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  • The History of Liverpool

    Liverpool is a city in the North West of England lying on the coastline if the Irish Sea. It has a population of 497,000 people and it is a part of the metropolitan county of Merseyside although most people associate Liverpool as being part of Lancashire. The city is located on the eastern side of the Mersey estuary and its role as a thriving port has had a huge influence on the local economy over the centuries. People from Liverpool are instantly recognizable as soon as they open their mouths. The “scouse” accent has been part of being a “Liverpudlian” and no one else in the UK sounds like them.

    The Regenerated Liverpool Docks

    The first settlement in the area was founded at the start of the 13th century but by the middle of the 16th century the population had reached only 500. The city only started to grow as soon as ships started to make their across the Atlantic to the new lands of America. Liverpool became a port for the slave traders who would set off for Africa, take their slaves across to America and then return to Liverpool.

    During this time nearby Chester was the major port for the region but it was located on the River Dee, and a combination of the river silting up and vessels becoming larger meant that the area needed a costal port and Liverpool fitted the bill.

    The new port particularly benefited from the trade arriving from the West Indies which included sugar, tobacco and fruits. This new business along with the revenue from the slave trade resulted in the port growing quickly. This growth intensified with the onset of the industrial revolution as the inland towns and cities of the North-West looked-for ports to import and export goods and supplies. This industrial activity increased with the building of the first railway line in the country which travelled from Manchester to Liverpool.

    The effect on the city was that more jobs were becoming available and attracted by this huge numbers of Irish immigrants made their way across the sea as a result of the potato famine they were facing back in their own country.

    Liverpool railway station

    During this period Liverpool was one of the wealthiest cities in the country, and as a result the large numbers of population migrated into the city as it was adopting a unique culture. However, with the rapid growth of the city being caused by industrialization, the opposite effect happened when deindustrialization occurred.

    The once prosperous city started to experience huge social problems from the start of the 20th century. The docks were not as busy as they once were and also modernization meant that machine were now doing the jobs that men used to do. The city was targeted during the Second World War killing 2,500 people and damaging half the homes. Following the war many of the older areas of the city were rebuilt. A lot of this work took place in the 1960s and this was a good decade for Liverpool. The emergence of musical talent in the city saw many of the area’s top acts achieve both national and international success. It was also during this time that two of its football sides cementing their position in the nation’s highest league.

    From this point forwards Liverpool became seen as a city of creative arts with many people who made careers out of show business coming from the city. However, this was not stopping the decline in Liverpool’s importance as a port, and in the 1970s the city had some of the highest rates in unemployment in the country.

    Recent generation of the port areas has seen the region recovering economically. There are still jobs at the port but not the numbers that were once seen. There is now more employment in the service sector and in tourism. Firms are keen to locate in the city as it is seen as a good place to work and live.

    This positive image was reinforced in 2008 when Liverpool was awarded the European Capital of Culture. The city became famous around the world.