In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Liverpool like this:
Liverpool, parl. and mun. bor., city, seaport, and par., SW. Lancashire, on estuary of river Mersey, 31 m. W. of Manchester and 201 m. NW. of London by rail - par., 1715 ac. land and 755 water, pop. 210,164; mun. bor., 5210 ac., pop. 552,508; parl. bor., pop. 601,050. Markets, daily. Lyrpoole and Litherpoole were ancient names ef this celebrated seaport, these designations being supposed to be derived from the Celtic Llerpwll, the "place on the pool." It is very doubtful whether the town existed at the time of the Conquest. ...
Camden (1551-1623) refers to it as being more famous for its beauty and populousness than for its antiquity. In 1172 the military operations in Ireland gave it great importance as a convenient point of embarkation for troops. With this exception the early history of Liverpool contains little that is interesting or important. The first charter was granted in 1173 by Henry II.; in 1207 the charter was confirmed by King John, and 20 years later the town was constituted a free borough by Henry III. During the reign of Elizabeth a quay and breakwater were erected, the latter being intended to act as a winter protection for shipping. In 1561 the merchants of the port had only 12 ships. The ship-money levied by Charles I. amounted to £25. At the time of the Civil War Liverpool was held by the Parliamentarians, and in 1644 was besieged and taken by Prince Rupert; but in a brief time it again fell into the hands of the Parliament. It is modern enterprise, however, that has literally created and expanded the historical distinction of the city. From the latter part of the 18th century its progress in mercantile and maritime affairs is without a parallel, and justly entitles it to its position in the first rank of British seaports. Commercial intercourse is maintained with every part of the world. Several lines of splendid steamships keep up regular communication with New York; others with Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Halifax, the Canadian ports, and the East and West Indies. (For shipping statistics, see Appendix.) Extending along both shores of the Mersey are immense lines of docks, which form the principal feature of the city. On the Liverpool shore they cover fully 6 miles, and on the Cheshire shore, at Birkenhead, 2 miles; the water area of the docks on the Liverpool side being 333½ ac., with nearly 23 miles of quay space; on the Cheshire side the water area is 164½ ac., with 9½ miles of quay space; total water area 498 ac., quay space 30½ miles. There are also 22 graving docks, and in connection with the docks generally there is a double line of railway over 5 miles in length N. to S. The famous landing stage of Liverpool is an immense structure, 2063 ft. long and 80 ft. broad, supported by floating pontoons, which rise and fall with the tide. Large vessels may proceed up the Mersey as far as the mouth of the Irwell, 35 miles above Liverpool; 5 great lines of railway now enter the city; but by the completion of the Mersey Tunnel, a formidable undertaking, begun in 1872, these facilities have been very materially increased. Inland water communication is kept up with Yorkshire and all parts of Lancashire, chiefly by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The city is justly celebrated for its fine buildings. The Town Hall (1754) is the oldest and the most interesting; but the finest building, from an architectural point of view, is St George's Hall (1854), a superb edifice, which cost £250,000. The Exchange and the Free Library and Museum are likewise worthy of notice. Of the public parks the largest is Sefton Park (400 ac.), the others being Princess Park, Wavertree Park, Newsham Park, Sheil Park, and Stanley Park. There are 11 cemeteries. At the head of the educational institutions stands University College (affiliated to the Victoria University), opened by Lord Derby in 1882; and among middle-class schools are the Royal Institution School, Collegiate Institution, and Liverpool Institute High School. Cotton is the staple of the imports of Liverpool, which otherwise include goods from all parts of the world. Recently an enormous trade has arisen through the importation of provisions, including live stock, from America and the colonies. The port, too, is the principal place in the kingdom for the departure of emigrants. Mfrs. are not extensive. Shipbuilding has fallen off greatly owing to the competition at the Clyde and in the north of England. The mfrs. of engines for marine navigation, however, have a worldwide renown. Sugar refining, iron and brass founding, ropemaking, brewing, chemical works, iron chain cable and anchor making, and the distilling of tar and turpentine, form other leading industries. A large source of trade exists in the produce of neighbouring collieries. Liverpool was created a diocese in 1880, at which time it was transformed into a city by royal charter. Liverpool returns 9 members to Parliament (9 divisions - viz., Kirkdale, Walton, Everton, West Derby, Scotland, Exchange, Abercromby, East Toxteth, and West Toxteth, 1 member for each division); its representation was I increased from 3 to 9 members in 1885, when its i parliamentary limits were extended so as to include the ' remainder of Toxteth Park par., additional parts of Walton on the Hill and West Derby pars., and part of Wavertree township, Childwall par.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Liverpool has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Liverpool. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Liverpool and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Liverpool in Lancashire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 30th June 2015
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