Urban History

Review Essay

Liverpool: past, present and future*


a1 Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YQ

Liverpool's designation as European Capital of Culture for 2008, together with the 800th anniversary of the founding of the borough in 2007, has (unsurprisingly) generated a number of books dealing with different aspects of the city's history. The five volumes reviewed here represent just a small selection of those available, ranging from the deliberately academic to much more popular publications. Together they provide much of interest for urban historians. If these books have a common theme it is the argument (or assumption) that for much of its history, and in many different respects, Liverpool was (and remains) in various ways different from other British cities. The celebration of difference lies very much at the heart of Liverpool's Capital of Culture activities, and these books provide additional perspectives on Liverpool's demographic, social, cultural, sporting and architectural distinctiveness.


* Diana E. Ascott, Fiona Lewis and Michael Power, Liverpool, 1660–1750. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2006. xi + 244pp. £50.00 [Google Scholar].

John Belchem, Merseypride: Essays in Liverpool Exceptionalism. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, second edition 2006. xxx + 228pp. £11.95 [Google Scholar].

John Belchem, Irish, Catholic and Scouse: The History of the Liverpool Irish, 1800–1939. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2007. xi + 364pp. £35.00 [Google Scholar].

Ray Physick, Played in Liverpool: Charting the Heritage of a City at Play. Manchester: English Heritage, 2007, 192pp. £14.99 [Google Scholar].

Joseph Sharples, Liverpool (Pevsner Architectural Guides). New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004. vii + 332pp. £9.99 pbk [Google Scholar].