Liverpool received a royal charter from King John in 1207. There appeared to be very little in the area at the time - effectively it was creating a new town from scratch.

The reason appears to have been the King's desire for a new port in the North-West from where to launch a campaign against Ireland. And the major advantage of the area as a port appears to have been the Pool, an inlet of the River Mersey, which was capable of providing safe mooring for shipping. This ran (roughly-speaking) along present-day Whitechapel and Paradise Street.

A castle was built, on the promontory overlooking the Pool and the River Mersey, to guard this new port and a system of seven streets was formed (constructed like an H-shape where the 'middle 'bar' is extended each side).

    If viewing the street plan from the river end, the 'left-hand vertical' comprised Chapel Street (named after St. Mary del Key, which was converted to a school after the Reformation, not after the current St. Nicholas which likewise lies at its river end) and Moor Street (now Tithebarn Street).

    The 'right-hand vertical', further south comprised Bank Street (now Water Street) and Dale Street

    The 'middle bar' comprised (from South to North) Castle Street, Juggler Street (the only one of these streets not still in existence - the Town Hall was built on it) and Whiteacre Street (now Old Hall Street). The castle was situated at the South End of Castle Street/ Between Castle Street and Juggler Street, a square came into existence called 'High Cross' which contained the village cross and the stocks and pillory. Juggler Street was later re-named High Street, although its old name seems to have continued to exist in usage.

1300 At the beginning of the century, the population appears to have been in the region of about thousand, although the population later varied considerably. Obviously the Black Death of 1349 was a factor here, as were several other outbreaks of illness. Fishing was a prime industry.

1315 Castle besieged during the Banastre Revolt, a local family feud in Lancashire. The castle was not captured, but the older, neglected castle at West Derby was.

1323 From 24. October to the 30. October, Edward II stayed at Liverpool Castle.

Fifteenth Century

As a result of the Reformation, St. Nicholas became the only church in Liverpool. The parish church at the time, however, was in Walton. In 1699, St Nicholas did become a parish church. A spire was added in 1746 (although the present spire is a different one to this).

1516 Old Hall Street was established as a public way - previously it had been a private road to the said Old Hall.

1524 A tithebarn was built to house the tithes of Liverpool and Kirkdale (The Molyneuxs had bought the right to the tithe from Shrewsbury Abbey). The tithe barn stood at the far end of present-day Tithebarn Street, on the edge of the town. It was was demolished at the end of the 17th. century.

1545 All property of the dissolved Birkenhead Priory passed into private hands - to Ralph Worsley. (Another result of the reformation was the creation of the diocese of Chester, split off from the diocese of Lichfield)

1564 First mention of the Townsend Bridge, a stone bridge carrying Dale Street over the Pool.

1558 About 250 people die of Plague (the total population was not much different from that at the beginning of the fourteenth century).

1573 Trops embarked for Ireland, under the Earl of Essex. Their behavior before and after this inauspicious campaign was a major disruption to the town. There was even a 'showdown' between the citizens and soldiers on the local heath.

1586 The city is visited by William Camden, who wrote this description

A contemporary description: The Mersey spreading and presently contracting its stream from Warrington falls into the ocean with a wide channel very convenient for trade, where opens to view Litherpole, commonly called Lirpoole, from a water extending like a pool, according to the common opinion, where is the most convenient and most frequented passage to Ireland: a town more famous for its beauty and populousness than for its antiquity: its name occurs in no ancient writer except that of Roger of Poictou who was lord, as stated of Lancaster, built a castle here, the custody of which has now foe a long time belonged to the noble and knightly family of Molineux, whose chief seat is in the neighborhood of Sefton, which Roger aforesaid in the early Norman times gave to Vivian de Molineaux. This Roger held, as appears in the Domesday Book, all the lands between the rivers Ribble and Mersey.

(Despite the description above, it appears that the population was less than 1,000).

1588 Everton Beacon burns to warn of the approach of the Spanish Armada.

1588-1592 Liverpool is represented in Parliament by Francis Bacon, although he appears never to have mentioned Liverpool in his writings.

1591 Toxteth Park, outside the city boundaries (until 1835), has its park status removed. Up until then it had been a royal deer park with an area of about 25 km2, fenced off to keep the deer in. It was divided into twenty tenements but the name 'Toxteth Park' continued to be used. It was here that the astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks grew up, at Otterspool.

Revolution (so-called Civil War)

Liverpool is originally held for the King because of the influence of the aristocratic families - the Stanleys and the Molyneuxs. In 1643 parliamentary troops under Colonel Assheton attacked, and after street fighting resulting in 30 dead, the Parliamentary forces took the town. A makeshift wall was build and fortified with cannon. The castle was strengthened.

In May 1644, Prince Rupert arrived and besieged the town - his troops were stationed on the hills overlooking Liverpool (e.g. Beacon Hill in Everton, Copperas Hill). On 13 June, his troops forced an entry to the north, around present-day Old Hall Street. He was helped by the fact that the parliamentary troops, under John Moore, had left Liverpool via the Pool, apparently without telling the people of Liverpool.

Nevertheless, the citizens apparently themselves put up fierce resistance, and there are claims that the Royalists exacted murderous 'revenge' even after they had won.

On 2 July, the Battle of Marston Moor took place, and a couple of months later, Parliamentary troops returned to Liverpool. They laid siege and regained the town in October.

The fortifications were dismantled in 1654.


