Welcome Bridge Map Places to Visit Canal Topics Miscellaneous

The pink areas in the 1967 map show the most obvious areas of change due to bombing. The red area doesn't seem to have changed much, but it is actually the site of Bootle's worst bombing disaster. Most of this is accidental damage;- the bombers were trying to hit the docks (off the left edge of the map) or the railway, or  the canal. The fact that an area is not coloured pink or red doesn't mean it wasn't damaged. It could be that:

1. It is an industrial unit which remains intact. For example, the "Sugar Refinery" in the 1927 map (between the canal and Merton Grove) becomes a "Syrup and Treacle" factory in the 1967 map. It was very badly damaged, but repaired and restored to use.

2. There was a lot of bomb damage not repaired until well after the 1967 map was made. In fact, bomb damage is still being corrected today. Almost nothing now remains of the area bordered by the green line on the map, but the industrial and residential units were patched up and put back into use until the 1980s , still bearing the scars.

I think there is enough pink to make the point that Bootle was very badly bombed during WW2.

REBUILDING

You may have noticed that a lot of the houses on the 1927 map above is densely packed, small, with little outside space available to households. But it was worse than that, most of the densely packed houses were also overcrowded. The situation had come about because Bootle and Liverpool were thriving ports for nearly two centuries by the time the war began. So people flocked to the port take advantage of the relatively high wages. Also, millions of people from all over Europe came to Liverpool to sail to America, and many of them stayed here. One particularly noteworthy influx came from the Irish potato famine, with over 30,000 immigrants crowded into the cellars of Vauxhall alone.

Towards the end of the war, the Government produced the "Merseyside Plan, 1944" which divided Liverpool and its environs onto three concentric zones, effectively demanding that, after the war, the town planners should develop spacious housing estates on green field sites outside the towns, the outer limit of this exploitation being the Leeds and Liverpool Canal to the North and, what is now the M57 to the East. In this way they could solve the overcrowding problem, providing decent sized homes on decent sized plots. The 1950s housing you see on canal side housing estates in Netherton is relatively spacious compared to most family homes, and every single house has a garden.  Most of the housing in Old Roan/Aintree is pre-war.

Within the towns of Bootle and Seaforth, in the innermost zone, you will see several 1960s high rise blocks of flats. Although such housing gained a bad reputation throughout the 1980s and 1990s, good management means that many of the blocks are fully occupied. The local housing managers have adopted the French model of secure housing under the care of a "Consierge". Some of the blocks have been refurbished and command above average rental prices.

Of course, a house beside the canal is a sought after “waterfront” property.

THE MOST BOMBED SQUARE MILE IN THE COUNTRY?

During WW2, over 90% of the war materials and supplies (including food) brought from America landed at Liverpool and Bootle docks. Convoy escort groups, and later, anti-submarine groups, were stabled at Gladstone Dock in Bootle. Consequently, Bootle and Liverpool suffered severe bombing. Locals will tell you that the area around Gladstone docks was the most bombed in the country, and there's a lot of evidence to back up the claim.

Although the enemy bombers were aiming for legitimate targets, such as the docks and railways, bomb aiming equipment was not very good in those days. So, there was an enormous amount of damage to houses during that period, and many people lost their lives. Some people estimate 90% of houses on Merseyside, and 95% of houses in Bootle were damaged or destroyed.

Take a look at these two maps of the same area of Bootle from 1927 and 1967.

                                              1927                                                                                                                                             1967

ABOVE:- Alexander House in Seaforth nearing the end of its refurbishment. The 1960s structure has been re-appointed, and the exterior clad in insulation to improve energy efficiency. Double glazing is fitted throughout, and new penthouse apartments have been added on top. With views extending West across the Irish Sea, South to Wales, East to the Pennines and North to the forest of Bowland, rental prices are very high.

RIGHT:- Spacious canal side housing with spacious gardens built in the 1950s. The garden on the left has been extended by inclusion of the old alleyway that led to the footbridge that was here from 1959 to 1993. As you can see, the occupants of these houses maintain the "Carrying Star" artwork. Fence painting is now complete.