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Bootle shown within Merseyside
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||L20, L30|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
Bootle (pronounced //) is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton in Merseyside. The town was formally known as Bootle-cum-Linacre and has a total resident population of 77,640.[disputed ] Historically part of Lancashire, Bootle's economy has been centred around the docks and their associated industries for decades.
Bootle, along with Southport, is one of the two main administrative headquarters for the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton. Among Bootle's neighbouring districts are Kirkdale to the south, Walton to the east, with Seaforth and Litherland to the north. To the west the Port of Liverpool flanks the River Mersey.
The old civic centre of Bootle contains large Victorian buildings such as the town hall and the municipal baths. East of this centre is a sizable area of large office blocks, to the west is the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and large areas of docks lining the River Mersey. To the north lies the New Strand Shopping Centre, which gained notoriety after the abduction and murder of two-year-old James Bulger in 1993.
Etymologically Bootle derives from the Anglo Saxon Bold or Botle meaning a dwelling. It was recorded as Boltelai in the Domesday Book in 1086. By 1212 the spelling had been recorded as Botle. The spellings Botull, Bothull and Bothell are recorded in the 14th century.
Bootle was originally a small hamlet built near the 'sand hills' or dunes of the river estuary. The settlement began to grow as a bathing resort for wealthy residents of Liverpool in the early 19th century. Some remaining large villas which housed well-to-do commuters to Liverpool are located in the area known locally as 'Bootle Village'.
The Liverpool, Crosby and Southport Railway arrived in the 1840s and Bootle experienced rapid growth. By the end of the 19th century the docks had been constructed along the whole of the river front as far as Seaforth Sands to the north. The town became heavily industrialised. Bootle was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1868 under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, and was granted the status of a county borough by the Local Government Act 1888 in 1889, becoming independent from the administrative county of Lancashire. During this time period it was sometimes formally known as Bootle-cum-Linacre. Orrell was added to the borough in 1905. There are still large areas of Victorian terraced houses in Bootle, formerly occupied by dock workers. These are built in distinctive pressed red brick.
Bootle's town hall and other municipal buildings were erected in the last quarter of the 19th century. The population of the town swelled during this period, boosted by Irish immigration and the attraction of plentiful work on the docks. The wealth to pay for the splendour of the town hall and the gentrified 'Bootle Village' area was generated by these docks. The skilled workers lived in terraced houses in the east of the town, while the casual dock labourers lived in cramped, dwellings near the dockside. Stories about three streets in particular caused great alarm. They were Raleigh Street, Dundas Street and Lyons Street. The last was the scene of a crime dubbed 'The Teapot Murder' by local press. Lyons Street was so notorious that it metaphorically 'died of shame' and was renamed Beresford Street shortly before the Great War.
Bootle was remarkable in other, more positive ways. It was the first borough to elect its own school board, following the passage of Forster's Education Act of 1870. In 1872 Dr R.J. Sprakeling was appointed the first Medical Officer of Health, and was instrumental in improving sanitary conditions in the town. The Metropole Theatre on Stanley Road played host to stars such as music hall singer Marie Lloyd. The emporia in the Stanley Road and Strand Road areas of the town were filled with goods from all over the British Empire. Tree lined streets surrounded magnificent open spaces, such as Derby Park, North Park and South Park. Beautiful Roman Catholic and Anglican churches sprang up all over the town, and Welsh immigration brought with it Nonconformist chapels and the temperance movement. Local societies thrived, including sports teams, scouts and musical groups. The Bootle May Day carnival and the crowning of the 'May Queen' were real highlights of the social year. The town successfully fought against absorption by neighbouring Liverpool in 1903. This was a matter of some civic pride to the people of Bootle and the Latin motto of the town, 'Respice, Aspice, Prospice,' (look to the past, the present, the future) was emblazoned on school buildings, stationery, the local press, police uniforms and all manner of other places. The development of the area can be seen by looking back at one of the earliest old Ordnance Survey maps of the area published by Alan Godfrey Maps (ISBN 9780850542455) and what it looks like now on Multimap.
The docks made Bootle a target for Nazi German Luftwaffe bombers during the Liverpool Blitz of the Second World War, with approximately 90% of the houses in the town damaged. Situated immediately adjoining the city of Liverpool, and the site of numerous docks, Bootle had the distinction of being the most heavily-bombed borough in the UK.  Bootle played an important role in the Battle of the Atlantic. The famous u-boat hunter the Royal Navy's Captain Frederic John 'Johnny' Walker, would rest in the Mayor's Parlour of Bootle Town Hall and his ship, HMS Starling, sailed out of Bootle and the ship's bell and flags signalling the General Chase can still be seen in Bootle Town Hall's council chamber today.
After the Second World War large council housing estates were built inland from the town centre, including the area of Netherton, which was built on new town principles. The Liverpool Overhead Railway and Liverpool Tramways Company closure in the 1950s reduced Bootle's connection to Liverpool.
Bootle did share in the postwar boom. The centre of the town was redeveloped and the 'Bootle New Strand' shopping centre was opened in the late 1960s. At the same time, new offices were built in the town centre. The town lost its access to the beach when neighbouring Seaforth Sands was redeveloped in the early 1970s, but the Seaforth Container Port brought new jobs into the area. The local authority, and other 'social' landlords, saw to it that new housing was built and older stock renovated. Bootle did not go down the route of massive housing clearance, and many local communities remained intact.
The borough celebrated its centenary in 1968 and civic pride was much in evidence.