1666 - the Antelope sets off for Barbados with various cargo, returning the next year with sugar cane. This was the first cargo ship to travel from Liverpool to America. Within ten years, twelve ships were plying between the port and Barbados and also to Virginia, carrying tobacco back to Britain from the latter destination

Other trade was increasing, and more and more trade was also being despatched at Liverpool and transported South by road, rather than be taken directly to London.

1668 After the restoration, (Lord) Caryl Molyneux, who had led the violent and murderous Royalist assault on Liverpool on 13/14 June 1644, constructed Lord Molyneux's Street (now Lord Street), leading from the Castle to the Pool (which occupied present-day Paradise Street/Whitechapel). He built a bridge across the Pool, but it was demolished by the City Council for some reason.

1677 By now there were 18 streets. Additions included James Street, Hackin's Hey (after a John Hackin), and Fenwick Street.

1697 By now there were 28 streets.

1698/9 Until this date, Liverpool had been a part of the parish of Walton. St Nicholas's and St Peter's became twin centers of the new parish of Liverpool.


    Population was about 7.000 - the most inhabited street was Dale Street.

    First recording of a slaving ship sailing from Liverpool. Until 1698, this had been a monopoly of London (and the Royal African Company), but this role was largely taken over by Bristol in the early eighteenth century. Only towards the end of the century did Liverpool become the dominant slaving port.

1704 St Peter's Church consecrated, in present-day Church Street (it was demolished in 1922).

1708 By now there were 36 streets.

1710s Pool filled in, and the Old Dock built at its former mouth. This was carried out on the recommendation of Thomas Steers, a well-known engineer. The Old Dock was about 200 meters by 100 meters and had gates to neutralize the tide. This was apparently a major advance at the time, following on from a similar but smaller dock at Rotherhithe, London. It took five years to build. A street laid out on a part of the filled-in Pool was called Paradise Street by Steers because he once lived in Paradise Street in Rotherhithe.

1715 With the march southwards of James 3., the Old Pretender, Liverpool constructed some hasty ad-hoc fortifications - a trench, a small amount of artillery, and flooded some areas of the town. These would probably have been inadequate if James had been able to attack, but he never reached that far. The castle was in a very bad state, and was no longer capable of being used for any military purpose. In 1726, its last remains were demolished, in order to make way for a church - St. George.


    The first Charity School had been opened in 1708, and in 1726, it transferred to Blue Coat School, in School Lane.

    The reamins of the castle were demolished. It had been partly demolished already during the reign of Charles II.

1734 Work commences on a second dock - Salthouse Dock, taking 19 years to complete.

1740 The Strand laid out (although originally known as New Street), along the original waterline. As you can guess from the name, it was laid out on what had been a strip of sand.

1745 Some fortifications were put in place against a possible attack by Bonnie Prince Charlie, but they proved to be unnecessary. The Catholic chapel was burned down by arson. It was also around 1745 that Clayton Square was laid out by Sarah Clayton - her brother-in-law was Thomas Cases after whom the adjacent Cases Street is named.

1753 The Everton Toffee Shop was opened by Molly Bushell.

1754 Present Town Hall opened. On 18. January 1795, it was severely damaged by fire (attempts to put the fire out were thwarted because water pipes had frozen).Enough of the structure remained to allow rebuilding, with some modifications, e.g. a two-storey portico and a dome, with Minerva atop it. Rebuilding was completed in 1820.

Wealthier inhabitants tended to move towards the hills surrounding the town.

1761 The first thru-service by coach from London came into service. The journey took four days. Entry into Liverpool was along the Prescot Road, which had become a turnpike and been improved in comparison with its former status as a 'packhorse route', in which form it would have been totally unusable by stagecoaches.

1770 Work started on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, although many years were to pass before it was fully completed. The Liverpool section came into use in 1774 (to Wigan). Even on completion, no direct connection was made with Liverpool Docks - this was due apparently to some dispute between Liverpudlian and Yorkshire interests. Eventually connections were made with Stanley and Collingwood Docks.

The wealthier citizens set up home in areas like Rodney Street, which was built in 1770/80. The working-class settled in Vauxhall to the North and Harrington to the South.

1771 George's Dock opened (where the Liver Building now stands).

The American War of Independence causes a reduction in trade. The resulting poverty caused sailors to rebel and hold the town for several days. Allegedly, several lives were lost in the ensuing struggle by the army to gain control of the town.

Peter Baker, a privateer during the Seven Years War, captures the French ship Carnatic, with £135,000 of booty. With his riches he purchases the manor of Garston.

1784 The oil-stone dealer John Mann dies, after whom Mann Island is named. It was apparently previously called Mersey Island, and was created between the docks. When George's Dock was filled in (the present site of the Liver Building and its two companions) it ceased to be an 'island'.

1788 King's Dock opened, south of Salthouse Dock.

1793 Goree Piazzas built, reconstructed after a fire in 1802, but finally destroyed by the Luftwaffe.


William Roscoe's Life of Lorenzo de Medici was published, a significant book in the evolution of the idea of the Renaissance in the nineteenth century. Roscoe did not use the word 'renaissance', that came later leading to the unusual situation of having a French word describe developments in Italy a few centuries beforehand. Roscoe's book had the Medici as a benign and wise family, dominated by the talented, sensitive, and wise Lorenzo. A book issued soon after by J. C. L. Simonde de Sismondi in 1807, Histoire des républiques italiennes au moyen âge, had the Medici as a tyrannical and unscrupulous dynasty, dominated by a hypocritical monster.


