The entire history of Liverpool is to be placed online in a unique project which will go live during the city’s 800th birthday year.
The city council’s Record Office and the University of Liverpool have been awarded £335k by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to build the “Liverpool in Print” website.
At its heart will be 156,000 references, including newspaper articles, documents and other print material from the city’s local studies catalogue, of which there is only one increasingly fragile copy. A worldwide search will be undertaken top locate additional material held in libraries and repositories elsewhere.
It includes details of the launch of the Liverpool to Manchester Railway in 1830, playbills for Liverpool theatres from the 1770’s onwards and rare copies of ‘Merseybeat’ magazine, which captured the explosion of pop music in the city at the height of Beatlemania.
Council leader Warren Bradley said: “Liverpool has a rich and varied history and is famous thanks to its period as second city of the British Empire and gateway to the new world.
“Liverpool in Print will enable people from Garston to Goa to find out more about the city’s unrivalled heritage, at the click of a mouse.
“The website will create an extremely valuable resource that will be the definitive guide for anyone wanting to know more about Liverpool’s past.”
The site will be developed into a significant online resource and will also include reader guides, descriptions of the items and essays on key themes.
David Stoker, Head of the Liverpool Record Office, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to create the most comprehensive and indispensable portal to Liverpool’s unique history.
“It will enable worldwide access to our current major resources and will complement the online access to the city’s extensive manuscript archives which are held here.”
The project is the result of a long standing partnership between the city council and the University of Liverpool to create a book to mark Liverpool’s 800th birthday in 2007.
Professor John Belcham from the University of Liverpool’s School of History said: “Building upon the knowledge and expertise acquired during the research for the book ‘Liverpool 800’, Liverpool in Print will become the indispensable point of reference for all aspects of Liverpool’s remarkable culture, character and history.”
The grant will be used to fund five staff, who will spend the next two and a half years building the website and scanning and uploading information.
The whole project will take three years to complete, but a significant amount will be placed on the website next year, the 800th anniversary of Liverpool being awarded its charter.