About Historic Liverpool
- What can I do at Historic-Liverpool.co.uk?
- Aren’t there plenty of other sites about Liverpool’s history?
- I’ve found a mistake/gap/problem: Can I contribute?
- Can I use the information I find
- Where does the information come from?
- What is Open Archaeology?
- What software did you use to create this site?
Historic-Liverpool.co.uk aims to show you how the city of Liverpool, and the wider area of Merseyside, has developed over the years. You can explore this history via the Historic Townships map, which leads to pages on the history of the centre and suburbs of Liverpool. Alternatively, you can see a map of historic features on the Liverpool History Map. Finally, Our Protected Heritage is a map of all the listed buildings, scheduled monuments and other historic sites on Merseyside (everything which is on the National Heritage List for England).
Ultimately, I want you to be able to follow the founding and development of Liverpool, the traces history has left on the present city, and what you can find close to you that reflects its rich built heritage.
There are loads of great sites dealing with Liverpool’s history already on the web, and I don’t want to overlap with them if I can help it. This site is dedicated to describing the development and expansion of the built urban area, and the surrounding suburbs. (For more information, read the What Is Landscape Archaeology page.) If you’re after social history, or stories of the great women and men who made this city what it is today, then I’m building up a list of some very good Liverpool history sites. But don’t forget to come back here!
Certainly! My plan is to make it as easy as possible to contribute to this story of Liverpool’s heritage. At the moment, I welcome comments to the addresses on the Contact Page, but keep visiting to see how the site develops. If you want to write something about a part of the city I haven’t covered yet, or add to what I have written, please get in touch and I’ll include it where appropriate. You can also comment on any page – just fill in the form at the bottom of it.
By all means feel free to use this site in your research. If you want to quote directly, please give a link back to my homepage. You may also use any of the graphics you manage to generate on the interactive map pages. Click on the ‘Permalink’ button in the bottom right of any map and you’ll be taken to a page where you can simply copy the contents of your browsers address bar. You can then tell your friends exactly how to get to that map.
All the information on this page is released under a Creative Commons License. This means you can use anything you find on this site, as long as you give credit and link back to the homepage, although the license prevents anything being used for commercial gain. This is all about sharing, after all!
If you’re interested in using the software I’ve used to build the site, then see below. All the software is Open Source, and therefore available for free on the Internet. This site also aims to foster understanding and sharing in our common histories. It will do this by adhering, wherever possible, to the aims of Open Archaeology, Open Access and Open Source (see below).
The text has been researched from a number of sources. As I come across more information I will add to what is already here.
The layers in the map come from the NMR Services page of English Heritage’s National Monuments Record Centre. The Centre houses a large collection of photographic and other archives, and maintains English Heritage’s national database of historic sites. The layers are part of what is known as Geographic Information Systems (GIS). These pieces of software allow you to view map information about areas, ask questions of the information, and create new maps based upon the maps you have already. The information you can download from the NMR Services website is in the form of ‘shapefiles’, which are the files used by GIS software from ESRI, and can be read and written by many other computer programmes. If you register with NMR Services, and download their shapefiles, you will need software to view them. Please see below for software I recommend.
The modern age is filled to bursting with digital information. The days of the hand-written letter may be numbered. But when you send some digital information from your computer to someone else, or copy a file to a USB stick and carry it to another computer, it is not always guaranteed to be readable on that second device. If they have the wrong version of the software which you used to create the file, they may not be able to read it. This concept also extends into the future. In years to come, will your shiny new PC be able to read the letters you typed to your pen pal, or the essay you wrote in school on Windows 95, or DOS, or on a Mac? There are already a large number of files on my computer that I can no longer read, because they were created by Microsoft Works, a programme which I no longer own. Of course, I might be able to find a modern programme which can read these ancient files, but there are already a number of people trying to prevent this situation from developing, or getting even worse.
Open Archaeology, along with other initiatives under the ‘Open…’ banner, seeks to create data which is easy to share between researchers, amateur and professional alike, and will be accessible for years to come. In the digital world, Open Source software goes a long way to helping this. The best thing about Open Source software is that it is free, and will always be free; this applies to all the software used to create this site, listed below. The software will always be free, and the data it creates will always be readable, or transferable to new, open formats. The software listed below will often be compatible with your current documents, too, allowing you to save them in open formats so that you will be able to read them in years to come. For more information, follow the links in the Open Software section of the links page.
- Mapserver: to create the map interactive maps.
- OpenLayers: to create the newer, draggable interactive maps.
- QGIS: a Geographic Information System to prepare the map layers.
- FWTools: some smaller tools to manipulate map layers, bundled with Mapserver.
- Firefox: a popular, secure and lightweight web browser which I used to perform early tests of the site. This site has also been tested using Opera and Internet Explorer 6 & 7. If you’re still using Internet Explorer 6 or 7, I’d strongly recommend upgrading to Firefox, Opera, Safari or Chrome, or at the very least Internet Explorer 8, in order for this site to work as it should. The Internet works so well because it is built to a common standard, and only the newest version of Microsoft’s browser begins to come close to playing along.
- Linux: the most well-known Open Source operating system. My desktop PC uses the Ubuntu distribution, and the server uses the Debian distribution.
- WordPress: a Content Management System (CMS) which lets me easily juggle all the pages and text and images, so that I can concentrate my efforts on making better maps instead of redesigning my pages every time I need a new menu entry.
All these tools are built by a community of volunteers and professional coders, who’s interest is in sharing data for the common good, rather than hiding the source code in order to gain most financial benefit from it.