Registered tonnage of shipping was third behind London and Newcastle. On the other hand, during the Industrial Revolution, Liverpool appears to have 'deindustrialized' and resorted to being primarily a port, without actually making or manufacturing a great deal itself. Fire in the Goree

1801 Population 77,653

1802 Liverpool Botanical gardens opened. The Lyceum Club was opened in Bold Street (work started in 1800) as the first public subscription library in the country.

1805 Last duel fought in Liverpool

1806 William Roscoe was elected as MP, and voted for the ending of the transportation of slaves from Africa, a cause in which he had been active for about 30 years. Nevertheless, Liverpool was a major center of opposition to the abolition of slavery in general (among the reasons touted by opponents of abolition was that it would cause unemployment). Indeed a group of unemployed seaman were led to believe that Roscoe was responsible for their current state, and attacked a procession in Castle Street which included Roscoe and was being staged to celebrate the ending of slave transportation. Roscoe failed to be re-elected in 1807. It should be stressed that slavery itself continued, only the transport of slaves from Africa was prohibited (British troops had entered Haiti only the year before in an unsuccesful atempt to re-establish slavery in that country).


  • William Gladsone born in Rodney Street (his father, John Gladstone became the owner of about 1500 slaves).
  • John Bellingham returned to his occupation of insurance broker after a spell of imprisonment in Russia, where he travelled on business in 1803. He attempted to gain compensation, but his lack of success set off a train of events which led him to assassinate the Prime Minister Spencer Percival in 1812. Bellingham was executed, but a public appeal for his wife and children seemingly led to a marked increase in their fortune than if the events had not happened.

1810 During a church service, the tower of St. Nicholas collapsed. A procession of children was just entering the church and 24 were killed. Three adults were also killed.

1815 In July, the Elizabeth, a steam-driven paddle steamer operates on the Mersey, mostly as a ferry. Others followed, not just as ferries but also as tugs. Some steam ships began to be built in the Liverpool area. In 1819, a steamer was plying between Liverpool and Belfast.

1817 The seawater baths were demolished, in order to make way for the Prince's Dock.

1819 The first "steamship" to cross the Atlantic, the Savannah reached Liverpool after sailing from the port of Savannah in Georgia. It was actually a hybrid ship and only used its steam engine for about 80 hours during the voyage of 29 days.

1824 Jesse Hartley appointed engineer to the docks.

1825 Anti-emigration laws were repealed. Between now and 1860 about two-thirds of the total number of people who emigrated to America and Canada traveled via Liverpool - amounting to about three and a half million to America and 350,000 to Canada (i.e. two-thirds of the entire emigration to these countries, not just British people - which such a mix of emigrants from all over Europe, con-merchants abounded, ready to fleece them. There was even a network which allowed American con-merchants to receive prior information from their 'colleagues' in Liverpool).

1827 Old Dock was filled in. The spece was used for a new Custom House..

1829 Saturday October 10 - the Rainhill Locomotive Trials for the new Liverpool and Manchester Railway. It is worth making a specific note here that the winning Rocket locomotive was built by Robert Stephenson. All these years later, some sources (including a notice at Rainhill itself until fairly recently) attributed the construction to George Stephenson. In fact, this was a misinterpretation that was even perpetuated on a recent Bank of England banknote.

1830 Liverpool and Manchester railway opened. The original proposals of 1825 had been rejected by the Council. but an amended bill the following year was accepted.


  • Jesse Hartley's first dock, the Brunswick Dock, is opened (although the Clarence Dock had been opened earlier, in 1830).
  • During a cholera outbreak, the laundress Kitty Wilkinson of Dension Street became convinced of the importance of cleanliness in combating the disease. Obviously at this stage in history she could not have known of the definite reason for the disease but she seems to have been aware of the circumstantial evidence. And boiling clothes would have killed the bacteria. This is assumed to have led to the opening of the first public baths and washhouse in Upper Frederick Street in Liverpool in 1842.

1833 Major fire among the warehouses of Lancelot's Hey

1835 City boundaries extended to include Kirkdale, Everton, Toxteth Park and parts of West Derby.

1836 Lime Street Station opened - on this site at one time stood several lime kilns, given the street its name (although the name was originally Lime Kiln Lane).


    First Grand National Race. Aintree racecourse was opened by William Lynn in 1829. A four mile race had been staged in 1836, which was won by Captain Becher riding 'Duke. The 1839 race was a larger scale affair with an estimated crowd of 50.000. It was christened the Grand National by a journalist, the name becoming official in 1847

    For the first race, Captain Becher was riding Conrad, who threw him twice at water jumps. The race was won by Lottery.

    In 1848, the horse Valentine fell at one of the water jumps.

    July Prince William crosses the Atlantic. Originally its was intended to compete with Brunel's Great Western for the first steam crossing, but it was not ready in time.. However, when it was ready, it managed to cross the Atlantic in 19 days outward and 15 days back again.

    Hermann Melville arrived in Liverpool, as a crew member of a ship from New York. Allegedly, Hermann Melville bears great responsibility for popularizing, in his book Redburn, the story that Liverpool had been named in honor of an extinct bird called the Liver Bird. This story was contained in a guidebook to Liverpool owned by his father.

1840s Despite Brunel's success, the contract for the transatlantic mail was given to Cunard and their Britannia, one of their first ships. This ship took Charles Dickens to America in 1842. Brunel's further ships and Great Eastern were both based in Liverpool.

