( ) is a metropolitan county
in North West England
, with a population of
1,365,900. Taking its name from the River Mersey, Merseyside came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974, after the passage
of the Local Government Act
1972, and the county consists of five metropolitan boroughs adjoining the
Estuary, including the City of Liverpool. Merseyside County Council was abolished in 1986, and so its districts (the
metropolitan boroughs) are now effectively unitary authorities.
metropolitan county continues to exist in law and as a geographic
frame of reference. Merseyside is divided into two parts by the
Estuary: the Metropolitan Borough of
Wirral is located to the west of the estuary on the Wirral
Peninsula; the rest of
the county is located on the eastern side of the estuary.
eastern boroughs of Merseyside border Lancashire to the north and Greater Manchester to the east, and both parts of Merseyside, west and
east of the estuary, border Cheshire to the
south. The territory comprising the county of
Merseyside previously consisted of the county boroughs of Birkenhead, Wallasey, Liverpool, Bootle, Southport and St Helens. Birkenhead and Wallasey were part of the
county of Cheshire, whilst
Liverpool, Bootle, Formby Southport and St Helens were part of
the county of Lancashire.
was designated as a "Special Review" area in the Local Government Act 1958, and the
Government Commission for England started a review of this area
in 1962, based around the core county boroughs of Liverpool/Bootle/Birkenhead/Wallasey. Further areas, including Widnes and Runcorn, were added
to the Special Review Area by Order in 1965.
were published in 1965, but the commission never completed its
final proposals as it was abolished in 1966.
Royal Commission was set up to
review English local government entirely, and its report (known as
the Redcliffe-Maud Report)
proposed a much wider Merseyside metropolitan area covering
southwest Lancashire and northwest Cheshire, extending as far south
as Chester and as far
north as the River
Ribble. This would have included four districts:
Southport/Crosby, Liverpool/Bootle, St
Helens/Widnes and Wirral/Chester.
In 1970 the Merseyside Passenger
(which operates under the
brand) was set up, covering the Liverpool and
, but excluding St. Helens.
The Redcliffe-Maud Report was rejected by the incoming Conservative Party
the concept of a two-tier metropolitan area based on the Mersey
area was retained. A White Paper
published in 1971. The Local
presented to Parliament involved a substantial
trimming from the White Paper, excluding the northern and southern
fringes of the area, excluding Chester, Ellesmere Port (and,
unusually, including Southport, whose council had requested to be
included). Further alterations took place in
Parliament, with Skelmersdale being removed from the area, and a proposed
district including St Helens and Huyton being
subdivided into what are now the metropolitan boroughs of St
Helens and Knowsley.
Merseyside was created on 1 April, 1974 from
areas previously parts of the administrative counties
of Lancashire and Cheshire, along with the county boroughs of Birkenhead,
Wallasey, Liverpool, Bootle, and St Helens.
creation of Merseyside, Merseytravel expanded to take in St Helens
1974 and 1986 the county had a two-tier system of local government
with the five boroughs sharing power with the Merseyside
However in 1986 the government of Margaret Thatcher
abolished the county
council along with all other metropolitan county councils, and so
its boroughs are now effectively unitary authorities
Merseyside however still exists legally, both as a metropolitan and
Merseyside is divided into two parts by the
Mersey Estuary, the
Wirral is located on
the west side of the estuary, upon the Wirral Peninsula and the rest of the county is located on the east
side of the estuary. The eastern part of Merseyside borders onto
Lancashire to the north, Greater Manchester to the east, with both parts of the county
bordering Cheshire to the south.
An aerial photograph of
The territory comprising the
county of Merseyside previously formed part of the administrative counties
of Lancashire (east of the River Mersey) and Cheshire (west of the
parts are linked by two road tunnels, a railway tunnel,
and the famous Mersey
To express location within the Merseyside area by the preposition
– thus "on Merseyside" as opposed to "in Merseyside" –
was traditionally the more usual. However, the logic of suggestions
in support of this from some quarters (that, after all, one would
always be "on” the side of the Mersey, not "in" it) falls down;
since it is, in fact, entirely possible to be situated [both] "in"
or "on" [either] “side” of the River Mersey and area(s) thus
designated. Therefore, more recent usage tends to draw distinctions
between the geographical "Merseyside" – for which "on" is
considered appropriate – and the Metropolitan county of
"Merseyside", for which "in" is used.
MORI polls in the boroughs of Sefton and Wirral in the 2000s showed
that more residents in these boroughs identified strongly to
Merseyside than to Lancashire or Cheshire respectively (but was
less likely to be "very strong" as opposed to "fairly
Merseyside contains the metropolitan boroughs of Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St
Helens and the Wirral.
County level functions
Despite the abolition of the county council some local services are
still run on a county-wide basis, now administered by joint-boards
of the five metropolitan boroughs; these include the:
Several organisations are still recognised using the old name of
"Merseyside". The court service at Liverpool's
Magistrate Court for example, registered the domain
merseysidemcc.org.uk on 25 March 2000, more than a decade after the
Merseyside Council was abolished.
This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of
Merseyside at current basic prices published
(pp.240–253) by Office for
with figures in millions of British Pounds
||Regional Gross Value Added
nearby towns are not part of Merseyside, such as Skelmersdale, Ormskirk, Warrington, Runcorn, Widnes and Ellesmere
Port, but the designation "Greater Merseyside" has sometimes been adopted for Merseyside and
these six towns unofficially.
This also has a semi-official
usage by some local authorities and organisations and is used by
Geographers' A-Z Map
for their Merseyside Street Atlas.However, a separate
'City region', comprising Merseyside and
Halton, has some official recognition as being Greater
Merseyside, although it has also been referred to as Liverpool
Places of interest
- Office of National Statistics – Gazetteer of
the old and new geographies of the United Kingdom, p48. URL
accessed 11 March 2007.
- Metropolitan Counties and Districts, Beginners' Guide
to UK Geography, Office for National
Statistics, 17 September 2004. URL accessed 11 March
- North West England Counties, The Boundary
Commission for England. URL accessed 11 March 2007.
- Sefton poll, where 51% residents belonged
strongly to Merseyside, and compared with 35% to Lancashire;
Wirral poll, where 45% of residents belonged
strongly to Merseyside; compared with 30% to Cheshire. In both
boroughs, "very strongly" ratings for the historic county were
larger than that for Merseyside, but "fairly strongly" was
- Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
- includes hunting and forestry
- includes energy and construction
- includes financial intermediation services indirectly
- Merseyside Street Atlas