1902 Encyclopedia > Liverpool, England

Liverpool, England




LIVERPOOL, a city and seaport of England, in the hundred of West Derby, in the county palatine of Lancaster, situated on the right bank of the estuary of the Mersey, about three miles from the open sea. The form of the city is that of an irregular semicircle, having the base line formed by the docks and quays extending about six miles along the east bank of the estuary, which here runs nearly north and south, and is about a mile in breadth. On the north the city is bounded by the borough of Bootle, along which the line of docks is continued. The area of the city is 5210 acres.

General Aspect and Features.—The subsoil of Liverpool is the Bunter stratification of the New Red Sandstone, overlying the Coal-measures, which rise up some distance to the eastward. In the lower districts there is a deposit of boulder clay, which has been extensively used for the manufacture of bricks. The sandstone rises in long ridges to the eastward, in the highest points about 250 feet above the sea-level. The city therefore lies on a continuous

Port of Liverpool.

slope varying in gradient, but in some districts very steep. Exposed to the western sea breezes, with a dry subsoil and excellent natural drainage, the site is naturally salubrious, but neglect and perverseness have in past times done much to neutralize these advantages. The old borough, lying between the pool and the river, was a conglomeration of narrow alleys and mean houses packed together without any regard to sanitary provisions; and during the 16th and 17th centuries it was several times visited by the plague, which carried off many of the inhabitants. When the town burst its original limits, and expanded up the slopes beyond, a better state of things began to exist. The older parts of the town have at successive periods been entirely taken down and renovated. The streets of shops—Church Street, Bold Street, &c.—are equal in display to similar establishments in London. The com-mercial part of the city is remarkable for the number of palatial-looking piles of offices, built of hewn stone, principally in the Italian Renaissance style, amongst which the banks and insurance offices stand pre-eminent. The demand for cottages about the beginning of the present century led to the construction of what are called "courts," being narrow ads de sac, close packed, with no thorough ventilation. This, combined with the degraded habits of a population brought together indiscriminately, resulted in a very high rate of mortality, to contend with which enormous sums have been expended in sanitary reforms of various kinds. The more modern cottages, erected on the higher grounds, are all that can be desired for that class of habitation.

Parks.—The public parks of Liverpool now form a prominent feature in the aspect of the town. The earliest, the Prince's Park, was laid out in 1843 by private enter-prise. Sefton Park, the most extensive, containing about 400 acres, was commenced in 1865, and completed at a cost of £410,000. A large portion of the land round the margin has been leased for the erection of villas. Waver-tree, Newsham, Sheil, and Stanley Parks have also been constructed at the public expense. Connected with Waver-tree Park are the botanic gardens, with the usual plant houses, and a large and lofty palm house. The suburbs are rapidly extending, and those on the south contain many good private residences. A boulevard, about a mile in length, planted with trees in the centre, leads to the entrance to Prince's Park.

Public Buildings.—The old town has been so completely renovated during the present century that scarcely any of the public buildings date from an earlier period.

The earliest, and in many respects the most interesting, is the town-hall in Castle Street. This was erected from the designs of John Wood, the architect of the squares and crescents of Bath, and was opened in 1754. The building has since undergone considerable alterations and extensions, but the main features remain unchanged. It is a classical rectangular stone building in the Corinthian style, with an advanced portico in front, and crowned with a lofty dome surmounted by a seated statue of Minerva. The interior was destroyed by fire in 1795, and was entirely remodelled in the restoration. It now contains a splendid suite of apartments, including a ball-room about 100 feet by 60, approached by a noble staircase. The building is occupied by the mayor as the municipal mansion house. A range of municipal offices was erected in Dale Street in 1860. The building is in the Palladian style, of considerable extent and imposing design, with a dominating tower and square pyramidal spire.

The crowning architectural feature of Liverpool is St George's Hall, completed in 1854. The original intention was to erect a music hall suited for the triennial festivals which had been periodically held in the town. About the same time the corporation proposed to erect law courts for the assizes, which had been transferred to Liverpool and Manchester. In the competitive designs, the first prize was gained in both cases by Harvey Lonsdale Elmes. He was employed to combine the two objects in a new design, of which the present building is the outcome.

