Old Maps of Liverpool
As a large city, Liverpool has seen a great many maps and plans made of it. Some of these maps show the wider area around the city, and may include areas as far afield as North Wales or Manchester, Lancaster or Chester.
Many of these old maps of Liverpool can be bought as high quality prints from the Liverpool History Bookshop.
This map is an oddity. It seems to be a 16th century map of Liverpool, with events from a hundred years later (from the Civil War) superimposed. I’m not sure why this map was built this way, given that the makers admitted that the town was larger in the later period, but it’s a very interesting old map of Liverpool none the less.
This astonishing map is possibly unique for its age. It depicts Liverpool as if seen from a hot air balloon, looking down upon the city. This old map has a huge amount of detail on it. Buildings are shown with all their features. The Leeds-Liverpool Canal and the River Mersey are shown complete with tiny boats, and even tinier dock hands stroll around the quays.
This foldable pocket map was issued in the middle of the Victorian people. It would have been sold to business men and tourists to Merseyside. There is a great deal of detail in this map, and its age means it is perfect for exploring how Liverpool quickly expanded into its rural surroundings. There is a good amount of detail for the Wirral too.
The Weekly Dispatch was a newspaper which began publishing in 1801. This map was probably given away to its readers. It used the same base maps as the later Plans of Liverpool (1890), and is an excellent tool for monitoring the expansion of the city. Streets are labelled, parks are drawn in detail and docks are named.
This map covers not only Liverpool and its outskirts, but also Birkenhead and other parts of the Wirral. Public buildings, stations and individual houses are labelled. It can be compared to the Royal Atlas of England and Wales from 20 years later (see below), and shows that Liverpool gradually expanded from the middle of the century until it approached the end.
This map of Liverpool by G. W. Bacon (called “The Environs of Liverpool”) was published in around 1885. It shows street-level detail, although only the names of the major roads are marked. The map covers the Wirral and the Mersey in the west, stretching across Liverpool from the Mersey in the west to St. Helens in the east.
This is the north half of a detailed plan of Liverpool published in 1890. It is incredibly detailed, showing every road name, paths within the parks, and even individual buildings in some streets (where those buildings were big enough). There’s also an index to road names down two sides, making it easy to look up a place of interest.
This is the south half of a detailed plan of Liverpool published in 1890, and it’s a partner to the North Sheet (above). As well as an index to streets down either side, there are concentric circles showing distances from the Town Hall, each one quarter of a mile apart. The version available on Historic Liverpool is an adapted version of the original, with the parliamentary wards colour-coded.
This is a more detailed map to accompany the smaller-scale Environs of Liverpool map (below) from the Royal Atlas of England and Wales, published in 1898. Although not covering nearly as great an area as the other map, this plan includes the names of individual roads, docks, railway stations, parks and the grounds of the two biggest football teams on Merseyside.
This historic map covers a wide area – in fact there is a second frame attached which shows the Environs of Manchester from the same volume, the Royal Atlas of England and Wales. Because of its size and coverage, details are harder to see compared to the two old Plans of Liverpool, the North Sheet and the South Sheet (above) of 1890.
The National Library of Scotland has scanned in a fantastic selection of old Ordnance Survey maps, and made them available for re-use on your own website. There are two sets of maps available here, part of the Free set, which I can use without charge. They are lower detail, but can still be very useful for those of you interested in the history of Liverpool.