Bite-size Histories: Captain Kinley and the May Blitz 1941

Bite-size Histories: Captain Kinley and the May Blitz 1941

Liverpool endured a harrowing time in the Second World War as a major target for the enemy, suffering great devastation, both in her communities and infrastructure. In the first week of May 1941 alone, Liverpool experienced the heaviest bombing of the war in Britain outside London. The docks were the main target, but 3,000 people were killed and 11,000 homes completely destroyed. The first German bombs landed on Merseyside on 9 August 1940 at Prenton, Birkenhead, and in the following sixteen months, German bombs killed 2,716 people in Liverpool, 442 people in Birkenhead, 409 people in Bootle and 332 people in Wallasey. The worst periods of bombing were the ‘Christmas Raids’ of December 1940, and the ‘May Blitz’ of 1941, and these enemy raids continued for months, until the final bombs were dropped on 10 January 1942.

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Bite-size Histories: Ruth Harwood Bowker - Titanic Suvivor

Bite-size Histories: Ruth Harwood Bowker - Titanic Suvivor

When the largest and most luxurious vessel in the world, the Olympic, visited Liverpool on 31 May 1911, one young woman was so taken with the ship that she decided her future was no longer with a Liverpool confectioner where she was working, but with the White Star Line on this sumptuous vessel. Not only did she live her dream, but she was also later transferred to the sister ship, the even larger Titanic, due to sail from Southampton on her maiden voyage on 10 April 1912. This was Ruth Harwood Bowker, and this is her forgotten story.

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Bite-size Histories: Lewis's of Liverpool The Story of an Iconic Store

Bite-size Histories: Lewis's of Liverpool The Story of an Iconic Store

When the receivers were called in to the owners of Lewis’s of Liverpool in early 2010, it marked the beginning of the end in the slow demise of the iconic and much loved department store. But it wasn’t the first time in recent years that Lewis’s had hit trouble, as the company went into administration in 1991, only to suffer the indignity of being taken over by its century old rivals Owen Owen. The business limped on through a variety of re-launches and attempts at modernisation, but after 154 years of trading, Lewis’s closed its doors for the final time on 29 May 2010. Since then, the building has been gutted and is now an integral part of a new development project, the Central Village, which also incorporates the adjacent site of Central Station, turning the area into seven-acre complex comprising retail, leisure, and residential facilities. A far cry from the vision of founder David Lewis, but one he may well have embraced to take the store into a new century with a modern outlook.

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Author Interviews: John Hussey

Author Interviews: John Hussey

John Hussey has been a writer for many years and has published several books on the history of Liverpool as well as several history articles in various publications and journals in the UK and US.

I caught up with John for a quick Q&A on his new book Liverpool Forgotten Landscapes, Forgotten Lives.

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