The Historic Liverpool blog

Welcome to the Historic Liverpool Blog! Here you'll find all the latest posts, including book reviews, bits of old maps for you to look at, and other articles of interest.

Rainford Prized Pots

Old drawing of tygs, three handles cups

This is part of a series of posts based on the talks given at the Recent Developments in Merseyside Archaeology conference. It was held on the 13th October 2018, and took place at the Museum of Liverpool. This session was slightly different, in that as well as a talk, Jeff Speakman showed attendees pottery excavated […]

Community Archaeology in Merseyside – sieving through our past

This is part of a series of posts based on the talks given at the Recent Developments in Merseyside Archaeology conference. It was held on the 13th October 2018, and took place at the Museum of Liverpool. This talk was given by Vanessa Oakden, now Curator of Regional & Community Archaeology at the Museum of […]

Breathing Spaces, or A Sense of Placed

Photograph of entrance to Kazimier's pub garden

My interest in landscape is not just restricted to history and archaeology. I’m just as interested in the modern urban landscape (of Liverpool in the case of this blog), because it’s the product of everything that went before. Archaeologists recognise the ‘layers’ of landscape development as truly as they see the ordered layers in the […]

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 City and the City and the Liverpool Landscape

Photo of St George's Hall, Liverpool, with CGI enhancements

This website is all about the historic landscape. It’s about how the landscape shapes what happens in the city, and it’s about the landscapes that we invent by living in it. Just think of the ‘Knowledge Quarter’ and the ‘Cavern Quarter’. Though they’re sickly marketing-gimmick names they do acknowledge some of the character that certain […]

Queensway Tunnel tour – Going underground in Liverpool history, part II

The thing which inspired this website from the outset was the huge number of historic features in Liverpool that we take for granted every day. The Queensway Tunnel is one of them. Thousands of people use it every day to commute between Liverpool and Birkenhead. It’s part of the furniture. And yet it’s easy to […]

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 […]

A traveller to the Pool

The town grew up around a ‘dark pool’, from which is took its name. The pool flowed into a wide river which would one day be famous across the globe, almost synonymous with the town. The river in turn empties into the Irish Sea, for a long time an important trading route both east-west and […]

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). […]

Liverpool in 1984: first hand history

Photograph of the dragon slide at the International Garden Festival, Liverpool, 1984

Ever had that feeling where you wish someone at the time had taken photos? Imagine the Victorian wealth of knowledge we’d have if even more people had hopped on the photography bandwagon! And sometimes, don’t you wish you’d taken more photos? This local history lark, perhaps without me realising it, has become centred around collecting […]

Accents, buses and lost architecture

Photograph of the Oratory at Liveprool Anglical Cathedral

I’ve got another bunch of links for you today. I’m still catching up with my saved sites, so some of these pages have been around a while. Even if you’ve seen them before, I hope you enjoy revisiting them again now! Map of Williamson Tunnels The Williamson Tunnels team are local history heroes. The bunch […]

The Williamson Tunnels – Going underground in Liverpool history, part I

Photograph of Joseph Williamson's House

Last week was one of my history-indulgent weeks on Merseyside. One where I catch up on the ever-changing town centre (it’s still changing), check that my book’s still on the shelves of Waterstone’s (it’s not 🙁 ) and book myself on a tour or two (I did). First up, on Sunday, I was lucky enough […]

Neolithic Anglesey and the Merseyside connection – a trip with the NSG

Photo of the entrance Bryn Celli Ddu burial chamber

Anglesey and North Wales are very close to Liverpool hearts. Countless Welsh builders helped create some of our inner suburbs in distinctive yellow brick, and the red bricks of the University are Welsh too. More recently, there can’t be many Scousers who haven’t had a day trip or two to Llandudno, Conwy or Beaumaris. On […]

Spirits of Place: Where historic landscapes collide (with folklore and fiction)

Photograph John Reppion and Ramsey Campbell at Spirits of Place

There’s nothing like a gathering of like minds to get the keyboard fingers itching to put down a few words! And this past Saturday (2nd April, 2016), the Spirits of Place symposium held at the Calderstones Mansion was just one of those gatherings. The organiser was John Reppion, who’s written a book on 800 Years […]

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 […]

Who’d be a Scouser?

Are you proud to be a Scouser? Are you relieved not to be a Scouser? Which is right? I’ve recently started reading Candles, Carts & Carbolic: a Liverpool childhood between the Wars by J. Callaghan, which is rapidly becoming my favourite out of the many first hand memoirs of living in Liverpool in the last […]

We’re all living future memories of historic Liverpool

Memories are liberally scattered around this week’s links. Photos of life in Liverpool, plus revealing the hidden corners of the city, and life on the Home Front.

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.

The Liverpool History Geek’s Gift Guide

It’s that time of the year again, so what better way to beat the winter blues than to treat yourself to the stuff below. Of course, you could also buy something for the historian in your life, but who’s gonna know?

Zen and the Art of Heritage Protection

Heritage Protection is a controversial field at the best of times. There are almost as many different opinions on a given listing, say, as there are people offering said opinions. It’s difficult for the likes of English Heritage to decide what to protect and what to let go, and it’s certainly not a scientific process. […]

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 […]

Refurbishing old buildings in the historic landscape

English Heritage have released a new volume of their ‘Constructive Conservation’ series, this one entitled Sustainable Growth for Historic Places. It’s all about the benefits of re-using historic buildings for new purposes, and the effects not only on the bottom line of the developer, but also the ability of these buildings to attract customers and […]

Peel Waters and the New Liverpool Landscape

As you’ll no doubt be aware, the planning application for Peel Waters was recently waved through by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and there will be no public enquiry. Regular readers will remember previous posts, where I’ve come down against the scheme. But now that it looks like going ahead, […]

Mr. John Dewsnap and the teaching of history

This morning, the funeral of Mr. John Dewsnap took place. He was my teacher in year 6 of primary school at Blackmoor Park in West Derby (c.1992-3), and was an inspiration. It might not be too far fetched to say that, if not for him, you might not be reading these words on this website, […]

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.

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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