Liverpool….did you know?

Liverpool Pier Head Waterfront

Liverpool – always at the cutting edge

Liverpool continues to lead in the shaping of the world.
All kinds of great things took place first here in Liverpool.   Some of the most industrious people of Liverpool have left a mark and legacy on the world – which we are very proud about.   Here are a few of the facts:

First in the world to:
Have a School of Tropical Medicine.
Have railway tunnels.
Have a scheduled Helicopter service.
Have School for the Blind.
Have a Mechanics Institute.
Have a High School for Girls.
Have Council Houses.
Have a Juvenile Court.
Pioneer Railways.
Pioneer Transatlantic steamships.
Pioneer Municipal & electric trams.

The RSPCA, NSPCC, Age Concern, Relate, CAB and Legal Aid all evolved from work in the city.


In the field of Public health the city had the first:
Public Baths & Wash Houses.
Lifeboat Station.
Medical Office for Health.
District Nurse.
X-ray medical diagnosis.
Purpose built Ambulance.
Motorised Municipal Fire Engine.
Free school milk & meals.
Cancer Research Centre.
The first British Noble Prize was awarded to Ronald Ross.
Orthopaedic surgery was pioneered in Liverpool and modern anaesthetics.

The world’s first integrated sewer system was constructed in Liverpool in 1847.


In Finance
Liverpool founded the UK’s first Underwriters’ Association.
The first Institute of Accountants.
The Westernworld’s first financial derivatives (cotton futures) were traded on the Liverpool Cotton Exchange in the late 1700s.


The Arts
Liverpool was home to the first Lending Library.
Arts centre.
Public art conservation centre.
Liverpool is also home to the UK’s oldest surviving classical orchestra [RLPO]
as well as the oldest surviving repertory theatre [Liverpool Playhouse].


Oriel Chambers in the City Centre is the first ‘modern’ building in the world, built by Peter Ellis in 1864.

Liverpool had the UK’s first purpose built department store, 1867. Built for J.R. Jeffery, it was the largest store in the world at the time. [Compton House].

The first modern Olympiad in Athens in 1896 was almost identical to that of the Liverpool Olympics which took place in the city between 1862 to 1867.

In 1865 John Hulley co-founded the National Olympian Association in Liverpool.

Liverpool shipowner Sir Alfred Lewis Jones introduced Bananas to Great Britain 1884.

In 1889, John Alexander Brodie invented the football goal-net and was a pioneer of pre-fabricated housing. He was also vice-president of the Liverpool Self Propelled Traffic Association – a precursor and later a constituent member of the Royal Automobile Club.

He oversaw the construction of the UK’s first ring road, the UK’s first intercity highway as well as the Queensway Tunnel linking Liverpool to Birkenhead. Described as the eigth wonder of the world, at the time of its construction it was the longest underwater tunnel in the world, a title held for 24 years.

Liverpool had the world’s first elevated electrified railway and it is believed that the world’s first tracking shot was taken from the overhead railway by the Lumiere brothers.

Liverpool Inventor Frank Hornby was a visionary in toy development and manufactured and produced three of the most popular lines of toys in the 20th century: Meccano, Hornby Model Railways and Dinky Toys.

The British Interplanetary Society was founded in Liverpool in 1933 and is the world’s oldest existing organisation devoted to promoting of spaceflight and its journal is the longest running astronomical publication in the world.

Finally in 1999, Liverpool was the first city outside the capital to be awarded blue plaques by English Heritage in recognition of the significant contribution made by its sons and daughters in all walks of life.


Foundations of the City

King John’s letters patent of 1207 announced the foundation of the borough of Liverpool, but by the middle of the 16th century the population was still only around 500. The original street plan of Liverpool is said to have been designed by King John near the same time it was granted a royal charter, making it a borough. The original seven streets were laid out in a H shape: Bank Street (now Water Street), Castle Street, Chapel Street, Dale Street, Juggler Street (now High Street), Moor Street (now Tithebarn Street) and Whiteacre Street (now Old Hall Street).