The structure is one of which the city may well feel proud, and notwithstanding some defects it will always hold a high and honourable place amongst the erections of modern times. It is fortunate in its situation, occupying the most central position in the town, and surrounded by an area sufficiently extensive to exhibit its proportions to the best advantage. Another advantage it possesses is that of size ; there are few buildings in the country, forming a solid mass under one roof, which surpass it in dimension. The plan is simple in arrangement, and easily described. The centre is occupied by the great hall, 169 feet in length, and, with the galleries, 87 feet wide and 74 feet high, covered with a solid vault in masonry. Attached to each end, and opening therefrom, are the law courts. A corridor runs round the ball and the courts, com-municating with the various accessory rooms. Externally the east front is faced with a fine portico of sixteen Corinthian columns about 60 feet in height. An advanced portico of similar columns fronts the south end crowned with a pediment filled with sculpture, with the inscription—

" Artibus, Legibus, Consiliis Locum Municipia Constituerunt Anno Domini MDCCCXLI."

The style is Roman, but the refinement of the details is suggestive of the noblest period of Grecian art.

The great hall is finished with considerable richness in polished granite columns, marble balustrades and pavements, polished brass doors with rich foliated tracery, &c. The organ, built by Messrs Willis of London, from the specification of I)r Samuel Wesley, is equal to any in the country for extent, power, and beauty of tone. Mr Elmes, a young architect of great promise, having died during the progress of the work, the building was completed by the late Mr C. R. Cockerell, R.A.

Next to the public buildings belonging to the city, the most important is the exchange, forming three sides of a quadrangle, adjoining the town-hall on the north side. The town-hall was originally built to combine a mercantile exchange with municipal offices, but the merchants per-versely preferred to meet in the open street adjoining. This, with other circumstances, led to the erection of the new exchange, a building of considerable merit, which was commenced in 1803 and opened in 1808. It had scarcely been in use for more than fifty years when it was found that the wants of commerce had outstripped the accommo-dation, and the structure was taken down to make room for the present building, in which greater convenience has been attained, with considerable sacrifice of ajsthetic effect.

The revenue buildings, commenced in 1828, on the site of the original Liverpool Dock, combine the customs, inland revenue, post-office, and dock board departments. It is a huge heavy structure, with three advanced porticoes in the Ilyssus Ionic style. Near by stands the sailors' home, a . large building in the Semi-Gothic or Elizabethan style.

The Philharmonic Hall in Hope Street, with not much pretension externally, is one of the finest music rooms in the kingdom; it accommodates an audience of about 2500.
The group of buildings forming the free public library, museum, and gallery of art are finely situated on the brow oof the slope opposite St George's Hall. The library and gallery of art are separate buildings connected by the circular reading-room in the middle. The latter possesses some novelties in construction, having a circular floor 100 feet in diameter without columns or any intermediate support, and a lecture-room underneath, amphitheatrical in form, with grades or benches hewn out of the solid rock.

Railways.—There are three passenger stations in Liver-pool, the London and North-Western, the Lancashire and Yorkshire, and the combined station of the Midland, Great Northern, and Manchester and Sheffield. The rapid increase of traffic has led to large extensions of the North-Western, and a very large addition to the Lancashire and Yorkshire is in progress (1882). The tunnel under the Mersey now in course of construction will give access for the Great Western and Cumbrian systems into Liverpool.

Water and Gas Supply.—The original supply of water was from wells in the sandstone rock, but in 1846 an Act was passed, under which extensive works were constructed at liivington, about 25 miles distant, by which a much larger supply was obtained. The vast increase of popula-tion led to further requirements, and in 1880 another Act gave power to impound the waters of the Vyrnwy, one of the affluents of the Severn. This scheme which, it is expected, will give a copious supply for many years to come, is now being carried out. The gas-works are the property of a company. Efforts have been made to effect a purchase by the city, but hitherto without success.

Administration of Justice.-—The city has quarter sessions for criminal cases, presided over by the recorder, but the sessions are really held eight times in the year. The court of passage for civil cases is a very ancient institution, dating from the foundation of the borough by King John, originally intended for cases arising out of the imports and exports passing through. Its jurisdiction has been con-firmed and settled by parliament, and it is now competent, by consent, to try causes to any amount. The mayor is nominally the president, but the actual judge is an assessor appointed by the crown. There are two police courts which sit daily, one presided over by the lay magistracy, the other by the stipendiary magistrate.

Ecclesiastical.—The parish, which was separated from Walton-on-the-Hill in 1699, contained two churches, St Nicholas, the ancient chapel, and St Peter's, then built. There were two rectors, the living being held in medieties. Of recent years changes have been sanctioned by parlia-ment. The living is now held by a single incumbent, and a large number of the churches which have since been built have been formed into parishes by the ecclesiastical commissioners. St Peter's has been constituted the pro-cathedral, pending the erection of a more suitable building. Besides the two original parish churches, there are sixty-seven others belonging to the establishment.

