So I know you’re thinking.
Who do you think you are?
Wrong question my man!
I’m not afraid to write an article. With an interesting twist!
I like the attention.
But seriously, when I wrote to you a few weeks ago, I told you that I was going to visit Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire! At no point did I say Liverpool!
But that’s the beauty of travel and the nature of the beast, you sometimes change direction!
Now when travelling with family, I keep those impulses down to a minimum, in order to give them a good time, rather than my travel madness spurts, but I have been known to “just” take a ferry to Finland ‘cos it’s two (2) hours away.
I’ve also taken a bus from Berlin – London – Berlin ‘cos I was home-sick, taken a 26 hour bus from Estonia to Berlin as a challenge, decided it was hell, and then did a far worst thing by taking a bus from Berlin to Sweden. And back again!
I’ve thought about taking a ferry to Ireland ‘cos we were in Wales, and the ferry port was on the island of Anglesey where we happened to be spending a very nice three (3) days on the sea coast! Our B&B (bed and breakfast happened to be in Holyhead, and not far away was a ferry linking Wales to Ireland and sailing for Dublin and Dún Laoghaire!
I’ve also gate-crashed an Embassy party in Hong Kong ‘cos I saw the event in a society magazine and thought it might be fun!
Perhaps, I’ll write about it one of these days!
And why did I do this?
But I digress, back to Liverpool.
Liverpool doesn’t really need an introduction, so before I tell you what happened, let’s get the low-down on Liverpool for those not in the know!
Liverpool is a city in North West England.
It has a population of about 478,580 people and is located on the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary, within the ancient hundred of West Derby, in the south-west of the county of Lancashire!
It became known as Liverpool as far back as 1207, but really came into prominence during the Industrial Revolution. During this time, the port of Liverpool was heavily involved in cargo, freight, raw materials such as coal and cotton, and the dreadful Atlantic slave trade.
In the 19th century, Liverpool was also a major port of departure for Irish and English emigrants to the United States and was home to both the Cunard and White Star Line, and was the port of registry of the ill-fated ocean liner RMS Titanic.
In modern times, Liverpool is known as the birth-place of The Beatles and is also the home of the annual Grand National horse race at Aintree, and two English Premier League football clubs – Liverpool and Everton. Indeed, Liverpool FC is the only British football club to win five European Cups!
Several parts of the city centre are now World Heritage Sites and Liverpool’s status as a port city has attracted a diverse population and is home to the oldest African community in the UK and the oldest Chinese community in Europe!
As I told you a few weeks ago, Britain has a lot of endearing names for locals who originate from a certain part of the country. So for example, I’m from Manchester, so I’m a Manc or a Mancunian. People from Newcastle upon Tyne, are called Geordies, people from the East End of London are called Cockneys, people from Blackpool are either called Blackpudlians or Seasiders, and the locals from Liverpool are called Scousers!
Just above is a British sketch called The Scousers. For the Brits among you, I’m guessing some of you might remember one of the BBC’s comedy shows of the 90’s – Harry Enfield and Chums, otherwise known as Harry Enfield’s Television Programme, based on the Channel 4 soap opera – Brookside – featuring a set of stereotyped Liverpudlian characters!
To call a local from Liverpool a Scouser is not rude. It’s a name of affection and means Scouse – a type of lamb or beef stew. It originally came from the word Lobscouse – a stew popular in seaports and commonly eaten by sailors throughout Northern Europe!
Scouse is also considered to represent a distinctive Northern English, local working class, Liverpool accent, thus Scouser!
Well, I’ve been to Liverpool only three times in my life.
Once as a child, on a river “cruise” to Sheffield with my mother, once just a few weeks ago, and once when I got robbed after I graduated from university!
You got robbed?
I was a fresh graduate and a girl-friend of mine decided to visit a friend in Liverpool.
She didn’t want to go alone, so she asked me to go with her.
Liverpool isn’t known as being a “nice” county. In fact, some parts of the city can be considered quite “rough!”
We drove in from Cheshire.
And then we got lost.
