Quick guide to the site

Image: Albert Dock at Night, by Martin Greaney

Historic Liverpool is a map-based website covering Liverpool history and archaeology of the city’s landscape, from the last Ice Age to the present day. It deals with the natural landscape of hills, coast and valleys which make up Merseyside, and the buildings, roads and other infrastructure which make up the city that Scousers call home.

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.

One of the biggest parts of the site are the old maps of Liverpool, covering the 18th to the 20th centuries.

Secondly, there are other map-based tools which should help you explore historic Merseyside, such as maps of old streets, listed buildings and Church of England parishes.

Finally, there’s a growing number of articles on history matters and sites of interest. If they can be pinned on a map, I’ve done that on the History Map.

Historic Liverpool doesn’t sit in a Web vaccuum, of course, so I’ve got lists of useful websites that are springing up all over the place. There is even the odd book review, if I think it’ll interest you.

I’m always adding to Historic Liverpool, so it’s still a work in progress (and always will be, I expect). Make sure you come back regularly!


Who do I think I am?

My name is Martin Greaney, and I did my undergraduate studies (BA Archaeology and Prehistory) at Sheffield Uni, and stayed there to do my MA in Landscape Archaeology. After completing this, I worked for English Heritage’s National Monuments Record (now the Historic England Archives), helping them put thousands of their records online. But that was all a long time ago now…

And so, since about 2005, I’ve been putting my knowledge of my city of birth down on paper (and screen) – and here we are!

I am also the author of Liverpool: A landscape history, which is a book telling the story of Liverpool and Merseyside through the development of the landscape, from the ice age to the 21st century. You can pick up a copy from all the usual outlets or, alongside a host of other goodies, direct from the Historic Liverpool History book and map shop.

You chould follow me

On Twitter:

@histliverpool – headlines and discussion of Liverpool and its history

On Facebook:

http://facebook.com/historicliverpool/ – more detailed posts on Liverpool news and analysis

Aren’t there plenty of other sites about Liverpool history?

Yes, there are plenty of brilliant sites relating to Liverpool history out there, and I enjoy them very much. This site concentrates on the historic landscape, whereas the others brilliantly cover social history and the timeline of Liverpool, or specific topics like railways.

Historic Liverpool takes a wider view, looking at the natural landscape, and how it influenced later development, and also the pattern of development – rail, road and river. For that reason there are maps everywhere here! This is the part of Liverpool history that I love the most, and the one that I think is not covered by the other sites.

By all means feel free to use this site in your own Liverpool history research.

If you want to quote directly, please give a link back to the page your quote comes from, or my homepage. You may also share screenshots use any maps, including the interactive feature ones, with a similar link.

All the information on this site is released under a Creative Commons License. This means you can use anything you find here, as long as you give credit and link back to the source page, although the license prevents anything being used for commercial gain. This is all about sharing, after all!

All the software I use to build this site is Free Software, and therefore available without charge on the Web. This site also aims to foster understanding and sharing in our common histories. It will do this by adhering, wherever it can, to the aims of Open Archaeology, Open Access and Open Source (see below).

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Where do you get your Liverpool history information from?

The Liverpool history articles have been researched from a number of sources, which I’ll maintain on my lists for websites and books. As I come across more information I will add to what is already there.

The statutory information layers on some of the maps come from Historic England’s data downloads page. Their Archive houses a large collection of photographic and other materials, and maintains Historic England’s national database of historic sites.

The layers are part of a “Geographic Information System” (GIS). These pieces of software allow you to view map information about areas, ask questions of the information, and create new maps. The information downloaded from the Historic England Archive website is in the form of ‘shapefiles’. Shapefiles are the files ESRI’s GIS software, and many other programs, uses. If you download these shapefiles, you will need software to view them. I recommend some particular software titles below.

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What is Open Archaeology?

The modern age is chock full of 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, there’s no guarantee it will be readable on that second device. For example, they might have a different version of the software to the one you used to create the file.

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? How about 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. They were created with Microsoft Works, a program 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 worse.

