Landscapes are tricky things to understand. They’re made up of individual historical sites, as well as layers of history in their roads, buildings, and activities. These articles draw together all the elements of an specific area of Liverpool’s history, and tease out the trends seen over time.

Natural Merseyside

Every aspect of the landscape – every building, road, lake, stream and path – has been affected by what came before it. Roads avoid steep slopes and buildings prefer well-drained ground. Ancient field boundaries become fossilised into the pattern of streets. In turn the field boundaries would have been influenced by water courses, contours and […]

Medieval Merseyside

Once the Romans left British shores, we start to see evidence of British and, later, Scandinavian settlements leaving traces in the historical and archaeological records. Modern place names are the most frequent scraps of evidence for the medieval landscape, and we can use them to map the settlements of both ‘native’ and incoming people. The […]

Romano-British Merseyside

Finds from Meols demonstrate that trade contacts extended as far as the Mediterranean, with Roman, French and Carthaginian artefacts all making their way to north west Britain. However, extensive Romanisation simply did not occur – items from the Roman Empire may have been used by the Iron Age Britons, but Roman culture found only part […]

Bronze Age Merseyside

In the Bronze Age, the climate on Merseyside deteriorated, sea levels rose, and sand and shingle ridges formed on the coast, now visible up to a kilometre (0.6 miles) inland. Some small-scale farming may have taken place, but people generally still led mobile existences. Bronze Age settlement sites in Manchester and the Pennines raise the […]

Neolithic Merseyside

Something of a ‘ritual landscape’ can be glimpsed in the locations of the Calder Stones – a former burial chamber – along with the Pikeloo Hill, the Rodger Stone and Robin Hood’s Stone. Only the first and last of these survive in any form, and away from their original position. However, the area (now Allerton) […]

Mesolithic Merseyside

With a variety of Mesolithic sites on Merseyside, ranging from flint scatters at Tarbock and Crosby, and Mesolithic settlements in Ditton Brook and Sefton, we’re left with the suggestion that the Mesolithic landscape consisted of a series of human settlements along the coast. The settlements would have been visited regularly – perhaps seasonally – and […]

Ancient Crosses of Lancashire

The following are all extracts from The Ancient Crosses of Lancashire: the hundred of West Derby by Henry Taylor (1902). Liverpool In Baines’s Lancashire an old print is reproduced showing the village of Liverpool as it existed when both the castle (of which the Molyneux family were hereditary constables) and the embattled house of the […]

Port Sunlight: traces of nature in the man-made landscape

Plan of Port Sunlight from 1914

I visited Port Sunlight late last year. It was something I’d been meaning to do for ages, and it was a gorgeous day! The reason it was (for want of a less pun-tastic phrase) right up my street is that Port Sunlight is a classic and easy-to-read ‘landscape’, in the sense that word is used […]

Croxteth Park from the air

Aerial view of Croxteth Hall, taken in 1954

Having written about Liverpool history for a while now, I’m lucky enough to be copied in to a lot of interesting tid-bits of the city’s past. This happened recently when Croxteth Park’s Twitter account posted several aerial shots from the middle of the last century. I’d like to share them with you here.

Liverpool’s Largest Landscape: Western Approaches

This blog often talks about the role played by Liverpool’s geography throughout history. From the location of the ancient Calderstones (wherever that might have been) to the collection of banking institutions on Castle Street, Liverpool Landscapes, Historic Liverpool and the book Liverpool: a landscape history have tried to communicate the importance of positioning to the […]

Woodland on Merseyside and the Mersey Forest

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

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 […]

Madryn Street: Ringo’s Birthplace and the Welsh Streets

Map of Toxteth, Liverpool, in the 1960s

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 […]

Knott’s Hole and the Garden Festival Site

Photograph of Knott's Hole

The former site of Liverpool’s historic Garden Festival was in the news in February 2010. 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 beauty spot, later […]

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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