Historic Liverpool is a map-based website covering Liverpool history and archaeology of the city’s landscape, from the last Ice Age to the present day. It deals with the natural landscape of hills, coast and valleys which make up Merseyside, and the buildings, roads and other infrastructure which make up the city that Scousers call home.

The Internet is becoming ever more important as a historical resource, so I also cover other brilliant websites that are springing up all over the place. There is even the odd book review, if I think it’ll interest you.

The history on this website extends to the people themselves. Everyone from the poorest working classes to the most powerful aldermen, councillors and mayors have all had their effect on Merseyside’s landscape.

Historic Liverpool is still a work in progress (and always will be, I expect).


You should follow me

On Twitter:

@histliverpool – headlines and discussion of Liverpool and its history

On Facebook:

http://facebook.com/historicliverpool/ – more detailed posts on Liverpool news and analysis

On Diigo.com, where I collect great Liverpool history bookmarks:


What can I do at Historic-Liverpool.co.uk?

Historic-Liverpool.co.uk aims to show you how the city of Liverpool, and the wider area of Merseyside, has developed over the years.

You can explore this history via the Historic Townships map, which leads to pages on the history of the centre and suburbs of Liverpool. Alternatively, you can see a map of historic features on the Liverpool History Map. Finally, Our Protected Heritage is building into a map of all the listed buildings, scheduled monuments and other historic sites on Merseyside (everything which is on the National Heritage List for England).

Ultimately, I want you to be able to follow the founding and development of Liverpool, the traces history has left on the present city, and what you can find close to you that reflects its rich built heritage.

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Aren’t there plenty of other sites about Liverpool history?

There are loads of great sites dealing with Liverpool’s history already on the web, and I don’t want to overlap with them if I can help it.

This site is dedicated to describing the development and expansion of the built urban area, and the surrounding suburbs. (For more information, read the What Is Landscape Archaeology page.) If you’re after social history, or stories of the great women and men who made this city what it is today, then I’m building up a list of some very good Liverpool history sites that deal with that topic.

But don’t forget to come back here!

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I’ve found a mistake/gap/problem: Can I contribute?

Certainly! My plan is to make it as easy as possible to contribute to this story of Liverpool’s heritage.

At the moment, I welcome comments to the addresses on the Contact Page, but keep visiting to see how the site develops.

If you want to write something about a part of the city I haven’t covered yet, or add to what I have written, please get in touch and I’ll include it where appropriate. You can also comment on any page – just fill in the form at the bottom of it.

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Can I use the Liverpool history information I find on this site?

By all means feel free to use this site in your own Liverpool history research.

If you want to quote directly, please give a link back to my homepage. You may also use any of the graphics you manage to generate on the interactive map pages.

All the information on this page is released under a Creative Commons License. This means you can use anything you find on this site, as long as you give credit and link back to the homepage, although the license prevents anything being used for commercial gain. This is all about sharing, after all!

All the software I use to build this site is Open Source, and therefore available for free on the Internet. This site also aims to foster understanding and sharing in our common histories. It will do this by adhering, wherever possible, to the aims of Open Archaeology, Open Access and Open Source (see below).

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Where do you get your Liverpool history information from?

The Liverpool history articles have been researched from a number of sources. As I come across more information I will add to what is already here.

The layers in the map come from the NMR Services page of English Heritage’s Archives. The Archive houses a large collection of photographic and other materials, and maintains English Heritage’s national database of historic sites.

The layers are part of a “Geographic Information System” (GIS). These pieces of software allow you to view map information about areas, ask questions of the information, and create new maps. The information downloaded from the NMR Services website is in the form of ‘shapefiles’. Shapefiles are the files ESRI’s GIS software, and many other programs, uses. If you register with NMR Services, and download their shapefiles, you will need software to view them. I recommend some particular software titles below.

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What is Open Archaeology?

The modern age is chock full of digital information. The days of the hand-written letter may be numbered. But when you send some digital information from your computer to someone else, there’s no guarantee it will be readable on that second device. For example, they might have a different version of the software to the one you used to create the file.

This concept also extends into the future. In years to come, will your shiny new PC be able to read the letters you typed to your pen pal? How about the essay you wrote in school on Windows 95, or DOS, or on a Mac? There are already a large number of files on my computer that I can no longer read. They were created with Microsoft Works, a program which I no longer own. Of course, I might be able to find a modern programme which can read these ancient files, but there are already a number of people trying to prevent this situation from developing, or getting worse.

