Whether we’re a red or a blue, us Liverpudlians all have one thing we can all agree on… we are all extremely proud of the city we come from.
Clearly, the love for Liverpool doesn’t stop when you get over the Mersey as we were named the European Capital of Culture 2008, have two of the world’s biggest football teams and we’re home to the best-selling band of all time, The Beatles.
But, what other influences have we had on the world?
Ah, the humble crossword. Simple and inexpensive, it was once the best way to entertain yourself after a long day, but did you know they were invented by a Liverpool local? It was, in fact, Arthur Wynne, a journalist from Liverpool who created the crossword when working on the puzzle page of his newspaper in 1913.
Although the crosswords we know today have been slightly adapted from Arthur’s original, it is still one of the most popular puzzles in the world being featured in most newspapers worldwide 103 years later.
The Liver Building
Home to our precious Liver Birds, The Royal Liver Building was opened in 1911 and is one of Liverpool’s famous Three Graces. The stunning structure has been a major attraction for locals and visitors alike for years, but it’s not just the beautiful design that makes the building infamous, did you know the grade 1 listed building was the tallest storied building until 1932?
Not only that, it was one of the first buildings in the world to be built using reinforced concrete, paving the way for international engineering. Without the construction of The Royal Liver Building, we may not have some of the impressive skyscrapers we see across the world today.
Anyone who knows a thing or two about house music may be aware of Cream, a weekly house music night that was hosted at Liverpool’s Nation nightclub from 1992 to 2002. Within its 10 year stint, Cream gained global notoriety as one of the best-known club nights in the world and played host to many international DJ’s including Paul Oakenfold, Paul Van Dyk, Carl Cox and early exclusive DJ sets from The Chemical Brothers.
Following the success here in Liverpool, the time came to expand in 1994 when Cream started hosting parties in Ibiza. To this day, Cream continues to host one of the biggest club nights in Ibiza at the award winning club Amnesia.
Of course, when talking about scouse influences on the world, scouse deserves an honourable mention. The stew is a combination of beef or lamb, potato, carrots and onions, typically topped off with pickled cabbage and some crusty bread.
You’d be hard pushed to find a more comforting, hearty meal than a hot bowl of scouse, and it seems the word is spreading across the world… cue Global Scouse Day. Yes, there is an official holiday (28th February) set up to honour our local dish. You don’t have to be Scouse to enjoy scouse, but it certainly helps.
The Liverpool and Manchester Railway
Today, we don’t bat an eyelid when we hop on a train for our morning commute or a day of shopping, but it wasn’t until the first steam-powered railway, which opened in 1830, that transport was revolutionised around the world.
The Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR) was the first railway to rely on steam power only, signalling the end of the horse-drawn carriage method of transport. Speaking of signalling, it was also the first railway in the world to introduce signalling and timetables. Not that that isn’t impressive enough, L&MR where also the first railway to carry post. So, just remember that when you’re next opening your letters.
Merchant Taylor’s School/Arthur Witty
Barcelona FC is the second most valuable sports team in the world and the club colours are legendary, but what does this have to do with Liverpool?
It wasn’t until a gentleman called Arthur Witty joined Barcelona FC that the clubs colours and uniforms changed. If you think the colours look familiar, you’d be right. Arthur Witty was actually a student in Merchant Taylor’s school, Crosby, before he relocated to Spain with a love for sports. It wasn’t long until he was made the first president of the club in 1903, and as rumour would have it, he changed the crest and shirt design with inspiration from Merchant Taylor’s school colours.
The World’s First Fast Walking Lanes
It happens all the time, being stuck behind a slow walker when you need to be somewhere. Rather than asking them to move, we take the very British approach and stay behind the snail-walker so we don’t seem rude until we’re so wound up our head may explode at any minute. Sound familiar?
Well, residents of Liverpool shall fear no more, we are officially the first city to introduce ‘Fast Walking Lanes’ and yes, they are exactly what they sound like. Located on St John street, the marked lanes allow shoppers and commuters to speed through crowds and avoid the peak time frustration.
Since the opening, many other cities such as Belgium, Hong Kong and Washington DC have opened similar lanes, as well as variations including ‘Cellphone Walking lanes’. Ah, how times change
Lyceum – The World’s First Lending Library
Before the time of Kindles, iPads and E-books, the world relied on literature to study, entertain and broaden their artistic knowledge. Unless you were wealthy enough to afford every book you wanted (which was unlikely back in the 19th Century), the local library was your best friend. The Lyceum, located on Bold Street, has been said to have housed the world’s first lending library after its completion in 1802. Although the building has now fallen into a state of disarray, the impact its left on the world has been incredible, inspiring thousands more like it across the world.
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
First established in 1898, The School of Tropical Medicine became the first of its kind to open. As the usage of the Liverpool Docks soared, so did the amount of unknown diseases and infections that were making there way into the city through overseas trade.
The first appointed lecturer at the School, Ronald Ross, also went on to be the first British recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine following his work on malaria transmission. As of 2013, the school has projects operating in over 70 countries around the world, making travelling safer than ever. So to all of you travelling to exotic, exciting places this summer, you’re welcome.
Feminism. An idea supported by millions globally, and rightly so. In a time when hashtags and forums couldn’t raise awareness, our great, great, great grandma’s pulled together to make a change, and would be later known as the Suffragettes.
Kate Sheppard is widely recognised as the leader of the Suffragette movement, but most are unaware that Kate was originally from Liverpool before relocating to New Zealand at the age of 22. After campaigning for women’s rights, she helped pass the first suffrage bill in 1887. She also played a considerable role in organising the famous petition that finally granted women full voting rights.
As a homage to her work, her image is featured on New Zealand’s ten-dollar note. Without Kate Sheppard, we may never have known equality like we do today.
To learn more about the city of Liverpool, check out 18 Historic Photos of the Liverpool Waterfront.