The Roman Catholics form a very numerous and powerful body in the city, and it is estimated that from a third to a fourth of the entire population are Catholics. A large part of these are Irish settlers or their descendants, but this district of Lancashire has always been a stronghold of Catholicism, many of the landed gentry belonging to old Catholic families.

Charities.—These are numerous, and are maintained with no niggardly hand. The earliest foundation is the Blue Coat hospital, established in 1708, for orphans and fatherless children born within the borough. The building, erected in 1717, is a quaint and characteristic specimen of the architecture of the period. It now maintains two hundred and fifty boys and one hundred girls. There is an orphan asylum, established in 1840, for boys, girls, and infants, and a seamen's orphan asylum, commenced in 1858, for boys and girls. The Roman Catholics have similar establishments. The medical charities are large and flourishing. The royal infirmary has had a school of medicine attached, which has been very successful, and is now merged in the new University College. The medical charities are aided by simultaneous collections in the churches and chapels on " Hospital Sunday," the first Sunday in the year, the amount averaging about £10,000.





Literature, Art, and Science.-—-The free library, museum, and gallery of arts, established and managed by the city council, was originated in 1850. The library building was erected by Sir William Brown at a cost of £40,000. The Derby museum, containing the collections of Edward, the thirteenth earl, were presented by his son. The Mayer museum of historical antiquities and art was contributed by Mr Joseph Mayer, F.S. A. Sir Andrew Walker erected the art gallery which bears his name at an expense of £35,000. The Picton circular reading-room, and the Rotunda lecture-room were built by the corporation at the cost of £25,000. The library contains nearly 100,000 volumes. An annual exhibition of paintings has been established, the sales from which average about £12,000 per annum. A permanent gallery has also been formed, which is now being enlarged at a cost of about £12,000.

The literary and philosophical society was established in 1812, and still flourishes. There are also philomathic, geological, chemical, historic, and various other societies for the cultivation of almost every branch of knowledge and inquiry. An art club has been established with great success, and possesses an excellent club-house and gallery. The royal institution, established by Roscoe in 1817, pos-sesses a fine gallery of early art, and is the centre of the various literary institutions of the town.

Education.—Elementary education has always met with cordial support in Liverpool, and is now carried on with vigour by the school board, supplemented by voluntary schools. For middle class and higher education there have existed for many years three institutions, which have been very successful, viz., the school attached to the royal institution, the collegiate institution in Shaw Street, and the Liverpool institute high school. A further effort has been successfully made resulting in the foundation of University College, the inaugural meeting of which was held on January 14, 1882. This college is affiliated to the Victoria university of the north-west of England. The sum of £135,000 has been raised by voluntary subscrip-tion, to which £30,000 have been contributed by the corporation. Seven chairs have been endowed, and pro-fessors appointed, and a suitable building has been pro-vided.

Recreation and Social Life.—There are eight theatres, besides many minor music halls and places of amusement. The most fashionable and exclusive is the Philharmonic Hall, which is a large handsome building open only to proprietors, where concerts take place every fortnight dur-ing the season. The Philharmonic concerts, and the balls at the Wellington Rooms (the Almacks of Liverpool), afford the principal opportunities for the gatherings of the fashionable world. The Alexandra theatre, the new Court theatre, the Prince of Wales theatre, and Hengler's cirque are all that could be desired in point of decoration and the mise en scene. The minor houses are conducted on the whole with great propriety and success.

1811 94,376
1821 135,000
1831 205,572
1871 488,845
1881 552,425

Population.—According to the censusof 1881 (preliminary report) the number of inhabitants within the parliamen-tary and the municipal borough—the limits of which are conterminous—amounted to 552,425 persons, 271,640 being males and 280,785 females. At the end of the 17th century the population of Liverpool was 5145, but since then it has steadily increased as follows:—

1710 8,163
1720 10,446
1753 22,000
1769 34,000
1785 41,000
1801 77,653

If the boroughs of Bootle and Birkenhead, which are component parts of the port, are included, Liverpool has now a population of about three quarters of a million.

