Merseyside (/ˈmɜːrzisd/ MUR-zee-syde) is a metropolitan and ceremonial county in North West England. It borders Lancashire to the north, Greater Manchester to the east, Cheshire to the south, the Welsh county of Flintshire across the Dee Estuary to the southwest, and the Irish Sea to the west. The largest settlement is Liverpool.

Left to right:
Location of Merseyside within England
Location of Merseyside within England
Coordinates: 53°25′N 3°00′W / 53.417°N 3.000°W / 53.417; -3.000
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionNorth West England
Established1 April 1974
Established byLocal Government Act 1972
Time zoneUTC±00:00 (Greenwich Mean Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+01:00 (British Summer Time)
Members of Parliament List of MPs
PoliceMerseyside Police
Largest cityLiverpool
Ceremonial county
Lord LieutenantMark Blundell
High SheriffNigel Lanceley
Area652 km2 (252 sq mi)
 • Ranked43 of 48
Population (2021)1,423,065
 • Ranked9th of 48
Density2,200/km2 (5,700/sq mi)
Metropolitan county
GSS codeE11000002

Districts of Merseyside
  1. City of Liverpool
  2. Sefton
  3. Knowsley
  4. St Helens
  5. Wirral

The county is highly urbanised, with an area of 249 square miles (645 km2) and a population of 1.42 million.[1] The majority of the population live in the Liverpool Built-up Area (864,122), which is the sixth most populous urban area in the UK, and the Birkenhead Built-up Area (325,264). After the city of Liverpool (552,267) the largest settlements are Birkenhead (143,968), St Helens (91,703), Southport (91,703), and Wallasey (60,284). The county contains five metropolitan boroughs: Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton, Wirral, and Liverpool. The boroughs collaborate through the Liverpool City Region combined authority, which also includes the borough of Halton from Cheshire.

What is now Merseyside was a largely rural area until the Industrial Revolution, when Liverpool and Birkenhead's positions on the Mersey Estuary enabled them to expand. Liverpool became a major port, heavily involved in the Atlantic slave trade and in supplying cotton to the mills of Lancashire, and Birkenhead developed into a centre for shipbuilding. Innovations during this period included the first inter-city railway, the first publicly-funded civic park, advances in dock technology, and a pioneering elevated electrical railway.

The contemporary county is notable for its sport, music, and cultural institutons. The Merseybeat genre developed in the county, which has also produced many artists and bands, including the Beatles. The county contains several football clubs, with Everton F.C. and Liverpool F.C. playing in the Premier League. The Royal Liverpool and Royal Birkdale golf clubs have hosted The Open Championship 22 times between them, and the Grand National is the most valuable jump race in Europe. National Museums Liverpool comprises nine museums and art galleries.

History Edit

Port of Liverpool docks, at Seaforth. Merseyside lies on the Mersey Estuary

Merseyside was designated as a "Special Review" area in the Local Government Act 1958, and the Local Government Commission for England started a review of this area in 1962, based around the core county boroughs of Liverpool, Bootle, Birkenhead and Wallasey. Further areas, including Widnes and Runcorn, were added to the Special Review Area by Order in 1965. Draft proposals were published in 1965, but the commission never completed its final proposals as it was abolished in 1966.

Instead, a Royal Commission was set up to review English local government entirely, and its report (known as the Redcliffe-Maud Report) proposed a much wider Merseyside metropolitan area covering southwest Lancashire and northwest Cheshire, extending as far south as Chester and as far north as the River Ribble. This would have included four districts: Southport/Crosby, Liverpool/Bootle, St Helens/Widnes and Wirral/Chester. In 1970 the Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive (which operates today under the Merseytravel brand) was set up, covering Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral and Knowsley, but excluding Southport and St Helens.

The Redcliffe-Maud Report was rejected by the incoming Conservative Party government, but the concept of a two-tier metropolitan area based on the Mersey area was retained. A White Paper was published in 1971. The Local Government Bill presented to Parliament involved a substantial trimming from the White Paper, excluding the northern and southern fringes of the area, excluding Chester, Ellesmere Port (and, unusually, including Southport, whose council had requested to be included). Further alterations took place in Parliament, with Skelmersdale being removed from the area, and a proposed district including St Helens and Huyton being subdivided into what are now the metropolitan boroughs of St Helens and Knowsley.

Merseyside was created on 1 April 1974 from areas previously part of the administrative counties of Lancashire and Cheshire, along with the county boroughs of Birkenhead, Wallasey, Liverpool, Bootle, and St Helens. Following the creation of Merseyside, Merseytravel expanded to take in St Helens and Southport.

post-1974 pre-1974
Metropolitan county Metropolitan borough County boroughs Non-county boroughs Urban districts Rural districts
Merseyside is an amalgamation of 22 former local government districts, including six county boroughs and two municipal boroughs.
Knowsley Huyton with Roby • Kirkby • Prescot West Lancashire • Whiston
Liverpool Liverpool
Sefton Bootle • Southport Crosby Formby • Litherland West Lancashire
St Helens St Helens Newton-in-Makerfield Urban District • Billinge and Winstanley • Haydock • Rainford Whiston
Wirral Birkenhead • Wallasey Bebington Hoylake • Wirral

Between 1974 and 1986 the county had a two-tier system of local government with the five boroughs sharing power with the Merseyside County Council. However, in 1986 the government of Margaret Thatcher abolished the county council along with all other metropolitan county councils, and so its boroughs are now effectively unitary authorities.