1841 In 1838, two businessmen from Lima had sent samples of guano to Liverpool merchant William Myers, who had farming interest and opportunity to test its efficacy. The result was that Myers himself decided to put up the money for shipment of this new fertilizer (not new to the South American Indians obviously). In early 1841, 2000 tonnes of guano set sail from Callao for Liverpool.

1842 The workhouse on Brownlow Hill (opened in 1772 on the site now occupied by the Catholic Cathedral) was rebuilt to hold 1.800 people (although it eventually held many more than this). It was actually the largest in the country.

1843 Joseph Paxton was commissioned to lay out Prince's Park. This was part of a 35 hectare piece of land just outside the city, bought by Yates, a local man, who used the rest of the land for residential property. Princes Park was a prestigious park in its day, and its concepts copied elsewhere. In 1851, Joseph Paxton built the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park. The park was purchased by the city council in 1918.

1844 Construction started on Birkenhead Docks. Major infestation of potatoes by disease (not just in Ireland, incidentally, but In Europe as well)


    Albert Dock opened. Designed by Jesse Hartley, it was of a new design - surrounded by warehouses. Previously docks had been of the 'open' type, with warehouses situated a distance from the docks. Today, the Albert Dock buildings are the largest Grade 1 listed buildings in Britain.

    Holt Line founded


    William Lassel of West Derby discovered Triton, the largest moon of Neptune, which had itself only been discovered 17 days earlier. Originally, it was a mystery why Lassel didn't put more energy into trying to find Neptune himself, he did actually receive 'news' from John Adams of the prediction of its existence and where it was likely to be found. Recent documents have been unearthed currently suggesting that Adams' predictions were bogus, and were part of a well-orchestrated attempt by Cambridge University to share credit for a discovery actually made by a French mathematician, Urban LeVerrier.

    Dr WH Duncan becomes first Public Medical Officer in country.

1847 Immigration from Ireland, due to the Potato Famine (during which 25% of the population of Ireland die), reaches its peak in this year, with a oft-quoted figure of 300.000 Irish emigrants in this year. By no means all of these remained in Liverpool. Official census figures show a population of 223.000 in 1841 rising to 376.000 by 1851, most of the increase being Irish.

Contemporary reports tend to imply that the reaction at the time was fairly similar to present-day attitudes to immigration and to asylum-seekers, maybe. As for Ireland, the loss of a quarter of a country's population would nowadays incur a greater reaction than what seems to have been the prevailing one at the time.

Kirkdale Beach is 'developed' as Wellington, Huskisson (1852) and Sandon Docks (1849).

1848 The Ocean Monarch carrying 338 emigrants caught fire in the Mersey and sank off Llandudno, with the loss of 178 lives.


    Cholera epidemic

    Philharmonic Hall opened on the site of the first house built in Hope Street, by William Hope.

1850 Railway station opened on Tithebarn Street, serving areas to the North of Liverpool. This station was replaced by Exchange Station in 1888. By 1855, Southport had devloped as the first seaside resort in Lancashire. .


    Population 376,065

    Charles MacIver founded a shipping line. Joined by Samuel Cunard, a Canadian, and George Burns to form the Cunard Line.

1853 Nathanial Hawthorne arrives as American consul.

1854 St. George's Hall opened, as a joint concert hall/assize court.

1857 The Mersey Docks and Harbour Board created, taking over control of the Liverpool docks from the City Council, as well as the docks in Birkenhead.

1859 Canada Dock opened

1860s Reduced cotton imports during the American Civil War lead to the opening of a trade in cotton with Egypt.

1860 William Brown Library opened, financed by the eponymous ship-owner. It's original purpose was apparently to display the natural history collection bequeathed to the city by the Earl of Derby. The library later absorbed the Picton Reading Room which was opened in 1879, and was modelled on the Reading Room of the British Library. James Picton was a historian who wrote a well-known history of Liverpool.

1862 Castle Line founded.


Liverpool was important for the Confederate Navy. In 1861 Commander James Dunwoody Bulloch arrived and started co-operating with the local company of Fraser & Trenholm to buy and sell Confederate cotton (the company's offices are still there in Rumford Place, behind the Thistle Hotel). They operated a regular shipping service between Charleston and Liverpool and transported not just cotton but cargo of direct use to the war.

He also arranged for ships to be built for the Navy of which the Alabama is the best known, built by Cammell Lairds in Birkenhead (the Florida was another)

One Confederate ship, the Shenandoah, technically fired the last shots of the war on 28 June 1865 during a raid on American whalers in the Bering Sea (although the war was already over by then).

It was later before they became convinced that the war was over (they were just about to attack San Francisco but met a ship coming from (or going to, reports vary) the said city). Since the unofficial home port of the Confederate fleet was Liverpool, Captain Waddell decided to sail there and surrender. This allows some references to state that the last act of the Civil War was Captain Waddell walking up the steps of Liverpool Town Hall with a letter to present to the Lord Mayor surrendering his vessel to the British government.

After its surrender the CSS Shenandoah was berthed in the partially constructed Herculaneum Dock before being handed over to the American government.

Bulloch stayed on in Liverpool, at 76 Canning Street, until his death in 1901.

1868 Bootle became a borough.

1869 The first Adelphi Hotel is opened by the Midland Railway. It was replaced by a new hotel built in 1912.The hotel stands on the site of the former Liverpool Ranelagh Tea Rooms, after which the adjacent street is named.


