Why we’re all celebrating Bootle’s 150th birthday
BOOTLE will celebrate its 150th birthday this week. The town, historically part of Lancashire and now a part of Sefton, was a was a key target in World War II, with up to 90% of its homes damaged during the Liverpool Blitz.
Since the war, Bootle has been hit again and again by adversity and austerity – but its communities always rise to the challenge and choose to look on the bright side.
Here we’ll take a look back at the history of the town, and reasons we can be proud of Bootle.
The escort ships which protected the convoys crossing the ocean during the Battle of the Atlantic were based at the town’s Gladstone Dock.
But in the 1960s-70s, the docks declined in importance and Bootle began to suffer high unemployment and a declining population.
Later, Bootle’s docks closed and this affected almost every other industry in the town.
The problems slowly gathered pace until Merseyside hit crisis point in the early 1980s. Even now, the area is one of the poorest in the country.
Despite all of this, Bootle has been the birth place of so many success stories.
Now Peel Ports is leading a substantial £400m transformation of the docks with the impressive Liverpool2 container terminal extension opening in November 2016, allowing the world’s biggest ships to dock here. The transformation on the Bootle economy promises to be equally impressive.
The town has produced a number of top-flight footballers – the most famous being Liverpool FC legend Jamie Carragher.
Jamie says Bootle means a lot to him, and he does a lot of work to help keep the streets of his childhood safe for the next generation of youngsters.
He now runs the Jamie Carragher Sports & Learning Academy at the Brunswick centre on Marsh Lane, not far from where he grew up.
He said: “We lived on Knowsley Road, which is around the corner from Marsh Lane. At one point my dad ran the Solly pub, which is just opposite the [Brunswick Youth Centre]
“We all loved football. I was a Blue, and played for the Merton Villas pub team.
“I had a lot of family and friends who looked out for me, there has always been a great community here.”
Former Royal Marine Andy Grant broke the 10k world record for below-the-knee amputees in 2016.
Andy, who grew up in Bootle, was injured in an IED (improvised explosive device) explosion in Afghanistan in February 2009 and had his right leg amputated in November 2010.
But the 29-year-old has since learned to ski, surf and skydive and won two gold medals and a bronze at the Invictus Games for injured servicemen and women.
He ran 10k in 37 minutes and 17 seconds – beating the previous record by 36 seconds.
HOUSE OF SCOUSE
House of Scouse is a charity that was set up in 2011 to raise funds for Bootle schoolboy Antony Fenlon who suffers with autism.
Since then, HOS has gone from strength to strength, raising more than £35,000 which has paid for two autism units, as well as contributing towards Marsh Lane boxing club and Mama Margaret St James pensioners club.
The project is heavily invested in the local community and holds fundraising events around the city.
HOS is a big supporter of local music and has worked with and supported X Factor’s Anthony Russell (also from Bootle), Rachel Chambers (lead singer for LMA Choir) and Astrid (Voice Kids), among other local talent.
A week-long celebration will take place in Bootle from Monday-Friday.
It’s part of a number of special occasions across South Sefton as both Bootle Strand Shopping Centre and the Girobank building mark their 50th birthdays.
Bootle’s 150th celebrations will include the unveiling of the refurbished Town Charter, signed in 1868, which has not been seen by the public for decades.
Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Dave Robinson, said: “I can’t wait for everyone to see the refurbished Charter, which has been lovingly restored by the fantastic team at The Atkinson in Southport.
“I’ve also called on a few famous ‘Bootleians’ to send special well wishes to their hometown on this landmark occasion so keep your eyes peeled!”
An exhibition displaying artefacts from Bootle’s history will be open from this week and there’ll also be scavenger hunts for children, and tours of Bootle Town Hall.
For more information or to book tickets please call 0151 934 2062 or email mayorsoffice@ sefton.gov.uk.
Jamie Carragher and X Factor star Anthony Russell
Record-breaking athlete Andy Grant grew up in Bootle
Post-WWII restoration works begin at Bootle Town Hall in this picture, thought to be from 1958
The Leeds-Liverpool Canal at Bootle Strand in glorious sunshine
Work on the £5m New Strand scheme in Bootle in 1967
Bootle MP Peter Dowd was born and bred in the town