Trade and Commerce.—The progress of the commerce of Liver-pool during the present century is almost without a parallel. In 1800 the tonnage of ships entering the port was 450,060 ; in 1880 it reached 7,933,620 tons. In 1800 4746 vessels entered, averaging 94 tons ; in 1880 there were 20,249, averaging 440 tons. The only British port which can at all come into competition with Liverpool is London, the total trade of which, comprising exports and imports, amounted in 1880 to 16,479,108 tons, against 14,496,364 in Liverpool. A large proportion of this, however, is a coasting trade, indicated by the smaller size of the ships, averaging 240 tons each in London as compared with 440 tons in Liverpool. The coasting trade in Liverpool has rather fallen off owing to the superior advantages of railway traffic. The proportion of steamers to sailing ships has very largely increased of late years. The return for 1881 gives 5,534,462 tons of steam navigation to 2,379,466 tons in sailing ships. If we take the value of the imports as a criterion, London is far in advance of Liverpool, the values in 1880 being £141,442,907 and £107,460,187, but the London imports consist, to a great extent, of very valuable commodities, such as tea, silk, indigo, wines, &c, whilst the Liverpool imports principally consist of grain, food, and raw produce, the materials for manufacture. If we look at the exports the balance is reversed, Liverpool, in 1880, having exported the value of £84,029,651, against £52,600,929 from London. In the number of ships regis-tered as belonging to the port, Liverpool stands first in the world, the tonnage belonging to Liverpool being 1,554,871, against 1,120,359 in London, and 1,005,894 in the whole of the ports on the Clyde.

The commerce of Liverpool extends to every part of the world, but probably the intercourse with America stands pre-eminent, there being five lines of steamers to New York alone, besides lines to Philadelphia, Boston, Halifax, Canada, New Orleans, &c. The size of the ships lias greatly increased, having reached 8000 tons burden, with 10,000 horse-power.

The imports into Liverpool comprise produce of every description from every region under the sun. Cotton, however, is the great staple, almost the whole trade of the commodity centring here. Grain comes next, American and Australian corn occupying a large proportion of the market. Within the last few years an enormous trade in American provisions, including live cattle, has sprung up. Tobacco has always been a leading article of import into Liverpool, along with the sugar and rum from the West Indies. Timber, principally from Canada, forms an important part of the imports, the stacking yards extending for miles along the northern docks. At one time tea from China, and wool from Australia, promised to be imported with advantage, but the financial arrangements with London have drawn these trades almost entirely away. In regard to exports, Liverpool possesses decided advantages ; lying so neat the great manufacturing districts of Lancashire and the West Hiding of Yorkshire, this port is the natural channel of transmis-sion for their goods, and, if everything else fails, there are alwaya coal and salt from Wales and Cheshire ready to make up a cargo. The consequence is that many ships, after discharging their home' ward cargoes at London and the eastern ports, come round in ballast to Liverpool for an outward cargo.

Manufactures. —The manufactures of Liverpool are not extensive. Attempts have been repeatedly made to establish cotton-mills in and near the city, but have resulted in uniform failure. Engineer-! ing works, especially as connected with marine navigation, have I naturally grown up, and have been carried on successfully on a large scale. Shipbuilding, in the days of the old wooden walls, in ! the early part of the present century, was active and prosperous, several frigates and sloops-of-war for Government having been built here, but the keen competition of the Clyde and the north of England drew away a large portion of the trade. There are now four shipbuilding establishments on the Mersey. In the yeal 1880-81 there were launched from these yards thirty-three iron ships, with a tonnage of 53,971 tons. At one period the soap manufacture filled a large space in the industry of Liverpool, but it has almost entirely departed. During the latter half of last cen-tury and the beginning of the present, the pottery and china manu-facture flourished in Liverpool. John Sadler, a Liverpool manu-facturer, was the inventor of printing on pottery, and during the early period of Josiah Wedgwood's career, all his goods which required printing had to be sent to Liverpool. A large establish-ment, called the Herculaneum Pottery, was founded in a suburb on the bank of the Mersey, and was carried on with success for many years, but the whole trade has long disappeared. One manufacture, established at an early period, still continues to flourish—the watch and chronometer trade. Litherland, the inventor of the lever watch, was a Liverpool manufacturer, and Liverpool-made watches have always been held in high estimation. There are several extensive sugar refineries, and two large tobacco manufactories.

Docks.—The docks of Liverpool on both sides of the Mersey are under the same trust and management, and equally form part of the port of Liverpool. On the Liverpool side they extend along the margin of the estuary 64. miles, of which 1J miles is in the borough of Bootle. The Birkenhead docks have not such a front-age, but they extend a long way backward. The water area of the Liverpool docks and basins is 333J acres, with a lineal quayage of 22 miles. The Birkenhead docks, including the great float of 120 acres, contain a water area of 160 acres, with a lineal quayage of 9 miles. The system of floating docks was commenced by the corpor-ation in 1709. With the advancing demands of commerce the docks were extended north and south. They constituted from the first a public trust, the corporation never having derived any revenue from them, though the common council of the borough were the trustees, and in the first instance formed the committee of manage-ment. Gradually the dock ratepayers acquired influence, and were introduced into the governing body, and ultimately, by the Act of 1856, the corporation was entirely superseded. Under the present constitution, the management is vested in the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, consisting of twenty-eight members, two of whom are nominated by the Board of Trade and the rest elected by the dock ratepayers, of whom a register is kept and annually revised. The affairs of the board are of considerable magnitude. The revenue is derived from tonnage rates on ships, dock rates on goods, town dues on goods, with various minor sources of income. These amounted in the year ending July 1, 1881, to £1,226,497. The amount of debt outstanding is £16,284,881, for which a rate of interest averaging 4J per cent, is paid.

