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Merseyside is a metropolitan county, located in the North West of England. Merseyside is named after the River Mersey and comprises the conurbation by the Mersey estuary centred upon Liverpool. The county was created in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972.
Merseyside contains the metropolitan boroughs of Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and the Wirral. The county is divided into two parts by the Mersey estuary, the Wirral is located on the west side of the estuary, upon the Wirral Peninsula and the rest of the county is located on the east side of the estuary. The northern part of Merseyside borders onto Lancashire to the north, Greater Manchester to the east, both parts border Cheshire to the south.
The two parts are linked by two road tunnels, a railway tunnel, and the famous Mersey Ferry.
Other districts that are part of the urban area (but not part of Merseyside) are Ellesmere Port and Neston, West Lancashire and Halton, this area is known informally as "Greater Merseyside".
It is traditional to express location within the Merseyside area by the preposition on, thus "on Merseyside" as opposed to "in Merseyside" (after all, one would be "on the side of the Mersey" not "in" it). Current usage seems to be to make a distinction between the geographical "Merseyside" (The "Greater Merseyside" referred to above) for which "on" is appropriate and the county, for which "in" is used.
History and Administration
A 'Merseyside' metropolitan area was proposed by the Redcliffe-Maud Report covering south-west Lancashire and north-west Cheshire, extending as far south as Chester and as far north as the River Ribble. This would have included four districts: Southport/Crosby, Liverpool/Bootle, St Helens/Widnes and Wirral/Chester.
The Report was rejected by the incoming Conservative Party government, but the concept of a two-tier metropolitan area based on the Mersey area retained. A White Paper was published in 1971. The Local Government Bill presented to Parliament involved a substantial trimming from the White Paper, excluding the northern and southern fringes of the area, excluding Chester, Ellesmere Port (and, unusually, including Southport, whose council has requested to be included). Further alterations took place in Parliament, with Skelmersdale being removed from the area, and a proposed district including St Helens and Huyton being subdivided into what are now the metropolitan boroughs of St Helens and Knowsley.
Merseyside was created on 1 April 1974 from areas previously part of the administrative counties of Lancashire and Cheshire, along with the county boroughs of Birkenhead, Wallasey, Liverpool, Bootle, and St Helens.
Between 1974 and 1986 the county had a two tier system of local government with the five boroughs sharing power with the Merseyside County Council. However in 1986 the government of Margaret Thatcher abolished the county council along with all other metropolitan county councils, and so its boroughs are now effectively unitary authorities.
Merseyside however still exists legally, and as a ceremonial county.
Despite the abolition of the county council some local services are still run on a county-wide basis, now administered by joint-boards of the five metropolitan boroughs, these include the:
Places of Interest
Several organisations are
still recognised using the old name of "Merseyside". The court
service at Liverpool's Magistrate Court for example, registered the domain
merseysidemcc.org.uk on 25th March 2000, more than a decade after the
Merseyside Council was abolished.
The above article
in gray is licensed under the GNU
Free Documentation License.