Open archaeology to the rescue

Open Archaeology, along with other initiatives under the ‘Open…’ banner, seeks to create data which is easy to share between researchers. Both amateurs and professionals alike will be accessible for years to come.

In the digital world, Open Source software goes a long way to helping this. The best thing about Open Source software is that it is free, and will always be free; this applies to all the software used to create this site, listed below.

Not only will the software always be free, but the data it creates will always be readable, or transferable to new, open formats. The software listed below will often be compatible with your current documents, too. You’ll be able to save them in open formats so that you can read them in years to come.

For more information, follow the links in the Open Software section of the links page.

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Which software did you use to create this site?

  • Leaflet: to create the draggable interactive maps.
  • QGIS: a Geographic Information System to prepare the map layers.
  • Firefox: a popular, secure and lightweight web browser which I used to perform early tests of the site. This site has also been tested using Opera and Internet Explorer. If you’re still using Internet Explorer, I’d strongly recommend upgrading. Try Firefox, Opera, Safari or Chrome and this site will definitely work as it should. Common standards make the Internet work so well. Use a standards-compliant web browser to surf it.
  • WordPress: a Content Management System (CMS) which lets me easily juggle all the pages and text and images, so that I can concentrate my efforts on making better maps instead of redesigning my pages every time I need a new menu entry.

A community of volunteers and professional coders build all these tools. They love to share data for the common good. They don’t not hide the source code in order to wring the most profit from it.

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12 thoughts on “Liverpool history on Historic Liverpool

  • Interesting web site. You state

    A debate surrounded whether these streets should be renamed – including
    Ypu write

    Penny Lane and Bold Street – or whether by keeping the streets as they are we would be reminded of how history played itself out.

    There’s absolutely no evidence that Penny Lane was named after the slave trader James Penny. He’s not included in Laurence Westgaph’s listing of street names associated with slavery or for that matter the book by Stephen Horton on the origins of Liverpool street names.

    You do Liverpool no justice and a lot of harm by suggesting the only Liverpool street that people worldwide know about has slave trade associations

    • Hi Paul,
      When mentioned that Penny Lane has slave trade associations, although I’ve not seen first hand accounts myself, I’m going on what many websites have said about James Penny, and Penny Lane for example the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/liverpool/content/articles/2007/02/15/abolition_penny_lane_feature.shtml) and the LA Times (http://articles.latimes.com/2006/jul/16/opinion/op-pennychart16). Is this widespread belief merely an urban myth?

      I’ve not read Stephen Horton’s book, but as far as Laurence Westgaph’s tours are concerned, I thought perhaps he restricted himself to the city centre. I would not be surprised if there are many more suburban streets named after men involved in slavery in one way or another, and which Westgaph did not include.

      What’s most interesting is the role the Beatles association plays in the debate – it seems to have been a large factor in the decision not to rename ANY Liverpool streets. Perhaps if it was not for this connection, Penny Lane (like my proposed other suburban streets, above) would not have been mentioned at all.

      If I have connected Penny Lane with James Penny injustly, it is not just I who have done so.

  • Hi Martin
    Great website. Really enjoying it!
    Thanks for your comments about my history blog. I am fascinated by Walton / Fazakerley areas having lived and worked there. I hope to add a bit more soon!
    Best wishes

  • I am trying to find a street called ‘Old Roflery’ or this is what it looks like on the Birth Register I have for one of my ancestors. They went on to live in Murray Street and the father is a basket maker so probably lived near the docks. Do you have any clues on your maps?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Gill,

      I reckon there’s a good chance this is ‘Old Ropery’. There’s still an Old Ropery just near James Street, off Drury Lane (see the Google Map of Old Ropery). This isn’t too far from the river, so could fit your record.

      There were a lot of roperies in Liverpool at the height of the port’s powers, especially around Lime Street and Bold Street, which were on the edge of town and so had the space to build the long buildings and areas needed to make the long straight ropes.

      Here’s an old map from 1783 showing the Old Ropery:

  • Bonnie Hutton says:

    I am related to the Fazakerley and Evered families as my grandfather was Richard Kendrick Hastings-Evered. If you have any information on either family I would very much appreciate it.
    Bonnie Hutton

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