Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘Maps’

Historic map of Halewood, 1934

Following a request from one of our Facebook ‘Likers’ (particularly appropriate word for Scousers, perhaps), I posted an old map of Brook House Farm in Halewood. Here I want to post a slightly larger version, taking in more of the surrounding area which was, at this time, on the cusp of great changes.

Read more

Interactive Historic Maps of Liverpool

Historic Liverpool has always been primarily about the old maps. Well, now I’m starting to put interactive versions of the ones I own on the site for you to explore.

There are five maps on the Old Maps of Liverpool page now, but I’m hoping to add more as I get them scanned in (which isn’t the cheapest thing ever). Watch this space! Read more

Liverpool History News Roundup

Screenshot of The National Archives' Domesday on a Map tool

The National Archives' Domesday on a Map tool

Having written about the bigger themes this week, I’ve had to skip past a few other interesting links related to the history of Liverpool. So here they are, just for you:

Firstly, as an excitable mapping/interactive/web geek, I was interested in the new Domesday on a Map tool from The National Archives.

This, as the name might suggest, is a map showing all the places mentioned in the Domesday Book.  You have to zoom in to see any detail, but once there you get markers indicate the places named in Domesday, with an outline of the rough extent of the manor.

Click on the markers to see the historic name of the place (in 1086) and the page of the Book on which its described.

Director of Technology and Chief Information Officer David Thomas tells us why the map was produced in his blog post on the topic.

Domesday Book predated Liverpool by about 200 years, but a couple of places in the area were very important at the time, and get an entry: West Derby, Woolton, Toxteth and Childwall amongst others.

Whether or not your local history research is in Liverpool, Domesday on a Map is definitely must-see.

Planning permission was submitted to Liverpool City Council last Monday, 4th October, for Liverpool Waters, a plan to develop 150 acres of Merseyside docklands.

The scheme will include the tallest building outside London (possibly to be dubbed the “Shanghai Tower“), and for better or worse will transform Liverpool’s skyline.

Permission has already been granted for Wirral Waters, a similar scheme for the waterfront on the south side of the Mersey.

Planning permission documents have also been submitted for a stretch of Edge Lane including the retail parks and industrial areas.

The scheme will cost £200m and include a new park in addition to ‘leisure and retail units’ (“shops” to you and me).

The Merseyside Civic Society have awarded 8 different projects in four different categories at its relaunched awards scheme.

The categories are best New Build, Green Space, Open Space and Refurbishment. Read the full article on the MCS Awards website.

As two of my regular reads collide, SevenStreets has an article on Colin Wilkinson’s Streets of Liverpool, a site of interest to anyone reading this post I should think.

As well as discussion of how the site started, Colin describes how he came to where he is now, via the Open Eye gallery on the corner of Whitechapel to the Bluecoat Press which he has run since 1992. There are also a couple of classic photos from Colin’s archives.

Well, that’s it for now. Hopefully I’ll have some more Historic Liverpool news sooner or later, as I’m trying to find time for more additions to that site.

Local Knowledge, Dating, and Liverpool’s building milestones

A photo of Clayton Square just before demolition in 1986

Clayton Square just before demolition in 1986...

I’ve often written about researching local history, either through maps, books, or old photos. But what’s been highlighted for me recently is that eventually all this feeds back, and you can occasionally use your knowledge gained through research to apply to a particular problem.

Most maps have dates on them. I don’t know about you, but I find a map’s publishing date of absolute importance, to the same extent as it is on a photograph. As becomes clear when you try to trace the changes in an area over time, the best results come from having the smallest possible gap between two maps in terms of their date.

So when I recently bought a couple of A-Z style street maps off eBay, I was disappointed to find no evidence of a date on them. I could tell they were more than a few years old by the paper they were printed on, and the price (“3/-“). I could also tell that they were (only just) post-Second World War (the Customs House was gone, but South Castle Street still ran straight through where Liverpool Crown Court now stands). But as a landscapophile (there’s that word again) and a cartophile, I really needed to know.

The dates of these maps turned out to be c.1962. How did I know? The progress of the Otterspool Promenade happened to be something  I’d been researching for my post on the history of Knott’s Hole. The promenade was already started, but incomplete, and the extent to which this was mapped pointed to the exact date. Cross-referencing this with a few other features (suburban development, dockland changes) confirmed the likelihood of this point in history.

So, you may use maps to increase your knowledge of local history, but you can also use your local history knowledge to feed back on the things you see in photographs and maps (and the photos and maps themselves).

