|future Seaman's Orphan Institute|
You may wonder why the University of Liverpool wanted me to cover such a trivial event as the laying of a foundation stone for an orphange, but it is not trivial. This organization was more than overdue. The life of a sailor is a dangerous one and they have left plenty of orphans. Liverpool realized it had better do something to repay the sacrifices of these brave seaman. Without sailors and ships there would be no Liverpool. Well, maybe a tiny village with a couple of farms, but it would not be a city by any stretch of the imagination.
Liverpool was founded in 1207 with a Royal Charter from King John. Yes, that King John, villainized in all the Robin Hood movies. However King John was not the total idiot he is often portrayed as. He could see this spot would make an excellent port. Problem was it would take nearly five centuries for anyone else to see that.
|map of Liverpool 1600|
|map of Liverpool 1769|
|original Liverpool and Manchester Railway|
During the Potato Famine, thousands of Irish migrated here--300,000 in 1847 alone. In the 1851 census, one in four people in Liverpool put down Ireland as their birthplace. In the second half of the 1800s, at least 120,000 Welsh also came. The two Celtic groups gave Liverpool it’s unique “Souser” accent.
The slave trade also gave Liverpool Britain’s first Black community. Freed slaves, runaway sailors from America and servants brought by captains, made the Black population 10,000 by 1720. They had to deal with racism, but they survived and flourished.
Liverpool has Europe’s oldest Chinatown. They have been coming in since the East India Company lost their monopoly on eastern trade. The massacre of Greeks by the Turks in 1821 will send a wave of Greek immigrants here. Italians have come here recently to escape poverty. There are some tradesmen and sailors from India. If you look hard enough you can find people from all over the world.
By 1871 all this immigration will make Liverpool’s population 493, 405. Apparently immigrants are also a great export for the city. Two-thirds of the immigrants to the United States and Canada will pass through Liverpool. (Remember my trip to Ellis Island in 1893 last year? I had to start in Liverpool.)
|Dr. William Duncan|
Besides having some of the worst slums, Liverpool also has some of the nicest neighborhoods in Great Britain. The only town with more millionaires is London. Most made their money in shipping.
|Liverpool's The Quarrymen in 1958 (future Beatles)|