  • North Western Hotel opened, at the front of Lime Street Station. It was designed by Alfred Waterhouse, the architect also of Liverpool University buildings and Manchester Town Hall. It is now used as a hall of residence by Liverpool Polytechnic.

  • Stanley Park opened, It was laid out by Edward Kemp, a disciple of Joseph Paxton

1872 Sefton Park opened. The two steams called the Brook (the smaller and larger) meet at the boating lake, one flowing through the Fairy Glen on one side of the lake (from here the joint stream flowed through the Otter's Pool to the Mersey, and can still be viewed in the Otterspool area)


  • A notorious gang murder became national news. One evening in 1874, twenty-six-year-old Richard Morgan was walking home from a Bank Holiday trip to New Ferry with his wife and brother when he was set upon and brutally kicked to death by a gang of youths. They were passing a pub at the end of Tithebarn Street, when Morgan was asked for ale money by McCrave, a member of the notorious High Rip Gang, who terrorised North Liverpool. Morgan made the mistake of suggesting that McCrave should work for this and was promptly knocked to the ground. Joined by other gang members Campbell and Mullen, the victim was kicked to the other side of the street before police could intervene.

    McCrave was arrested that evening after being pursued by Morgan's brother. The others were also in custody within days, Mullen having tried to escape to sea. The youths, who were all 17, were sentenced to death but Campbell was reprieved on account of his previous good behaviour, after petitions to the Home Secretary were made by their families.

    McCrave and Mullen were hanged at Kirkdale on 3rd January 1875. McCrave, the gang ringleader displayed great terror at the end but Mullen remained calm and indifferent throughout. Campbell received life imprisonment.

    The Tithebarn Street Outrage, as it became known, brought starkly to public attention the mobs of thugs who plagued Liverpool at a time when the city was one of the world's greatest and most prosperous seaports. Long hidden in the shadows of the fetid slums and alleyways, the gangs of Liverpool now emerged to take centre stage. Over the following years, the exploits of the Hibernians, the Dead Rabbits and the Finnon Haddie would make them household names. But most feared of all were the High Rip Gang, who announced themselves with the infamous Blackstone Street Murder and went on to terrorise the city center streets as they fought a bitter war with their sworn enemies, the Logwood Gang. Emulating them were juvenile mobs with names, such as the Lemon Street Gang and the Housebreakers Gang.

  • Liverpool Central Station was opened (it was closed in 1972 when the surface line was taken underground to connect with northern lines which previously terminated at Exchange Station in Tithebarn Street).

    Central Station, Liverpool

1877 Walker Art Gallery opened.

1878 St. Domingo's Methodist Church Football Club formed.

1879 St. Domingo Football Club change their name to Everton.

1884 Everton Football Club move to a new ground at Anfield Road.

1886 A Bootle - Everton cup tie is interrupted by crowd trouble. Everton become a founder member of the Football League - their first home match was a 2-1 win over Accrington Stanley, before a crowd of 9.000. Three years later, Everton win the Championship.

1889 Liverpool becomes a County Borough, i.e. administratively it became independent of Lancashire and responsible for its own affairs (or, for the benefit of non-British people, as much of its own affairs as the backward, centralized British Constitution would allow)


  • Everton begin to play at Goodison Park, after a dispute with the owner of Anfield Road, John Houlding.
  • Central underground railway station opened.

1893 Liverpool Overhead Railway opened.


  • First League match between Liverpool and Everton (they had met before in a cup tie, won by Liverpool). Everton win 2-0 before 44.000 spectators.
  • The Manchester Ship Canal is opened, which is often claimed to have been the largest 'navigation canal' in the world at the time (a 'navigation canal' parallels the flow of a river)

1895 Boundary extended to include the rest of West Derby, Wavertree, Toxteth and Walton, trebling the size of the city. The 1901 census gave a population of 685.000.


    The whole tramway system came under City Council control

    John Brodie became City Engineer. He introduced the first reserved tracks for the tramway.

    St John's Church was demolished - it was behind St. George's Hall


    Population 684,947

    Giles Gilbert Scott wins the competition for a design for the new Anglican Cathedral. The central tower was not completed until 1942. It survived the war despite some still-visible damage, and was not fully completed until about 40 years later.

    On 23rd December a train on the Liverpool Overhead Railway caught fire due to an electrical fault in the tunnel within 100 meters of Dingle Station. Six people died seemingly due to complacency and a lack of urgency rather than anything else. Dingle station was shut down for more than a year.


  • An independent Liverpool University was formed. Previously it was one component of the Victoria University. The Victoria Building on Brownlow Hill, completed in 1892 and designed by Alfred Waterhouse, was its headquarters.
  • The last horse-drawn tram ran on 25th August (based at Linacre Road)

1906 Liverpool win the League Championship and Everton win the F.A. Cup


  • The offices of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board were completed on the site of George's Dock which had just been filled in. This is later joined by the Liver Building and the Cunard Building.

  • September The Lusitania leaves Liverpool on her maiden voyage.

  • November The Mauretania, sister ship to the Lusitania sets sail for America.


First British branch of Woolworths opens, in Church Street.


  • Major strikes and on Sunday 13th August a riot broke out, in the wake of a meeting on St' George's Plateau, addressed by by Tom Mann, Chairman of the Strike Committee (at the time about 250,000 people in Liverpool were on strike). On Tuesday 15th August, a convoy of prison vans, escorted by cavalry, containing 90 of those convicted for involvement in the riots was attacked as they made their way down Vauxhall Road to Walton Jail. The cavalry (18th Hussars) opened fire on the demonstrators and shot two people dead.

