April 23, 2015
The New York of Europe
As Britain's gateway to the Atlantic, in the age of imperial glory Liverpool rose to become one of the wealthiest cities on earth. The story of this city broadly mirrors that of the British Empire as a whole. Beginning as a relatively minor fishing town astride the Mersey whose name possibly meant "Muddy pool of water," Liverpool began to grow when the first shipments of sugar and tobacco from the New World arrived. In exchange textiles and manufactures from the area around Manchester were exported from Liverpool's docks.
Police from Birmingham arrive at Saint George's Square during the great Liverpool general transport strike. The strike, which began amongst merchant seamen and spread to a whole range of industries, paralyzed much of the city for the summer. Police baton charges dispersed crowds and soldiers from the 18th Hussars opened fire on strikers, killing two. By the end of the unrest 3,500 British troops, primarily from outside Liverpool, were stationed in the city to maintain order.
More police deploying in Liverpool during the general transport strike. Few of the buildings survive.
People are gathered at the Wellington Monument to celebrate May Day.
A trio of barefoot boys relax on a statue pedestal in Saint John's garden by Saint George's Hall.
Children play in the Steble Fountain at the top of George Brown Street.
Liverpool's old Central Station. The station and the building at the left rear were destroyed in the Blitz, as we will soon see.
Liverpool was pummelled by the Luftwaffe in 1940 and 1941. We see here large tracts of the city centre have been flattened by German bombs, though the two buildings in the centre distance have survived unharmed.
Another view of the terrible damage inflicted on the Ranelagh.
People grimly try to get on with their lives amidst the gutted remains of stores on Church Street. The building on the extreme left survives. This was the so-called Christmas Blitz in December 1940, when especially severe bombing on December 20-22 killed dozens of people in shelters.
Police and people wait at the corner of Church Street and Tarleton Street. A number of the buildings pictured were destroyed in the Blitz. Today an alien is performing there.
A rather grainy photo giving a view up Ranelagh Street. Asides from a couple buildings on the left, the environment has changed dramatically.
Bunney's Gift House on Church Street and Whitechapel. Selling gifts, souvenirs, and presentations, Bunney's isn't really all that different from the Forever 21 that occupies the space today, though the marketing is a bit different
A horse drawn tram on Church Street. Horse drawn trams do look like they would have been rather fun to ride.
Rodney Street has been jovially decked out for a visit from the King and Queen. Few occasions allowed people to give vent to their patriotism like a royal visit.
Construction of the tower on Liverpool's massive cathedral nears completion. When construction began in 1904 the cathedral was only the third to be built in the United Kingdom since 1600 and an imposing Gothic yet modern design was selected.
Houses used to come right up to the side of the cathedral. They were damaged by German bombs during the Blitz.
The cathedral seen from the Great George Square bowling green. You can see one of the transcepts has not been completed yet. The cathedral would not be fully completed until 1960.
The old Philharmonic Hall on Hope Street.
The old Philharmonic Hall on Hope Street burning down.
George's Dock, one of Liverpool's earlier docks. It was built in 1771 and remained in use for over a century. In 1899 it was filled in to create Pier Head, the site of Liverpool's main dock offices. In the background is the Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas.
The Royal Liver Building under construction. One of the first buildings in the world to be built of reinforced concrete, it housed the Royal Liver Assurance Group, a purveyor of life insurance.
Construction nears completion on the Royal Liver Building. In the background is the Port of Liverpool Building which was finished in 1906. Between them is an empty space that would shortly be filled by the Cunard Building. Together the buildings became known as the three graces. They dominate Liverpool's waterfront and are world renowned for their fantastic proportions and innovative design, symbolic of the city's soaring ambition.
Another view of the Port of Liverpool Building, as well as the Cunard Building. Air raid shelters left over from the Second World War can be seen in the foreground. I really did think I was the right distance away when taking the photo, can't win them all.
Carters leading their horses down the busy Goree Piazza. The area has changed so dramatically that one could be forgiven for thinking it isn't the same spot, but the building on the far left says otherwise.
The oldest drydock in Liverpool, these docks were used for hauling up ships and scraping the barnacles off the bottom. Today a rather festive coloured ship has replaced the sailing ships of another era.
The Salthouse Dock when it was a working dock. The photo is from just about the right perspective, just a bridge has extended over the pier on the left in the old photo and I wasn't able to include it in mine.
Crowds line up outside the Cavern to catch a show by those up-and-comers, the Beatles. The original Cavern Club was bulldozed in a fit of absent-mindedness in the 1970s. When the historic and culture value of the venue was belatedly realized the Cavern was rebuilt using many of the same bricks, though the building's exterior apparently bears little resemblance to the original.
Don't miss these and many other Then and Now Photo Series from around the world
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