Bootle (Merseyside UK) – Brief History

Bootle – History

Bootle was originally a small hamlet built near the ‘sand hills’ or dunes of the river estuary. The settlement began to grow as a bathing resort for wealthy residents of Liverpool in the early 19th century. Some remaining large villas which housed well-to-do commuters to Liverpool are located in the area known locally as ‘Bootle Village’.

The Liverpool, Crosby and Southport Railway arrived in the 1840s and Bootle experienced rapid growth. By the end of the 19th century the docks had been constructed along the whole of the river front as far as Seaforth Sands to the north. The town became heavily industrialised. It became a county borough of Lacashire in the mid 19th century on attaining a population of 75,000.

There are still large areas of Victorian terraced houses in Bootle, formerly occupied by dock workers. These are built in distinctive pressed red brick.

The docks made Bootle a target for German bombers in World War II and approximately 90% of the houses in the town were damaged.

After World War II large social housing estates were built inland from the town centre, including the area of Netherton which was built on New Town principles. The Liverpool Overhead Railway and Liverpool Tramways Company closure in the 50s reduced Bootle’s connection to Liverpool.

The docks declined in importance in the 1960s and 1970s, and Bootle suffered high unemployment and a declining population. The establishment of large office blocks housing government departments and the National Girobank provided employment, but this was filled largely by middle class people from outside the town.

In 1974, when county boroughs were abolished, Bootle combined with towns further up the coast to form the metropolitan borough of Sefton, rather than be annexed by Liverpool, as was also suggested.

Below is a picture of the Bootle Town Hall taken in 1910


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