Liverpool is world famous as the city where the Beatles came from.
There are three tunnels under the River Mersey: one railway tunnel, and two road tunnels, Queensway Tunnel and Kingsway Tunnel. There is also the Mersey Ferry, made famous by the song Ferry Cross the Mersey by Gerry and the Pacemakers. In fact the song is now played on the ferryboats themselves every time they prepare to dock at Liverpool.
The inhabitants of Liverpool are noted for their distinctive accent, called Scouse; those who speak it are dubbed Scousers. Inhabitants of Liverpool are known as "Liverpudlians." In London and elsewhere Liverpublians are sometimes known as "Mickey Mousers" (from Cockney rhyming slang Scouse - Mickey Mouse).
The underground system of Arriva Trains Merseyside, also called Merseyrail, is one of the most frequent British commuter systems outside London. Services run on two lines comprising 120 route-km serving the Liverpool suburban area. The Wirral line, extending under the river Mersey, links Liverpool with West Kirby, Ellesmere Port, New Brighton and Chester. The Northern Line links Liverpool with Ormskirk, Kirkby, Southport and Hunts Cross (map (http://www.arriva.co.uk/Real/Web/Arriva/Internet/lowry.nsf/ee1a4e07c1a489f4802566560048f213/149d84208c0984f880256ba600327a27?OpenDocument)).
Liverpool has two universities - the University of Liverpool, and Liverpool John Moores University[?], which is one of the polytechnics given university status in 1992 and is named after the owner of Littlewoods[?].
Liverpool has a vibrant artistic life, and has an art gallery, the Walker Art Gallery[?], which has some important paintings, including some pre-Raphaelites, and the Tate Liverpool gallery houses the modern art collection of the Tate in the north of England. It also has a flourishing orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra which performs in its own hall, the Philharmonic Hall[?]. It also became well known for poetry, with several poets, including Adrian Henri[?] and Roger McGough central in the group of Liverpool poets[?].
The origins of the city are usually dated from August 1207 when Liverpool was proclaimed as a borough and a port. Initially its role was as a dispatch point for troops sent to Ireland. However, even by the middle of the 16th century the population of Liverpool was only around 500, and the area was regarded as subordinate to Chester until the 1650s. There were a number of battles for the town during the English Civil War, including an eighteen day siege in 1644.
Liverpool Castle[?] was built in the 13th century and was removed in 1726.
It was only in the 18th century, as trade from the West Indies was added to that of Ireland and Europe that Liverpool began to grow, gaining the first wet dock in Britain in 1715. Substantial profits from the slave trade helped the town grow in prosperity. It is also from this period that Liverpool's Black community date their origin. Within five years of this the population had reached 10,000. By the beginning of the 19th century, 40% of the world's trade was passing through the docks at Liverpool.
Liverpool expanded significantly in the nineteenth century and a number of major buildings were constructed (St. George's Hall, Lime Street Station etc.). Liverpool was granted city status in 1880.
During the first part of the twentieth century Liverpool continued to expand; the population was over 850,000 in 1930. During World War II there were eighty air-raids on Merseyside, with an especially concentrated series of raids in May 1941 which interrupted operations at the docks for almost a week. Although only 2,500 people were killed, almost half the homes in the metropolitan area sustained some damage and 11,000 were totally destroyed.
After the war there was (naturally) significant rebuilding, with several massive housing estates constructed as well as the Seaforth Dock[?], the largest dock project in Britain. However, the city has been suffering since the 1950s; as employers left the population has fallen (460,000 in 1985) - the decline in manufacturing and the docks striking the city particularly hard.
The city has reorientated towards culture and is currently European City of Culture for 2008, the city's second attempt at winning the accolade. Tourism is also a signigficant factor in Liverpool's economy, capitalising on the popularity of the 1960s pop group The Beatles and other groups of the Merseybeat era.
A number of people from Liverpool and Sheffield died, or were severely injured in the Hillsborough disaster of 1989. This had a traumatic effect on people in both cities, and also resulted in legally imposed changes in the way in which football fans have been accommodated in football stadiums since.