Bootle is almost a suburb of Liverpool, although it is a town in its own right, in the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton on Merseyside. During the war the town took a hammering, largely due to the presence of the docks on the foreshore. 90% of homes in the borough were damaged during the Liverpool Blitz, making it the most bombed borough in the country. The Gladstone Dock was the base of the escort ships which were charged with protecting the convoys crossing the ocean during the Battle of the Atlantic. Frederic John Walker, the Captain of HMS Starling and well-known pursuer of u-boats, used to stay in the Mayor's Parlour at the Town Hall and would sail out of Bootle.
Much of the architecture in the centre of town is Victorian, notably the Town Hall and the Municipal Baths (now disused), a relic from the time when Bootle grew up as a bathing resort for wealthy Liverpudlians in the 19th century. The town's Derby Park is a fine example of an urban Victorian park. Bootle lies on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, 2 miles from Liverpool's Stanley Dock in one direction and 7 miles from Aintree racecourse in the other. As is so often the case, Bootle's docks went into a decline during the 1960s and 1970s, but there is a regeneration underway. The Gladstone Dock is now the departure point for ferries to Ireland with P&O. Among the famous people born in Bootle are a number of footballers and the 60s rock 'n' roll star Billy J. Kramer, who has a statue down the road at Liverpool's Albert Dock.
Map of the area.
|Derby Park. Photo by Sue Adair, via Wikimedia Commons.|