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Old streets of Liverpool

This is a map of all the old streets of Liverpool within the boundary of Queens Drive (plus a few helping 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.