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The De-industrialisation and Regeneration of the Merseyside Region

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The De-industrialisation and Regeneration of the Merseyside Region The Merseyside region falls within one of Britain's traditional manufacturing areas. Liverpool first developed as a small port concerned with fishing and trade with Ireland. However, it's location on the West coast, on the Irish Sea meant that the port grew throughout the 18th century due to the increase in trade with North America and the West Indies, and the decline of the port in the nearby city of Chester. The first wet dock in Great Britain was established here and throughout the 19th century Liverpool became the main port in Britain for American trade and passenger services. The large quantities of raw materials that were available in the region, including coal from the South Lancashire coalfields and rock salt from Cheshire, meant many manufacturing industries rapidly grew in its hinterland. These included food processing, textiles and the chemical industry. However, the main industry to progress from the growth of Liverpool as a port was shipbuilding and repair, and in 1829 Birkenhead emerged as an important shipyard. Between 1829 and 1947, over 1,100 vessels of all sizes and types slid down the Laird slipways into the Mersey and during this time Birkenhead was placed at the forefront of the British shipbuilding industry. In 1931, over 193,000 people in the Merseyside region were employed in the shipping, transport and distribution industries, making it the largest employer at that time. ...read more.


This meant that Liverpool, as a west coast port concerned with trade from America, declined as fewer and fewer ships entered the UK through this port. Finally, the de-industrialisation of UK manufacturing industries caused a shift of emphasis from secondary, manufacturing industries, to more quaternary, high technology industries. This change of emphasis meant many traditional, heavy industries, such as shipbuilding were no longer profitable and declined even further as the new quaternary industries prospered in other regions. All of the reasons for decline explained above caused major unemployment problems in the Merseyside region in the late 20th century, with a huge number of unskilled workers unemployed from the de-industrialisation of the area. In some areas of the Merseyside region, up to 25% of the population were unemployed. This caused many economic and social problems in the inner city areas of Liverpool and Birkenhead where the industries were located, and where de-industrialisation had the greatest effect. The housing stock in the inner city areas, built for a large number of factory workers is small and cramped, with few, if any, amenities. They are now very old, and a general deterioration of the housing is taking place due to its age and quality. Economic decline, due to high numbers of unemployed has meant that few services are available and many people have left to look for work elsewhere than in the inner city areas. ...read more.


In September 2004 the Wirral Council outlined 15 particular areas that would be receiving both public and private funding in an attempt to improve conditions there. These include Birkenhead Park where a new glass pavilion is to be opened this summer. A further �15 million is to be spent on redeveloping the park, including the introduction of formal gardens, exhibition spaces, teaching areas and a caf�. Improvements are also planned for West Kirby and Hoylake with the transformation of both town centres over the next 10 years, and addressing the fading Hoylake promenade. The Wirral Docklands has been proposed as a possible site for a �250 million scheme to house some of the world's most endangered species. The 100 acre proposal would include huge bio-domes and recreate the climate and freshwater conditions of an Amazonian rainforest. Finally, the Twelve Quays development between Birkenhead and Wallasey is a major development area overlooking the Liverpool waterfront. All of these schemes have already had a great effect on the region by reducing unemployment and improving conditions within the inner city areas. Unemployment in Merseyside has fallen to its lowest since the 1970's (less than 6%) and the city has become an investment location of choice for many national and international companies. Liverpool's status as European Capital of Culture 2008 has already had a great effect on the city, encouraging a huge amount of investment within the city, and further significant growth is anticipated over the coming years as improvements continue to happen with financial assistance from both the private and public sectors. ...read more.

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