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Liverpool Do The Double: River Cruise and Open Top City Sightseeing Bus Tour Combination Ticket
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Liver Building Tips (23)

Liv-ahh or Liv -err ?

It is certainly unusual that the best known building in a city is home of a very boring institution like an insurance comapany.

Having said that, this fine early 20th century building also boasts a pair of mythical birds, which are the most well known symbol of the city.

In terms of pronounciation, they are the "liv -ahh" birds rather that "Liver" in the way that the city itself is pronounced.

The origin of the use of the bird dates back to 1207 and the creation of Liverpool as a city. King John (1199-1216) needed to establish a military stronghold close to both Wales and Ireland and picked on an insignificant small fishing port

As a result John granted Liverpool (or Lerpole as it was then known) a "charter of Liberties", and for this favour the town leaders could levy tolls and set up a municipal court.

The city's fathers therfore choose a symbol which reflected King John's patronage - the Plantaganet emblem of the Black Eagle of St John the Divine holding a sprig of broom in its beak.

There are a number legends surrounding the birds - the main one being that if they ever fly off. Liverpool wil cease to exist. The other main one appears to be that there is no offspring because they have never seen one another face-to-face.

Some vivid imaginations around here.

sourbugger's Profile Photo
Jan 22, 2005

Liver Birds

The emblem of the mythical Liver Bird is seen all over Liverpool, and is also on the shirts of Liverpool FC. However the most famous ones are to be seen on the top of the Royal Liver Building at Pier Head.
The legend of the Liver Bird was spread by the American novelist Herman Melville, most famous for writing Moby Dick. In another novel, Redburn, Melville told the tale of the Liver Bird which he read in a guidebook on visit to Liverpool in 1839, and which he possibly believed to be true. The story now became inextricably linked with the city of Liverpool, although it was still the subject of argument as to whether the bird should look like a Cormorant or an eagle - the current bird shows characteristics of both. It is believed to be the good luck charm of sailors.

stevezero's Profile Photo
Nov 26, 2005


The Royal Liver Building is probably Liverpool's best known landmark. It is definitely the most impressive part of the Pier Head Buildings. The building is one of the first large concrete buildings in the world - luckily in those days (1908 to 1911) the style to build with concrete was much nicer than some time later!

The building is home of the Royal Liver Insurance company. At the top of the building there are the city's mythical Liver Birds.

Notice that Liver is pronounced with an I like in "time" whereas Liverpool is pronounced with an I like in "river"

May 04, 2003


The 18-foot tall copper birds above the clock towers are the mythical Liver Birds, symbol of the city. Local legend is that if they fly away, Liverpool will cease to exist. Thank god they are attached by very strong cables ;)

May 04, 2003
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The Liverpool Skyline

Behind me you will see the three famous Victorian buildings at the Port of Liverpool. Look closely and you will see the Liver bird on top of the Liver Building. I was standing just outside of the Merseyside Maritime Museum when this picture was taken. I had seen these buildings in many pictures of Liverpool.

littlesam1's Profile Photo
Apr 20, 2003

Royal Liver Building

A great place to start in Liverpool is at the Pier Head. Here near the ferry 'cross the Mersey, you find the three buildings known as the "Three Graces".
It was designed by W Aubrey Thomas, and built for the Royal Liver Assurance company and opened in 1911. It continues to serve as the company's head office today. The construction is of steel frames and reinforced concrete, so is a forerunner of the modern skyscraper.
Visitors have access to the Atrium area on the ground floor and the cafe

stevezero's Profile Photo
Nov 26, 2005

Liver Buildings

These "three graces" are maybe the most pictured buildings in Liverpool. Situated right at Pier Head you can't really ignore them. They are huge.

This is the Dock board Offices building. The most right of the three at night.

