Merseyside or Liverpool City Region?


With Merseyside/Liverpool City Region being somewhat the centre of attention presently due to the recent spike in Covid 19 it’s been interesting to hear how the media and politicians interchange Merseyside with Liverpool City Region. I’ve even seen a posting on Twitter explaining what Liverpool City Region is made up of as even on Merseyside it’s a matter of some confusion with Joe and Jane Public.

First a bit of history. Merseyside was created as part of the big local government reorganisation which came into effect in 1974. It comprised and indeed still does comprise the council areas of Knowsley, Sefton, St. Helens, Wirral and Liverpool. Mrs. T did not like the uppity Metropolitan County Councils and the Greater London Council so she abolished them. The powers that were held by Merseyside Country Council were given to joint boards made up of councillors from the boroughs or they went straight to the borough councils. The lead photo is of one of the last surviving Merseyside County Council boundary signs that I know of. It’s on Cunscough Lane on the Bikerstaffe/Melling – Lancashire/Merseyside boundary or at least it was last time I looked. You’ll note that the County Council had a crest which is displayed on the sign.

Then many years later there was a developing trend, particularly amongst Tories, to ape US/Australian local/regional government process and with that came the creation of Liverpool City Region, a City Region Mayor and a Police Commissioner. It also meant that Liverpool City had two elected mayors leading to the City Mayor becoming known as the ‘Spare Mayor’ in some circles. I think it’s fair to say that Police Commissioners have been a complete flop whilst the regional mayors are hardly viewed as being a successful policy move either.

The difference geographically between Merseyside and Liverpool City Region (LCR) is that LCR includes the Borough of Halton (Widnes & Runcorn) and the graphic below illustrates the area covered by LCR

But why did Merseyside morph into Liverpool City Region? Well it happened whilst I was leader of Sefton Council and the theory was this. The Council Leaders were told that potential investors in Merseyside did not know where it was, whereas they did know where Liverpool wass. You can follow this through reasonably logically by thinking about the huge successes of Liverpool Football Club who together with the Beatles put Liverpool on the world map. I get all that but to be honest I was never particularly sold on dropping Merseyside for LCR but a decision had to be made so eventually LCR was the title agreed but not with much enthusiasm I think it fair to say.

The irony of where we are now due to Covid 19 is that LRC may well mean a clear area of the UK for outside investors but to locals, politicians and the media in the UK it’s still Merseyside.

The name change has not really worked and it possibly never will with locals.

5 thoughts on “Merseyside or Liverpool City Region?

  1. Phil Holden says:

    Nothing to do with political boundaries but brought up in Maghull I always felt part of Liverpool/Merseyside. Later on living in St Helens and working in Widnes I very much felt not part of Merseyside: to me they are different places, having more in common with Wigan and Leigh than Liverpool or Manchester. (Did I hear anyone say the mythical county of Woolly Back Shire?) But I guess lines have to be drawn somewhere on maps.
    Having family connections with those parts of what I regard as Lancashire I am fond of that area and it’s not clear to me that the bits in LCR have benefited from being associated with Liverpool, unless you count getting a Gateway Bridge so you can flyover Widnes and Halton as quickly as possible without risking actually going into them…..

  2. Stu Nutt says:

    The local Virus Regs are just as confusing. One page on BBC News online reports that Liverpool ans a few towns on the outskirts have recieved new virus restrictions (but no mention of North Merseyside), However, when I type in my Southport post code to check the rules here I get “Merseyside” and it looks like the same rules as described for Liverpool — “rule of 6” forgotten and now no families allowed to mix.

  3. Jonathan Cadwallader says:

    None of this is helped by rather outdated postal addresses, giving the impression that some towns are part of Liverpool. For example, Formby and Crosby have Liverpool as part of their postal addresses whereas Bootle which actually adjoins Liverpool is officially Bootle, Merseyside. A long time ago there might have been some justification for the Liverpool association as it helped postal sorting but postcodes render that unnecessary. In any case, there is no longer a main sorting office in Liverpool, all local post being routed via Warrington.
    Merseyside is a concise description of the area, Liverpool City Region is a clumsy descriptive that will never catch on in general conversation.

  4. Joe says:

    There’s a group, which I’m not a member of, called British Counties Campaign. They would like to see brown tourist signs indicating the traditional county boundaries. A thirty-odd year old friend of mine who proudly had a map of Merseyside on her wall had no idea that it was created from Cheshire and Lancashire by a Tory government as recently as the 1970’s. It would be easier for our politicians to grasp that south of the Mersey is Cheshire and north of the Mersey is Lancashire. So, maybe we should have county signs and postal addresses that are aligned to our county palatines and not our administration districts. Birkenhead, Runcorn, Stockton Heath in Cheshire. Liverpool, Widnes, St Helens, Warrington in Lancashire etc.

  5. Victoria says:

    When were we consulted about the name Liverpool City region? I understand the ‘selling point’ of the term Liverpool and if that is the case, fine but what about our current title of Merseyside? We can’t have both so what is the future strategy please? Residents as well as businesses need clarity.

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