Here are a few other key points in Liverpool’s history that may help you spot when your source was created:

  • Otterspool Promenade opened: 1950
  • Football stadia (both Goodison Park and Anfield): 1892
  • Norris Green and other suburbs: 1920s – 1930s
  • Filling in of St George’s Dock: 1899
  • Seaforth Container Port built: 1960s – 1972
  • Slum clearance in Toxteth: 1966 – 1972
  • Catholic Cathedral completed: 1967
  • Anglican Cathedral completed: 1978
  • St John’s Market destroyed: blitz – 1941, demolished 1964
  • St John’s Shopping Centre (and beacon) built: 1969
  • Clayton Square redeveloped: 1986
  • Garden Festival site built: 1984
  • Queensway Tunnel opened: 1934

Are there any others you can think of? Remember, these are the things that remodelled acres of the cityscape – things that, quite literally, redraw the map!

Knott’s Hole and the Garden Festival Site

Map of Knott's Hole, from the Ordnance Survey Edition of 1908

Knott's Hole, from the Ordnance Survey Edition of 1908

The former site of Liverpool’s historic Garden Festival was back in the news again in February, as work gets under way to restore the parkland and kick-restart the building of flats on the site.

This is just another phase in the varied life of this part of the Mersey waterfront, and so in a similar way to the township pages on Historic Liverpool, I brought out a few maps and looked at Dingle through the last 160 years. What I found was a pretty part of town – a real beauty spot – subsequently filled with rubbish and contaminated with oil, then rescued somewhat in the late 20th Century.

Perhaps the new developments will do more than previous ones to restore the pleasant air of Knott’s Hole, but I think you’ll agree that something special was lost long ago.

Dingle Point in the middle of the 19th Century

As readers of Historic Liverpool may know, the earliest Ordnance Survey maps for Liverpool were drawn around 1850.

Photograph of Knott's Hole

Knott's Hole, where the Dingle flowed into the Mersey

At this time the Dingle area was purely rural. Liverpool lay to the north west, but this was an area of large houses, vast gardens, babbling streams and a long beach.

The large houses included West Dingle, the Priory and Dudley House, which sat back from Aigburth Road along narrow lanes. The beach was known as Jericho Shore and stretched from Knott’s Hole in the north west towards Garston in the south east. Knott’s Hole itself was a narrow bay or inlet next to where the Dingle flowed out to the Mersey. On either side were steep rocky cliffs, with Dingle Point to the south west.

By the time of the next map, published in 1894, Herculaneum Dock had appeared to the north, marking the continued expansion of the docklands across the Toxteth waterfront.

Along with this came rows of terraced houses to the north east of the docks, and two hospitals had been built just inside the County Borough Boundary.

The lanes down which the large houses sat had developed into a more formal settlement – St. Michael’s Hamlet, including Alwyn Street, Allington Street, Belgrave Street and St. Michael’s Road. The Jericho Shore remained a wide beach.

Urbanisation in the 20th Century

With the increasing urbanisation of the area, by 1928 the stream known as the Dingle had been surrounded by allotments and the area had become quite an orderly part of the grounds of West Dingle, the large house on the hillside.

Dense terraced housing was filling in the gaps not already taken up by the large villas, as Toxteth and Liverpool slowly encroached on the rural outskirts.

It’s on the 1928 map that the south pier at Dingle Point is marked, and it is this structure which heralds the start of a complete transformation of the landscape, and one which we still look upon today.

Photograph of a lorry reversing and dumping waste off the shore at Otterspool

Dumping household waste at Otterspool

The first development was an application which was submitted to Liverpool City Council for the dumping of material dug from the Queensway Mersey Tunnel along the river front. It was then that 20-year-old plans to reclaim land from the river were resurrected, and the filling of the land began. In September 1929 thousands of tonnes of rubble and household waste began to be dumped.

The concrete sea wall was complete by 1932, and the land behind it full by 1949.

After the War: Dingle from 1949

By the time of the 1949 map, a handful of gas storage cylinders had been built behind the pier. This area of the south docks was gradually becoming more and more industrialised, and what had once been a popular fishing destination now found its waters contaminated with oil, andits fish stocks disappearing.

Also by this time the houses on the hill had been demolished, Dingle Head having been demolished before 1909.

Two OS maps of Dingle, the 1947 and the 1964 Editions

Dingle, 1947 (left) and 1964 (right)

More gas storage cylinders were built in the period up to 1960. Extensions to the promenade (which had opened in 1950) were being made northwards, and the long beach of the Jericho Shore was being reclaimed for building land. The 1960 map shows the Otterspool river wall creeping northwards in preparation for the promenade extension. By 1964 the beach had totally disappeared, and the area was marked as Sand & Gravel.

