Merseyside Today - Your Guide to Liverpool and Merseyside

Liverpool was settled in 1207, after King John granted a charter for a new, planned town. 'In 432 St Patrick is said to have sailed from the River Mersey on his mission to Ireland. The first mention of the River Mersey was made in 1007 in a deed from the reign of Ethelread II, the name is Old English from Maere, meaning boundary. In 1207 King John signed a Royal Charter, creating the borough of Liverpool, on Tuesday 28 August 1207' (Liverpool City Council 1999).


The city really began to develop during the mid-17th century as the main port linking England with Ireland. In the 17th and 18th centuries it developed an important colonial trade and became the centre of the slave trade with Africa, Europe and North America (Right - Liverpool 1660).

With the Industrial Revolution Liverpool became the main port for the manufacturing region of Lancashire and West Yorkshire. The first census of Liverpool was taken in 1272, when the population was 840. 'The first Mersey ferry was established by monks at Birkenhead Priory in 1282.


Liverpool's first Town Hall was built in 1515, the second in 1676 and it was reconstructed in 1795 by James Wyatt after it had been severely damaged by fire. Liverpool was granted its coat of arms on 23 March 1797. It shows Neptune and Triton standing beside a shield containing a 'Liver Bird'. Underneath is the motto Deus Nobis H\'BEc Otia Fecit, a quotation from Virgil. It is translated as 'God has given us these blessings'. In 1708 the first reference to scouse was made by Ned Ward in The Wooden World Dissected' (Liverpool City Council 1999) .

Liverpool is today one of the UK's 'original industrial cities and is still a major port in the NW of England located on the north-eastern shore of the Mersey Estuary. The population of the city itself is 468, 300 (1998); but the population of its metropolitan area (Merseyside) is 1,400,000 (1998). The city centre is 5 km (3 m) from the sea, but the cities magnificent docks extend for 8 km (5 m) northward along this flat coast. The Mersey Estuary is linked by s hip canal with Manchester and Leeds as well as other industrial cities in the England. The Queensway Tunnel under the Mersey links Liverpool with the industrial city of Birkenhead to the south.

As a port Liverpool is second only to London in national importance, and it is the main port for the highly industrialised north of England. Traditionally, it used to handle most of Britain's imported raw cotton and wool, but it also imports sugar, grain, oilseeds, minerals, and crude petroleum and exports manufactured goods of all kinds. It is developing as a container port, the first 'Freeport' of its kind in the UK. Liverpool's manufacturing industries were at first those associated with its foreign commerce, such as grain milling and soap making, but automobile and electrical engineering, chemicals, and petroleum refining have been added and are now more important.

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