Open archaeology to the rescue

Open [Access] Archaeology, along with other initiatives under the ‘Open…’ banner, seeks to create data which is easy to share between researchers. Both amateurs and professionals alike 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.

Not only will the software always be free, but 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. You’ll be able to save them in open formats so that you can read them in years to come.

For more information, follow the links in the Open Software section of the links page.

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Which software did you use to create this site?

  • Leaflet: to create the draggable interactive maps.
  • QGIS: a Geographic Information System to prepare the map layers.
  • 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 Chrome and Safari.
  • 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.

A community of volunteers and professional coders build all these tools. They love to share data for the common good. They don’t not hide the source code in order to wring the most profit from it.

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13 Comments on “Quick guide to the site”

  • Paul Young


    Interesting web site. You state

    A debate surrounded whether these streets should be renamed – including
    Ypu write

    Penny Lane and Bold Street – or whether by keeping the streets as they are we would be reminded of how history played itself out.

    There’s absolutely no evidence that Penny Lane was named after the slave trader James Penny. He’s not included in Laurence Westgaph’s listing of street names associated with slavery or for that matter the book by Stephen Horton on the origins of Liverpool street names.

    You do Liverpool no justice and a lot of harm by suggesting the only Liverpool street that people worldwide know about has slave trade associations


    • Martin


      Hi Paul,
      When mentioned that Penny Lane has slave trade associations, although I’ve not seen first hand accounts myself, I’m going on what many websites have said about James Penny, and Penny Lane for example the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/liverpool/content/articles/2007/02/15/abolition_penny_lane_feature.shtml) and the LA Times (http://articles.latimes.com/2006/jul/16/opinion/op-pennychart16). Is this widespread belief merely an urban myth?

      I’ve not read Stephen Horton’s book, but as far as Laurence Westgaph’s tours are concerned, I thought perhaps he restricted himself to the city centre. I would not be surprised if there are many more suburban streets named after men involved in slavery in one way or another, and which Westgaph did not include.

      What’s most interesting is the role the Beatles association plays in the debate – it seems to have been a large factor in the decision not to rename ANY Liverpool streets. Perhaps if it was not for this connection, Penny Lane (like my proposed other suburban streets, above) would not have been mentioned at all.

      If I have connected Penny Lane with James Penny injustly, it is not just I who have done so.


  • Barbara


    Hi Martin
    Great website. Really enjoying it!
    Thanks for your comments about my history blog. I am fascinated by Walton / Fazakerley areas having lived and worked there. I hope to add a bit more soon!
    Best wishes


    • Thanks Barbara – hope to see more stuff on your site soon!


  • I am trying to find a street called ‘Old Roflery’ or this is what it looks like on the Birth Register I have for one of my ancestors. They went on to live in Murray Street and the father is a basket maker so probably lived near the docks. Do you have any clues on your maps?

    Many thanks


    • Hi Gill,

      I reckon there’s a good chance this is ‘Old Ropery’. There’s still an Old Ropery just near James Street, off Drury Lane (see the Google Map of Old Ropery). This isn’t too far from the river, so could fit your record.

      There were a lot of roperies in Liverpool at the height of the port’s powers, especially around Lime Street and Bold Street, which were on the edge of town and so had the space to build the long buildings and areas needed to make the long straight ropes.

      Here’s an old map from 1783 showing the Old Ropery:


  • Thanks very much indeed for being so helpful and so quickly. Gillian


  • Bonnie Hutton


    I am related to the Fazakerley and Evered families as my grandfather was Richard Kendrick Hastings-Evered. If you have any information on either family I would very much appreciate it.
    Bonnie Hutton


    • Hi Bonnie,

      There’s a small amount of information to get you started at the History of Fazakerley page on this site. There’s a short section on the family, mostly to do with their relation to some of the buildings in the area.



      • Bonnie Hutton


        Thanks for the information. I just checked the website again today and was surprised to see your reply.


  • Syed Abdi


    I am owner of Sandfield old hall, trying to find full history of this house


  • david stanley howard


    do you have an old map of west derby, showing the area from the church going up
    mill lane
    or old photos
    many thanks


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