Down to 1843 the docks were confined to the Liverpool side of the Mersey. Several attempts made to establish docks in Cheshire had been frustrated by the Liverpool corporation, who bought up the land and kept it in their own hands. In 1843 a scheme was privately concocted for the construction of docks at Birkenhead. Plans were prepared by Mr Rendel, C. E., the money subscribed, and arrangements made with the Admiralty,—the corporation being kept in ignorance of the proceedings. Application was then made by private individuals to purchase 200,000 square yards of land on the margin of an inlet called Wallasey Pool. The common council, which bad been reformed in 1836, innocently fell into the snare, and in the ensuing session of parliament a rival scheme of docks for Birkenhead was brought out and passed. The great expectations which were entertained of their successful competition with Liver-pool have been signally falsified. After a twelve years' struggle and litigation, the Birkenhead dock affairs had fallen into a hopeless state of insolvency, without any prospect of recovery, and in 1855 the docks were transferred to the corporation of Liverpool on pay-ment to the bondholders of 13s. in the pound on their claims. Under the Act of 1856, settling the future constitution of the dock board, the Birkenhead docks were transferred to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board. The result on the whole has been disastrous. The amount expended on the Birkenhead docks down to 1881 ha.s been nearly 6 millions. The returns for this immense outlay do little more than defray the working expenses, the difference having to be made up from the revenue on the Liverpool side,—so that, in consequence of this unfortunate rivalry, the shipping frequenting the port is taxed to the amount of £270,000 per annum, which otherwise might have been remitted. The Birkenhead great float, of 120 acres, though it contributes little to the revenue, is valuable as a depot for ships lying up, so as not to interfere with the working docks. In addition to the floating docks, there are in Liverpool eighteen graving docks and three in Birkenhead, and two gridirons on the Liverpool side.

The great landing stage of Liverpool is unique in its dimensions and utility. It was originally constructed in 1857, from the plans of Mr J. Cubitt, and greatly enlarged and extended in 1874, mak-ing the entire cost £373,000. The grand fabric had just been com-pleted, and was waiting to be inaugurated by the duke of Edin-burgh, when on the 28th July 1874 it accidentally caught fire, and, the timber being impregnated with kreosote, the flames spread with unexampled rapidity, and in a few hours the whole was destroyed. It was again constructed with improvements. Its length is 2063 feet, or about f ths of a mile, and its breadth 80 feet. It is supported on floating pontoons rising and falling with the tide, connected with the quay by seven bridges, besides a floating bridge for heavy traffic 550 feet in length. The southern half is devoted to the traffic of the Mersey ferries, of which there are eight—New Brighton, Egremont, Seacombe, Birkenhead, Tranmere, Rock Ferry, New Ferry, and Eastham. The northern half is used for sea-going steamers, and for the tenders of the great '' liners." The ware-bouses for storing produce form a very prominent feature in the commercial part of the city. Down to 1841 these were entirely in private hands, distributed as chance might direct, but in that year a determined effort was made to construct docks with warehouses around on the margin of the quays. This met with considerable opposition from those interested, and led to a municipal revolution, but the project was ultimately carried out in the construction of the Albert dock and warehouses, which were opened by Prince Albert in 1845. Other docks since constructed have been similarly surrounded. The Albert warehouses form an immense pile stand-ing between the dock and the river, imposing from their huge dimensions, but otherwise the very incarnation of bald ugliness.

Grain warehouses on a large scale have been constructed by the dock board both at Liverpool and Birkenhead. The machinery for elevating, distributing, drying, and discharging is of the most com-plete and thorough construction. The rental received from the warehouses in the year 1880-81 was £240,394.

