Why Not Drown Liverpool? Welsh water for an English city

What were you hoping could still be saved on 21st November 1956?
The Liverpool Overhead Railway perhaps?
On that day a small Welsh community marched through Liverpool
with their banners, desperately hoping to save their valley
from what Liverpool City Council wanted to do to it.

What were you listening to on your record player on 22nd October 1965?
The recent Beatles release, ‘Yesterday’, perhaps?
That small Welsh community, however,
was remembering what had taken place the previous day:
the inauguration ceremony of a new Welsh reservoir for Liverpool.

What do you remember reading in the Liverpool Daily Post on 20th October 2005?
Benitez saluting the goalscorer in Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Anderlecht perhaps?
For the Welsh children who had lost their homes, their school, their chapel
and their way of life, they would have read that
‘Liverpool City Council last night said sorry for flooding a Welsh village 40 years ago’.

Click on the image to download a pdf of the story in text and pictures
of the drowning of Cwm Tryweryn

Liverpool Firsts

  • 1007 – First mention of the River Mersey, in a deed from the reign of Ethelread II, the name is old English from Maere, meaning boundary
  • 1166 – First mention of Liverpool, in a deed of the Earl of Mortain, later King John.
  • 1207 – King John signed a Royal Charter, creating the borough of Liverpool, on Tuesday 28th August 1207.
  • 1235 – Liverpool Castle built (near the modern Derby Square, demolished 1721).
  • 1272 – First census, population 840. 1282 – First Mersey ferry, established by monks at Birkenhead Priory.
  • 1351 – First recorded mayor, William, son of Adam.
  • 1515 – Liverpool’s first Town Hall built.
  • 1522 – First grammar school (founded by John Crosse of Crosse-Hall).
  • 1580 – Liverpool’s first Town Council.
  • 1647 – Liverpool was made a free and independent port, no longer subject to Chester.
  • 1648 – First recorded cargo from America landed at Liverpool.
  • 1650 – The council passed an order creating Liverpool’s fire brigade: “That the bailiffs cause leather buckets and four or six hooks to be made for pulling down any house being on fire – which God defend”.
  • 1676 – Liverpool’s second Town Hall built.
  • 1679 – Liverpool’s Mayor founded the world’s first charity for sailors.
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800 Years of History

In 2007, Liverpool was 800 years old! No medieval buildings survive in the city centre but the ancient street pattern is still there. What follows is a summary of the city’s history, a tour of its seven original streets, now flanked by Victorian and more recent buildings and a description of some of the new streets and districts created when the city expanded in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

An outline of the city’s history

Early days

Six large pieces of sandstone, between one and two and a half metres high the Calderstones – are the earliest signs of human activity in Liverpool. There are few records of Liverpool’s existence before 1207. The Romans were apparently never here, although they had a legionary base at Chester, twenty miles away, a quarry at Storeton in Wirral and a port at Meols on the north Wirral coast. Liverpool is not mentioned in the Domesday Book, the register of land made for King William I in 1086. But other habitations which have now been incorporated into modern Liverpool and its suburbs were mentioned in this record, including Crosby, Litherland, Bootle, Walton, Kirkdale, Wavertree, Toxteth and Esmedun (which became Smithdown).

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The ‘Lost Villages’ of Garston & Speke

As people drive through Garston and Speke, on their journeys in and out of the City or to visit the local retail, commercial, and enterprise parks, few realise that this entire district, with its large residential community, is a place of historic importance and with a considerable heritage.

Garston Village

Garston is one of Liverpool’s many ‘lost villages’ and it stands on the banks of the River Mersey between Speke and Grassendale, 5½ miles south of the City. Its name derives from the Saxon word ‘Gaerstun’, meaning ‘grazing settlement’, and the original Manor of Garston was once part of the ancient parish of Childwall.

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Dr Duncan

DrDuncanReferences by Dr DUNCAN to the Board of Health on the condition of the graveyards. The seven burial ground which bodies are disposed of in Pits are those attached to the Wesleyan Chapel Stanhope St, St Patrick’s Catholic Chapel Park Rd, St Anthony’s Scotland Rd, St James, Necropolis, St Mary’s Kirkdale and the Parish cemetery Vauxhall Rd. The pits vary in depth from 18 to 30ft, being 7 to 12 ft long and 31/2 to 9 ft wide The number of bodies deposited in such pits varies from 30 in St James and St Marys cemeteries to 120 in St Patrick’s. In St James about 6 inches of earth are placed over the coffins after each days interments in others the coffins are covered with 21/2 feet of soil which is removed previous to the next interments, but with these exceptions pits are left open only covered only covered with a framework of boards until filled with coffins over a period of 10 days in the case of smaller to 10 weeks in large pits It has been estimated that an acre of ground can accommodate 136 bodies yearly, in 37 burial grounds in Liverpool this number is double.

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Shaw Street, Everton

Members and visitors may be interested in some of the buildings and structures in the area surrounding “Hope at Everton”, our regular meeting place since 2003. On this page you will find an illustration of how a Victorian artist imagined Shaw Street looked in 1790, a sadly neglected memorial, a vanished church, and two notable buildings recently restored.

Having inherited the former Halsall estate from John Shaw not long before, Thomas Shaw realised sometime about 1826 that, to avoid a lengthy detour, it would be convenient for there to be a link between Moss Street and Netherfield Road. He therefore arranged for the laying out of a new road, to be called Shaw Street. This quickly became a prestigious residential area with the first house being built in 1829. Since then, as in so much of Liverpool, there have been many changes.

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The Rathbones

From Welfare to Politics

The founder of the family, William (I) was a yeoman farmer in Gawsworth. The worth of his possessions was £25

William (II) came to Liverpool in 1720, and died in 1746. He worked in the timber industry as a sawyer. In the rapidly expanding town, wood for building was in great demand, and William soon expanded his activities and became a timber merchant. In 1731 he joined the Quakers and from that time the family remained loyal to that movement, except for an occasional member being excluded because of public endeavours to get reform.

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Prescot Turnpike

With the rapid development of Liverpool from 1700 onwards there was an increasing need for ‘coales’ that could not be met by the existing road transport network.

turnpikeThe main source was the shallow pits around the town of Prescot. The road was heavily used by pack-horses, carts and heavy waggons, creating ruts and large holes. In winter, and sometimes even in summer, the road from Prescot was almost ‘unpassable through the great rains’. As early as 1663 the damage to Liverpool’s streets by the ‘frequent driving of carts laden with coales and muggs to the waterside’ was noted. At that time roads were maintained by the individual Townships who collected a rate from the wealthier inhabitants under statutory legislation.

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Liverpool Theatres

playhouseLiverpool Playhouse Theatre

The Liverpool Playhouse is a theatre in Williamson Square in the city of Liverpool and is the oldest repertory theatre in England and is the Liverpool home of classic drama, from ancient to modern, presented with the highest production values. Following completion of its refurbishment in 2000, the Playhouse now has a new box office, bars and bistro as well as a glazed extension to enhance its facilities.

Although parts of the Grade II listed building date back to 1844, the main theatre was built in 1866 when it was the Star Music Hall. It was the home to Liverpool Repertory Theatre Company, which was established in 1911, and disbanded in 1999. During the Second World War it was home to the Old Vic who decamped, perhaps unwisely, to what was to be Britain’s second most bombarded city. The theatre was briefly closed in the late nineties, but has now reopened and has become the venue for numerous acclaimed new productions of old plays, in contrast to its sister theatre, the Everyman Theatre, which has focused on new works.

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