  • The Liver Building opened - work had started in 1908. The Royal Liver Company itself apparently had humble beginnings, selling things like funeral insurance to the working-class. If anyone died in the workhouse, they was a good probability that, without this insurance, they would end up being dissected for medical research.

    Site of the Liver Building

1912 The Futurist opened, closing about 100 years later - becoming the city center's oldest purpose-built cinema.


  • Meccano factory in Binns Road opened. Meccano had its origins in 1901, when Frank Hornby's employer took an interest in his product and allowed him some space in his own works. The firm also started making Dinky Toys and Hornby Model Railways. In 1979, the Liverpool factory closed down, and the firm was taken over by a French company based in Calais. Frank Hornby also served briefly as M.P. for Everton.
  • On October 15 an express train to Derby hit the rear of the Manchester Express whilst the latter was at a standstill in St. James Station. Before it reached the station the Manchester train's driver Edward Howson felt the brakes go on (after departing from Central), which he put down to a passenger having pulled the communication cord. Not wanting to stop in the tunnel he managed to get enough pressure to pull his train into St James station. According to Howson he stopped the train at St James at 2:35pm. Just minutes later the 2:35pm Midland Express train ran into the back of the Manchester train smashing the rear coaches. The Derby train's engine fell over to the right and landed on its side on the middle line. Five passengers were killed instantly, as was the guard on the Manchester train. Another passenger would die a few weeks later from injuries sustained and a further 62 people were injured.


  • The Adelphi Hotel opens (on March 9th officially).

  • Jacob's biscuit factory opened in Aintree, the first factory they opened in England (the company being founded in Ireland - Jacob's biscuit factory was one of the buidings occupied by Republicans during the Easter Rising of 1916).

1915 On 7. May, the Lusitania is sunk as it travels to Liverpool. This sets off anti-German riots in the city against shops etc. with any German connection. The Mersey ferries and Daffodil take part in the Zeebrugge raid on a U-boat base. The ferries both suffered severe damage (but did not sink).

1918 In the election, Sinn Fein win Liverpool Exchange. The constituency of Liverpool Scotland was held by the Irish nationalist T.P. O'Connor until 1929. Liverpool Fairfield was a new constituency and was won by the Unionist, Major Jack Benn Brunel Cohen, whose family owned Lewis's department stores. Cohen had lost both legs at the Passchendaele in 1917. The coalition candidate was Captain Frank L'Estrange Joseph. The Unionists suggested that Joseph was "posing as a military man" because his commission had been granted on his appointment to the recruiting division of the War Office. Cohen remained as MP until 1931. The constituency was abolished in 1950.


June : A West Indian, John Johnson, was stabbed leading to revenge actions which deteriorated into a full scale riot. Disturbances were concentrated around Toxteth Park, George St. Pitt St. On 11 June (after five days) there were fires on Hill St and Stanhope Street. On black person, Charles Wooten, died after "falling into a dock". Disturbances of a similar type were set off in Newport and Cardiff

August : Liverpool is put under martial law as the police go on strike, and the Riot Act is read for what is the last time in Britain. There was a call for a national police strike which never got off the ground but the strike went ahead in Liverpool anyway - in some quarters there is a belief that they were given the wrong information that London had come out (by the Daily Herald) although presumably by 1919 there were other ways of checking the truth. There was large-scale looting, notably around Scotland Road, and some 'comic' touches like pianos being stolen from Rushworths - it took three days to calm the situation down and one looter was shot. About half the city's police force were sacked (954 men) and the Government continued to harass the strikers if they were fortunate enough to find employment elsewhere, by informing (and threatening, if necessary) their new employers. Lloyd George outlawed the police union and made it illegal for the police to go on strike. A special feature in Liverpool had seemingly been the attitude of the Watch Committee and the conditions they imposed - for example, Liverpool policeman had one day off every fortnight compared with one day a week elsewhere; and potential wives were inspected before a policeman was allowed to be married.


At a meeting in Liverpool, Victor Grayson made accusations about the sale of honors (knighthoods, etc.) mentioning a 'monocled dandy' (now known to be Maundy Gregory) and, by implication, accusing Lloyd George of being involved. In September 1920, Grayson disappeared. Born in Liverpool, he had been an MP from 1907-10 for Colne Valley - as a socialist nominated by the Independent Labour Party, although he was opposed by the official Labour Party because they had an 'arrangement' with the Liberal party which involved the Labour Party not opposing the Liberals in the Colne Valley : thus Grayson is often described as an 'independent' socialist MP.

On Boxing Day, a crowd of 23,000 at Goodison Park watched a women's football match between Dick, Kerr's Ladies (Preston) and St. Helens Ladies. In 1921, the FA banned women from using League grounds.

1923 Works starts on the India Buildings, being completed in 1937. It was designed by Herbert J. Rowse for the Blue Funnel Line (Alfred Holt and Company). The former Chorley Street was subsumed in the building as a shopping arcade. (Rowse also designed Martin's Bank in Water Street, the Philharmonic Hall and structures associated with the Mersey Tunnel)

1928 Dixie Dean, the Everton player, scores a total of 82 goals in the 1927/8 season.

1929 The National Eisteffod was held in Sefton Park. It had been held in Liverpool before (and famously in Birkenhead in 1917 - when Hedd Wynn was named Chief Bard), but this was the last time the Eisteddfod was held outside of Wales, probably because lack of interest from the English population lead to the event making a financial loss.