By the late 1970s the sand and gravel too had gone, along with the gasometers. The railway remained, as did the pier, but nothing more than an embankment marked the area once covered with allotments and cut through with the channel of the Dingle. By the 1980s the whole are had been filled with household waste.

Unemployment, Riots, and a Garden Festival

This period was a low point in Liverpool’s history. The docks were falling empty as trade moved elsewhere. At the beginning of the 1980s the Toxteth riots had put the eyes of the country on to the social and economic problems in the inner city.

For this reason Michael Heseltine, Margaret Thatcher’s ‘Minister for Merseyside’ ushered in another new use for the Dingle. The International Garden Festival took place in 1984 in an attempt to showcase what Liverpool could do when it pooled its resources, and to spark regeneration in the area. Whether or not this was a success, it completely reshaped the landscape.

The area recently landfilled was developed into extensive gardens. Where the shaded bay of Knott’s Hole once looked out on the Mersey, the Garden Festival Hall provided the focal point for the event amidst the lakes, statues and artworks. Then the Festival ended, and once again the Dingle waterfront fell into disrepair.

2000 Edition of the OS map showing the derelict International Garden Festival site

The derelict Garden Festival site in 2000

The years from 1984 until the turn of the Millennium were ones of little change. As planned, new housing was built in the area to replace the dense terraces built in the early 20th Century. A new waterfront drive took drivers quickly from Garston to the city centre, past the high fences and trees of the former Garden Festival site.

In the mid 1990s Pleasure Island occupied the site, which meant a new use for the Hall and the Gardens themselves until the centre closed in 1999.

Campaigns have run to help preserve or save the Garden Festival site from ruin or unsympathetic development. Finally in recent months plans have been submitted and accepted to build new houses and, more importantly, parkland on the site. So perhaps what began history as a secluded beach surrounded by the genteel houses of the wealthy will enjoy new life in the 21st Century as a green space for the people of Liverpool to enjoy.

Further Reading

The following sources were used to research and write this article:

Otterspool – Port Cities

Yo Liverpool – a great source of photos from its members:

Otterspool, by Mike Royden

National Archives UK Photo Finder

Photo card showing the Cunard Building and the Liver Building, from The National Archives

Cunard and Liverpool Buildings, Liverpool, Lancs., from UK Photo Finder

The National Archives have produced UK Photo Finder, a map-based tool for finding historic photos in your area.

The free tool is one of their ‘Lab’ projects, and so is open for comments and queries, though you may find a few bugs here and there (one user found it doesn’t work on Firefox for the Mac, and I’ve found it can occasionally refresh at annoying moments). Nip on to the site and have a play around.

There are 31 photos of Liverpool City Centre (although there’s a sneaky one of the Sefton Park Peter Pan statue in there); 5 attached to Huyton; and 18 on the Wirral.

The images are also shown attached to their record cards, keeping the photos ‘in context’ as archives, not just as photographs.

The photos at the moment are exclusively from the important Dixon-Scott collection, although I suspect that if this pilot is successful, they will extend it to other collections. I hope they do, as this is a really great site. Dixon-Scott is of great interest to readers of this blog, as he saw and recorded the changing landscape of Britain with the expressed aim of preserving what he saw as the disappearing landscape.

It’s also quiet similar to the independently produced (and ‘crowd-sourced’) Historypin project, which I also recommend you have a look at (and which also has a few bugs to iron out).

Maps for Local History Research (part 2: Old Maps)

I know, I know, you’ve been waiting and waiting for this! So without much further ado, I present a selection of old maps of interest to the avid and casual Liverpool historian.

In this, the second of two posts on maps of Liverpool, I want to point you in the direction of a load of maps from before the Ordnance Survey was established. Read more

Web Sites for Local History

Queen Avenue, off Castle Street, by M D Greaney

Queen Avenue, off Castle Street, by M D Greaney

Over the past few weeks I’ve come across a handful of very interesting looking sites for those of you with a local history interest. The best thing about them is that they’re after your input, so pop along and see what you can contribute!

Building History is a specialised wiki site, much like the (in)famous Wikipedia and the Liverpool Wiki. It encourages users to submit information about any road or building to its database, even the one you live in! Almost 200 roads and nearly 300 buildings have been added, and the site’s only been online since October 2009.

All you need is an email address, and you can get going. The Warwick page is the most complete, so use that as a template. Liverpool is there, waiting for someone to add something, though note that it’s placed in Lancashire!

For those privacy-concerned individuals (like me), it’s good to know they only allow publicly-available data to be added (census data, for example).