We drove around and around, and in those days nobody had a mobile phone so we couldn’t just call this girlfriend.
We decided to stop on the High Street and ask for directions.
We saw a nice shop.
We parked the car on the kerb.
Jumped onto the pavement.
Walked towards the shop.
And then heard a smash!
Two local boys reached into the car, took my girlfriends briefcase and our shopping bags.
And an apple.
And rode off on their bicycles!
We were so shocked.
We hadn’t even reached the nice shop.
Everybody came out.
They called the police.
They couldn’t really help.
We called the girlfriend and told her that we weren’t going to visit her after all.
We left Liverpool.
And I never went back.
As part of our Northern England trip, we stayed in Cheshire with the family and I was saying that I wanted to visit the canals in Manchester. My sister-in-law mentioned the docks.
She said that they were rather nice.
In fact, they were cleaned up and were now heritage sites.
We ought to go.
And so we did.
We went to the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, otherwise known as the docks!
It’s a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site and comprises six locations in the city centre and many famous landmarks!
Located at the tidal mouth of the river Mersey where it meets the Irish Sea, the maritime mercantile City of Liverpool played an important role in the growth of the British Empire reflecting Liverpool as the supreme example of a commercial port at the time of Britain’s greatest global influence!
Liverpool grew into a major commercial port in the 18th century, crucial for the organisation of the disgraceful trans-Atlantic slave trade.
In the 19th century, Liverpool became a world mercantile centre for general cargo and mass European emigration to the New World and had major significance on world trade as one of the principal ports of the British Commonwealth, and was instrumental in the development of industrial canals in the British Isles in the 18th century, and railway transport in the 19th century.
The six core areas that make up the historic world heritage site are:
It now houses the Museum of Liverpool and a memorial built to honour the engineers who remained at their post as the RMS Titanic sank.
2. The Albert Dock: This dock is a complex of buildings and warehouses opened in 1846, and were the first warehouses in the world to be entirely fireproof!
It’s now home to the Tate Liverpool, the Merseyside Maritime Museum and The Beatles Story and is the largest single collection of Grade I listed buildings anywhere in the UK!
As you can imagine, we spent an awful long time in this part of the Maritime Mercantile City!
In fact, two of the Clarence Graving Docks are the oldest docks still in use today, and date back to 1830! Not only that, but the of the buildings – the Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse – is the largest brick warehouse in the world!
4. The Commercial Quarter: This part of Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, includes Castle Street, Old Hall Street, Victoria Street, Water Street and Dale Street. It is also considered to be enormously historical as parts of this are medieval and many buildings have grandeur architecture and fantastic monuments, spanning over 300 years!
5. Duke Street / Ropewalks: This area consists of the Duke Street conservation area, as well as two warehouses.
One of the buildings – Bluecoat Chambers – used to be a charity boarding school, was built in 1716, and is the oldest surviving building in Liverpool! It’s now known as the Bluecoat and is a centre for contemporary arts and considered to be the oldest art centre in Britain!
The Old Dock was the first enclosed wet dock in the world, which encouraged a lively community of sea captains, merchants, traders and artisans to live there. Today the area is known as Ropewalks, a reference to the large number of roperies present in the area when Liverpool was one of the busiest ports in the world during the 18th and 19th centuries!
6. The Cultural Quarter /William Brown Street: This quarter is the central point for many of Liverpool’s civic buildings, otherwise known as the Cultural Quarter.
The Cultural Quarter includes monumental cultural and civic buildings such as St George’s Hall, Lime Street Station, the Walker Art Gallery, the World Museum Liverpool, the former Great North Western Hotel and the entrance the Queensway Tunnel.
You know how much I like history, art, architecture, and riverside cities.
We had a great time.
And I was pretty impressed.
I might even visit again!
This article isn’t sponsored, and absolutely all opinions, and the robbery and docklands experience are my very own!
I have so much to share with you.
In the Autumn, I’ll be visiting the UK and travelling around the areas of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Derbyshire, Blackpool, Lancashire, and Yorkshire!
November is going to be splendid!
Watch this space!
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Thanks a million!
See you in Berlin.
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