tarleton, who held the British featherweight championship on three separate occasions and who was one of only a handful of fighters to win two Lonsdale Belts outright, was born in Liverpool and fought many of his fights in the city.

Ian Broudie who fronted 1990's band The Lightning Seeds is also from Liverpool.

Natasha Hamilton grew up in the Kensington area of Liverpool, and started singing and performing from the age of 12 in the Starlight Show Group. Joined the fledgling Atomic Kitten band at aged 16.

Television and film personalities born in Liverpool include: stage and film actor Rex Harrison, comedian Ken Dodd, singer/TV personality Cilla Black, BAFTA award winning, Golden Globe nominee and Cannes film festival best actress (1962) Rita Tushingham (for A Taste of Honey, The Knack …and How to Get It, Girl with Green Eyes), BAFTA and Golden Globe nominee Cathy Tyson (for cult movie Mona Lisa and Band of Gold), two-time BAFTA award-nominee Lesley Sharp, actor (Shaun of the Dead) Peter Serafinowicz, anarchic comedian/author Alexei Sayle (star of The Young Ones), Margi Clarke (star of cult movie Letter to Brezhnev), John Gregson (star of Treasure Island, The Treasure of Monte Cristo and Gideon's Way), Olivier award-winning and two-time BAFTA nominee Alison Steadman, three-time BAFTA award-nominee Leonard Rossiter (Star of A Space Odyssey, Oliver! and TV show Rising Damp), actor Craig Charles (star of Red Dwarf), two-time BAFTA nominee Tom Bell (starring in Prime Suspect and The Krays), the McGann brothers (Paul, Joe, Stephen and Mark), David Yip (star of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and A View to a Kill) and two-time Golden Globe nominee Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen (both of Doctor Who fame). In addition, American actress Kim Cattrall of Sex and the City was born in Wavertree, a Liverpool suburb.

Famous writers such as Academy Award and BAFTA nominee playwrights Alan Bleasdale, Willy Russell (author of Blood Brothers, Shirley Valentine, and Educating Rita), Roger Mcgough (famous poet) ,Brian Jacques (author of the Redwall and Castaways of the Flying Dutchman), award-winning horror author/director/artist Clive Barker (mostly credited for Rawhead Rex, Candyman and Hellraiser fame) and BAFTA award-winning scriptwriter Jimmy McGovern (author of Cracker and The Street) are from Liverpool.

The city was also home to a number of prominent historical political figures, including Eleanor Rathbone who pushed for the improvement of women's living conditions with some success in the UK; William Roscoe, a prominent player in the abolition of the slave trade in the UK; Alois Hitler, Jr. the half-brother of Adolf Hitler; and William Gladstone who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on four separate occasions (1868–74, 1880–85, 1886 and 1892–94).

International links

Like many cities, Liverpool participates in international town twinning schemes. It has five twin towns:

Furthermore the city has "friendship links" with other cities, which are less formal than twinning arrangements. These are:

In addition, there are links with New York, USA (which has been granted the Freedom of the City of Liverpool); Riga, Latvia; and Stavanger, Norway.

See also

Further reading

  • Bygone Liverpool, David Clensy, 2008. ISBN 978-143570897-6
  • Liverpool 800, John Belchem, 2006. ISBN 978-1846310355
  • Chinese Liverpudlians, Maria Lin Wong, 1989. ISBN 978-1871201031
  • Writing Liverpool: Essays and Interviews, edited by Michael Murphy and Rees Jones, 2007. ISBN 978-1846310737


External links

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