Home to the Premier League champions and birthplace of a little-known band called the Beatles, Liverpool’s reputation around the world has some serious clout. But even with those accolades, there’s so much more to the city than iconic bands and a legendary football team. With a storied history, incredible architecture, and a culture to match, Liverpool is one of the best cities in the UK in which to study.
But what about some of the less well-known things the city has going for it? We’ve already looked at London and Glasgow’s hidden gems but, for the third instalment, we’re turning towards the Second City of The Empire, unearthing some of the things that you may not know about Liverpool.
Sure, it’s easy when you have the Beatles on your side, but Liverpool is recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the ‘capital of pop’: more Liverpool artists have had a number one hit than any other town or city, with an impressive 56 number ones.
The city has the biggest collection of Grade One listed buildings and more national museums and galleries than any other city outside London, with 2,500 listed buildings and 250 public monuments, including Liverpool Cathedral, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, and Speke Hall.
You may have seen the city in some of your favourite films without even realising it. Liverpool has a surprising history on the silver screen, in fact, it’s the second-most filmed city in the UK after London, having appeared in Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Captain American and The Dark Knight, amongst many others. In its time, the city has doubled for Moscow, Dublin, Paris, and Venice.
The world’s first crossword puzzle was designed by a Liverpudlian. On 21 December 1913, newspapers changed forever when Arthur Wynne, a journalist from Liverpool, published a “word-cross” puzzle in the New York World. Featuring many of the traits of the modern puzzle, it’s frequently cited as the first of its kind, with Wynne taking credit for being the maverick who invented it
Liverpool is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its waterfront, stretching from Albert Dock to St. George’s Quarter, was granted the accolade in July 2004, reflecting the city’s significance as a commercial port at a time when Britain’s standing on the world stage was at its biggest.
The city created the world’s first passenger railway in 1830, running to neighbouring Manchester. It was the first to rely on locomotives powered by steam, and the first to be entirely double-tracked, use a signalling system, have a timetable and carry mail.Unfortunately, that also means the city lays claim to the first-ever railway accident, when a local member of Parliament was killed soon after its opening.
Located at the bottom of Bold Street, you’ll find the Lyceum, a Grade 2 neo-classical building that opened in 1758, which allowed visitors to borrow books on a temporary basis. Sound familiar? Yep, you’re right, Liverpool invented the modern library as we know it today.
After celebrating its 800th anniversary in 2007, Liverpool was awarded the European Capital of Culture, making it the first English city to receive the recognition. Recipients are designated the honour for one year, in which they organise a series of cultural events that highlight the diversity of European culture, history and values. It generated over £750 million for its local economy as a result.
Liverpool is home to both Europe’s longest established Chinese community and Europe’s largest Chinese Arch. Standing 14 metres over the entrance to Chinatown, which incidentally, was the first of its kind to be established in Europe.
More than 60 languages are spoken in the city of Liverpool each day, reflecting its storied multiculturalism over the centuries. According to 2016 statistics, over 51% of people in the city speak a language other than English in their homes.
At 25 feet, the clock faces on the Liver Building are the biggest in the country. Big Ben’s, by comparison, are only 23 feet.
The city’s only natural mineral spring was discovered in St. James’ cemetery in 1773. Although the source of the spring remains unknown, plenty of myths surrounding it have prospered, with some folk believing it possesses healing properties and turns black when boiled.
And lastly, we can’t talk about Liverpool without mentioning the Beatles one last time. Liverpool Airport – known today as Liverpool John Lennon Airport – was the first provincial airport in the country when it opened on 1 July 1933.
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