Geography Edit

An aerial photograph of Merseyside

Merseyside is divided into two parts by the Mersey Estuary; the Wirral is located on the west side of the estuary, upon the Wirral Peninsula and the rest of the county is located on the east side of the estuary. The eastern part of Merseyside borders onto Lancashire to the north, Greater Manchester to the east, with both parts of the county bordering Cheshire to the south. The territory comprising the county of Merseyside previously formed part of the administrative counties of Lancashire (east of the River Mersey) and Cheshire (west of the River Mersey). The two parts are linked by the two Mersey Tunnels, the Wirral Line of Merseyrail, and the Mersey Ferry.

Green belt Edit

Merseyside contains green belt interspersed throughout the county, surrounding the Liverpool urban area, as well as across the Mersey in the Wirral area, with further pockets extending towards and surrounding Southport, as part of the western edge of the North West Green Belt. It was first drawn up from the 1950s. All the county's districts contain some portion of belt.

Identity Edit

Ipsos MORI polls in the boroughs of Sefton and Wirral in the 2000s showed that in general, residents of these boroughs identified slightly more strongly to Merseyside than to Lancashire or Cheshire respectively, but their affinity to Merseyside was more likely to be "fairly strong" than "very strong".[2]

Local government Edit

Coat of arms of the former Merseyside County Council.

Metropolitan boroughs Edit

Merseyside comprises the metropolitan boroughs of Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.

County-level functions Edit

Following the abolition of the county council some local services are run by joint-boards of the five metropolitan boroughs; these include the:

Liverpool City Region Edit

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, which includes the five boroughs and the Borough of Halton headed by a mayor, Steve Rotheram, elected in May 2017.[3]

Economy Edit

This is a chart of the trend of regional gross value added of Merseyside at current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by the Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added[note 1] Agriculture[note 2] Industry[note 3] Services[note 4]
1995 10,931 50 3,265 7,616
2000 13,850 29 3,489 10,330
2003 16,173 39 3,432 12,701

Transport Edit

Road Edit

Motorway network around Merseyside

Merseyside is served by six motorways: the M58 to the north, M56 to the south, M6 & M62 to the east and M53 to the west. The M57 acts as an outer ring road and bypass for the city of Liverpool itself. The River Mersey is crossed by Queensway Tunnel and Kingsway Tunnel, which link Liverpool to Birkenhead and Wallasey respectively, and by the Silver Jubilee Bridge and Mersey Gateway Bridge, which link Runcorn and Widnes. The Mersey Gateway Bridge opened in 2017 and is designed to improve transport links between Widnes and Runcorn and other key locations in the vicinity.[4]

National Cycle Route 56 and National Cycle Route 62 pass through the region, the former along the Wirral and the latter from Southport to Runcorn.[5][6] Major bus companies are Stagecoach Merseyside and Arriva North West. Liverpool One bus station serves as a terminus for national coach travel.

Rail Edit

Typical Merseyrail train at Liverpool Central underground station

Liverpool Lime Street mainline station is Merseyside's primary intercity railway station, being used by 10.46 million passengers in 2021-22.[7] Train services are provided by Avanti West Coast, London Northwestern Railway, TransPennine Express, West Midlands Trains, Transport for Wales, and Northern, and serve destinations across the UK.[8][9]

Merseyrail is the county's urban rail system and is operated by Merseytravel, the combined passenger transport executive for the Liverpool City Region. The network contains 66 stations on two lines; the Northern Line covers the centre of the county, and the Wirral Line covers the eponymous peninsula.[10] The two lines meet in Liverpool City Centre, and Liverpool Central is the county's most-used station, with 10.75 million passengers in 2021-22.[11][12][7] The network extends to Ormskirk in Lancashire and Ellesmere Port and Chester in Cheshire.[13] Merseytravel brands the network in the east of the county as the 'City Line', but the services on it are not operated by Merseyrail. The Borderlands line connects the west of the Wirral to Wales, and is operated by Transport for Wales Rail.

Maritime Edit

Liverpool Cruise Terminal provides facilities for long-distance passenger cruises. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines MS Black Watch and Cruise & Maritime Voyages MS Magellan use the terminal to depart to Iceland, France, Spain and Norway. Peel Ports have also planned a second cruise terminal as part of the Liverpool Waters project.[14][15]

Ferries Edit

Seacombe Ferry Terminal

Prince's Landing Stage on Liverpool's Pier Head serves Isle of Man Steam Packet Company summer service to the Isle of Man (and Mersey Ferries). The Twelve Quays ferry port in Birkenhead serves winter Isle of Man ferry service and Stena Line services to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Almost three quarters of a million people[citation needed] travel these Irish Sea ferry services.[16][17]

The Mersey Ferry has operated since the 1200s, currently between Wirral and Liverpool City Centre at Seacombe, Woodside and Liverpool Pier Head. From 2009–2010 it had 684,000 passengers using the service .[18]

Commercial Edit

The Port of Liverpool handles most commercial shipping, but several other ports on the Wirral peninsula, such as Great Float and Queen Elizabeth II Dock, operate too.

