Liverpool, city and metropolitan borough (1991 pop. 448,300), NW England, on the Mersey River near its mouth. It is one of Britain's largest cities. A large center for food processing (especially flour and sugar), Liverpool has a variety of industries, including the manufacture of electrical equipment, chemicals, and rubber. Liverpool was once famous for its pottery, and its textile industry was also prosperous; however, since World War II its cotton market has declined considerably. The city's first wet dock was completed by 1715; at their height, the docks were more than 7 mi (11.3 km) long. Once Britain's greatest port, Liverpool suffered extreme setbacks with the advent of container ships, which it could not handle, and the shift in Great Britain's trade focus from the United States to the European Union. Some of the docklands have been redeveloped as cultural and tourist attractions. The city is connected by tunnel with Birkenhead across the Mersey.
In 1207, King John granted Liverpool its first charter. In 1644, during the English Civil War, Liverpool surrendered to the royalists under Prince Rupert after several sieges. Air raids during World War II caused heavy damage and casualties. The statesman William Gladstone, the artist George Stubbs, and the members of the musical group the Beatles were born in Liverpool.
Liverpool Cathedral, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, was begun in 1904 and completed in 1978. A Roman Catholic cathedral was consecrated in 1967. St. George's Hall is an imposing building in a group that includes libraries and art galleries. The Walker Gallery has a fine collection of Italian and Flemish paintings, as well as more modern works. The Univ. of Liverpool was incorporated in 1903. There is a separate school of tropical medicine.