After the war Liverpool City Council decided that a clean start was needed. Along with the bombed houses, huge parts of the old Victorian city were bulldozed and thousands of families moved out of the city to live in Kirkby and Skelmersdale.
In some ways it marked the start of a downward turn in Liverpool’s fortunes. The 1960's may have given the world The Beatles but behind it the cities economy, like a lot of the countries industries, was starting to crumble.
By the 1970’s many factories and businesses were starting to close. Even the Docks, which had been the area that had provided Liverpool with huge wealth in the past, were in rapid decline. Thousands of people were left out of work, as the country's unemployment record reached it’s worst level in 50 years.
The 1980's started with arguably Liverpool's lowest point when (along with other UK cities) riots broke out in Toxteth. The area saw huge unemployment in the city and the population halved as people left for work elsewhere. The UK's view of Liverpool suffered badly through the inaccurate portral of it's people in TV programmes like Bread, Brookside and Harry’s Enfields ‘The Scousers’, not helped by the poor reputation of the city's Militant council.
The end of the 1980’s dealt Liverpool another huge blow, when on 15th April 1989 whilst watching the FA cup semi final, 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death at Hillsborough. An event largely due to mismanagement by the police and groundstaff.
In an attempt to solve the problems within the city the Government introduced a number of regeneration projects in the 1980’s. The most famous of these was the cleaning up of the Albert Dock, turning it into a shopping and leisure area. Another project was the short lived International Garden Festival, a huge garden and playground complex built on another disused Dock. Sadly, the festival wasn’t repeated and the garden’s went into decline, however a lot of the statues and attractions can be found scattered around the city today.
The regeneration of the city gathered pace during the 1990’s with an increasing number of museums, art galleries, attractions, pubs and restaurants opening in the city. By the year 2000 Liverpool was starting to re-invent itself as a tourist city, with The Beatles, and football drawing people in from all around the world.
In 2003, for it’s hard work and potential to progress even more, Liverpool was awarded the title of 'European Capital of Culture 2008'. It marked the start of huge re-building program in the city centre. The population of the city began to rise again as new jobs and prosperity started to return.
In marks the start of a new era in Liverpool’s history, and the end of this story.
Read more about the recent history of Liverpool
BBC - Toxteth Riots – 20 Years on
Toxteth Riots Gallery
BBC – International Garden Festival
Liverpool Militant council
Television Heaven – Boys from the Blackstuff
Visit Liverpool – Tourist Information