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The Laz Word: An L of a name

No, not “Larry”, but “Liverpool”. So why is it that some people don't want it mentioned? wonders Mr Neild

Published on December 4th 2008.


The Laz Word: An L of a name

SOME who live in Snobhill, over on The Wirral, and a handful of former Scousers now masquerading as Lords of Ainsdale think Liverpool is a dirty word. But it isn’t. Honestly.

Never mind LFC coming up with the barmy notion of wanting to nick the Liver bird as their very own (money making) symbol, even Gillette and Horlicks couldn't afford to buy the name Liverpool.

We had people in
parts of the Wirral demanding to be rid
of ‘L’ prefixes in their post codes, fearing that association with Liverpool would damage their wealth

It’s a worldwide brand, one of the great place names on the planet. When I was on an official visit to Shanghai a while back, I visited a number of schools and asked the kids to name any UK cities. Not surprisingly London came out on top. Number two was Liverpool. Actually that was more or less it. Manchester got a mention if there happened to be a United fan in the class. Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Sheffield might as well have not existed.

Which is why I’ve been saying for some time Merseyside should brand itself to the outside world as Liverpool. How can I put this kindly? When you think of any region of the UK ending in the word ‘side’ is going to be an urban/industrial sprawl. Deeside, Humberside, Tyneside, Clydeside and yes, Merseyside.

If Greater Manchester had been called Irwellside it would be an industrial wasteland, if London had been called Thameside it wouldn’t be the capital of England.

Merseyside was created in 1974 with the formation of the county council, but

Thatcher got rid of it in the mid-1980s just because she wanted to abolish Ken Livingstone's Greater London Council.

Even then the Post Office didn’t recognise Merseyside for letter delivery purposes. Instead we had people in parts of the Wirral demanding to be rid of ‘L’ prefixes in their post codes, fearing that association with Liverpool would damage their wealth.

Wigan, on the other hand, is happy to be lumped with Brand Manchester if it means economic regeneration alongside their pier and slagheaps.

Last week Mike Storey, one time leader of the city council and currently deputy Lord Mayor, uttered the ‘L’ word and upset the neighbouring tribal leaders.

Nobody is suggesting taking away the identities of Wirral, Sefton, St Helens and Knowsley, but ‘selling’ Merseyside abroad would be more successful if the Liverpool brand was used.In 1974 there had been talk of calling it Greater Liverpool. That idea went down like lead balloon, because – as I said last week – we really are fiends and neighbours.

What’s needed is a bit of maturity and less pig-headedness. When our Mersey sales teams go out into the world they have to spend half the time explaining where and what Merseyside is, whereas they could sum it up in one word, Liverpool.

Cllr Storey’s suggestion we call the area Greater Liverpool has come under fierce attack. So here’s what they should do – organise a marketing pow-wow, chaired by somebody who knows a lot about branding, but has no flag to fly for any part of Nobody-knows-where-we-are-side, and see how they read the smoke signals. Instead I fear we will continue with our village approach to our global image.

If Wirral were a world-wide brand I would be more than happy to tag onto its coat tail.

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54 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

dragansDecember 1st 2008.

Where on earth did you get the idea that Wigan is happy to be part of Greater Manchester. Given a vote in the matter the majority would opt to return to Lancashire - especially as that's how most people in the area give their postal addresses. You'll probably find that many areas of 'Merseyside' would prefer to return to their old shires, too.

HelpfulDecember 1st 2008.

OK. Silver Tiara is talking about Chester, not Liverpool. Dig.

DigDecember 1st 2008.

Most people only take notice of the administrative counties nowadays don't they? How about just 'Great' Liverpool? I'm sure that would be generally more acceptable to the stubborn and the anti (Greater) Manchester brigade. The Duchy has approximately 18800 hectares of land around The Palatine County of Lancaster. Fascinating subject that Duchy. I didn't even know it existed until this thread. Thanks Dukedom.

Professor ChucklebuttyDecember 1st 2008.

How do you do it Larry? You always start off with an interesting premise for an article and then you start going on about stew and bread or something equally obscure. I think judging by events over the last few years the name Grotty Cash covers the region quite well and is an internationally renowned brand name.

Rusty SpikeDecember 1st 2008.

