Facts about Merseyside
Merseyside was designated as a “Special Review” area in the Local Government Act 1958, and the Local Government Commission for England started a review of this area in 1962, based around the core county boroughs of Liverpool, Bootle, Birkenhead and Wallasey. Further areas, including Widnes and Runcorn, were added to the Special Review Area by Order in 1965. Draft proposals were published in 1965, but the commission never completed its final proposals as it was abolished in 1966.
Instead, a Royal Commission was set up to review English local government entirely, and its report proposed a much wider Merseyside metropolitan area covering southwest Lancashire and northwest 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. In 1970 the Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive was set up; covering Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral and Knowsley, but excluding Southport and St Helens.
Merseyside is a metropolitan and ceremonial county in North West England, with a population of 1.38 million. It encompasses the metropolitan area centred on both banks of the lower reaches of the Mersey Estuary and comprises five metropolitan boroughs: Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton, Wirral and the city of Liverpool. Merseyside, which was created on 1 April 1974 as a result of the Local Government Act 1972, takes its name from the River Mersey.
In the 12 years following 1974, the county had a two-tier system of local government; district councils shared power with the Merseyside County Council. The county council was abolished in 1986 and so its districts are now effectively unitary authority areas. However, the metropolitan county continues to exist in law and as a geographic frame of reference and several county-wide services are co-ordinated by authorities and joint-boards, such as Merseytravel, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and the Merseyside Police.