Book reviews

New books on the history of Liverpool are released all the time. Here I’ve reviewed brand new titles that have been released, as well as older books that I’ve just come across but think you’ll be interested in.

Liverpool: unique images from the archive of Historic England

Historic England are the government’s adviser on the historic environment, so they have a duty to encourage the enjoyment of England’s history. Part of this remit is to manage the Historic England Archive, from which a new series of books takes its content. The volume I review here is, you’ll be shocked to learn, Liverpool. […]

The Beatles’ Landmarks in Liverpool, by Daniel K. Longman

Cover of Beatles Landmarks book

A lot of local history revolves around nostalgia: people’s memories of 50 years ago are filled with family, friends, making-do and getting by, as well as reconnecting with old communities on new digital forums (including this one!). Being a mere whippersnapper, I’m not often caught up in this, with a couple of exceptions. I grew […]

50 Finds From Manchester and Merseyside: Objects from the Portable Antiquities Scheme

Photograph of the cover of 50 Finds from Manchester and Merseyside

Modern administrative areas have little meaning when we go back even a short time. But they can make all the difference when it comes to modern heritage work. So that’s why we have this book on finds from Manchester and Merseyside, which span the ages, and covers objects discovered through the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). […]

Candles, Carts & Carbolic: A Liverpool childhood between the wars

Is this the best Liverpool memoir? It’s certainly different to all the rest. There are plenty of memoirs and autobiographies written by people who lived through some of Liverpool’s darkest days (or, at least, they lived in Liverpool’s darkest areas – not many memoirs by the Victorian gentry). Some are semi-fictionalised, like Her Benny, and […]

Belated, retrospective book review: Culture of Capital by Nicky Allt

In this post I’m going to take a look at a book which was published eight years ago, but which I only got a copy of over Christmas 2013. And it’s taken me another 12 months to get around to reading it! Despite (or because of) it’s age, it makes an interesting read.

Liverpool in the 1950s

Photo of Liverpool Central Station

The 1950s were a turning point in the history of Liverpool’s urban fabric. In fact, it marked a point in time just before some of the most wide-ranging changes the city had ever seen. A new book by Robert F. Edwards casts light on this era through a selection of photos under the banner Liverpool […]

Liverpool: A landscape history (or Historic Liverpool: the book)

I can’t deny it – I’ve waited a long time to be able to say this: I have written a book, and someone has agreed to publish it. At the time of writing, Liverpool: A landscape history is due in shops imminently, although I’ve not had confirmation of the exact date yet. There’s only 1000 […]

Maps of Landscapes

I recently visited that there London, popping into the London Review Bookshop (a bricks-and-mortar relative of the London Review of Books – definitely pop in if you’re in the area!), where I stumbled across Maps, the first in an annual series of compilations by Five Leaves Press. It’s one of the most fascinating books I’ve […]

Liverpool Ghost Signs and Along the Mersey

Covers of the books Ghost Signs of Liverpool and Along the Mersey

I’ve got another two books for you today. This time they are Liverpool Ghost Signs by Caroline and Phil Bunford, and Along the Mersey by Jan Dobrzynski. The first pair of names are familiar through their presence on Twitter and with the Liverpool Ghost Signs Project, whereas Dobrzynski is a new name to me. A […]

The Liverpool Book of Days by Steven Horton

This is a simple book with a simple premise: 365 historical stories of Liverpool, attached to their dates. The whole thing is presented in an attractive hardback, and is just the thing for flicking through when you’re waiting for the kettle to boil. The format and title almost give it the look of a compact […]

Not a Guide to Liverpool & Merseyside War Years by Daniel K. Longman

There are two new books out by journalist and historian Daniel K. Longman. Both are short books, and part of larger series, but take two different views of the city of Liverpool. They both cover history, but are they both for you?

Hoylake Then & Now, by Jim O’Neil

Cover of Hoylake Then & Now by Jim O'Neil

The premise of the Then and Now series is to pair up historic photos of a town with modern shots taken from as close to the position of the original as possible. Hoylake Then & Now is Jim O’Neil’s contribution to the format.

Little Book of Liverpool, and Bloody British History: Liverpool

The two books here, both published by the History Press, have been written by authors with previous well-known Liverpool books under their belts. Alexander Tulloch wrote the general history The Story of Liverpool, while Ken Pye is best known for his coffee-table book Discover Liverpool.

Our Liverpool, by J.P. Dudgeon

Our Liverpool (subtitled Memories of Life in Disappearing Britain) is part of the Disappearing Britain series from Headline Publishing, and the third oral history volume from author J.P. Dudgeon, whose previous include Our Glasgow and Our East End. When I first picked up this book I wondered how an outsider would portray the city, and […]

New book on Liverpool’s buildings, and how cities make us

A new book is released this month by Stephen Bayley, and published by RIBA. Liverpool: Shaping the City is a large and colourful exploration of the city’s built history. It includes development, old and new and brings in photographs from the early 20th Century when some of Merseyside’s most iconic buildings were being constructed. We […]

Local History on the Ground and The English Semi-detached House

I’d like to review two books recently added to the NMR’s Library, which both have use for the local historian, and yet which are very different approaches to explaining their field. The first is Local History on the Ground by Tom Welsh (The History Press, 2009). I picked up this book hoping to recommend a […]

Liverpool Gangs, by Michael Macilwee

Sadly not a British indie version of Scorsese’s grand piece, Gangs of New York (though this book does reference the other), Gangs of Liverpool is the 2006 book by Michael Macilwee that looks into the slums of late 19th Century Liverpool to reveal the criminal gangs that ‘terrorized’ the city. Although this is mostly a […]

Mapping the History of Liverpool

Interactive old maps of Liverpool's suburbs, old maps of Merseyside, and details of our protected, listed heritage.

And don't forget the book, Liverpool: a Landscape History

Recommended Reading

These are some of my favourite books on Liverpool history. They're what I'd recommend to someone who wants great coverage of the whole history of the port and city.

All these books are available via Amazon UK, and buying from through the links above will help fund the web hosting costs of Historic Liverpool.

Old maps from Cassini

Buy old maps from Cassini

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