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The history of the Liver Birds explored in new book
Does your home town or city have an iconic emblem which you feel an affinity to ? The Liver Birds in Liverpool are as Liverpudlian as the Mersey itself and this article highlights their history before they came to rest in their present position.
But how much do we really know about their history and why they are so important to the area? Rick Myers is set to help us find out through a new children’s book called The Story of Liverpool.
It’s a topic close to his heart, through his role for a company which makes Liver Bird statues which can be seen throughout the city in various tourist outlets.
It is thought that the original Liver Bird was an eagle on the seal of the City Charter from King John in 1207, holding in its beak a broom – which was commonly known as a Plantagenet symbol.
While the seal itself was lost during the 1644 siege, a replica had been made which resembled a cormorant rather than an eagle - hence the look of the birds today. Many believe that the cormorant is just as suitable a bird to represent Liverpool given its maritime connections, with the “broom” thought by many to be a type of seaweed called laver.
The birds have had a firm place in history, surviving a Blitz on Liverpool during the Second World War – and given their resilience, there is now a saying that if the Liver Birds were to fly away, Liverpool would cease to exist. There are other myths that one bird is a female, the other a male – the first looking out to sea to make sure the sailors return safely home and the other looking over the city making sure the pubs are open!
The birds cemented their position in popular culture with the 1970s sitcom The Liver Birds featuring Pauline Collins, Nerys Hughes and Mollie Sugden – written by the legendary Carla Lane – about the love lives of young women in the city.
You might not realise that another Liver Bird sat on top of the St John’s Market building until it was demolished in 1964 – this can now be found at the Merseyside Maritime Museum. Meanwhile, you can find another on the Mersey Chambers office building.
These days, there are variants of the Liver Birds dotted around all four corners of the city – Liverpool FC’s famous insignia, for example, plus the branding of Liverpool University and John Moore’s University, plus the city’s Liverpool Echo whose bird is carrying a newspaper rather than a broom or, indeed, a piece of laver.
The Liver Birds are now one of the main tourist attractions in Liverpool – as iconic as the tower in Blackpool or the Angel of the North in Gateshead – or even the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.
So if you’re staying in one of the hotels in Liverpool during a short break to the city, make sure that along with the Albert Dock and Beatles exhibition, you pay a visit to these iconic birds which have presided over the city for centuries.
Visit : http://www.heywoodhousehotel.co.uk
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