Bigs's Profile Photo
Jan 04, 2005

Waterfront - Liver Building

Home of the famous "Royal Liver Insurance", built between 1908 and 1911 it was the largest and finest concrete buildings of its time. In fact, it still looks good and is a lesson to all those designers of the grey concrete monstrosities of the 60's.
The clock towers at front and back are topped by two birds known as "The Liver Birds".

steventilly's Profile Photo
May 08, 2003

Top 5 Liverpool Writers

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"Liverpool - European Capital of Culture 2008"
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"More Than The Beatles...."
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"Liverpool - a dream come true!"
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Royal Liver Building Clock

The clock faces beneath the famous Liver Birds are the largest in the country, two and a half feet bigger than the more famous Big Ben in London,
They are called George clocks as they were started at the exact moment that George V was crowned on 22nd June 1911.

stevezero's Profile Photo
Nov 26, 2005

The Liver Birds

These three mythological birds sit atop the main buildings on the Liverpool side of the River Mersey. They are a major symbol of the city, and I think they look nice against the stormy sky at dusk, don't you?

londonlover's Profile Photo
Jun 26, 2004

The Liver Buildings

The Royal Liver Building is a fantastic Grade I listed building located in at the Pier Head. Along with the neighbouring Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building, it is one of Liverpool's Three Graces, which line the city's waterfront and is part of Liverpool's UNESCO designated World Heritage Maritime Mercantile City.

Opened in 1911, the building is the purpose-built home of the Royal Liver Assurance group, which had been set up in the city in 1850 to provide locals with assistance related to losing a wage-earning relative. The Royal Liver Building is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city of L and is famed for being home to two fabled Liver Birds that watch over the city and the sea. Legend has it that were these two birds to fly away, then the city would cease to exist. The Bells of the Liver Building clock strike each hour but I was surprised to read that what we here are not actually bells but a series of piano strings played through an amplifier!

Myfanwe's Profile Photo
Nov 13, 2011

The Royal Liver Building Liverpool

The iconic Royal Liver Building is possibly the most recognisable of Liverpool's famous Three Graces. The other two graces being Cunard and Port of Liverpool buildings which are located nearby. This wonderful trio occupy the former site of Georges dock (1771) which was drained at the start of the twentieth century

This architectural jewel was built for the Royal Liver Assurance who at the time required a new head office. It was oversized for their requirements but did provide valuable office space for rent.

The Royal Life Assurance started out as the Liverpool Lyver Burial Society in 1850. The aim of the business was to provide respectable burials for its members and support for families left behind.

Construction commenced in 1908 and took three years and £530000 to complete. The architect was Walter Aubrey Thomas. It is one of the earliest multi storey reinforced structures in the world. The building comprises of a self contained concrete frame with a network of load bearing columns which support the walls and floors.

The Royal Liver Building has two towers which provide a lofty perch for the famous Liver Birds. The birds are the winning entry of a competition. The winner of the competition was German sculptor Bernard Bartels (1866-1955). Bartels had settled in England prior to the outbreak of World War One when he found himself arrested and incarcerated in the Isle of Man which lies beteen Liverpool and Ireland. Anti German feelings due to the War lead to Bartels name being erased from the records. However in 2011 Liverpool post humously awarded Bartels the "Citizen of Honour Award" in recognition of his wonderful contribution to the cities skyline.

Here are a couple of intersting facts about the Royal Liver Building:

Each Liver Bird is 18 feet tall.

The Liver Birds are tied down to prevent them flying away. Legend says that if the Liver Birds fly away the city will cease to exist.

The two clock towers are 295 feet high.

The tower clocks are bigger than Big Ben in London due to their whopping 25 feet diameter.

The clocks were started at the same time as King George V was crowned.

The towers do not have bells but were fitted with chimes in 1953 to remember the Royal Liver employees who lost their lives during the two World Wars.

There is no general public access to the Royal Liver building. However it is possible to enjoy the buildings exterior from the surrounding thoroughfares.

The Three Graces are within walking distance of the city centre and convenient for other waterfront attractions including the Albert Dock.

When visiting the waterfront we suggest taking an extra layer of clothing due to the breeze coming off the River Mersey.?????

Please visit my self funded website on before visiting Liverpool.

Thankyou for reading my review.

May 11, 2016

Things To Do Near Liverpool

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Albert Dock

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Chester Zoo

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Chester Cathedral

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Getting to Liverpool


Liverpool waterfront


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