views updated May 17 2018


Liverpool was established as a port in 1207 when King John (1167–1216) granted it a royal charter so as to provide an alternative to Chester for his military operations in Ireland. Subsequent growth was based on exports of coal, textiles, salt, and cheese and imports of agricultural products, later supplemented by Virginian tobacco and West Indian sugar.

By 1660 Liverpool had become independent of Chester. This ended many legal problems, but the physical ones remained, including a 7-meter tidal range and 7-knot currents. A creek known as "the pool" initially provided cargo facilities, but expansion led to building of the "old dock" in 1715 and the Salthouse Dock in 1753. Like later additions, these were "wet enclosures, kept permanently full of water by being fitted with gates which were only opened at high tide. Although expensive to construct these were essential to cope with the difficult conditions experienced on the Mersey. They catered for exports of salt to Newfoundland and imports of rum and sugar from the Caribbean and fruit from the Mediterranean.

Georges Dock (opened 1771) was mainly used for the triangular trade with West Africa—trade goods outward, slaves from Africa to the West Indies, and rum and sugar back to Liverpool. This business ended in 1807, but it was more than offset by the exports of manufactured goods being produced in its extended hinterland and the rising imports of raw materials and food. Expansion in the period 1700 to 1790 included sugar, which rose five-fold, rum and tobacco, threefold, and cotton imports, fiftyfold, and led to the building of Kings Dock (1788) and Queens Dock (1796).

Continuing growth was encouraged by strengthening links with the interior. River improvements were extended by the canal network beginning in 1760 and transformed by the Liverpool-Manchester Railway in 1830. Additional impetus was given after 1840 by the evolution of the steamship, which helped to increase the scale of imports, including North American wheat, and made Liverpool the premier port for emigrants and passengers to the United States, Canada, and Australia.

The establishment of the Mersey Dock and Harbour Board in 1858 saw 4.4 metric gross tons of shipping paying dues—a century later it was 27 metric gross tons. Over the same period, six firms operating 70,000 gross tons of steam shipping rose to sixty-seven firms with 4.6 metric gross tons. More capacity was required to cope with this expansion, and this continued until Gladstone Dock was opened in 1927.

Many secondary activities were spawned in the Port Conurbation, such as shipbuilding and repairing, and although most imports passed through to other regions, there was some local processing of raw materials. These included edible oils and tallow from East Asia, West Africa, and South America, which were utilized to make soap and margarine; and from North America, wheat, which was milled into flour, and tobacco leaf, which was made into cigarettes. Many manufactures, particularly from the United States, were also landed and distributed, and as many were exported. Liverpool had a comparative advantage for shipping the textiles of Lancashire and Yorkshire, the porcelain of the Potteries (an industrial area of Staffordshire where firms such as Wedgewood and Royal Doulton were located) and the metal goods of the Midlands. As a consequence, for several long periods the port was best placed to handle these cargoes of both capital and consumer items. Substantial quantities of locally produced coal, salt, and chemicals were also exported from time to time—the main markets for all shipments were in Britain's dominions and colonies. Banking, insurance, brokerage, and agency work, together with the administration of shipping and merchant companies, provided many commercial opportunities, and much employment was generated by the need for seagoing and dock labor.

Increases in European trade saw some of Liverpool's previous advantages lost to Dover and Felixstowe. Poor industrial relations at Liverpool while a scheduled port reduced its efficiency as many strikes and trade union disputes led to numerous stoppages in the traditional docks. Nevertheless, in 1971 a large new facility was constructed to cater for containers and bark cargoes at Sea-forth near the estuary's mouth. The reorganization of the labor force by the now privatised Mersey Docks and Harbour Company has seen this new development cope with growing quantities of containers and bulk cargoes of grain, timber, and scrap metal. Together with oil from Stanlow Refinery and the expanding Irish trade, throughput at over 30 metric tons in 2003 was greater than at any previous time.

SEE ALSO Agriculture; Bristol; Canada; Cargoes, Freight; Cargoes, Passenger; Chambers of Commerce; Containerization; Cotton; Cunard, Samuel; Empire, British; Ethnic Groups, Irish; Free Ports; Glasgow; Harbors;London;Packet Boats;Petroleum;Port Cities;Shipbuilding;Shipping, Merchant;Slavery and the African Slave Trade;United Kingdom;United States.


Hyde, F. E. Liverpool and the Mersey: The Development of a Port. Newton Abbot, U.K.: David and Charles, 1971.

Jarvis, Adrian. Docks of the Mersey. Shepperton, Surrey, U.K.: Ian Allan, 1988.

Marriner, Sheila. The Economic and Social Development of Merseyside. London: Croom Helm, 1982.

Peter N. Davies


views updated Jun 27 2018


LIVERPOOL , seaport in N.W. England. It seems probable that Jews settled there before 1750, since in 1752 there was a "Synagogue Court" off Stanley Street and a Jewish place of worship, as the 1753 Liverpool Memorandum Book confirms. The site of this early synagogue and a picture of its facade have also been discovered in a map of Liverpool dated 1765. John Wesley refers to the excellent relations which the local Jews enjoyed with their Christian neighbors (Journal, entry of April 14, 1755). About 20 Jews are listed in the Liverpool Directory for 1790, some of whom bear names that inspired the unsubstantiated theory that the original community was Sephardi. They were mostly peddlers and traders catering to the seafaring population and included Benjamin Goetz (or Yates), a seal-engraver described as the "Jews' High Priest" (ḥazzan?).