1930 The Graf Zeppelin flies over Liverpool

1931 St. Paul's church demolished after lying derelict for a few years. Liverpool Stadium was later built on the site.


  • Riot in Birkenhead last for several days.

  • A small zoo at Otterspool was re-located to Rosemount off Elmswood Road in Mossley Hill. It was closed in 1938.

1933 Foundation stone laid for Catholic cathedral (on the former site of the workhouse). The stone can still be seen althoughh this original design was abandoned.

1934 Mersey Tunnel officially opened - construction had started in 1925, and it seems to have become available for use from 17 December 1933. Before opening, about 300 000 people had walked thru it. Apparently, at the time, it was the longest underwater road tunnel in the world, at 3.2 kilometers. The government paid half the cost, one quarter came from Liverpool and Birkenhead and one quarter was to come from tolls for a period of up to 20 years (the tolls are stilll there). The tunnel has a maximum depth of 52 meters below the surface at the river, although around there it is only about a meter away from the bottom of the river. A lot of the spoil went to Otterspool and Dingle.

1936 Matt Busby signs for Livepool


    Unemployment still double the national average.

    Everton win the last Football League Championship before the war suspends the competition.

    Liverpool became one of the targets of the IRA's S-plan

    • Match 23 and 30 IRA bomb attacks

    • 5 April - two bombs exploded at a (railway station and council buildings??) One exploded on Menlove Avenue adjacent to Calderstones Park

    • 5 May tear gas bombs exploded in two cinemas - Trocadero and Paramount.(Julia Lennon, mother of John, worked at the Trocadero and was probably working there on the night)

    • 30 May tear gas bomb exploded in the Tatler cinema.

    • July 27th Three bombs planted by the IRA went off. The first was placed on the Methodist Swing Bridge, Green Lane over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Maghull. Later in the morning in the city centre a post office and a letter box (in a park??) were attacked.

      (On 25th August, five people were killed by an IRA bomb in Coventry)

      Brendan Behan arrested for trying to blow up a battleship and sentenced to three years in borstal.

Second World War

1940s A new estate in Woolfall Heath, Huyton is used as a detention camp, where paradoxically people who had been kicked out by Nazi Germany, or left voluntarily, were banged up almost as criminals (quite a topical issue this).

1940 November. A landmine lands on a shelter in Durning Road Junior Technical School housing 300 people. 166 people were killed.


    Anti U-boat measures were controlled from Liverpool, from the basement of Derby House. Previously this work had been done in Plymouth.

    Goree Piazzas destroyed in a blitz

    May Blitz During May and the first two weeks of June, bombing took place practically every night - about half the dead and injured due to bombing in the entire war occurred during this period. This is commonly reported as being some sort of final action before the invasion of the USSR. The first week of May seems to have been the really bad time. Altogether 79 raids took place. 11.000 houses were destroyed.

      Thursday May 1. Low Hill and Cazeneau Street hit badly but it appears the bad weather hindered the Luftwaffe's plans

      Friday May 2. Four / five hours of bombing

      Saturday May 3.

      Bombing from 22.30 until 0500.

      Lewis's in Liverpool after the May Blitz

      Lewis's (see photo) and Blacklers department stores destroyed. The music section of the William Brown Library was totally wiped out, along with an estimated 150,000 volumes throughout the entire City Library. The fire in the Library spread to the neighboring Art Gallery and Museum. The Central Post Office in Victoria Street was put out of action and all the records held by the Tax Offices in the India Buildings were destroyed by fire. The major area of devastation was to south of Lord Street - this area seems never to have recovered and become a 'part' of the city again (talking subjectively). In Huskisson Dock, incendiaries set fire to an ammunition ship, the S.S. Malakand, which blew up the entire dock and ripped a section out of the Overhead Railway. Despite this, only four people seem to have been killed by it - two crew who were trying to scuttle the ship and, tragically, a newly-married couple whose car was hit by debris. A stray bomb caught a munitions train parked seemingly out of the way in Clubmoor, in the Forfar Road area. Despite the tragedy of this incident there appears to have been a slightly comic outcome - when the emergency crews realized they couldn't do much about the ammunition trucks, they went about saving a large cargo of Spam and corned beef. Mill Road Infirmary was hit, demolishing several of its buildings.

      Sunday May 4. Bombing started at midnight and lasted until 04.30

      Monday May 5. Bombing again started about midnight. Bold Street/Berry Street area was particularly hard hit. The bombed-out remains of St. Luke's church remains to this day as a memorial. A high-explosive bomb appears to have fallen through the roof of the Anglican Cathedral but was deflected back by a beam. The resulting explosion caused severe damage to the windows.

      Tuesday May 6. Bombing again from midnight. Extensive damage, including Cooper's shop in Church Street.

      Wednesday May 7. Considered to be the worst night after Saturday May 3.. For Bootle, this was their worst night.

    Raids continued but not with the same intensity.

1942 Last bombing raid. Apart from the damage already mentioned, St Nicholas had been gutted, the Customs House damaged so severely it was demolished. An incendiary came thru the roof of St. George's Hall but was dealt with quickly by the Fire Brigade. No damage was done to the Liver Building and its neighbors.

On 18 June, Paul McCartney was born.



Brian Epstein's family move into 197 Queen's Drive in Childwall

Liverpool win the first post-war League Championship.

