13 facts about Liverpool that will impress your friends

a couple of years ago

There are so many interesting facts about Liverpool that you could impress or bore your friends for hours. Here are a few of the good ones and some you will have never heard before.

Liverpool is a cool place to visit.

In 2014 Liverpool was the UK’s 5th most popular destination for domestic and international visitors. Liverpool was also the 4th best UK destination in the 2014 Traveller’s Choice Awards (behind Primark, Birkenhead and Coronation Street… okay I guessing here!). But seriously, Liverpool is brilliant and I’m sure some of these facts will impress your friends, especially the nerdy ones.

 

The Liverpool to Manchester Railway was the first in the world.

You can still travel on it today. It’s only taken from 1830 to now to become electrified but that has cut travel times from the original two hours to thirty minutes – an improvement of 75% over 185 years – way to go National Rail.

Liverpool also had the worlds first railway fatality on the opening day no less, and it was a big one, William Huskinson the local MP. A fate for politicians I’m sure would still be popular in modern times.

 

Liverpool is top of the Pops

Okay lets get this one over with, not one to brag but… Liverpool has had more artists with a Number 1 hit record than any other place. Even the Guinness Book of Records says so. Lita Roza was the first Liverpool artist to have a No. 1 hit single in 1953 with ‘How Much is that Doggie in the Window’ – animal welfare wasn’t such a big thing in those days.

Everyone knows the Beatles, but did you know that the Sugarbabes and Atomic Kitten also came from Liverpool and had number one’s.

The last Liverpool band to hit the top of the hit parade was The Justice Collective with “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”, which was the Christmas number one in 2012.

 

Amazing old buildings are us

There are more Grade II listed buildings in Liverpool than any other city outside London – 2500. Everyone knows the Liver Buildings and St George’s Hall, but the city has lots of hidden gems.

The Carlton Cinema in Tuebrook had a 2000 seat capacity in front of one screen. Today that number of seats would be spread over at least 10 screens.

 

You can do healthy stuff in Liverpool

Wirral, ‘over the water’ (River Mersey) from Liverpool, has over 30 miles of flat, off road cycle paths, mostly beside the sea. You could get the Mersey Ferry from Liverpool to Seacombe and then cycle all the way to North Wales without hardly going on a main road.

Liverpool is also the start/finish of the Trans Pennine Trail, a 215 mile coast to coast cycle path connecting Liverpool with Hull. I have personally cycled this path in the direction leaving Hull, which has to be the preferred direction, even if it is against the prevailing wind.

 

History, singing and drinking go together, who knew?

You can take a historic pub tour in Liverpool City Centre where the tour guides sing the history to you. Love History do a tour of Liverpool’s oldest pubs, mostly along Dale Street and if you take the £25 tour you get a free half of real ale in every pub.

The pubs usually include Rigby’s, Ma Boyles and the magnificently tiled Dr Duncan’s – named after another Liverpool first Dr William Henry Duncan the world’s first Public Health Officer.

Beware… this tour carries a Sea Shanty alert – you have been warned!

 

Dungeons without the dragons

Liverpool has catacombs! St Georges Hall, the neo-classical masterpiece quoted by Prince Charles as his favourite building, has it’s own catacombs, where the condemned would await their fate in the courtrooms above.

The terrific Love History Company also do a theatrical tour of the St George’s Hall catacombs which is always packed out – book early!

 

Liverpool is still top of the football league

Despite what Manchester might think, Liverpool is the most successful footballing city in England.  Liverpool and Everton have won 84 League and Cup honours between them. In contrast Manchester United and City have a total of 74.

The only trouble is, Manchester are catching up fast!

Football honours: Liverpool 84 - Manchester 74 Click To Tweet

Liverpool staged the first international ‘Battle of the Circuses’

Hengler’s vs Howes and Cushing. Hengler’s Circus opened in Liverpool in 1857 in Dale Street and was a huge success. But other circuses wanted in on the action. Howes and Cushing was a large American Circus who spent a ton of money coming over from the States to Liverpool.

Howes and Cushing postered the city, had American flags everywhere, had a massive parade which people came from all around the region to see. This was perhaps the first great entertainment ratings war. They lasted two weeks and during that time Hengler’s increased their crowds every night.

Hengler went on to open in London, Dublin, Leeds and Glasgow. The London site is now the London Palladium.

 

This isn’t the first time tattoos have been popular

William Turner Tattoos

William Turner Tattoos

The first mechanised tattooing machine in Liverpool was invented by William Turner – my Grandfather. He made it from an electric door bell mechanism!

All tattooists today use a mechanised needle to work with but old Granddad was way ahead of his time. He was tattooed all over and my mother used to say when he went to Garston Swimming Baths everyone would get out of the water to look at him.

William had a studio in Lime Street and was very popular with the sailors, but not in that way (well he had 9 kids!). He was also big with the show biz crowd and the boxing fraternity. Which brings me nicely to…

 

Ike Bradley

Ike Bradley with tattoos by William Turner

Ike Bradley with tattoos by William Turner

Ike was a boxing phenomenon in the early 20th century. Standing just five feet two inches he had 121 bantam weight bouts with 54 knock outs. He was the 8 stone English Champion and the first Liverpool boxer to fight for the World Bantamweight Title – lost but not before the other boxer had broken both hands. A regular pocket battleship.

 

Sugar is the new black

It’s some irony that with Liverpool being the main port for the import of sugar, it was a liverpool clinician, Dr Matthew Dobson, who first made the link between diabetes and sugar in 1774.

Sugar was a major cause of tooth decay in Georgian Brittain and it’s also ironic that 230 years later sugar is still hitting the health headlines for all the wrong reasons. Seems like we never learn.

 

Who invented the goal net?

I have to finish on a big one and perhaps the least well know fact about Liverpool. John Alexander Brodie, an engineer working for the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, invented the football goal net in 1869. Until that time they used to ask someone in the crowd if they wouldn’t mind borrowing a jumper to use as a goal post (okay I made that up). Makes you wonder how they managed in South America, where presumably jumpers are a rarity.

John Brodie also instigated the East Lancashire Road which was the first intercity highway between Liverpool and Manchester, what a guy.

It’s worth noting that for all the supposed enmity between Liverpool and Manchester, they had the first intercity railway and road which means they must really love each other after all.

Liverpool & Manchester share worlds first intercity railway and highway. Is this love? Click To Tweet

 

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