A couple of days in Liverpool, a city with football and the Beatles on the menu, and a long lost maritime past.
Why we went
Liverpool certainly has more to offer than meets the eye, and was a pleasant surprise. I and my son went over to watch football a weekend. The match was in Manchester, at Old Trafford, an hour-long train ride away. Behaving as normal persons, and without flying any colours, we watched the home team beat the visiting “Scousers”. I had sort of expected the train to be full of fans and felt a bit tense about mingling with the crowd. However, the journey went easy.
Liverpool has more to it than Manchester, in other respects than football, so I won’t be writing much about Manchester. Have a look at the article from our visit in 2008. Anyway, we had a couple of nice days to look around in Liverpool. In this article I will here share my impressions under three main headings.
Liverpool’s past (dubious) glory
Liverpool’s historic hey-days of the 18th and 19th centuries were caused by the expansion of the slave-trade, moving slaves from Africa to America, transporting goods (cotton etc.) back to England and especially Liverpool in a very prosperous triangular transportation system. Even though the slave trade was abolished in Britain in the beginning of the 19th century, Liverpool had put itself on the map now shipping other goods for the expanding industry of the Midlands and also emigrants from Europe across the oceans.
The Liverpool docklands were vast in size and fast at investing in new technology. For instance the Albert Dock was originally built in 1846 as the first enclosed non-combustible dock warehouse system in the world. The beginning of the 20th century did however bring changes to Liverpool, changes in the shape of decline and stagnation. The decline lasted for the better part of the 20th century.
Since the mid-1990’s or so the docklands and Liverpool as such, have yet again been filled with life and development, but of a totally different character than before. Today the Albert docks which we visited houses museums, several bars and restaurants and many shops. Liverpool together with my home town Stavanger was in 2008 the European Capital of Culture and several areas of the city were also included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2004. (2021 update: It was delisted from the List.)
My photos are from the historic past of Liverpool. We did not prioritise museum visits on this trip but they are supposed to be very good.
In the footsteps of the Beatles
What we did instead was to follow the thread of a more recent development in Liverpool’s long history, that of music. Even though Liverpool is home to many musicians and has for decades had a lively music scene most people would associate Liverpool with the Beatles. In my opinion they are the single most important band in the formation of modern popular music.
We were considering joining a guided bus tour but the hotel advised us to go for another option. For a little more than the cost of the bus, we had a taxi on our own, with a very knowledgeable taxi driver. We had an opportunity to spend more or less time at the various stops than by following a slow-moving bus-loaded crowd.
This was a fabulous guided taxi tour to the childhood homes of the four pop stars of the 1960’s. We went on to see the Strawberry Field, Penny Lane, Eleanor Rigby’s gravestone and so on. It was very interesting indeed. At the end the driver let us off near….
Anfield, the home field of Liverpool FC
This stadium features the most famous stand of all in the world of sports, the Kop. Anfield is a must on anyone’s Liverpool itinerary. Including our.
The glory of Liverpool FC is definitely there to look and feel. The museum inside and the guided tour was very interesting. We learned about what magnificent past this club has had, and hopefully will have in the years to come. Having said that, we would become quite content watching them lose the match the following day in Manchester…
Places mentioned above, and images shown below are included on this map from Liverpool.