The docks declined in importance in the 1960s and 1970s, and Bootle suffered high unemployment and a declining population. The establishment of large office blocks housing government departments and the National Girobank provided employment, filled largely by middle class people from outside the Bootle/Liverpool area. In the early 1970s local government reorganisation saw Bootle lose its borough status, to be absorbed into the new local authority of Sefton. More fundamental than political change was economic change. The very reason for Bootle's existence, the access to the Mersey, became almost irrelevant as the docks closed and the new container port required far fewer workers than the old docks had. This in turn affected practically every other industry in the town. The problems slowly gathered pace until Merseyside hit crisis point in the early 1980s. Even by 2006 the area was one of the poorest in the country and had high levels of unemployment.
Bootle is undergoing a massive regeneration project, which has already begun with the new HSE buildings and the new-look Strand Road. Many old houses are being demolished to make way for new housing projects and lots of regeneration projects for existing properties and council buildings are to begin shortly.
A number of other development projects have recently been submitted for planning permission and should commence development within late 2006 or 2007 after being accepted. These include the significant refurbishment of Oriel Road Station, promoted by Merseytravel, the creation of a new block of flats on the site of the Stella Maris building and a Lidl store on Stanley Road. Walmart stores inc, owners of Asda superstores have invested in building a new superstore on Strand Road. It is perhaps in this new spirit of optimism, that banners have appeared, adorning the town centre with the Latin motto of the former borough: 'Respice, Aspice, Prospice.' In 2008, the town centre management programme was introduced, via the Stepclever initiative, to support SME businesses and drive the regeneration of Bootle as a retail destination. The programme has delivered a new brand image, and a website, [www.visitbootle.com].
The economic recovery on Merseyside since the 1980s has meant that Bootle is ranked as only the tenth worst area for unemployment in Britain, and all other parts of the region have lower unemployment - a stark contrast to the 1970s and 1980s when areas of Merseyside dominated the list of Britain's least economically active areas. As of 2009, in the depth of a recession, unemployment stands at 12%.
There are two railway stations served by frequent electric services from Liverpool to Southport. These are Oriel Road near the Victorian era civic centre, and New Strand, serving the shopping centre. A goods line, the Bootle Branch, is still in use. Sefton has pushed for the reopening of the North Mersey Branch.
The bus station is underneath the New Strand Shopping Centre.
The town has a leisure centre located in the North Park area, which includes a modern gym, swimming pool, and various indoor sports halls. The Bootle New Strand shopping centre contains many of the regular high street stores, combined with a smaller collection of local businesses. For entertainment there is a wide varienty of public houses, snooker clubs and late night bars. There are also a number of restaurants.
Originally a Conservative seat, Bootle elected early MPs such as Andrew Bonar Law, a future Tory Prime Minister. The seat was briefly Liberal in the early 1920s. Labour first captured the seat in 1929, in the personage of local hairdresser John Kinley, but lost it in 1931. Although Kinley recaptured it in 1945 it did not become safely Labour until the long tenure of Simon Mahon. It is now impregnable, politically, and since 1997 the Bootle constituency has been the safest Labour Party seat in the whole of the United Kingdom. The area is currently represented in parliament by Joe Benton.
For elections to Sefton Council the town of Bootle is split between the electoral wards of Netherton and Orrell, whose three representatives, who are all members of the Labour Party, are Susan Ellen Bradshaw, Robert John Brennan, and Ian Ralph Maher. Derby, whose three representatives are Linda Cluskey and Carol Gustafson, who are members of the Labour Party, and Paul Larkin who is a member of the Liberal Democrats, and finally Linacre whose three representatives, who are all members of the Labour Party, are John Fairclough, Gordon Friel, and Doreen Kerrigan. Overall there are nine councillors representing the Bootle area, all of them are members of the Labour Party. Overall the electoral wards of Sefton Council in and around Bootle and the parliamentary constituency itself are extremely safe seats for the Labour Party, sometimes standing uncontested by the other parties. This strong support for the Labour Party is mainly due to the town's working class population, whose mentality is very politically Left-wing, and active both from within the area and from outside. The population generally feel that they suffered badly from the Thatcherite political reforms of the Conservative Party and Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s and 1990s. During this period the area developed a reputation as a stronghold of Militant tendency and opposition to Thatcherism, as epitomised with Bootle's enthusiastic support of the Liverpool dockers' strike from 1995–1998. As a result of this strong Left-wing mentality, Conservative Party support in Bootle is minimal with the party struggling to retain its deposit during the general and local elections. However, as a result of the militants being expelled from the Labour Party and the negative reputation that the area received in the local and national press, most local politicians today are relatively moderate Centre-left.
Many notable footballers were born in Bootle. Jamie Carragher, Steve McManaman and Roy Evans came to prominence playing for Liverpool (with Evans later going on to become the club's manager) whilst Alvin Martin is regarded as one of West Ham United's greatest ever players. Oldham Athletic rising star Jose Baxter was born in Bootle.
Well known comedian, Ladybird Ladybird and Benidorm star Crissy Rock was born and bred in Bootle.
In the arts, Bootle has produced the actor Craig Charles, the comedian Tom O'Connor, the television presenter Keith Chegwin, and early rock and roll singer Billy J. Kramer. The BBC news and features presenter Will Hanrahan, is originally from Bootle, and the poet and intellectual, Mark Ford, has resided in the borough. The fashion retailer George Davies was educated in Bootle.
Virtual Worlds Entrepreneur Madddyyy Schnook (Andrew Sullivan) from Second Life and author of How To Get A Second Life is from Bootle.
Alex Smith (2 April 1902 – 29 November 1963) was a British professional ice hockey defenceman who played 11 seasons in the National Hockey League for Ottawa Senators, Detroit Falcons, Boston Bruins and New York Americans, winning the Stanley Cup in 1927 with Ottawa. He was born in Bootle.
The 2011 X Factor hopeful, Marcus Collins was brought up in Bootle. He finished runner-up in 2011.
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