Matter Of Heritage

Entry by: Paul McDermott

13th March 2015
Matter of Heritage

I always felt sorry for those who don't have the unique privilege of being born in the city generally reckoned to be the Cultural Centre of the Known Galaxy, Liverpool. Why? It's a Matter of Heritage, my dear friend. Allow me to enlighten you.
Liverpool Bay is sheltered from the worst weather patterns rolling in from the Atlantic Ocean by the topography of the coastline. The dunes and sandhills are just comfortably high enough to protect ships at anchor in the Port, and the average depth of the River Mersey makes it navigable for vessels of all sizes, up to and including supertankers and the largest, most luxurious Cruise liners.
Early wandering seafarers realized this, and there was a thriving settlement of Vikings here as early as the Eighth Century. One famous example of Liverpool's Heritage, the culinary wonder known as Scouse, comes directly from their recipe 'lapskavs'.
Other early settlers didn't have as far to travel to reach the Promised Land. As soon as Paddy learnt how to swim, he packed his towel and left Dublin for Liverpool. The commingling of these two linguistic influences has given rise to the distinctive twang of the Liverpool accent.
A curious footnote: the name of the river Mersey can be traced as "mørk sø" (dark or muddy water) in the Scandinavian languages and the name Dublin has a very similar meaning in Gælic. The river today is clean, free of the pollution it suffered for many years due to industrial waste dumped into it Upstream, but the rich mud of the riverbed still gives it a dark appearance of depth and mystery.
Not all 'Invaders' are made welcome: your typical Scouser is very 'picky' about who is allowed to join “Our Gang”.
Cæsar and his bully boy Roman Army made it as far as Chester [which they called 'Deva'], less than 30 miles from here. Hadrian even sent a party North to build a Wall to keep out the irritating Scots, but he had to go around Liverpool to get there. Even the Roman Empire at the height of its power throughout Europe couldn't win so much as an arm-wrestling tussle with the native Scousers.
Fiercely loyal, Liverpool's Heritage has always been Royalist: for King and Country. King John was grateful for the support he received, and signed a Charter for Liverpool in 1215 which, significantly, predates the famous Magna Carta by several weeks (probable date: June 15th 1215). This could prove to be a definitive bargaining chip in the coming months as Government promises regarding Devolution of Power to Regional Authorities is being discussed. Could Merseyside become an Independent Republic like Monaco or Vatican City? Possibly a City/State such as Athens was in Ancient Greece? Time alone will tell!
During the darkest days of World War Two, this country would have been starved into submission without the life-saving food supplies brought in through the Port of Liverpool. The town suffered enormous damage during the Blitz which was intended to disrupt the North Atlantic convoys, but somehow the food got through.
“All Together Now” was a massive hit for The Farm, but it wasn't written simply to celebrate England reaching the final stages of football's World Cup. The pride and the heritage of Liverpool and Liverpool's residents go much deeper than that.
Liverpool has a proud tradition of famous names in sports, music, culture, medicine and many other fields. The city's role as European City of Culture in 2008 was only a beginning, and the number of successful enterprises which have been established since then are too numerous to mention individually. They have all contributed enormously to Liverpool's Heritage. Events due to take place this year to mark the city's 900th Anniversary will without a doubt prove: yes, Heritage DOES Matter!