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The Royal Albert Docks with the Liver Building in the background

7 little known facts about Liverpool

Image: Liverpool's Royal Albert Docks in front of the Liver Building |

Situated on the northwest coast of England, Liverpool is a maritime city that has a rich and extensive history spanning back more than eight centuries. From an international trading port to one of the country’s main hubs of industrial innovation, Liverpool has grown from humble beginnings into a vibrant and unique city that is now home to nearly 500,000 residents.

Perhaps most well known as the hometown of The Beatles, Liverpool once again finds itself at the forefront of pop-music history as it prepares to host the Eurovision Song Contest. But there’s so much more to this unique and historic city than first might meet the eye.

Here are seven interesting facts about the history of Liverpool.

1. It’s far more than 800 years old

Founded in 1207 by King John, Liverpool has held a settled residency for far longer than its official record might suggest. Human remains, pottery, coins, and even jewellery have been found, proving that Romans were once in the city. The discovery of a Roman road suggests that there was regular traffic in the area, but it’s more likely that any Roman visitors were just passing through on their way to larger settlements further to the north.

2. It has its own version of Stonehenge

However, the Romans wouldn’t have been the first humans to have settled in the area. The Calderstones are the remains of an ancient Neolithic burial chamber dating back almost 5,000 years. The circle of six standing stones is as old as Stonehenge and proves there has been a human settlement in the area since prehistory.

3. It’s home to Britain’s largest clock face

While many tourists flock to picture Big Ben in London, the clock faces on the Liver Building are 25 feet in diameter, a full two feet larger than their London counterpart.

4. It was a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Thanks to the city's preservation of its historic buildings, Liverpool was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 2004. However, the title was recently revoked in 2021 following some modernisation and redevelopment within the city.

Despite being stripped of its UNESCO title, much of Liverpool’s iconic maritime and mechanical history remains incredibly well preserved. With 27 grade-1 and 85 grade-2 listed buildings, much of the city's 18th and 19th-century architecture remains intact.

5. It’s the World Capital of Pop

As well as being recognised as a UNESCO City of Music, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Liverpool the World Capital of Pop in recognition of its record-breaking residents. More Liverpudlians have gotten a UK number one single than any other town or city in the country!

6. It’s incredibly culturally diverse

According to a 2016 poll, 51% of Liverpudlians speak a language other than English at home, and there are over 60 different languages spoken daily by residents.

Liverpool is also home to Europe's longest-established Chinese community. Dating back to the 1830s, when the first ship from China landed in the city’s port carrying tea, silk and cotton, Liverpool’s Chinese community continued to grow over the centuries. Liverpool’s Chinatown is still thriving today.

7. It’s a city of firsts

Beyond the incredible industrial invention, the city is also home to other exciting (albeit different) world firsts. The world’s first all-female sextuplets were born in the city in 1983 and the RSPCA was founded in Bold Street in 1809, making it one of the longest-running animal charities in the world. Other Liverpudlian inventions include the hovercraft, football nets, and crosswords.

Another world-first that is still very much in use today is Liverpool’s School of Tropical Medicine. When it was first opened in 1898, it was the first of its kind in the world. Established to help tackle the rise in tropical diseases affecting the local population (a downside of the variety of trade routes that Liverpool had access to), the LSoTM is still leading in research of international public health and tropical disease biology today.