Old streets of Liverpool

This is a map of all the old streets of Liverpool within the boundary of Queens Drive (plus a few helpful extra roads at the far north and south). By ‘old’, I mean it shows the streets as they were before vast swathes were demolished in the first half of the 20th century. Therefore it should be a great help in tracing where your ancestors lived and/or worked. For example, you can look up the Welsh streets of Toxteth, many of the courts of Everton, and even the inner parts of the more recent suburbs in West Derby.

I’ve noticed so many interesting things about old Liverpool streets while building it. Southern streets (e.g. Toxteth) are more complex and piecemeal than in the north, but when you remove the smaller streets, the grid is more apparent. In the north, radial roads stream out from the centre while the residential streets zip across from one radial to the next. I’ve also been amazed at how straight these old roads are. Even the longest roads, unless they’ve got obvious kinks and curves in them, are dead-straight for hundreds of yards. It says something of the skill of the surveyors right back into the pre-Victorian days.

The old streets covered by the map

I’ve included the map I traced, so you can see the wider context. This should help deal with the inevitable inaccurary (see below). The map is from the early 1950s, but I believe it took a lot of its information from earlier (perhaps 1920s) Ordnance Survey maps.

I limited myself to the area within Queens Drive for a few reasons. Firstly, I need to stop somewhere! Queens Drive provides the perfect boundary, encircling the city as it does. In the future I may add streets outside this boundary. For neatness’ sake, I’ve clipped roads which cross Queens Drive and head off into the surburbs. My second reason is that by far the most frequent requests for road locations are from within this area. So all in all, it made sense to release this tool with the current data, and expand later on if possible.

Accuracy of a map of old streets of Liverpool

The process of creating this map involves telling the software which runs this website exactly where the old base map should sit in relation to the modern map. This is done by selecting certain points on the new and old map, and telling the software that they should be on top of each other.

That means that my map is most accurate on the five or six places where I did this, and less accurate in other locations. One day I might add more of these reference points, but for now I hope the map is still very useful.

How to get the most out of this map, and how to help

There’s a search box in the top left of the map itself. Type a few letters of the street you want to find, and a list of matching streets will appear below. Click on the likely result and you will be swiftly transported to that road on the map, and the road will be highlighted with a red circle.

At the moment, only street names are included. I’d like to get more information onto this old street map to make it more useful. For that reason, if you see an error (apart from when a road is some distance from the modern version) please leave a comment or find me as Historic Liverpool on Twitter.

As we go along, I’ll add new information to the map.

10 comments

  1. Bernie Hampson says:

    First thank you for a wonderful map of old Liverpool. I have ancestors who lived in Houlgrave Street. I have spent hours trying to find who lived in the street in 1860, but to no avail. I wonder if you could point me in the right direction to get the names ofthe people. I am on ancestry, but can’t search by street.
    My whole family lived in the Kirkdale area all their lives. Nimrod Street, Sessions Road , etc. i was born in Walton in 1945. If you can offer any help I would be so grateful. Thank you

  2. Victoria says:

    Hello. Great map! I am researching a clothing label from what I believe is a 1920 gown for a vintage fashion educational resource. The label reads “Dorothy Rimmer 108a Bold St. L’pool”
    Is there any way to search the map for a specific address or see the names of the businesses on a street?
    Thank you

  3. Robert Moloney says:

    Hi Martin,
    That is a great Map. An old guy used to visit us in Ireland in the 70s, from Rhyl, a cousin of my Dad. At a family reunion in 2013, there was a story that his Mother, was a lady of horizontal refreshment in Liverpool, had her own brothel we were told. IN searching myheritage.com today I could not find him in Rhyl, so I tried Liverpool and there the were in 1901 at Walmsley St, which is still on Google maps, an industrial street now. Looks like it would have been terraced housing in those days. from the census, I can see he was born in Liverpool, but I cannot make out the name, “Lanes”, “Lomes” anyway, I would love to see a picture of the place at the time and where you think I may find out more about her trade, so to speak!

  4. Tony says:

    Great maps. I am trying to find Carpathia Street. I am interested in Titanic memorabilia, with a particular attachment to the Carpathia, and an old sign with that street name is for sale, but I can’t find any reference to Carpathia Street, in L19. There is a Carpathia Close, on an obviously new development, and several of the other closes there have names from streets of the old area upon which they are built, according to 1956 OS map. The sign vendor says that at the turn of the century (19th) several streets were named after Cunard ships, and that area indeed later sported Lucania and Campania Streets but no Carpathia Street. The search of several supposed indexes of Liverpool streets past and present yield no results either. The strreet sign looks genuine enough but I am intruiged that I cannot find any reference to a street of that name on the magic interweb. Any help gratefully received.

    • Hi Tony,

      I’m not surprised you couldn’t find it – it’s very well hidden! Though you were in the right area.

      Carpathia Street was a small street between Campania Street and Lucania Street. You can see it on this map from 1936-9:

      Carpathia Street, Garston, 1936-9

      Regards,
      Martin

      • Tony says:

        Brill. Thank you so much. I thought it might be one of those. I have now received the sign, which is clearly genuine, and matches the signs I have found in old photos of old Liverpool streets. Sadly I can’t find a photo of any of the ‘Cunard’ streets but will keep looking. The sign now resides fittingly in the former home of Captain Rostron of the Carpathia.

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