Five things to do in Merseyside for anyone interested in History this summer
Posted on: 8 June 2018 in 2018 posts
With summer now upon us, you might be looking for things to do in Merseyside before the start of the new term (trust us, this will come around very quickly!). While teaching may be over until September, there’s still plenty of things to do and see in the area that relate to History: from a World War Two bunker to Liverpool’s Old Dock.
Williamson Tunnels Heritage Centre
Constructed as an extension to a housing development project in the nineteenth century, the Williamson Tunnels were worked on from 1810 until local businessman Joseph Williamson’s death in 1840. The tunnels’ purpose? Well, we don't know for sure, though it’s speculated that the project was a way for Williamson to continue employing Liverpool workers following the completion of the housing development. This weird and wonderful labyrinth of tunnels can be accessed via the Williamson Heritage Centre on Smithdown Lane, within walking distance of the University.
Image: Williamson Tunnels
Church of Saint Luke
The marks of World War Two are still evident in the city through the Church of Saint Luke (colloquially known as the Bombed Out Church) which holds the scars of the 1941 Liverpool Blitz. While the church still stands as a memorial to those fallen in the war, the church also hosts cultural events throughout the year: from live concerts to film screenings. You can find details of upcoming events on the Bombed Out Church website.
Image: Church of Saint Luke
Port Sunlight Village
William Hesketh Lever founded Port Sunlight Village in 1888 to provide accommodation for the workers at his factory, Sunlight Soap, owned by Lever Brothers which went on to become the commercial giant Unilever. The village boasts over 900 Grade II listed buildings and is set amongst stunning parks and gardens. The Port Sunlight Museum shares the weird and wonderful history of this model industrial village, including the story of Ringo Starr’s first concert with The Beatles, which took place in the village in 1962. Port Sunlight also boasts the Lady Lever Art Gallery, one of the finest collections of fine and decorative art in the country.
Image: Port Sunlight
Located on Rumford Street, Western Approaches Museum is a wartime bunker originally used as a message cipher room during the Battle of the Atlantic, making it a hugely important landmark in the British war effort. The bomb-proof and gas-proof complex, which wasn’t even officially acknowledged until the 1960s, houses the Map Room used to plan the Battle of the Atlantic, documents and tools used to track enemy convoys, and preserves the working environment of one of the key nerve centres for British Intelligence in the Second World War.
Image: Liverpool War Museum
Liverpool's Old Dock
The overwhelming volume of ships using the port of Liverpool in the early eighteenth century led to the construction of The Old Dock in 1715, the first commercial enclosed wet dock in the world. However, by the early nineteenth century the Old Dock could no longer cope with the volume of ships using the port, and was closed in 1826. The Old Dock was rediscovered in excavations 175 years later in 2001, and views of the impressive 20 feet Old Dock walls are now open to the public through tours organised by the Merseyside Maritime Museum (you can even view a small portion of the Dock through a viewing window outside the John Lewis entrance of Liverpool One).
Image: Visit Liverpool