Erm...with respect to Laz and Lord Street, I recall that ideas for renaming Merseyside were being bandied about even in the late 1980s, Greater Liverpool being one AND Liverpool City Region...but then nothing is new, eh?Mind you, I agree wholeheartedly with Larry that anyone charged with marketing 'Merseyside' anywhere in the world, even the rest of the UK, is in for a hammering for nothing, as it actually means nothing to anyone else - why should it? The banks of the Mersey. Yeh? So, sod it, why not just get on with flogging Liverpool as Liverpool - as Larry points out the name is recognised internationally - and let the other gobeens have a bash at promoting their own patches and see how they get on with bugger all to brag about: Wirral Where (?)...for a start, Knowsley Knowhere, Sefton's Kinda Supa Grim or St Helen's What? Apropos the latter, I've always wondered if the person/s who named the Town Once at the Centre of Glass, got fed up towards the end a long day of pondering and meant to write: St Helen's Backyard or St Helen's Sandals or St Helen's Special Cabbages.....or whatever, or indeed maybe just ran out of ink or ideas....Incidentally, who was St Helen?

Liverpool ConfidentialDecember 1st 2008.

Thanks for that. It's not often that we drop an e.

BondDecember 1st 2008.

Birkenhead born, I feel sad for the narrow blinkered people who don't want to be involved with Liverpool.No city outside London is as world famous as Lpool and if I still lived in Merseyside I would lobby for the whole region to improve its name and Greater Liverpool would be ideal.

Jack 'The Hat' McVitieDecember 1st 2008.

Isn't Cheshire where all the gangsters live?

silver tiaraDecember 1st 2008.

rusty spike! that bllody Duke of Westminster has plowed loads of money into Liverpool and he lives in Chester he has abandoned thhis city so he can make money out of Liverpool! we dont even have a theatre or a cinema in our city centre! but has left us with no decent entertainment for local people! ! and no where to park,leaving the local retailers losing out on busines!

DigDecember 1st 2008.

It's official. What you call Scouse or Hotpot determines what you are. Thanks for clearing that up Dukedom. I call it Irish Stew. 32 years and I've only just found out I'm Irish bejesus. Good excuse for a few pints in Pogues. Got to celebrate my new found Irish roots. My parents will be surprised.

oscyDecember 1st 2008.

Why try and rename it. why not just demolish it and spare the nation the embarrassment of being associated with this anachronistic dump run by a bunch of lazy crooks for their cronies?Better still, turn it into a tip for the rest of modern Britain, the filthy streets are half way there already.

DigDecember 1st 2008.

You're just making all this up Dukedom. I'm going to make my own rules up too. As I currently live in Sefton, when Cheshire is abolished Sefton will become Seftonshire to take Cheshires place on the map and I will be Lord Dig of Seftonshire. Cheshire cheese will become Seftonshire therefore safeguarding the future production of Cheshire cheese when Cheshire ceases to exist. You may also address me as The Big Cheese.

DukedomDecember 1st 2008.

Thanks Liverpool Lou for bringing the debate back to Laz's opening shot that we should ditch the word Merseyside.People need to differentiate between the historic shire county boundaries and the administrative boundaries. As I said centuries ago Liverpool remains part of the County Palatine of Lancashire and will do so for all time.When the Runcorn-Widnes bridge was built it carried the Lancashire red rose on the Widnes side and the Cheshire acorns on the Runcorn side, because the river has always been the dividing line.Incidentally the Queen is also the Baron of Halton and one of the propoerties owned by her is the freehold of Halton Castle. It was, probably still is, administered by her office known as the Dutchy of Lancaster. The Dutchy of Lancaster, headed by the Queen who is the Duke of Lancaster, looks after the Royal estates. It's like a trusted management company for Royal households.Thought you may be interested in this slight diversion. Any let's toast Greater Liverpool.

Wirral WayDecember 1st 2008.

Wirral is Cheshire and always will be. Just as our cousins in Southport are Lancastrians and always will be. Merseyside, I agree, is a slur on the region, but an even worse slur on the Wirral is to lump it in with Liverpool. We have never been part of Liverpool and we never will be. Do I make myself clear?

DigDecember 1st 2008.