Seventeenth Century

In the 17th century there was slow progress in trade and population growth. Battles for the town were waged during the English Civil War, including an eighteen-day siege in 1644. In 1699 Liverpool was made a parish by Act of Parliament, that same year its first slave ship, Liverpool Merchant, set sail for Africa. As trade from the West Indies surpassed that of Ireland and Europe, and as the River Dee silted up, Liverpool began to grow. The first commercial wet dock was built in Liverpool in 1715. Substantial profits from the slave trade helped the town to prosper and rapidly grow, although several prominent local men, including William Rathbone, William Roscoe and Edward Rushton, were at the forefront of the abolitionist movement.


Eighteenth Century

The first United States consul anywhere in the world, James Maury, was appointed to Liverpool in 1790, and remained in office for 39 years.


Nineteenth Century

As early as 1851 the city was described as “the New York of Europe” and its buildings, constructed on a heroic, even megalomaniacal scale stand witness to the supreme confidence and ambition of the city at the turn of the 20th century.

Liverpool was also the site of the UK’s first provincial airport, operating from 1930, and was the first UK airport to be renamed after an individual – John Lennon.

Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No.1, often seen as Britain’s Imperial anthem, was dedicated by the composer to the Liverpool Orchestral Society and had its premiere in the city in October 1901.

During the Second World War, the critical strategic importance of Liverpool was recognised by both Hitler and Churchill, with the city suffering a blitz second only to London’s, and the pivotal Battle of the Atlantic being planned, fought and won from Liverpool.

In the early 19th century Liverpool played a major role in the Antarctic sealing industry, in recognition of which Liverpool Beach in the South Shetland Islands is named after the city.

By the start of the 19th century, a large volume of trade was passing through Liverpool, and the construction of major buildings reflected this wealth. In 1830, Liverpool and Manchester became the first cities to have an intercity rail link, through the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. The population continued to rise rapidly, especially during the 1840s when Irish migrants began arriving by the hundreds of thousands as a result of the Great Famine.

By 1851, approximately 25% of the city’s population was Irish-born. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Liverpool was drawing immigrants from across Europe. This is evident from the diverse array of religious buildings located across the city, many of which are still in use today. The Deutsche Kirche Liverpool, Greek Orthodox Church of St Nicholas, Gustav Adolf Church and Princes Road Synagogue were all established in the 1800s to serve Liverpool’s growing German, Greek, Nordic and Jewish communities respectively. One of Liverpool’s oldest surviving churches, St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, served the Polish community in its final years as a place of worship.

For periods during the 19th century the wealth of Liverpool exceeded that of London itself, and Liverpool’s Custom House was the single largest contributor to the British Exchequer. Liverpool’s status can be judged from the fact that it was the only British city ever to have its own Whitehall office.


Twentieth Century

The Housing Act 1919 resulted in mass council housing building across Liverpool during the 1920s and 1930s. Thousands of families were rehoused from the inner-city to new suburban housing estates, based on the pretext that this would improve their standard of living, though this is largely subjective. A large number of private homes were also built during this era.

The process continued after the Second World War, with many more new housing estates being built in suburban areas, while some of the older inner city areas were also redeveloped for new homes. The Great Depression of the early 1930s saw unemployment in the city peak at around 30%.

During the Second World War there were 80 air-raids on Merseyside, killing 2,500 people and causing damage to almost half the homes in the metropolitan area.

Significant rebuilding followed the war, including massive housing estates and the Seaforth Dock, the largest dock project in Britain. Much of the immediate reconstruction of the city centre has been deeply unpopular, and was as flawed as much town planning renewal in the 1950s and 1960s – the portions of the city’s heritage that survived German bombing could not withstand the efforts of urban renewal. Since 1952 Liverpool has been twinned with Cologne, Germany, a city which also experienced severe aerial bombing during the war.

