Liverpool Shipping: a short history, by George Chandler

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For a website dealing in the history of Liverpool, there’s not much here directly about shipping. My book Liverpool: a landscape history, and this site, both cover trade, and of course the docks themselves. But I’ve never delved deeply into the industry of shipping, or shipping lines. I only know a few illustrious names as […]

Film Review: Almost Liverpool 8, a portrait of Toxteth in the 21st century

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Toxteth. Liverpool 8. Sometimes just running those two phrases together can get people hot under the collar. One thing we learn from Almost Liverpool 8, a new documentary from Dartmouth Films is that the name ‘Toxteth’ was hardly heard before 1981, that watershed in the area’s history. I didn’t know this, having got so used […]

Most Notorious Pirates… and Highwaymen

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I thought it would be worth posting at least a short review of this pair of books which came out in late 2020 from the British Library. I was sent review copies of both books by the Library, for which I’m very grateful, but this review remains unbiased, and contains all my own opinions! There […]

Courts and Alleys by Elizabeth J. Stewart

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This book is part of the output of the ‘Galkoff’s and the secret life of Pembroke Place’ project. (See my article on a talk by Liz Stewart, this book’s author). It doesn’t cover the court houses archaeological excavations which took place as part of the project, which will come in a later publication. Court houses […]

Ghost Town: A Liverpool Shadowplay, by Jeff Young

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This book is a memoir, and many of those have been published over the years (and a couple reviewed on this very site). Like some of those other memoirs, it is a series of reminiscences on family and place. But it’s a slightly different beast to the other memoirs. It’s main selling point is that […]

Book cover of Liverpool, by Hugh Hollinghurst

Liverpool: unique images from the archive of Historic England

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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. […]

Cover of Beatles Landmarks book

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

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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 […]

Photograph of the cover of 50 Finds from Manchester and Merseyside

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

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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

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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

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The Culture of Capital is a collection of essays and recollections, edited by the man who wrote the plays Brick Up the Mersey Tunnel and A Tale of Two Chippies. Published in 2008, it flows from the critical pens of writers cynical at the then-upcoming Capital of Culture year. It’s taken me this long to […]

Photo of Liverpool Central Station

Liverpool in the 1950s

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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)

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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

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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 […]

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

Liverpool Ghost Signs and Along the Mersey

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I’ve got another two books for you here. 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

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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

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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? Not a Guide to Liverpool is a pocket-sized paperback which does for Liverpool […]

Hoylake Then & Now, by Jim O’Neil

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The premise of the Then and Now book 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. Each double page spread shows a large version of the older […]

Little Book of Liverpool, and Bloody British History: Liverpool

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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. Both the books I’m discussing now are small books, clearly […]

Cover image from the book Our Liverpool, by J. P. Dudgeon

Our Liverpool, by J.P. Dudgeon

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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 […]

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

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I’d like to review two books, both of which have use for the local historian, yet which detail 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 good starting point for learning how […]

Liverpool Gangs, by Michael Macilwee

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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 […]

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