Point taken Silver Tiara thank you. I'll be calling in for a cuppa next time I go the races or the DVLA. I do love The Gateway to Liverp, Lanc, Wales, whatever the hell Chester is these days. Is that cattle market Brannigans still there? Ex used to live in Delamere and work in a few boozers around Chester. Haven't had a good night out there for a while. Althought part of the good night wasn't in Brannigans.

chester-le-streetDecember 1st 2008.

why change the name?? if it aint broke dont fix it! by the way i have a book here dated 1957 called Liverpool(THE HISTORY OF LIVERPOOL FROM 1207) by George Chandler and he talks about MERSEYSIDE, seems like its been called that for hundreds if years! so whats the problem?

AnonymousDecember 1st 2008.

In Chester, Dig?

Stockton HeathDecember 1st 2008.

What will we do about Warrington, a Lancashire town that milks its post-1974 spurious Cheshire-ness?

DukedomDecember 1st 2008.

Dig, you are a Scouser and a Lancastrian. Liverpool remains part of the County Palatine of Lancashire, which is separate from the adminsitrative County Council of Lancashire. The northern edge of the River Mersey through Liverpool towards Widnes and Warrington is the border of the Palatine County, which incidentally also includes Manchester.Scousers are people born or brought up in Liverpool, though that can be extended depending on loyalties. People who live in, say Kirkby, with Liverpool origins, can also be called Scousers by choice.The southern banks of the Mersey defined the border of the shire county of Cheshire.Simple taste test - if the stew you eat is called Scouse you are a scouser. If it's called hot pot you are wearing your Lancashire red rose badge.The Queen, by the way, is also the Duke of Lancaster, which also means as well as Liverpool's Queen she's our Duke.

DukedomDecember 1st 2008.

Dig, Birkenhead is in Cheshire and it is in Merseyside. Just to confuse things prior to 1974 Birkenhead was a County Borough Council which meant it was neither part of Cheshire, nor Merseyside. Then in 1974 it was gobbled up by Wirral which became part of Merseyside County Council. Just to add to the confusion Cheshire County Council is being abolished so Birkenhead will become 'shire-less'. What better reason for it to ally itself to dependable and well-known Liverpool. Wirral can jump on the Scouse bus as well. Just to encourage them over the water, let's all start using this as an address ..... Lord Snooty of KnobHill Hall, Prenton Road, Birkenhead, near Liverpool. That'll catch on and there's no mistake.

Liverpool LouDecember 1st 2008.

Sorry about the 'deliberate' mistake. Of course I meant Greater Liverpool!!!!

silver TiaraDecember 1st 2008.

who cares where Liverpool is for goodness sake! its whats IN the areas that matters! mind you i laughed the other day when i read that CHESTER is the GATEWAY TO LIVERPOOL! WTF!!!! Chester has ALWAYS been the GATEWAY to WALES!were on the border for chrissakes! so our council havent got an effin clue where they are! mind u i think we have a few derek hatton wannabees in the council here in CHESTER - DIG!!! ---oh and by the way i was born in Dingle, at home, with a veiw of the Mersey , how scouse is that!

Where's WallaseyDecember 1st 2008.

"Plow"? You obviously live in the United States - I do hope you haven't taken a British job! We have a million unemployed you know!

silver tiaraDecember 1st 2008.

dont forget if the name does change to Greater Liverpool it would be pronounced GRASER LIVERPEWL! how cool will that sound! ??????

AnonymousDecember 1st 2008.

Wirral postcode changed to CH because the sorting office is in Chester.Nothing to do with where residents wanted to pretend to be from.Merseyside is quite a grim sounding name so, yeah, why not get rid?Don't make a big deal about it though. Also, what do you mean, 'great brands on the plant'?? do you mean 'planet'??er...editor's day off obviously.

DigDecember 1st 2008.

Are you serious Silver Tiara? I came across a cinema in the City Centre last night. Big Odeon in the impressive Liverpool One. We also have a few theatres in the City. The Everyman, The Unity, The Playhouse, The Empire. The Phil & The Royal Court also get used. I'm sure LIPA gets used now and again too. I don't think there's a shortage of multi storeys or car parks either.

DukedomDecember 1st 2008.

Dragan, Wigan is also part of the County Palatine of Lancashire, so it can proudly remain a bit of the Red Rose County, even though it, in 1974, was dragged - probably kicking (cloggs of course) and screaming into Greater Manchester. As for Big Cheese, we can all live with Seftonshire, even though it would remain part of Lancashire along with good old Wigan. The chese things opens a whole new world .... what about crumbly Lancashire Cheese, when they abolish Cheshire can we call it Cheshire Cheese. Maybe they could call it Red Wirral.