Like most British cities and industrialised towns, Liverpool became home to a significant number of Commonwealth immigrants after World War II, mostly settling in older inner city areas such as Toxteth. However, a significant West Indian black community had existed in the city as long ago as the first two decades of the 20th century.

In the 1960s Liverpool was the centre of the “Merseybeat” sound which became synonymous with The Beatles and fellow Liverpudlian rock bands.

From the mid-1970s onwards Liverpool’s docks and traditional manufacturing industries went into sharp decline. The advent of containerisation meant that the city’s docks became largely obsolete. By the early 1980s unemployment rates in Liverpool were once again among the highest in the UK, standing at 17% by January 1982 – although this was just over half of the level of unemployment that was affecting the city in an economic downturn 50 years previously.

In recent years, Liverpool’s economy has recovered and has experienced growth rates higher than the national average since the mid-nineties.

Matthew Street is one of many tourist attractions related to The Beatles, and the location of Europe’s largest annual free music festival.
At the end of the 20th century Liverpool was concentrating on regeneration, a process which still continues today.

Previously part of Lancashire, and a county borough from 1889, Liverpool became in 1974 a metropolitan borough within the newly created metropolitan county of Merseyside


Twenty First Century

In 2004, property developer Grosvenor started the Paradise Project, a £920 m development centred on Paradise Street, which involved the most significant changes to Liverpool’s city centre since the post-war reconstruction. Renamed ‘Liverpool ONE’, the centre opened in May 2008.

In 2007, the city celebrated the 800th anniversary of the foundation of the borough of Liverpool, for which a number of events were planned. Liverpool is a joint European Capital of Culture for 2008. The main celebrations, in September 2008, included La Princesse, a large mechanical spider which is 20 metres high and weighs 37 tonnes, and represents the “eight legs” of Liverpool: honour, history, music, the Mersey, the ports, governance, sunshine and culture. La Princesse roamed the streets of the city during the festivities, and concluded by entering the Queensway Tunnel.

Spearheaded by the multi-billion Liverpool ONE development, regeneration has continued on an unprecedented scale through to the start of the early 2010s in Liverpool. Some of the most significant regeneration projects to have taken place in the city include new buildings in the Commercial District, the King’s Dock area, the Mann Island area, the Lime Street Gateway, the Baltic Triangle area, the RopeWalks area and the Edge Lane Gateway. All projects could however soon be eclipsed by the Liverpool Waters scheme which if built will cost in the region of £5.5billion and be one of the largest megaprojects in the UK’s history. Liverpool Waters is a mixed use development which will contain one of Europe’s largest skyscraper clusters. The project received outline planning permission in 2012, despite fierce opposition from the likes of UNESCO who claim it will have a damaging effect on Liverpool’s World Heritage status.

On 9 June 2014, Prime Minister David Cameron launched the International Festival for Business in Liverpool, the world’s largest business event in 2014 and the largest in the UK since the Festival of Britain in 1951.



Liverpool has been described as having “the most splendid setting of any English city.” Quote taken from [The Buildings of England – Lancashire: Liverpool and the Southwest By Richard Pollard, Nikolaus Pevsner, Yale University Press, 2006, p243].

Location on the map is 53°24′0″N 2°59′0″W (53.4, −2.98), 176 miles (283 km) northwest of London, located on the Liverpool Bay of the Irish Sea the city of Liverpool is built across a ridge of sandstone hills rising up to a height of around 230 feet (70 m) above sea-level at Everton Hill, which represents the southern boundary of the West Lancashire Coastal Plain.

The Mersey Estuary separates Liverpool from the Wirral Peninsula. The boundaries of Liverpool are adjacent to Bootle, Crosby and Maghull in south Sefton to the north, and Kirkby, Huyton, Prescot and Halewood in Knowsley to the east.

So to close, you never walk alone when you walk through the streets of Liverpool.

We are proud to have been born here and serve the people that frequent the city to facilitate their trades over this magnificent gateway.


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