History.—There are no archaeological difficulties attending the origin of the town, wdiich is clearly defined by documentary evidence. The part of the country in which Liverpool is situated was not very distinguished in the earlier periods of English history. No Roman remains have been discovered within a considerable distance. Under the Saxons the site formed part of the kingdom or province of Deira, the river Mersey (Mcere-sea) forming the boundary between that kingdom and Mercia. During the Danish irruptions of the 8th century colonies of Norsemen made settlements on both sides of the Mersey, as is indicated by the names of the villages and town-ships in the districts. After the Conquest, the site of Liverpool formed part of the fief (inter Ripam et Mersham) granted by the Conqueror to Roger de Poitou, one of the great family of Mont-gomery. After various forfeitures and regrants from the crown, it was ultimately handed over by Henry II. to Warine, the keeper of the castle and prison of Lancaster. In a deed executed by King John, then earl of Mortaigne, about 1190, confirming the grant of this with other manors to Henry Fitzwarine, son of the former grantee, the name of Liverpul first occurs.





The name is spelt in a variety of ways, and much ingenuity has been exercised in the endeavour to explain its etymology. Prob-ably the most plausible is the derivation from Cymric Llyvr-pwl, "the expanse of the pool," or "the pool at the confluence," which exactly expresses the peculiarity of the original site. It is, however, open to the objection that the Welsh language had died out in the locality long before Liverpool was founded.

The immediate origin of Liverpool was owing to the following circumstances. After the partial conquest of Ireland by Strongbow, earl of Pembroke, under Henry II., the principal ports of com-munication were Bristol for the south and Chester for the north. The gradual silting up of the river Dee soon so obstructed the navigation as to render Chester a very unsuitable place of embarka-tion. A quay was then constructed, at Shotwick, about 8 miles below Chester, with a castle to protect it from the incursions of the neighbouring Welsh; but a better site was sought and soon found. Into the tidal waters of the Mersey, a small stream, fed by a peat moss on the elevated land to the eastward, ran in an oblique direction from north-east to south-west, forming at its mouth an open pool or sea lake, of which many existed on both sides of the river. The triangular piece of land thus separated formed a pro-montory of red sandstone rock, rising in the centre about 50 feet above the sea-level, sloping on three sides to the water. The pool was admirably adapted as a harbour for the vessels of that period, being well protected, and the tide rising from 15 to 21 feet. King John repurchased the manor from Henry Fitzwarine, giving him another in exchange, and here he erected a castle on the usual Plantagenet plan of round bastions connected by curtain walls, with an inner ballium and buildings. He also founded a town by the erection of burgage tenements, one hundred and sixty-eight in number, and in 1207 he issued the following letter patent or charter:—

Carta Regis Johannis.

"Rex omnibus qui burgagia apud villam de Liverpul habere voluerint, &c. Sciatis quod concessimus omnibus qui burgagia apud Liverpul cepint quod habeant omnes libertates et liberas consuetudines in villa de Liverpul quas aliquis liber burgemotus super mare habet in terra nostra. Et nos vobis mandamus quod secure et in pace nostra illuc veniatis ad burgagia nostra recipienda et hospitanda. Et in hujus rei testimonium has litteras nostras patentes vobis trans-mittimus. Testo Simon de Pateshill apud Winton xxviij die Aug. anno regni nostri nono."

Charter of King John.

"The king to all who may be willing to have burgages at the town of Liverpul, &c. Know ye that we have granted to ail who shall take burgages at Liverpul that they shall have all liberties and free customs in the town of Liverpul which any free borough on the sea hath in our land. And we command you that securely and in our peace you may come there to receive and inhabit our burgages. And in testimony hereof we transmit to you these our letters patent. Witness. Simon de Pateshill, at Winchester, the 28th day of August, in the ninth year of our reign."

From the Patent Rolls and the sheriff's accounts we learn that considerable use was made of Liverpool in the reign of John for shipping stores and reinforcements to Ireland and Wales. In 1215 the town was garrisoned for the king during the rising which took place after the granting of the Great Charter.

In 1229 a charter of incorporation was granted by Henry III., authorizing the formation of a merchants' guild, with a hanse and other liberties and free customs, with sac and soc, toll and thean, &c, and freedom from toll in all the other seaports. Charters were subsequently granted by successive monarchs down to the reign of William and Mary, which last was the governing charter to the date of the Municipal Reform Act (1835). In 1880 when the new diocese of Liverpool was created, the borough was transformed into a city by royal charter.

The crown revenues from the burgage rents and the royal customs were leased in fee-farm from time to time, sometimes to the corporation, at others times to private persons. The first lease was from Henry III., in 1229, at £10 per annum. In the same year the borough with all its appurtenances was bestowed, with other lands, on Ranulf, earl of Chester. During the subsequent two centuries the fief was repeatedly forfeited and regranted, until it finally passed into the hands of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, and from the accession of his son Henry IV. it merged in the crown. In 1628 Charles I., in great straits for means which were refused by parliament, offered for sale about a thousand manors, among which Liverpool was included. The portion containing Liverpool was purchased by certain merchants of London, who, in 1632, reconveyed the crown rights, including the fee-farm rent of £14, 6s. 8d., to Sir Ed. Molyueux, recently created Lord Maryborough, for the sum of £450. In 1672 all these rights and interests were purchased by the corporation.

