Liverpool’s official history starts on the 28th August 1207, when King John ‘founded’ the area of ‘Liuerpul’ granting it the status as an official town in his Royal Charter.
The Charter meant a great deal to the small village and people living there. Whereas in the past everything there belonged to the King, the Charter gave them more freedom in the things they bought and sold, and generally improved their lives. King John invited people to come and live in the area as they could now rent a house and a piece of land to grow things.
The Charter meant that the area was being helped to develop – there would be a market day established there, and this helped to bring tradesmen in once a week.
There was a court to sort out problems, and a ferry to take people across the River Mersey.
King John himself saw Liverpool as an ideal place to form a base for his ships to invade Ireland and Wales from. He built a Castle in the area that we now call Castle Street, and in fact the village of Liverpool was only made up of seven streets in this area. Many of these streets survive today; They were Dale Street, Castle Street, Chapel Street, Moor Street (now Tithebarn Street), Bancke Street (now Water Street), Peppard Street (Old Hall Street) and Juggler Street (High Street). Maybe only 100 or 200 people lived in Liverpool at this time.
See our collection of historical postcards from the 1907 Liverpool Pageant
Read more about King John and the Founding of Liverpool
Information about King John
Background to the 1207 Charter
Translation of the Charter