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Liverpool,city and metropolitan borough (1991 pop. 448,300), NW England, on the Mersey River near its mouth. It is one of Britain's largest cities. A large center for food processing (especially flour and sugar), Liverpool has a variety of industries, including the manufacture of electrical equipment, chemicals, and rubber. Liverpool was once famous for its pottery, and its textile industry was also prosperous; however, since World War II its cotton market has declined considerably. The city's first wet dock was completed by 1715; at their height, the docks were more than 7 mi (11.3 km) long. Once Britain's greatest port, Liverpool suffered extreme setbacks with the advent of container ships, which it could not handle, and the shift in Great Britain's trade focus from the United States to the European Union. Some of the docklands have been redeveloped as cultural and tourist attractions. The city is connected by tunnel with Birkenhead across the Mersey.
In 1207, King John granted Liverpool its first charter. In 1644, during the English Civil War, Liverpool surrendered to the royalists under Prince Rupert after several sieges. Air raids during World War II caused heavy damage and casualties. The statesman William Gladstone, the artist George Stubbs, and the members of the musical group the Beatles were born in Liverpool.
Liverpool Cathedral, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, was begun in 1904 and completed in 1978. A Roman Catholic cathedral was consecrated in 1967. St. George's Hall is an imposing building in a group that includes libraries and art galleries. The Walker Gallery has a fine collection of Italian and Flemish paintings, as well as more modern works. The Univ. of Liverpool was incorporated in 1903. There is a separate school of tropical medicine.
a city in the county of Lancashire, Great Britain, on the right bank of the Mersey River, where the river empties into the Irish Sea. Population, 606,800 (1971).
Together with its suburbs, which are situated on both banks of the Mersey and are linked by railroads, highways, tunnels, and ferries, Liverpool forms the conurbation of Merseyside (population, 1,300,000). Thirty-five percent of Merseyside’s labor force is engaged in industry, 13 percent in transportation, 44.5 percent in commerce, finance, and the service industries, and 7.5 percent in construction.
Liverpool is a vital transportation junction. Handling 24 million tons of freight annually (1970), it is Great Britain’s second largest port (after London). The Manchester Ship Canal connects Liverpool with Manchester. The city imports foodstuffs, nonferrous metals (raw copper and concentrates), iron ore, petroleum, rubber, and cotton. The principal exports are machinery, textiles, chemicals, petroleum products, and pipes.
Liverpool has a stock exchange and commodities exchanges for cotton, grain, and fruit. Its industry, which is closely related to the port facility and to foreign trade, can be broken down into four principal sectors: (1) shipbuilding, ship repair, and the production of ship engines; (2) the processing of imported raw materials and foodstuffs (a major industry including flour mills, sugar refineries, and tobacco plants), nonferrous metallurgy, and the manufacture of rubber, chemicals and paper; (3) public service industries, printing, and the production of clothing and candy; and (4) such new industries as electronics, automobile and airplane production, and petroleum refining. The first two industrial sectors are located near the port, with shipbuilding at Birkenhead. The third branch is located in districts in the heart of Liverpool; the fourth is conducted on the outskirts of the Merseyside conurbation in the new suburbs of Kirkby, Speke, Halewood, Huyton, and Ellesmere Port. Petroleum refining is done at Stanlow, at the entrance to the Manchester Ship Canal. Liverpool has a university.
Liverpool, whose name was first documented circa 1191, was granted a charter in 1207. A port since the 13th century, it became particularly important in the second half of the 17th century through trade with the English colonies in America. In the 18th century, Liverpool controlled most of the slave trade and became Great Britain’s second most important port (the first being London). Just before the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, some 185 Liverpool ships were engaged in slave traffic, transporting more than 49,000 black slaves a year. In the 19th century, Liverpool became the principal British port for the importation of raw cotton and for the exportation of cotton textile products. Its population grew from 80,000 in 1800 to 685,000 in 1901. Liverpool has been a major center of the British workers’ movement.
Liverpool has many buildings of architectural merit. The classical style is represented by the Old Bluecoat Hospital (1714–18) and the Town Hall (1748–97). Neoclassical buildings include St. George’s Hall (1842–54; architects H. Elmes and C. Cockerell) and the Bank of England (1845–48; architect C. Cockerell). The Anglican Cathedral (1904–24; architect G. G. Scott) measures 189 m long and was done in the neo-Gothic style. The eclectic style is represented by several gigantic commercial buildings. The housing developments of Croxteth and Sparrow Hall and the Metropolitan Cathedral (1967; architect F. Gibberd) were designed in the international modern style. Since the 19th century, multistory buildings have been constructed in the central districts. The old part of the city has narrow streets and predominantly lowpoorly built houses. Slums occupy a considerable part of the city. The Walker Art Gallery is in Liverpool.