Princess ParkDecember 1st 2008.

Dig if Liverpool isnt carefull it will become "one of those is a dirty, smelly, overrated claustrophobic, congested and overpriced city with arrogant, ignorant and impolite people"i lived in Liondon for 15 years and had a wonderful time there! im from Liverpool but felt more home sick leaving London to come back 'up north' than i did when i left Liverpool to look eleswhere for jobs that weret available in my home town! even now theres no work there for people in the film industry as they keep bringing in southerners to do the jobs 'locals' are very well capable of doing! its ben happening for over 15 years!

Liverpool LouDecember 1st 2008.

Born in Liverpool, when it was still in Lancashire (so a red roser!) Eat hotpot (made with lamb) live on Wirral. I have never liked the term Merseyside for all the reasons listed above, but would be more than happy to live in Greater Merseyside (let's face it it did Manchester no harm, and gave the impression that it is a much bigger place then it actually is).By the way, even on Wirral I always say "the Queen, the Duke of Lancaster". And I have it on good authority, the High Sheriff of Merseyside, no less; that it is quite correct - and she got that from Buckingham Palace!!!Just let's get rid of that much derided term Merseyside and say YES to Greater Liverpool!

DigDecember 1st 2008.

Congratulations to Mark Leckey, from Birkenhead no less. Wherever it is. I heard it's in Cheshire. How can that be? I thought The Wirral was part of Merseyside. Aren't Merseyside and Cheshire 2 seperate counties? Somebody will probably tell me they're both in Lancashire. Cheesemakers heads must be spinning. For all we know we could be eating Cheshire mistaking it for Lancashire and vice versa. Trading Standards will be hearing from my cheese solicitor.

Eggy ValeDecember 1st 2008.

Council salaries don't go far with house prices and rents what they are in Liverpool. The overwhelming majority of council employees are low-paid. They are not to be confused with the overpaid shower that feature regularly in Liverpool Confidential and Liverpool subCulture.

AnonymousDecember 1st 2008.

Isn't Ikea on the left hand side? Well it is if you're coming from MANCHESTER

DigDecember 1st 2008.

I'm back to being a Scouser. My head this morning after drinking all that Guinness last night put paid to my being Irish. Also I'm no good at poetry and I got beat up by a Pikey for not having any Irish decendants. I will be celebrating my new found Scouseness. Just not sure how and where yet, I'm open to suggestion.

KagsDecember 1st 2008.

Listen very caerphilly, I will say this only once.

DukedomDecember 1st 2008.

To avoid any doubt about whether Liverpool, Seftonshire, Knowsleyside and St Helensville are all part of Lancashire, this may be useful: The Duchy of Lancaster is one of the two Royal Duchies in England, the other being the Duchy of Cornwall, and is the personal (inherited) property of the monarch. Despite the name, the duchy is effectively a property company (though it pays no corporation tax), and it consists of 46,200 acres (18,700 ha, including key urban developments, historic buildings, and farm land in many parts of England and Wales, as well as large holdings in Lancashire. As of fiscal year 2007, the Duchy is valued at £397 million, with a net profit of £11.9 million, thus yielding 3% return.[2] All revenue profits from the Duchy of Lancaster distributed to the Sovereign are subject to income tax.In addition to holding land in Lancashire, the Duchy of Lancaster also exerts some powers and ceremonial duties of The Crown in Lancashire and Greater Manchester, Merseyside and the Furness area of Cumbria, which together form the "County Palatine of Lancaster". Since the Local Government Act 1972, the Duchy holds and exerts the right to appoint Sheriffs and Lord Lieutenants in the ceremonial counties of Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire, including those areas from the historic county boundaries of Cheshire and Yorkshire.Lancashire has a brilliant history as Google will show.

Elvis PrentonDecember 1st 2008.

People who want to live on the Wirral should find jobs on the Wirral, simple as that. There should be a rule that if you want to work in Liverpool you should have to live in Liverpool. Plow back in the money you make, to make the city richer. This is such a simple idea, I can't believe it doesn't happen. How many council workers live outside Liverpool?

silver tiaraDecember 1st 2008.

oh yeah by the way Greater Liverpool sounds stupid!

DigDecember 1st 2008.

