Photograph of Mersey Flat wreck, River Mersey near Widnes

River Mersey

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The valley of the River Mersey was created during the last ice age. Thick glaciers moved inland from what is now the Irish Sea, carving deep parallel iceways. The iceways were later occupied by the Mersey, the Dee, the mid-Wirral channel and the Alt–Ditton valley. The meltwaters of the glaciers formed the rivers which still […]

Sketch map of Liverpool as it was in 1572

The Pool, Liverpool’s beginnings

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The Pool is arguably one of the major reasons for Liverpool’s existence. King John was looking for a suitable place from which to launch ships to Ireland, and Liverpool fit the bill. The Pool sprang up inland, and flowed down Whitechapel and Paradise Street into the River Mersey. Although completely invisible today, it played a […]

Photograph of a Viking longboat, taking during the 600th anniversary of the foundation of Liverpool

Liverpool Heroes 3: Vikings in Liverpool

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OK, so perhaps the Norse are aren’t the first people to come to mind when we think of ‘Liverpool Heroes’. They’re distant in time, left little visible trace in our city, and went about changing society through the delicate application of pointy-horned helmets. But of course none of that is strictly true. There are traces […]

Liverpool Heroes 2: Kitty Wilkinson

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This article was originally inspired by International Womens’ Day, which takes places on March 8th each year) Kitty Wilkinson’s story is classic Victorian Liverpool: born in Londonderry in 1786, Wilkinson moved to Liverpool with her parents when she was just 8 years old. Tragically her father and sister were drowned at the end of the […]

Black and white photo looking along the length of the East Lancashire Road as it was being built

Liverpool Heroes 1: John Alexander Brodie, City Engineer

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In writing about the historic landscape of Liverpool, it’s often the case that the people get mislaid, or hidden from the narrative. This post is the first in a series which aims to redress the balance, and ties in (rather loosely) with Liverpool’s Year of Radicals, which was celebrated in 2011. These people weren’t radical […]

A photo of early morning sun among the woodland of Sefton park, Liverpool.

Woodland on Merseyside and the Mersey Forest

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The year 2011 was declared as the International Year of Forests by the UN (see the Echo for some of Liverpool’s plans). The very modern Mersey Forest has seen 8 million new trees planted since 1994. But there’s a much longer and fascinating history of woodland and forest in this area. The origins of the […]

The British Side of Liverpool Cosmopolitanism

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Amongst the many things Liverpool is famous for, its long-held cosmopolitan nature is probably one of those which Scousers are less annoyed at being reminded of. Liverpool’s long history of being a world port, along with its notorious role in the African slave trade have perhaps more than any other factors stamped their effects on […]

Extract from the 1890 Ordnance Survey Map of Edge Hill, Liverpool

Edge Hill – the First Ever Passenger Station

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Edge Hill has had two stations. The earlier of these was the first passenger station in the world, along with Liverpool Street in Manchester. The first of the two stations opened in 1830, and sat in a sandstone cutting with three tunnels at one end. The passenger terminal at Crown Street lay at the end […]

Madryn Street, in a map from 1890

Madryn Street: Ringo’s Birthplace and the Welsh Streets

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The childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney are massively popular tourist attractions. George Harrison’s and Ringo’s homes (like 9 Madryn Street) don’t get so much as a blue plaque. But is Ringo’s birthplace really of any historical merit? It depends on how you judge it, of course. Ringo only lived there for 5 […]

Map of Knott's Hole, from the Ordnance Survey Edition of 1908

Knott’s Hole and the Garden Festival Site

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The former site of Liverpool’s historic Garden Festival saw the latest phase of its history in 2010, when work got under way to restore the parkland and kick-restart the building of flats on the site. But the site started life as Knott’s Hole, a little square bay surrounded by cliffs. Knott’s Hole was a real […]

Photograph of Lewis's department store, Liverpool

Lewis’s Department Store

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David Lewis founded a small shop selling men’s and boy’s clothing in 1856. The sale of women’s clothes began in 1864, and by the 1870s Lewis’s Department Store was in full swing. There were sections for shoes and tobacco in addition to clothing. Branches were opened in other cities, beginning with Manchester in 1877. Birmingham, […]

Early 20th century plan of Liverpool Castle

Liverpool Castle, and Leverhulme’s reconstruction

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The Liverpool corporation pulled down Liverpool Castle itself in 1715 and built St George’s Church in its place. However in 1895 E.W. Cox drew a reconstruction for the Historical Society of Lancashire and Cheshire. In the first decade of the 20th Century the first Viscount Leverhulme built a reconstruction of the ruins of the castle […]

Liverpool ‘one of the earliest seaside resorts’

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In 2008, researchers from the University of Liverpool found diary references to ‘bathing wagons’ and other leisure activities taking place in the growing town from as long ago as the 1750s, much earlier than other local towns like Blackpool and Southport became popular destinations. Once Liverpool began to expand at a massive rate in the […]

Photo of the Manchester Dock gates at the Pier Head, Liverpool

Manchester Dock: the ‘lost’ dock under the Museum of Liverpool

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Liverpool is famous for its docks, and to a great extent its part in the development of railways. The ‘lost’ Manchester Dock is one of the places these two came together. Revealed by excavation in 2007, the Manchester Dock (now under the Museum of Liverpool) was one of the earliest docks on the river front. […]

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