The "Old" Hebrew Congregation was organized, or reorganized, at Turton Court in 1780. Its first cemetery was acquired nine years later and its Yiddish regulations drawn up in 1799. The first synagogue, built on a site in Seel Street donated by the Liverpool Corporation, was consecrated in 1808. The congregation's present handsome building on Princes Road was constructed in 1874. In the early 19th century the congregation's preacher was Tobias *Goodman, whose sermons are thought to have been the first delivered in English at a synagogue in the British Isles. Internal conflicts led to a secession in 1838, and to the subsequent establishment of a rival congregation at Hope Place. By about 1860, Liverpool's Jewish community, then numbering around 3,000, was second in size to London's. Toward the end of the 19th century, Russian and Polish refugees reached Liverpool on their way to America; a number remained to modify the character of Liverpool Jewry. A Levantine Sephardi community also existed between 1892 and 1914, and a small Liberal synagogue was established in 1928. A Liverpool and District Rabbinate was set up in 1904, its first two incumbents being Samuel Jacob *Rabinowitz, an early Zionist leader, and Isser Yehudah *Unterman, later chief rabbi of Israel. Other communal institutions include a pioneer Jewish welfare board (founded 1875), a philanthropic society (1811), a yeshivah (1915), and Hebrew-endowed schools (1840). During the first quarter of the 20th century British Jewry's first Hebrew day school flourished in Liverpool under the direction of Jacob Samuel *Fox. In 1971 there were in Liverpool nine congregations serving an estimated Jewish population of 7,500 (1% of the total). Some 700 Jewish children received their education at the King David schools.

Charles Mozley became the city's first Jewish mayor in 1863, and there were subsequently four other Jewish lord mayors. Important civic and other dignities were filled by the *Benas and *Cohen families and by Lord *Cohen of Birkenhead. Isaiah *Raffalovich and Izak *Goller were other prominent figures in latter-day communal history. The monthly Liverpool Jewish Gazette (1947– ) mirrored the local scene, while the Zionist Central Council (1898) and the Merseyside Jewish Representative Council (1944) coordinated the community's activities. In the mid-1990s, the Jewish population numbered approximately 4,000. The 2001 British census recorded 2,698 declared Jews in Liverpool. At the outset of the 21st century, the city had four Orthodox and a Progressive synagogue, and a range of Jewish institutions.


Roth, Mag Bibl, index; Lehman, Nova Bibl, index; L. Wolf, History and Genealogy of the Jewish Families of Yates and Samuel of Liverpool (1901); P. Ettinger, "Hope Place" in Liverpool Jewry (1930); C. Roth, Rise of Provincial Jewry (1950), 82; B.B. Benas, in: jhset, 17 (1953), 23–37; Goodman, in: In the Dispersion, nos. 5–6 (1966), 52–67; G.E. Silverman, in: Niv ha-Midrashiyyah (Spring 1970), 74–81, English section.


views updated Jun 27 2018

Liverpool, created a borough by royal will (1207) as a convenient place of embarkation for Irish campaigns, fluctuated in prosperity until the early 17th cent. when Irish industries developed and Chester declined. Of protestant temper, its value as a point of contact between Ireland and the northern royalists accounted for its importance in the Civil War, being twice besieged. Continuing to control the larger share of the Irish trade, Liverpool gained impetus from profitable commerce with the plantations (sugar, tobacco, cotton) and the rapid development of Manchester's textile industries. Both legitimate and illegitimate trade with the West Indies and South America enabled gain at the expense of Bristol and London, and led traders into the even more lucrative African traffic. Involvement in the slave trade brought riches and an unsavoury reputation, but the money improved transport and communication with productive Lancashire industries. When trade with the East Indies and Spanish America was thrown open and the American midwest began to expand, Liverpool's dominance of Atlantic trade and as an emigration port produced a cosmopolitan but overcrowded, unhealthy, politically corrupt, and turbulent city. Systematic attempts to reconstruct led to generally steady improvement, growth being accompanied by high levels of immigration (especially from Ireland), and continued establishment of new local industries. Despite extensive reconstruction of the business quarters after severe bomb damage in the Second World War, the subsequent de-industrialization of Liverpool has led to its being better known for its football teams, music groups, and comedians, yet it still exerts economic and cultural dominance over the surrounding metropolitan region.

A. S. Hargreaves


views updated May 14 2018

Liverpool City and seaport on the n side of the River Mersey estuary, Merseyside, nw England. Liverpool was founded in the 10th century, and became a free borough in 1207. The first wet dock was completed in 1715, and the city expanded rapidly to become Britain's largest port. In the early 20th century, it was the major embarkation port for emigration to the New World. Liverpool suffered severe bomb damage during World War II. The construction (1972) of a container terminal and the completion of a rail tunnel link with Birkenhead improved the city's trade and transport links. In the 1980s, inner-city regeneration schemes included the Albert Dock refurbishment. Liverpool Free Port (Britain's largest) opened in 1984. The sixth-largest city in England and the principal Atlantic port, Liverpool has more than 800ha (2000 acres) of dockland. Pop. (1997) 458,000.


views updated Jun 11 2018