Last Updated : 5 Apr 2016





Liverpool's shipping industry has its roots in trade and military campaigning, primarily in Ireland and North Wales. The timber used to construct Caernarvon Castle in 1283 came from Liverpool by a coastal sailing boat.

But Liverpool's maritime links probably go much further back than that. The Holy Cross Roman Catholic church which was built in 1860 as up to 9,000 Irish immigrants arrived in Liverpool every day. It was sited next to a location where St Patrick was said to have preached before sailing for Ireland in the year AD 432.

In 1681-1682, William Penn's fleet of 23 ships left England for Delaware with colonists bound for Pennsylvania. Six of the fleet were Liverpool ships and Penn himself sailed on the last one, the "Submission" leaving Liverpool in 1682.

In 1779 while refitting a merchant ship to be used as a privateer, the Liverpool sea shanty "Blow The Man Down" was composed.

Some of the notable shipping names connected with Liverpool include Cunard (Samual Cunard 1840), White Star, Guion, Holt and Bibby (founded 1807). White Star was first formed in 1850 as an Aberdeen based sailing ship company trading to Australia. After its collapse in 1867, it was purchased by Thomas Henry Ismay for 1000 pounds. Another company associated with Liverpool was the Booth Line which was set up in 1866 by Charles and Alfred Booth.

Some famous trans-atlantic travellers have included Charles Dickens who in 1858 left Liverpool on Cunard's "Britannia" for a trip to America.

During the nineteenth century in particular, Liverpool was a major port of departure for imigrants to America. Amongst the large numbers leaving europe have been some well known names. These have included Patrick Kennedy, great grandfather of US President John F Kennedy who arrived in Liverpool from Ireland before sailing to America in 1849 on the "Washington Irving". Future famous singer Al Jolson left Liverpool on the "Umbria" in 1894 having travelled from Lithuania. Other famous names arriving in New York from Liverpool have included :- Rudyard Kipling (on the Teutonic - 11th February 1892) and W.C.Fields (on the Oceanic - 5th February 1903).

See the link to "Lists" on the left which provides alphabetical lists of ships connected to Liverpool. Around 2000 ships are contained in the lists yet they are known to be nothing like complete.