Apart from the national objects for which Liverpool was founded, its trade developed very slowly. From £10 per annum, in the beginning of the 13th century, the crown revenues had increased towards the end of the 14th century, to £38—in modern currency about £570 ; but then they underwent a decline. The Black Death, the fatal scourge of the 14th century, passed over Liverpool about 1360, and carried off a large part of the population. The Wars of the Roses, in the 15th century, unsettled the north-western districts, and repressed all progress for at least a century. The crown revenues diminished from £38 to less than half that sum, and were finally leased at £14, 6s. 8d., at which they continued until the sale by Charles I.

Liverpool sent no representatives to Simon de Montfort's parlia-ment in 1264, but to the first royal parliament, called in 1296, the borough sent two members, and again in 1306. The writs of summons were then suspended for two centuries and a half. Dur-ing the 14th and 15th centuries nearly the whole of the returns of the sheriffs of Lancaster were to the following effect :—"There is not any city or borough from which any citizens or burgesses are able or accustomed to come, according to the tenor of the writ, by reason of their debility and poverty." In 1547 Liverpool, with the rest of the Lancashire boroughs, resumed the privilege of returning members. In 1588 the borough was represented by Sir Francis Bacon, the immortal philosopher and statesman. During the civil war the town was fortified and garrisoned by the parlia-ment. It sustained three sieges, and in 1644 was escaladed and taken by Prince Rupert with considerable slaughter.

The true rise of the commerce of Liverpool dates from the Restoration. Down to that period its population had been either stationary or retrogressive, never exceeding about 1000 souls. Its trade was chiefly with Ireland, France, and Spain, exporting fish and wool to the Continent, and importing wines, iron, and other commodities. The rise of the manufacturing industry of South Lancashire, and the opening of the American and West Indian trade, gave the first impulse to the progress which has ever since continued. The importation of sugar led to the establishment of sugar refineries, which after the lapse of two centuries continue to form an important branch of local industry. By the end of the century the population had increased to 5000. The town burst the narrow limits within which it had hitherto been confined, and extended Itself across the pool stream. In 1699 the borough was constituted a parish district from Walton, to which it had previously apper-tained. In 1709, the small existing harbour being found insufficient to accommodate the shipping, several schemes were propounded for its enlargement, which resulted in the construction of a wet dock closed with flood-gates impounding the water, so as to keep the vessels floating during the recess of the tide. This dock in Liverpool was the first of the kind, and was the parent of all the magnificent structures which have attracted the admiration of the world. The name of the engineer, Thomas Steers, deserves recording, as the author of the practical application of a principle already known leading to a world-wide utility, of a similar class to the adaptation of the railway by George Stephenson at a subsequent period.

About this date the merchants of Liverpool entered upon a traffic which, however questionable in point of morality, became very profitable during the remainder of the century—the slave trade, into which they were led by their connexion with the West Indies. In 1709 a single barque of 30 tons burden made a venture from Liverpool and carried 15 slaves across the Atlantic. Little was done during the next twenty years, but in 1730, encouraged by parliament, Liverpool went heartily into the new trade. In 1751 53 ships sailed from Liverpool for Africa, of 5334 tons in the aggregate. From this time the trade set in with such a steady current that it soon became one of the most lucrative branches of the commerce of the port. The voyage was threefold. The ships sailed from Liverpool to the west coast of Africa, where they shipped the slaves, and thence to the West India Islands, where the slaves were sold and the proceeds brought home in cargoes of sugar and rum. In 1765 the number of Liverpool slavers had increased to 86, carrying 24,200 slaves. By the end of the century five-sixths of the African trade centred in Liverpool. Just before the abolition in 1807 the number of Liverpool ships engaged in the traffic was 185, carrying 43,755 slaves in the year.

Another branch of maritime enterprise which attracted the atten-tion of the merchants of Liverpool was privateering, which during the latter half of the 18th century was a favourite investment. After the outbreak of the Seven Years' War with France and Spain, in 1756, the commerce of Liverpool suffered severely, the French having overrun the narrow seas with swift well-armed privateers, and the premiums for insurance against sea risks having risen to an amount almost prohibitory. The Liverpool merchants took a lesson from the enemy, and armed and sent out their ships as privateers. Some of the early expeditions having proved very successful, almost the whole community rushed into privateering, with results of a very chequered character. When the War of Independence broke out in 1776 American privateers swarmed about the West India Islands, and crossing the Atlantic intercepted British commerce in the narrow seas. The Liverpool merchants again turned their attention to retaliation. Between August 1778 and April 1779 120 privateers were fitted out in Liverpool, carrying 1986 guns and 8754 men. The results, though in some cases very profitable, were exceedingly demoralizing.