Sorry, Merseyside aint in Lancashire.After 1914, many of Lancashire's smaller townships and parishes were rationalised and combined, as was the case with Lytham St Anns, Morecambe and Heysham. By 1955 Lancashire had 17 county boroughs, 26 municipal boroughs, 66 urban districts and 14 rural districts.1974 saw massive reorganisation and rationalisation, with the county effectively being truncated as three major areas were taken out of its domain: Boroughs like Wigan, Rochdale, Oldham and Bolton were absorbed into the newly created Greater Manchester Metropolitan County. Similarly, parts of Sefton, Liverpool and St Helens were incorporated into the new Merseyside Metropolitan County. Finally, the Furness and Cartmel Peninsulas in the southern Lake District were taken out of Lancashire and since then have been part of the county of Cumbria.The End.If you wish to take notice of The Duchy you do that. I'll live in the modern real world thanks. Regards, Lord Dig of Seftonshire.

DigDecember 1st 2008.

Sorry Silver Tiara. I see what you mean now. Didn't read it properly. Apologies.

Board TreaderDecember 1st 2008.

Silver Tiara is talking about Chester being left in the doldrums by the property developers after they're demolished the Chester Gateway Theatre leaving the place a cultural wasteland with too many Hollyoaks planks.

Elvis PrentonDecember 1st 2008.

Yes I do live in the United States. How about you?

DigDecember 1st 2008.

Chester? I don't know what you mean sorry.

head doctorDecember 1st 2008.

Nurse!

BondDecember 1st 2008.

I wholeheartedly agree with the writer who says that "Merseyside" is an awful name. It is! It's a third rate name.Why not "Greater Liverpool" for the region? I live out of Liverpool but would have no objection at all. In fact I believe those living in surrounding areas ought to be proud of it.

KagsDecember 1st 2008.

If you put a tin of Irish stew on the gas ring, does that make it a hob Goblin?

DigDecember 1st 2008.

I haven't got a clue what I am any more. I always thought I was from Liverpool, a Scouser. Never once thought of myself of being from Lancashire. I thought the boundaries shifted back in 1974. According to a couple of people here I'm not a Scouser. I'm not sure where I'm from any more! I grew up in Knowsley and I've lived in Sefton for a good few years now. Am I a Scouser or not? What are the rules? Does anybody know? Everybody seems to make them up as we go along to suit themselves. In that case, I'm a Scouser, I'm from Liverpool and proud of my city. There, that's that sorted la.

AnonymousDecember 1st 2008.

I thought Mike Storey wanted people to drop the CH.

DigDecember 1st 2008.

London might be better known around the world than Liverpool. Only one of those is a dirty, smelly, overrated claustrophobic, congested and overpriced city with arrogant, ignorant and impolite people. There's only one capital in my eyes. The Capital of Culture 2008.

BBC Head of Gaslight entertainmentDecember 1st 2008.

cue the canned laughter.

Lord StreetDecember 1st 2008.

Pass the Duchy on the left-hand side?

Edwina CurryDecember 1st 2008.

Sag Aloo Aloo.

stanleyfartDecember 1st 2008.

who cares?Liverpool is so irrelevant to the modern world anyway.Manchester is the place in the north west where the action is. It has become the second city of the UK.Liverpool can rot along with its ugly old buildings and inner city slums.

Rusty SpikeDecember 1st 2008.

How come Gerald 'The Duke of Westminster' isn't a Scouser? He lives in and owns most of Cheshire which is almost Wirral, which is of course Merseyside, and of course is the geezer behind the new shopping centre in Liverpool which everyone seems to think - to the point of dribbling with glee - has transformed the city into a modern metropolis, rather than just banged together another anonymous jumble of arty farty boutiques and fashion shops that could be anywhere from Bournemouth to Biggin Hill. I think there should be a campaign: Gerry The Duke for Scousedom. I reckon Pete Price could pick up this....

Liverpolitan LilDecember 1st 2008.

Poor, poor Wirral Way. You make yerself perfectly clear, which is why we - including Wirral - will remain a backwater. Liverpool, incidentally, is also part of Lancashire. There will be people in the UK who don't know where Wirral is and as for the rest of the world it might as well be on the Moon.It's your tribal rivalry that's holding back our regeneration. It's funny though how many Wirralites are happy to slag off Liverpool, yet are even more happy to come to the city every day to earn their money. Selfish or wot?

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