The name of the city
To understand the History of Liverpool you have to imagine the city not as it is now, but as one huge forest, with only a handful of small wooden and stone here and there. Liverpool is now a big city that contains many other smaller areas – such as Allerton, Old Swan or Walton. Hundreds of years ago it was the opposite – Liverpool was just one tiny fishing village next to the River Mersey.
No one really knows exactly where the name Liverpool comes from, but theories suggest that it could have meant “Muddy Pool” or “place on the pool” because there was a small stream or pool or water running from the Mersey across most what is now the city centre. The clay in the area may have turned the water a red colour like liver, and perhaps this is where the name comes from. Another theory is that seaweed known as Laver was found in the area, and that the name Liverpool means ‘Pool of Laver’ – there were also birds that ate the seaweed and this could be where the Liver bird image comes from? Because very few people could write and record things, the spellings of the area changed all of the time, with the area being recorded as Liuerpul, Litherpoole, Liderpole, Liferpole or Lithepool for example.
History of the city
Liverpool’s official history starts on the 28th August 1207, when King John ‘founded’ the area of ‘Liuerpul’ granting it the status as an official town in his Royal Charter. The Charter meant a great deal to the small village and people living there. King John himself saw Liverpool as an ideal place to form a base for his ships to invade Ireland and Wales from. He built a Castle in the area that we now call Castle Street, and in the village of Liverpool was only made up of seven streets. Many of these streets survive today: Dale Street, Castle Street, Chapel Street, Moor Street (now Tithebarn Street), Bancke Street (now Water Street), Peppard Street (Old Hall Street) and Juggler Street (High Street).
During the years 1300 – 1400 Liverpool expanded very little. It remained a small fishing village and nothing more. Liverpool gained it’s first school in 1522, and in the early 1600’s Queen Elizabeth helped to set up a docking area for ships to unload from.
During the early 1700’s the small fishing village of Liverpool began to grown into a town and buildings like the Bluecoat Chambers were built. The construction of the world’s first docks system in 1715 meant that ships could now load and unload cargo much more safely and easily than ever before. It is this event that changes Liverpool more than any other, and changes the small fishing village into an area that would soon become one of the biggest shipping ports in the world.
During the early 1700’s Liverpool began shipping goods back and forth from America. The trade in spice, sugar, tobacco and cotton made Liverpool an increasingly important place. One aspect of this trade which brought great wealth to the town of Liverpool, but resulted in death and hardship for millions was the Slave Trade – capturing people from Africa and selling them in America to work.
The number of ships leaving for Africa grew from about 15 a year in 1730 to 130 a year in 1790. By the time the slave trade ended in 1807 Liverpool had established itself as one of the wealthiest and important places in the country, if not the world.
From 1837 to 1901 Queen Victoria sat on the throne of Great Britain, this reign saw dramatic changes to the whole country and in particular Liverpool. During Victoria’s reign Great Britain ruled over a quarter of the known world, and Liverpool (as a major shipping and business district) became known as the second most important city in the world after London. Much of the city today is a result of the massive building work that took place in this era. Most of the present day city centre was designed and built during the Victoria era, and many of these buildings are now regarded as the finest in the world. Lime Street Station when built was the largest railway station in the
world and St George Hall one of the worlds finest buildings.
Lime Street Station
Liverpool became a melting pot for many different cultures and nationalities as it’s port became the gateway to the world and many
people came to Liverpool to travel onto America for a new life. The people that made the biggest change to Liverpool life were the Irish. In 1845 a terrible potato fungus spread across Ireland wiping out the potato crops that formed the bulk of the Irish people’s diet. The results were so devastating that even today the population level of Ireland has never recovered – so many people died or emigrated. Many of today’s sayings and customs are a result of this Irish Influence.
St George Hall
During the Secon World War Liverpool was the worst hit area in the country, after London. This was because Liverpool was a major shipping port very important to the British war effort. The Liverpool docks brought in food and materials vital to the country.
In an era today when multi-channel television, the internet and computer games fight for our attention it’s hard to understand the importance of music to teenagers lives in the 1960’s, when none of the technological wonders that amuse us today existed. Music’s affect on popular culture is something that only happened with the arrival of Elvis Presley in the 1950’s. The 1960’s saw a pop
band emerge that would transform the whole music industry, the way music sounded and how it impacted on our culture in terms of fashion and attitudes. There was nothing like this band before them and there will probably never be anything like them again – ever. They were The Beatles – four lads from Liverpool who shook the world. John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison began life performing in the house of their first drummer. It wasn’t until they started playing at the Cavern Club in the city centre that they really started to be noticed – now with new drummer Ringo Starr. The Cavern mostly still exists today (partially rebuilt) – it’s a dark, damp, hot and noisy club in a cellar – perfect for the type of fast rock and roll that The Beatles began their careers playing. Lots of the other famous names of the day performed at The Cavern.
By the 1970’s many factories and businesses were starting to close, even the Docks.
The 1980’s started with arguably Liverpool’s lowest point when (along with other UK cities). The end of the 1980’s dealt Liverpool another huge blow, when on 15th April 1989 whilst watching the FA cup semi final, 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death at Hillsborough. An event largely due to mismanagement by the police and groundstaff. In an attempt to solve the problems within the city
the Government introduced a number of regeneration projects in the 1980’s. The most famous of these was the cleaning up of the Albert Dock, turning it into a shopping and leisure area.
The regeneration of the city gathered pace during the 1990’s with an increasing number of museums, art galleries, attractions, pubs and restaurants opening in the city.
By the year 2000 Liverpool was starting to re-invent itself as a tourist city, with The Beatles, and football drawing people in from all around the world.
In 2003 Liverpool was awarded the title of ‘European Capital of Culture 2008’. It marked the start of huge re-building program in the city centre. The population of the city began to rise again as new jobs and prosperity started to return.
There is also a big festival that is held in Liverpool every year. It is called ‘Mersey River festival’.
Liverpool today is famous today thanks to it’s two football clubs Liverpool, and Everton.
This work by EnglishOŠAca is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.