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Tammy Newell
Tammy Newell
  • 2 Minute Read
  • 31st October 2011

Why is Liverpool Called Liverpool?

Liverpool is a large city in the metropolitan borough of Merseyside, which lies to the West of England. The name Liverpool stems from its humble beginnings in 1190 as a tidal pool next to the Mersey. Historians believe that locals would have called this small pool the ‘Liuerpul’, meaning muddy pool.

The origins of city names are often lost in translation or to the depths of history. However, areas in Liverpool can be dated back to their first days of discovery, as historians have official documents from the Domesday Book, or knowledge concerning why certain places are called what they are today.

Records of Birkenhead, for example, date back to 1150, when the Mersey Ferry began operating from this location - in modern day Wirral. The name Birkenhead is believed to of come from the Old English word, Bircen, meaning birch tree – of which there were many in the area.

Areas such as Garston and Speke, which are known for their agricultural land as well as their shipping ports, are thought to derive from Old English words. Garston was called ‘Gaerstun’ meaning ‘grazing settlement’, and Speke (pronounced Speak), was once known as ‘Spec’ meaning ‘brushwood’.

Some areas of Liverpool, such as St Helens, did not exist as towns until the 19th century, due to complexities surrounding the Industrial Revolution. However, the name St Helens, dates back to 1552, and is thought to stem from the St Elyns Chapel. Furthermore, Haydock, a village within St Helens is believed to come from Celtic origins - ‘Heidd’ and ‘Heidiog’ meaning ‘barley/wheat’. The village is also colloquially known as ‘Yick’ and its inhabitants as ‘Yickers’.

Being a major port, the inhabitants of Liverpool are hugely diverse, with the oldest African and Chinese community in Europe. During the 20th century and after World War II, many of these immigrants settled in the inner city area of Toxteth. Natives of Liverpool are known as Liverpudlians, or colloquially referred to as ‘Scousers’, which references a traditional stew dish, known as ‘scouse’.

Liverpool was once again put on the map during the 20th century, not for its trade or manufacturing industry, but for its music scene – known as ‘Merseybeat’. The 1960’s saw iconic bands including The Beatles, Gerry & the Pacemakers, and The Searchers. This scene was then respectively known as ‘Brumbeat’ in Birmingham and the ‘Tottenham Sound’ in London.

In recent history, Liverpool’s city centre underwent a massive property development, originally known as The Paradise Project, but today as Liverpool ONE. This £920million project helped to transform 42 acres of the city centre into a commercial, residential, leisure and retail hub. New skyscrapers were also erected in the city centre, with West Tower becoming Liverpool’s tallest building at 140m. During this time, Liverpool was named the European Capital of Culture for 2008, along with Stavanger in Norway.