During the whole of the 18th century the commerce of Liverpool kept steadily increasing in spite of external war and internal com-petition, and has so continued to the present time. The increase of the population supplies a fair index to the growth of its com-merce.

The Municipality.—Under the Municipal Reform Act of 1835, the boundaries of the original borough were extended by the annexa-tion of portions of the surrounding district. The city is divided into sixteen wards, returning three members each to the common council, with sixteen aldermen, making sixty-four in all. The wards were originally divided according to population, but the lapse of nearly half a century has so completely disturbed the pro-portions that, whilst some of the wards in the commercial localities have diminished in population, the Everton and Kirkdale ward, originally a rural suburb, now contains a population of 150,000, with a constituency of more than 20,000 electors. The electoral franchise, before the Reform Act restricted to the freemen, is still enjoyed by their successors, but their number is exceedingly small.

The arms of the city as set forth in the confirmation by the Heralds' College, in 1797, are described as follows :—"Argent, a Cormorant, in the beak a branch of seaweed called Laver, all proper, and for the crest, on a wreath of the colours, a Cormorant, the wings elevated ; in the beak a branch of Laver proper." The supporters, granted at the same time are—" The dexter Neptune with his sea-green mantle flowing, the waist wreathed with Laver, on his head an eastern crown or, in the right hand a trident sable, the left supporting a banner of the arms of Liverpool; on the sinister a Triton wreathed as the dexter and blowing his shell; all proper." The motto is " Deus nobis hfec otia fecit."

The corporation of Liverpool has possessed from a very early period considerable landed property, the first grant having been made by Thomas, earl of Lancaster, in 1309. This land was originally of value only as a turbary, but in modern times its capacity as building land has been a fruitful source of profit to the town, a large proportion of the southern district being held in free-hold by the corporation leased for terms of seventy-five years, renewable from time to time on a fixed scale of fines. The income from this source amounted in 1879 to £83,746. There was formerly another source of income now cut off. The fee farm rents and town dues originally belonging to the crown were purchased from the Molyneux family in 1672 on a long lease, and subsequently in 1777 converted into a perpetuity. With the growth of the commerce of the port these dues enormously increased, and became a cause of great complaint by the shipping interest. In 1856 a bill was introduced into parliament and passed, by which the town dues were transferred to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board on payment of £1,500,000, which was applied in part to the liquidation of the bonded debt of the corporation, amounting to £1,150,000. The town dues at that time produced £132,592 per annum, which has increased in 1881 to £260,698. The markets produce an income of about £12,000 clear of expenses.

The council form the sanitary authority of the city, in which capacity they expended in the year 1880-81 the sum of £255,738, derived from rates. In the same year there was expended for lighting and watching, £75,263 ; for parks and places of recreation, £49,178 ; for town improvements, £33,192. These amounts are partly defrayed out of the corporate funds ; the part for the con-stabulary is paid by Government, and the rest out of rates.

The mayor has an annual allowance of £2700, to sustain the dignity of his office and maintain the hospitality of the town-hall.

The city returns three members to parliament.

The see of Liverpool was created in 1880 under the Act of 1879. by the authority of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, an endowment fund of about £100,000 having been subscribed for the purpose.
v
See Leland's Itinerary; Camden's Britannia; E. Blome, Britannia; Daniel Defoe, Tour through Great Britain; W. Enfield, Hist. of Leverpool (sic), 1774; J. Aikin, M.D., Forty Mites round Manchester, 1798 ; T. Tioughton, Hist. of Liverpool, 1810; M. Grcgson, Fragments relating to Hist. of Lancashire, 1817-24 ; H. Smithers, Liverpool, its Commerce, &c, 1825 ; R. Syers, Hist. of Everton, 1830 ; Ed. Baines, Hist. of County Palatine of Lancashire, vol. iv., 1836 ; Thos. Balnes, Hist. of Commerce and Town of Liverpool, 1852; Rd. Brooke, Liverpool during
the last quarter of 18th Centum, 1853; J. A. Picton, Memorials of Liverpool, 2 vols., 2d ed., 1875. (J. A. P.)



The above article was written by Sir J. A. Picton, author of Memorials of Liverpool.



Search the Encyclopedia:



About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Sitemaps
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us



© 2005-17 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries