Liverpool in a Day Liverpool skyline at dawn

Liverpool in a Day

From a small fishing port, to a major European city. Liverpool has come a long way in it’s 807 years. Changing the world as we know it, and contributing to our planet’s culture in numerous and astounding ways.

But what would a quick recap look like? Here we’ve sped up Liverpool’s evolution Fat Boy Slim style, showing you what the city’s history would look if it all took place over one miraculously eventful day.

So take a whistle-stop tour of Liverpool’s incredible evolution. It won’t take long.

7:30 - As dawn breaks Liverpool is just a puddle. OK, maybe not a puddle but that’s what the name means. “Liurpool” means a pool or creek with muddy water. Nice. From these humble beginnings the ‘pool of life’ springs. Liverpool is officially founded by charter in 1207. There are markets and bustle but the city it, for the most part, a collection of wealthy estates and hunting grounds.

Liverpool 1860, Merseyside Maritime Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation`
Liverpool 1860, Merseyside Maritime Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

10:30 - As we get to mid-morning we’re ramping through the Iron Age, time of the Normans. Hoards of coins have been found in the North West from this period and you can see various artefacts from around the country at Liverpool’s World Museum.

At this stage, Liverpool is just seven streets with St Nicholas’ Church and Liverpool castle. Stand on Castle Street, alongside the Town Hall and you’re standing at one of the earliest points of the city.

The original seven streets of Liverpool
The original seven streets of Liverpool

11:30 - Speke Hall, close to Liverpool John Lennon Airport, is built before lunchtime. The population of the city is around 700. The first ferries are sailing across the River Mersey as trade begins to develop across the Irish Sea.

Speke Hall which features in the National Trust's new Top Trumps game c National Trust
Speke Hall which features in the National Trust’s new Top Trumps game c National TrustExterior

Prince Rupert of the Rhine lays siege to Liverpool castle and the city fights for 16 days. The Prince seeks refuge in Everton, which is why Everton’s club badge is sometimes referred to as “Prince Rupert’s Tower”, which is actually the lock up, Grade II listed building that you can still visit and see on The Friends of Everton Park Everton Park heritage Trail.

Liverpool Castle, artist impression
Liverpool Castle, artist impression

12:00 - Lunchtime and the first cargo from America is recorded in Liverpool. It’s 1648 and under the glare of the midday sun, Liverpool starts to grow, rapidly. Liverpool is becoming the second city of the country. The cloth, coal and salt it used to trade from Lancashire is exchanged for sugar and tobacco. The city’s first sugar refinery is built in 1670.

Liverpool 1600s
Liverpool 1600s

13:30 - Soon, the first wet dock in Britain is built on Liverpool’s Waterfront. Work begins in 1709 and it’s finished six years later. With a capacity for 100 ships this is the start of Liverpool’s maritime dominance. In just 200 years’ time it’ll be said that one in four of the world’s ships have sailed through Liverpool’s docks. In fact you can still see the Old Dock. It was rediscovered when Grosvenor began excavating the ground for Liverpool ONE. If you peer through the viewing window in Liverpool ONE (By the large curved steps that lead up to the garden area on the upper tier) you can look down into the old dock, or get tickets for a guided tour underground.

Liverpool’s Lost Dock revealed for first time in 200 years
Liverpool’s Lost Dock revealed for first time in 200 years

15.00 - Liverpool’s population is now 10,000. The first US consulate outside America open in the city. As the afternoon stretches ahead major building projects begin in the city which you can still see from Bluecoat Chambers to Croxteth Hall. The Town Hall is built and Lime Street is laid out.

Liverpool Town Hall, 1820
Liverpool Town Hall, 1820

16.30 - Liverpool officially becomes a city in 1880. St George’s Hall is built in 1854 and the first Grand National is run at Aintree in 1837. The Overhead railway, which you can still see in the Museum of Liverpool, begins to run.

St George's Hall, 1890
St George’s Hall, 1890

18.00 - As we get to teatime, the city is starting to look much more like it does today. Princes Park is laid out and Albert Dock opens, although it won’t become a tourist attraction for another 150 years. Between 1908 and 1916 the Three Graces of the Port of Liverpool Building, the Cunard and the Liver Building are constructed, creating our world famous skyline.

A pre-1914 view from the Mersey, showing a gap on the left, where the Cunard Building is now located
A pre-1914 view from the Mersey, showing a gap on the left, where the Cunard Building is now located

19.30 - In World War II, the Battle of the Atlantic has its control centre in Liverpool. You can still visit the wartime bunker and see the documents used by the British Government at the Western Approaches Museum in Exchange Flags (reopening March 2016). Over the period of the war there are 80 air raids on the city, causing significant bomb damage. A lasting war memorial in Liverpool is St Luke’s, the bombed out Church on the top of Bold Street.

St Luke's Church, Bold Street, Liverpool
St Luke’s Church, Bold Street, Liverpool

20.30 - After tea the sun starts to set and Liverpool comes to life further still. The cavern Club opens in 1957 while The Mersey Beat begins publication four years later. In the same year, Brian Epstein hears The Beatles in the Cavern for the first time. The music scene in the city explodes for the next thirty years with bands like Echo and the Bunnymen, Big in Japan, Elvis Costello, Teardrop Explodes and Deaf School.

The Beatles (with Pete Best at drums) playing the Cavern Club, December 1961
The Beatles (with Pete Best at drums) playing the Cavern Club, December 1961

21.30 - The city’s football teams, Liverpool and Everton, are riding high in the 80s. Players like Kenny Dalglish, Howard Kendall, Andy Gray, Neville Southall and Ian Rush keep both the glory - and the silverware - coming across both sides of Stanley Park.

Ian Rush's brace sinks Everton in first Merseyside derby final, 1986
Ian Rush’s brace sinks Everton in first Merseyside derby final, 1986

22.30 - Meanwhile the city’s first Africa Oye festival is held in 1992 and seven years later the city holds its first Liverpool Biennial. It will commission over 200 artists over the next 15 years.

Africa Oyé 2014. Photography by Mark McNulty.
Africa Oyé 2014. Photography by Mark McNulty.

23.00 - It’s late in the evening now and almost time for bed. Before we retire, we head to Liverpool’s Waterfront for the city’s 800th birthday party, taking in a stunning firework display exploding above the city’s world renowned skyline. It’s 2008, the city is European Capital of Culture and it’s welcoming artists like Ai Wei Wei, Pete Postlethwaite, Pipilotti Rist, Sir Paul McCartney, Michael Nyman and Ben Johnson, who will headline a twelve month calendar of events showcasing the culture of the city.

Liverpool Capital of Culture 2008 - Opening ceremony
Liverpool Capital of Culture 2008 - Opening ceremony

23.30 - The Museum of Liverpool opens as the shape of the City Centre widens and stretches with the arrival of Liverpool ONE and a renewed focus on the waterfront. Liverpool 2 and the return of major ships to the city’s docks see Liverpool’s maritime channels reopen.

Peel Ports Seaforth Basin, Liverpool
Peel Ports Seaforth Basin, Liverpool

24.00 - The day ends and the city’s most famous sons, The Beatles, have a new statue unveiled at the waterfront, looking out to sea.

The Beatles statue, Liverpool Waterfront
The Beatles statue, Liverpool Waterfront

Published: 17/02/2016

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