Liverpool (prob. from the Cymric Llyvrpwl, the expanse at the pool'), if we include Birkenhead, on the south or opposite side of the Mersey, disputes with Glasgow the rank of second largest town in the United Kingdom ; and as a port surpasses London for trade with America. It is situated § hour distance by railway from Manchester (31 1/2 miles), 4 1/4 hours from London (201 miles), 6 hours from Edinburgh (220 miles), and 7 hours by rail and steamer from Dublin. As a port Liverpool figures for about one-fifth of the British tonnage, one-tenth of the foreign, and one-sixth of the total, and just falls behind London in respect of the foreign tonnage. Through it passes one-fourth of the imports, more than two-fifths of the exports, and nearly one-third of the entire foreign trade of the United Kingdom. Of 160 million cwt. of bread-stuffs annually imported, Liverpool admits nearly 40 million; in 1892 it imported 15 million out of 16 million cwt. of cotton ; and has usually exported more than half of the total cotton products. In 1903 the total imports had a value of £129,028,142; the total exports of £114,579,058. This gigantic trade has given rise to the magnificent system of docks extending along the margin of the river for a distance of nearly 6 1/2 miles, containing 25 miles of quay-space and 380 acres of water-space, besides 9 miles of quay-space and 164 acres of water-space at Birkenhead, making a total of 34 miles and 544 acres respectively. There are also 17 acres of water-space in the docks worked by the various canal companies, besides the graving-docks on both sides of the river. Several of the docks are enclosed with large warehouses : the erection of those round the Albert Dock cost £358,000. The steamer traffic, conducted by regular liners with every port of importance in the world, draws large numbers of emigrant and other passengers to the town.
Seven railways have direct connection with the city. There are five tunnels under the town. The Mersey railway tunnel, 1230 yards long, connecting Liverpool with Birkenhead, was made in 1881-86, on a capital of £2,224,000. Proposals have been made to erect a bridge from Liverpool to Birkenhead. The Liverpool Overhead Railway, on a framework of wrought iron, runs (6 miles long, opened in 1893) along almost the whole length of the docks, and there is a very complete system of electric tramcars. In 1881-92 vast new water-works were constructed at Lake Vyrnwy (q.v.), about 25 miles from Oswestry, and 45 miles in a straight line from Liverpool. Liverpool has several extensive shipbuilding-yards, iron and brass foundries, chain-cable and anchor smithies, engine-works, tar and turpentine distilleries, rice and flour mills, tobacco, cigar, and soap manufactories, breweries, sugar-refineries, roperies, glass-works, chronometer and watch manufactories.
The architecture of the town has been greatly 2a improved in the later half of the 19th century, and it now possesses many fine thoroughfares, thronged with numerous splendid edifices. The Corinthian Town-hall was built in 1754, but has since been enlarged. St George's Hall (1838-54), in the GrAeco-Roman style, is nearly 500 feet long, and was built at a cost of £330,000. Muni-cipal offices, custom-house, sailors' home, police-courts, workhouses, baths and wash-houses, water-works, and gas-offices are also noteworthy. The Free Library and Museum (1860) cost £40,000 ; with it are incorporated the Museums of Natural History and Antiquities. Other institutions are the Walker Art Gallery, Picton Reading-room, Botanic Gardens, Observatory, Liverpool College, Liverpool Institute, Queen's College, Medical Institute, Royal Institution, Academy of Fine Arts, the Exchange, Lyceum, and Athenaeum. University College, on the model of Owens College, was inaugurated in 1882; its new Victoria Buildings were opened in December 1892. The college, affiliated to the Victoria University, Manchester, in 1884, is now by charter (1902) a distinct university, with about 50 professors and lecturers. Of some 270 churches and chapels, nearly 100 belong to the Established Church. The see of Liverpool was created in 1880. The Exchange, rebuilt and enlarged in French Renaissance style in 1864-67, cost about £600,000. There is a corn exchange, and several markets; the banks and clubs have handsome premises. Of monuments the chief are those of the Queen, Prince Albert, William IV., Nelson, Wellington, Huskisson, and Beaconsfield, besides several in the Town-hall, St George's Hall, Free Library, and parks. The parks are eight In number. There are seven cemeteries, only one of which is situated within the city. There are six daily (four morning and two evening) and four weekly newspapers, besides the Daily Telegraph and Bill of Entry, exclusively devoted to shipping matters, three weekly literary periodicals, and one scientific monthly magazine. Since 1885 Liverpool returns nine members.
Notable Liverpudlians have been Horrocks (the astronomer), Mrs Hemans, William Roscoe, A. H. Clough, Viscount Cardwell, Bishop Light-foot, General Earle, and Mr Gladstone; the modern writers Hall Caine, William Watson, J. A. Noble, and Richard Le Gallienne, have been called the 'Liverpool school.' Pop. (1561) 690; (1697) 5000 ; (1760) 25,700 ; (1801) 85,300 ; (1861) 443,938 ; (1881) 552,208 municipal and 601,050 parliamentary; (1901) 684,958 in municipal borough and county of the city, and 626,634 in parliamentary - a temporary reduction in 1S91 being caused by the pulling down of many houses to make room for new streets, increased trade requirements, etc.; and the removal of the population to the suburbs. In 1895 and 1902 the municipal boundaries were extended so as to take in a portion of the suburbs, bringing the pop. up to 702,247 (the parliamentary boundaries being unaltered). With Bootle, Birkenhead, and the suburbs beyond the new boundary, the population of the port may be stated to be over 880,000, of whom about 150,000 are Irish. The trade grew rapidly at the end of the 18th century, largely owing to the development of the cotton industry; and Liverpool, which gradually put Bristol in the shade, was the great headquarters of the slave-trade; as late as 1807 her shipowners had 185 vessels engaged in the business, capable of carrying about 44,000 slaves. It was expected that the port would not lose what Manchester gained by the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal (1894), but that the more economical management of the dock estate and reduced railway charges will bring more business to Liverpool than the canal will take away.
See Baines, History of the Commerce and Town of Liverpool (1852); Picton, Memorials of Liver-pool(2 vols 1873; 2d ed. 1876); and T. Ellison, The Cotton Trade of Great Britain (1886).