In early August, anti-Jewish riots break out. These were triggered by the lynching of two British soldiers in Palestine by the Irgun, despite the fact that one of the British soldiers was Jewish. Many shops had their windows smashed and a synagogue in West Derby was burnt down. Similar riots occured elswhere but Liverpool (and Manchester) seem to be the most prominent, possibly.

On 21 September at Goodison Park, England were defeated 2-0 by Ireland in a friendly international. As a result Ireland became the first non-British team to beat England at home. (Not to be confused with 1953 when Hungary beat England 6-3, becoming the first non-British team to beat England at Wembley Stadium)


    Liverpool City Council controlled by Labour Party for the first time. In 1939, the Labour Party had had only one councillor (although, before the war, the system was less-than-democratic. Large numbers oif people had no vote, and many people had more than one vote. This system was abolished in Britain (but not Northern Ireland) by the post-war Labour Government).

    Bill Haley appeared at the Odeon, resulting in disturbances in which 150 seats were wrecked.


  • Liverpool Overhead Railway shut down (on 30 December).
  • John Tarrant made an unofficial entrance into the Liverpool Marathon (which went from St Georges Hall to Anfield Stadium, with fewer than 70 participants in 1956). Tarrant had been banned from athletics because of a small amount of expenses he had received as a boxer, and so started with this marathon a series of unofficial entry into races - hanging around until the race started and then throwing off his disguise etc. and joining in - he became known as the 'Ghost Runner'.


    Mardi Gras Club, Mount Pleasant Both the Cavern and the Mardi Gras clubs opened. The Mardi Gras in Mount Pleasant (pictured) was a former cinema. The Swinging Blue Jeans became the house band, being managed by Jim Ireland, the owner of the club. Latterly it became known for Northern Soul with resident DJ Billy Butler.

    The Cavern was a former fruit and vegetable warehouse and opened on 16th January as a jazz club. (The Beatles played here 262 times but note the importance to them of the Casbah Club (opened 1959) ).

    Last tram runs on 14th September. A procession of trams with Liverpool's official last tram (6A) in the rear left Pier Head travelling via the city centre to the terminus by Bowring Park. In 1945 the network had extended for about 150km. A new line to the Kirkby Industrial Estate had been built in 1943. From 1934 to 1939, 360 new Green Goddesses had been introduced

    From September, the Overhead Railway began to be dismantled, a task completed during the following year.

1959 The Casbah Club opened at 8 Haymans Green in West Derby. George Harrison was a member of the Les Stewart Quartet which was offered a residency at the new club but when Les Stewart refused the offer, George got his mates from the Quarrymen (which had now disbanded), Paul McCartney and John Lennon to reform the group to take up the residency instead. The club shut in 1962 but in 2009 it re-opened (in 2006 had been awarded Grade 2 listed building protection). It was here that the Beatles signed to Brian Epstein on 10th December 1961.


    Beatles play Hamburg for the first time. Their impressions in comparison with Hamburg are instructive - they described Liverpool as 'pockmarked and shagged out' in comparison, and the 'Reeperbahn was still open while Liverpool was shut'. Other Liverpool bands follow, producing the standard quote : 'The Liverpool beat was born in Hamburg'. Further information on the Beatles and Hamburg.

    Fire at Henderson's store kills 11.

    Fire at Hendersons in Liverpool


In November, Brian Epstein sees the Beatles for the first time. He signs them to a five-year contract in the following January.

1962 Liverpool promoted from Second Division, after eight years there.

1963 Everton win the Championship

Everton Champions 1963


On 13th August, Peter Allen at Walton Prison, and his accomplice Gwynne Evans at Strangeways, became the last people to be executed in Britain.

Kirkby becomes a pilot area for the introduction of panda cars instead of foot patrols. Legend has it that the shade of blue used for the cars was chosen because the Chief Constable of Lancashire went to either Oxford or Cambridge University (whichever one it was!)

On 28th September, the Everyman Theatre opens, with Henry IV, Part 1.


  • Liverpool win the FA Cup for the first time in their history.
  • On July 20, a Cambrian Aiways Vickers Viscount landing at Speke Airport overshot the runway and crashed into a factory killing the two pilots (the only ones on board) and two people in the factory : Thompson and Capper’s on Speke Road and Speke Hall Road. This happened at about 1820 and the two workers (supervisors) were possibly the only workers remaining in the factory. The verdict appears to be officially that the accident was consistent with flap failure.


Liverpool Catholic Cathedral consecrated. Work had been started in 1933, with an original plan by Edward Lutyens, although the new cathedral was a major departure from the original plans.

Brian Epstein dies at the age of 32. At his funeral, the rabbi described him as "a symbol of the malaise of our generation" (according to Rex Makin.)

1972 Central railway station closed down - since 1966, the only service had been the one to Gateacre (although superficially it was a bit more 'lively' because people could pass through here to enter the underground station). It was mostly demolished by 1973.

1973 Last ever win in a local election for the Protestant Party.

1978 Anglican cathedral finally declared to be completed.

1981 South End Riots, called the Toxteth Riots by the national media. CS gas used by the police for the first time in Britain. The Central Government respond by announcing a Garden Festival is to be held in Liverpool.

1985 The Council had been taking a strong anti-Thatcher stance, and so was abolished by Thatcher (I state this is in this manner because I think you would have to be very devious to come up with any other explanation). By means of some creative accounting, Labour councillors were also surcharged an appreciable amount. Further details here


Owen Owen, Liverpool

Owen Owen closes down. It had opened in 1868 in London Road. After the move to Clayton Square, their London Road building was used to house its subsidiary of TJ Hughes.

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