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Who's the daddy?

13 percent of kids here don't know. Plus St George's Hall could be new Registry Office

Published on November 19th 2010.

Who's the daddy?

THE number of children in Liverpool who have no father named on their birth certificate is almost double that of the rest of the UK.

The figure was revealed in a city council report that also disclosed a possible move of Liverpool’s Registry Office from the cramped Cotton Exchange to majestic St George’s Hall.

The national average for births registered without a father’s name is seven per cent, but in Liverpool it is closer to 13 per cent.

The statistic is likely to create problems for the busy registrar staff thanks to the proposed Welfare Reform Act, due next year, which will require the name of the father to be included on birth certificates. Staff will have to contact named “fathers” before the registrations can be completed.

But partly in a bid to attract more couples to go through marriage or civil partnership ceremonies, the prospect of exchanging vows in the splendour of St George’s Hall , instead of windy Old Hall St, is being suggested.

Despite its size and scale there has never really been a meaningful purpose for the hall since the Liverpool Court of Assizes quit the building in the 1980s to move into the Queen Elizabeth II High Court.

I always though the days of the Assizes were numbered once they stopped hanging people. Over 2,000 were dispatched to the gallows from St George’s Hall during its century and a half as a dispenser of “justice”.

The Victorian courtrooms are now a visitor attraction and an occasional location for film makers.

The Grand Hall, with its famous Minton tile floor, is used for dinners, grand balls and exhibitions.

It seems with increasing workloads, the current registry office is bursting at the seams and needs more space. Liverpool is one of just 76 offices in the UK designated to handle marriages and civil partnerships for foreign nationals. This is part of a strategy to combat the increasing number of “sham” marriages. Around 15 percent of the ceremonies in Liverpool now involve foreigners wishing to marry.

The Prince of Wales has described St George’s Hall as one of his favourite buildings and Sir John Betjeman said it was a building you would die for.

It’s also been called the country’s biggest village hall, a reference to its original use as a community gathering space. So it would seem appropriate if the births, and deaths as well as the marriages of the local population were all celebrated in such a setting. And as we emerge more and more as a multi-cultural society what better place in England to swear allegiance to your new homeland?

Liverpool Registry Office in the past year has

Births registered: 8,700

Births registered without a father being named: 1,100

Marriage and Civil Partnership ceremonies: 600

Civil Partnerships registered in Liverpool since 2005: 267

Marriage and Civil Partnerships at the 34 other premises licensed for ceremonies: 360

Birth, death and marriage certificates issued from archives: 30,000

Citizenship ceremonies: 1,550

The office holds around 7m records dating back to the 1830s.

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

HenpeckedNovember 17th 2010.

Appropriate St George's Hall used to be a court. If it becomes a registry office for weddings people will still go there to be 'sentenced'. No parole though.

The Youth of Today!November 17th 2010.

They don't know their own fathers' names?

The children of today really ARE stupid!

Stephen PhryeNovember 23rd 2010.

Two Cambridge University teams on 'University Challenge' last night and they were astoundingly ignorant.

The youth of today really are thick.

Dr. GrimstoneNovember 25th 2010.

Students demonstrate against Con-Dem efforts to limit higher education to a rich élite - Top marks!

Some of these students wreck the Guild of Students' own building - Black mark.

The ObserverNovember 25th 2010.

They were probably agents of the Young Conservatives or the Illiberal Dimbo-Prats.

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