The Port of Liverpool is container ports that handles over 33 million tonnes of freight cargo per year and serves more than 100 global destinations including Africa, Australia, China, India, the Middle East and South America. Imports include grain and animal feed , timber, steel, coal, cocoa, crude oil, edible oils and liquid chemicals; and exports of scrap metal for recycling.[19][20] A second container terminal, Liverpool2 at Seaforth, can handle Post-Panamax vessels and doubled the port's capacity when it opened in 2016.[21]

Air Edit

Liverpool John Lennon Airport is the county's international airport. It is situated in Speke, 6.5 miles (10.5 km) south east of Liverpool city centre, with 5 million departures in 2020.[22] Flights are primarily operated by easyJet and Ryanair, and over 70 destinations are served by the airport, including regular flights to the Near East and North Africa.[23][24][25]

The airport is planning substantial expansion, and is forecast to handle more than 12 million passengers by 2030, as well as targeting permanent direct long haul flights and significantly larger terminal facilities.[26]

Sport Edit

Merseyside is host to several football league football clubs including Liverpool F.C., Everton F.C., Tranmere Rovers F.C. and Southport F.C. Golf courses include Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Royal Birkdale Golf Club and Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club. Cricket clubs include the historic Aigburth Cricket Ground, Liverpool. Aintree Motor Racing Circuit hosted the British Grand Prix. Aintree Racecourse hosts the Grand National and there is also Haydock Park Racecourse. Totally Wicked Stadium hosts Rugby League and Hoylake hosts sailing (such as Southport 24 Hour Race) and is Britain's premier location for sand yachting. A ski slope facility is found at The Oval (Wirral).

Places of interest Edit

Croxteth Hall
Knowsley Hall

Liverpool Edit

Knowsley Edit

St Helens Edit

Sefton Edit

Wirral Edit

See also Edit

Notes Edit

  1. ^ Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  2. ^ includes hunting and forestry
  3. ^ includes energy and construction
  4. ^ includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured

References Edit

  1. ^ "2009 Mid Year Estimates – Table 9 ONS". Archived from the original on 16 December 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2010.
  2. ^ Sefton poll Archived 26 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine, where 51% residents belonged strongly to Merseyside, and compared with 35% to Lancashire; Wirral poll Archived 26 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine, where 45% of residents belonged strongly to Merseyside; compared with 30% to Cheshire. In both boroughs, "very strongly" ratings for the historic county were larger than that for Merseyside, but "fairly strongly" was lower.
  3. ^ "Liverpool city region metro mayor: what is it, when will we get one and who will it be?". Liverpool Echo. 18 May 2016. Archived from the original on 23 July 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Halton Council: Runcorn & Widnes Communications". Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  5. ^ "Route 56 -". Sustrans. Retrieved 20 June 2023.
  6. ^ "Route 62". Sustrans. Retrieved 20 June 2023.
  7. ^ a b Office of Rail and Road (24 November 2022). "Estimates of station usage: 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022" (PDF). p. 4. Retrieved 20 June 2023.
  8. ^ " Liverpool Lime Street Station, United Kingdom". Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  9. ^ " Stations Overview: Liverpool Lime Street". Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  10. ^ "Stations". Retrieved 20 June 2023.
  11. ^ "Transport Committee: Written evidence from Merseytravel (CTR 09)". 31 October 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  12. ^ " Merseyrail Electrics". Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  13. ^ "Network Map". Retrieved 20 June 2023.
  14. ^ "BBC Liverpool: Liverpool cruise liner terminal opening set for May". BBC News. 2 March 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  15. ^ "Liverpool Confidential: Second Mersey cruise terminal planned". 30 January 2012. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  16. ^ "Direct Ferries Ltd: How To Get To Liverpool Ferry Port". Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  17. ^ " Written evidence from Blundellsands Sailing Club (MCA 53)". February 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  18. ^ "Merseytravel: Annual Statistical Monitor 2009/10" (PDF). 2009–2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  19. ^ "Peel Ports: Port of Liverpool". 2010. Archived from the original on 13 April 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  20. ^ "Port of Liverpool Introduction". 2010. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  21. ^ "Liverpool Port Terminal Work to Begin Next Year". 6 March 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
  22. ^ "Arrivals and departures at Liverpool John Lennon Airport 2020". Statista. Retrieved 20 June 2023.
  23. ^ "Liverpool John Lennon airport provides key tourism gateway". 29 June 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  24. ^ "Ryanair's New Routes from JLA Take Off In Style". Archived from the original on 4 September 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  25. ^ "Liverpool John Lennon Airport Destination Map". Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  26. ^ "Liverpool John Lennon Airport Master Plan". Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  27. ^ "Art Galleries - Museum - Glass Blowing- Victorian Furnace". The World of Glass. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2015.

Further reading Edit

External links Edit