Liverpool Signs, Mosaics, Words and Graffiti is a set of photos on Flickr which collects together a huge number of images of… well, signs, mosaics, words and graffiti.

The most obviously interesting ones to readers of this blog are the ancient signs painted on the sides of warehouses and shops, or the tiled signs such as this Liverpool Co-operative sign in Bootle. But the collection also includes a huge number of other examples, from the formal to the most informal.

Of especial interest to me, as a ‘hidden landscape’ geek, is the boundary marker from Smithdown Road. I’m not sure whether this is a township boundary post or one for the London and North Western Railway (that’s the stamp on the marker), but Smithdown Road crosses the old boundary between the Toxteth and Wavertree townships.

Two other Flickr Groups you might be interested in are the Old Liverpool and Secret Life of Smithdown Road groups.

Finally, we have the Open Plaques project. This, in its own words, is “a service that aims to find and provide data about all the commemorative ‘plaques’ (often blue and round) that can be found across the UK and worldwide”.

You can browse their database via peoples’ names, places, or organisation, and the site wants all the plaques photographed, tagged with their geographical location, and have their colour identified. There’s a neat little graph on the home page letting you know how they’re getting on.

The data comes from a variety of sources (including English Heritage’s blue plaques site and Freedom of Information requests) which have been cleaned up for presentation on the site.

You can help them by getting in touch, or taking a photo of one and uploading it to Flickr. If you tag the photo correctly (as explained on the site) it will appear next to the relevant entry. Brilliant! All the data is free for you to reuse, and the maps are created using OpenStreetMap. You can follow the project via Twitter: @openplaques, or on their .

There are nine plaques for the city of Liverpool.

Impacts of Capital of Culture

The University of Liverpool and John Moores University are assessing the impact of the 2008 Capital of Culture year in a project called Impacts 08. Research has gone on since 2005, and is now at the stage of judging the effects the year had on the city of Liverpool.

Already a whole load of reports are available divided into themes of economics, taking part, culture and the arts, as well as others. My eye was naturally drawn to Liverpool 08 – Centre of the Online Universe, which covers the web and social media (unfortunately my own sites don’t get a mention :)).

You can follow Impacts 08 on Twitter, or on the Impacts 08 blog.

I was going to pick and choose a couple of read, but to be honest, these all look like interesting stuff! Let me know what you think of these in the comments section below. Do they reflect your experience? Did they miss anything out?

Trading Places: A History of Liverpool Docks

Trading Places - a history of Liverpool's dock system

Trading Places: A history of Liverpool docks

This looks like a fairly old corner of the Liverpool Museums site, but Trading Places is a simple and informative interactive map of Liverpool’s dock system and its history. The left-hand menu highlights the docks involved in trade with different parts of the world, as well as the docks’ names and the very reason for the dock systems construction. There’s also a timeline of significant dates along the bottom.

This is a great little tool, and its slightly old-fashioned look and pop-up windows just reflects the simplicity of getting the information across. I’ve been playing around with interactive web maps for a good few years now, so it’s great to see what can be achieved very simply. There’s even an accessible version (click on “begin the voyage”)!

Kudos to Laura Davis’ blog on the Daily Post website, whose advent calendar pointed me to this site, and which has been an lovely little source of historic websites over the last week! Trading Places is the destination behind door 11.

Liverpool History Society Questions online

Some very interesting bits from the Net recently:

Liverpool History Society Questions is a blog I always watch – readers ask questions and (more often than not) Rob Ainsworth of Liverpool History Society comes up with an answer. Topics range from buildings to family history to maps, and two recent topics will be of interest to readers of this blog. From October 15th there is a great and detailed description of court houses in Liverpool. These cramped, airless and dim dwellings were thrown up around Liverpool in the 19th Century, and hundreds of families lived in them. I know that a number of my own ancestors lived in such conditions in Toxteth and around the Cathedral area (as it is now). The famous Dr. Duncan played a key role in their investigation, and there are only a couple left in the city (listed in September this year).

On October 19th a reader asks about the 1725 Chadwick Map, which should be familiar to anyone having researched Liverpool’s urban history for any length of time. The authenticity of a copy for sale in the US is in question, and Rob Ainsworth does a great job in describing the map’s history. Chadwick’s map is annotated with road names and landmarks in the margins, and can be seen in many Liverpool history publications, such as Aughton, and Liverpool 800. A decent reproduction can be found on the Mersey Gateway (though the labels are barely readable.) A paper copy can be bought from Scouse Press.

In a few other bits of news, the forever-delayed tram system may never see the light of day:

In a follow-up to my recent post on ShipAIS, you can keep track of the Queen Mary 2 while it stays in Liverpool: