Coordinates: 53°38′43″N 3°00′30″W / 53.6454°N 3.0083°W / 53.6454; -3.0083

Lord Street, Southport.JPG
Lord Street, Southport
Southport is located in Merseyside

 Southport shown within Merseyside
Population 90,336 2001 Census
OS grid reference SD333170
Metropolitan borough Sefton
Metropolitan county Merseyside
Region North West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district PR8 & PR9
Dialling code 01704
Police Merseyside
Fire Merseyside
Ambulance North West
EU Parliament North West England
UK Parliament Southport
List of places: UK • England • Merseyside

Southport (play /ˈsθpɔrt/) is a seaside town in the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton in Merseyside, England. During the 2001 census Southport was recorded as having a population of 90,336, making it the eleventh most populous settlement in North West England.[1] The local nickname for people from Southport is "Sandgrounder".

Southport lies on the Irish Sea coast of North West England and is fringed to the north by the Ribble estuary. The town is situated 16.5 miles (26.6 km) to the north of the city of Liverpool and 14.8 miles (23.8 km) southwest of the city of Preston.

Historically a part of Lancashire, the town in its present form was founded in 1792 when a hotel was built at what now is the south end of Lord Street. At that time the area was sparsely populated and was dominated by sand dunes. During the turn of the 19th century the area became popular with tourists due to the easy access from the nearby Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the town quickly grew. The rapid growth of Southport largely coincided with the Industrial Revolution and the Victorian era. Town attractions include Southport Pier with its Southport Pier Tramway, the second longest seaside pleasure pier in the British Isles,[2] and Lord Street, an elegant tree-lined shopping street once home of Napoleon III of France.[3]

Extensive sand dunes stretch for several kilometres between Birkdale and Woodvale to the south of the town. The Ainsdale sand dunes have been designated as a National Nature Reserve in England and a Ramsar site. Local fauna include the Natterjack toad and the Sand lizard.[4][5] The town contains examples of Victorian architecture and town planning. These can be mostly found on Lord Street and the surrounding areas. A particular feature of the town is the extensive tree planting. This was one of the conditions required by the Hesketh family when they made land available for development in the 19th century. Hesketh Park at the northern end of the town is named after the Hesketh family, having been built on land donated by Rev. Charles Hesketh.[6]

Southport today is still one of the most popular seaside resorts in the UK. It hosts varied events including an annual air show,[7] and the largest independent flower show in the UK. The town is at the centre of England's Golf Coast[8] and has hosted The Open Championship at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club in the past.




Around the turn of the eighteenth century Southport was established as a seaside settlement. In the late 18th century many people went into the dunes to bath in the sea water. At that time doctors recommended bathing in the sea to help cure aches and pains. William Sutton, an inn keeper from the parish centre at Churchtown, set up a drinking hut in the dunes, which he called the South Port Hotel, although it was neither a hotel nor was there a port[9].

Early history

Although Southport in its present form was founded in 1793, there have been settlements in the area since the Domesday Book, and some parts of the town have names of Viking origin.[10]

The earliest recorded human activity in the area was in the Middle Stone Age when Mesolithic hunter gatherers were attracted to the area by the abundant Red deer and Elk population, as well as the availability of fresh fish, shellfish and woodland. Recent research has shown that people were especially attracted to this area because of the local delicacy of Samphire, which is only found in a few places in Western Europe.

There is also evidence of Romans stopping in the area, with the founding of Roman coins, even though they never settled in South West Lancashire. The Vikings also came to this area.

The only real evidence of an early settlement here occurred in the Domesday Book where the area was called Otergimele. The name is derived from Oddrgrimir meaning the son of Grimm and inked with the Old Norse word Melr meaning Sandbank. The Domesday Book states that there were 50 huts in Otergimele, housing a population of 200. The population was scattered thinly across the region and it was at the North-East end of Otergimele (present day Crossens) where blown sand gave way to new fish supplies from the River Ribble Estury that a small concentration of people had occurred. The alluvium provided fertile agricultural land.

It was here, it seems that a primitive church was built, which gave the emerging village its name of Churchtown. This church was called St Cuthbert's and is still a centre point to Churchtown to this day.

With a booming fishing industry the area grew slowly and hamlets became part of the parish of North Meols. From south to north these villages were Southawes, Haweside, Little London, Higher Blowick, Lower Blowick, Rowe-Lane, Churchtown, Marshside, Crossens, and Banks.[11] North Meols was centred around St. Cuthbert's Church in Churchtown, although there were vicarages in Crossens and Banks.

Parts of the parish were almost completely surrounded by water until 1692 when Thomas Fleetwoodof Bank Hall, cut a channel to drain Martin Mere to the sea.[12] From this point on attempts at large scale drainage of Martin Mere and other marshland continued until the 19th century, since which the water has been pumped away. This left behind a legacy of fine agricultural soil and created a booming farming industry.

19th century

Plaque dedicated to William Sutton, on the corner of Duke Street.

William Sutton was the landlord of the Black Bull Inn in Churchtown (now the Hesketh Arms). In the early 1790s he realised the importance of the newly-created canal systems across the UK, he gambled with the idea of a hotel by the seaside just four4 miles (6 km) away from the newly constructed Leeds and Liverpool Canal. So in 1792 he built a bathing house in South Hawes, two miles south-west of Churchtown. William arranged transport links from the canal that ran through Scarisbrick, four miles from the hotel. At the time South Hawes was an almost uninhabited place that was riddled with sand dunes. The local people thought he was mad and so they called him The Mad Duke.

He quickly made a profit and others decided to open hotels nearby. Southport grew quickly in the 19th century as it gained a reputation for being a more refined seaside resort than its neighbour-up-the-coast Blackpool. In fact Southport had a head start compared to all the other places on the Lancahire coast because it had easy access to the canal system. Other seaside bathing areas couldn't really get going until the railways were opened 20 years later in the 19th century. The Leeds and Liverpool canal brought people from Liverpool, Manchester, Bolton and Wigan amogst others. By 1820 Southport had over 20,000 visiors per year.

Southport Pier is a Grade II listed structure. At 3,650 feet (1,110 m), it is the second longest in Great Britain.

Southport Pier is referred to as the first true "pleasure pier", being one of the earliest pier structures to be erected using iron. A design from James Brunlees was approved at a cost of £8,700 and on 4 August 1859 a large crowd witnessed the driving home of the first support pile. The opening of the pier was celebrated on 2 August 1860.[13]

Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte lived in exile on Lord Street,[14] the main thoroughfare of Southport, between 1846 and 1848, before returning to France, where he became President and subsequently Emperor of the French. During his reign, he caused much of the medieval centre of Paris to be replaced with broad tree-lined boulevards, covered walkways and arcades, just like Lord Street. On the strength of this coincidence, it has been suggested that the redevelopment may have been inspired by memories of Southport's town centre.[15]

Memorial to the crew of the Eliza Fernley lifeboat, in Duke Street Cemetery

On the night of 9 December 1886, the worst lifeboat disaster in the history of the UK occurred off the shores of Southport. A cargo ship called the Mexico[16] was on its way to South America when it found itself in difficulty. Lifeboats from Lytham, St. Annes and Southport set off in order to try and rescue those aboard the vessel. The crews battled against storm-force winds as they rowed towards the casualty. The entire crew from the St. Anne’s boat was lost and all but two of the Southport crew were too. In all, 28 lifeboatmen lost their lives on that night, leaving many widows and fatherless children. A memorial was erected in Duke Street Cemetery and a permanent exhibition can be seen in the Museum of the Botanic Gardens in Churchtown, Southport. Mexico was just one of many shipwrecks in the Southport area.

20th century

From 1894 to 1912 Birkdale and the adjoining village of Ainsdale were separate from Southport and administered by Birkdale Urban District Council before becoming part of the county borough of Southport in 1912. This was a huge expansion of the town.

In 1925, the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) abandoned the station at Southport and left the town with no lifeboat. In the late 1980s, after a series of tragedies, local families from Southport started to raise funds and bought a new lifeboat for the town stationed at the old RNLI lifeboat house.[17] The lifeboat is completely independent from the RNLI and receives no money from them. Instead it relies entirely on donations from the public.

On 21 March 1926, Henry Seagrave set the land speed record in his 4-litre Sunbeam Tiger Ladybird on the sands at Southport at 152.33 mph (245.149 km/h). This record lasted for just over a month, until broken by J.G. Parry-Thomas.


Politically, Southport is a stronghold of the Liberal Democrats with the Conservative Party also strong in some areas, at the last election coming 3,838 votes behind current Member of Parliament, John Pugh.[18]


Southport lies within the historic county boundaries of Lancashire, and was incorporated as municipal borough in 1866. It became a county borough independent of the administrative county of Lancashire in 1915, having reached the minimum 50,000 population (the 1911 census gave a figure of 51,643). The Birkdale Urban District, including the parishes of Birkdale and Ainsdale was added to Southport in 1912.


Under the 1971 Local Government White Paper, presented in February 1971, Southport would have lost its county borough status, becoming a non-metropolitan district within Lancashire. Rather than accept this fate and lose its separate education and social services departments, Southport Corporation lobbied for inclusion in the nearby planned metropolitan county of Merseyside, to join with Bootle and other units to form a district with the 250,000 required population. It was duly included in the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton.[19]

This decision has been regretted by some of the population. A recurring local political issue has been the cross-party movement campaigning for Southport to leave Sefton and form its own unitary authority, perhaps adjoined to the neighbouring West Lancashire authority. Support for this has been seen amongst Liberal Democrat councillors,[20] and also within the Southport Conservative Party.[21]

The issue of Southport having little in common with the Labour heartland of Bootle and the evidence that Southport infrastructure was progressively being allowed to wither – in favour of sustained investment in Bootle re-emerged in the early 80’s. A Southport born man Kevin Laroux Wood stood in the parliamentary election for the Southport Constituency on 9th June 1983. He was supported by a team of like minded people who raised the funds needed and formed the "Southport Back in Lancashire Party". Posters were distributed and articles published in the Visitor newspaper. Although he was not elected as MP, it put the issue firmly on the local agenda which continues to this day. In the same period in 1980, a Private Member's Bill proposed restoring Southport to Lancashire, and renaming the residue of Sefton to the Metropolitan Borough of Bootle. The Local Government Boundary Commission for England conducted a review of the area in 1987, which attracted 10,000 messages, of which "70% were pro forma". In 1990 the LGBC made suggestions that Southport, Ainsdale and Birkdale should be made a district of Lancashire: the final recommendations in 1991 "concluded that public opinion was more evenly divided than initially thought", and also that eastward transport links with Lancashire were poor compared to those southward to the Liverpool area.


The government again directed the Local Government Commission for England to make a review in December 1996 (after it had finished the work on the creation of unitary authorities), commencing in January 1997. This review was constrained by the legal inability of the commission to recommend that the current Sefton-West Lancashire border be altered. In a MORI poll conducted at the behest of the LGCE, 65% of Southport residents supported the campaign, compared to 37% in the borough as a whole. Local MPs Matthew Banks and Ronnie Fearn (MPs for Southport at various times) supported making Southport a unitary authority, with Banks wishing to see it tied to Lancashire ceremonially, but Fearn wishing to see it remain, as a separate borough, in Merseyside.

The commission noted that Southport would have a relatively low population for a unitary authority, even including Formby (89,300 or 114,700), and that it was worried about the viability of a south Sefton authority without Southport, and therefore recommended the status quo be kept. The commission suggested the use of area committees for the various parts of the borough and also that Southport could become a civil parish.[22] Another request made in 2004 was turned down, the Electoral Commission must request such a review.

In 2002, a local independent party calling themselves the Southport Party was established, with many members supporting a policy of "Southport out of Sefton". Three council seats were won in the 2002 local elections, including that of the leader of Sefton Council, Liberal Democrat Councillor, David Bamber. At the following election there were no gains and a drop in the number of votes for the party. At the all out election in 2004, one of their councillors stood down, whilst the other two lost their seats. They have not regained any seats, although the group retains a campaigning presence in the town.[citation needed]

To date, there have been no further moves to change Sefton's boundaries, but the Boundary Commission indicated in 2004 that a future review is possible.[23]


At 53°38′43.44″N 3°0′29.88″W / 53.6454°N 3.0083°W / 53.6454; -3.0083 the town is situated in North West England. The closest cities are Preston approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) to the north east and Liverpool approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) to the south.

Existing on the West Lancashire Coastal Plain, most of the town is only slightly above sea-level and thus parts of Southport used to be susceptible to flooding. This would be most frequently noticed on Southport's Marine Drive, which was regularly closed due to flooding from high tides. But in February 1997, new sea defences started being constructed and in 2002 the whole project was completed.[24]

Southport has a maritime climate like most of the UK. Due to its position by the coast, Southport rarely sees substantial snowfall and temperatures rarely fall below −5 °C so it doesn't have frequent frosts. Southport generally has moderate precipitation, unlike the rest of western UK.[25]


The United Kingdom Census 2001 showed a total resident population for Southport of 90,336[26]. Approximately 19,000 were aged 16 or under, 60,000 were aged 16–74, and 10,000 aged 75 and over.[27]. According to the 2001 census, 96% of Southports's population claim they have been born in the UK. Inhabitants of Southport are known as Sandgrounders.

Historically the population of Southport began to rapidly increase during the Industrail Revolution and the Victorian era. From then the population has been stable with minor decline in some areas of the town. Southport is quite affluent compared with other parts of the north west.

Population growth in Southport between 1901–2001
Year 1901 1911 1921 1931 1939 1951 1961 2001
Population 48,083 51,643 76,621 78,925 91,240 84,039 82,004 90,336

North Meols CP/AP [28]



As a seaside town Southport has a long history of lesuire and recreation and still to this day heavily dependent on tourism. The town went into decline when cheap air travel arrived in the 1960s and people choose to holiday abroad due to competitive prices and the more reliable weather[29]. However the town kept afloat with people coming to spend the day by the seaside on bank holidays and weekends. The town has diversifed with annual events, shopping and conferences. In 2011 Southport was named the 14th most popular coastal resort in the country, benefiting from a 23% rise in money spent in the resort in that year.[30] Part of the resort’s progress is a result of the money invested in Southport over recent years. Research also shows the town is fourth in the country for the most notable investments over the past decade, with £9.7m of investments.

Annual events

The Red Arrows at Southport Airshow in 2009
  • Southport Airshow[31] The north west's biggest airshow held in the Summer.
  • Southport Flower Show[32] The UK's largest independent flowershow.
  • British Musical Fireworks Championships[33]
  • Southport International Jazz Festival [34]
  • Southport Food and Drink Festival[35] [36]
  • Southport Weekender[37]
  • Southport Rocks[38]


While Southport has a dependence on tourism the town is also home to many businesses both in the private and public sector. Some manufacturing facilities were situated in the town, most notably Chewits were manufactured in the town from 1965 to 2006, only closing to move production to Slovakia. Manufacturing has dimisnished in the last few decades and only a few sites are still in production in the town today.

Lord Street is the main shopping street of Southport. It is one of the great shopping streets of Northern England and is said to be the insperation for the tree-lined boulevards of Paris. In the 2000s Chapel Street was pedestrianised and is home to some of the UK's most famous brands[39]. Southport also has an indoor market situated on Market Street[40] and well as a farmer's market held on the last Thursday of every month on Chapel Street[41].

Southport is now a premier destination for conferences in the north west following the multi million pound investment programme for the Southport Theatre & Convention Centre[42]. Recently it has hosted the United Kingdom Independence Party national conference as well as the regional Labour Party conferences for the past few years.

England's Golf Coast

Southport is often called England's Golfing Capital because it at the centre of England's Golf Coast and has the UK's highest concentration of championship links courses[43]. Royal Birkdale Golf Club and is one of the clubs in the Open Championship rotation for both men and women. The club has hosted the men's championship nine times since 1954, most recently in July 2008, and has hosted the women's tournament five times, including 2010. [44]


Pleasureland in 2005.

One of Southport's main attractions for many years was Pleasureland, a fairground established in 1912. It was owned by the Thompson Family, and was closed in September 2006. A replacement fairground on the same site, provisionally named New Pleasureland,[45] opened in July 2007.[46] An earlier permanent funfair, Peter Pan's Playground, closed in the 1980s and is now the site of part of the Ocean Plaza shopping development. A former landmark of Pleasureland was the Looping Star roller coaster, which was on site from 1985–87. It featured in the video for the pop single Wonderful Life, by Liverpool band Black, which was also shot at other parts of the Sefton and North West coastline.[47][48] On April 24, 2009 a serious fire occurred at the oldest attraction within New Pleasureland. Called The River Caves, it was completely destroyed in this arson attack, and a 16-year old boy was arrested in connection with the fire.[49][50]

The Model Railway Village is situated in Kings Gardens opposite the Royal Clifton Hotel and near the Marine Lake Bridge. The Model Railway Village opened in May 1996 and was created by Ray and Jean Jones. The Jones family still run the attraction today. The Model Railway Village season extends from April to the end of October. The season has extended into weekend openings during November, February and March, weather permitting.[51] An earlier model village, the Land of the Little People, was demolished in the late 1980s to make way for the aborted Winter Gardens/SIBEC shopping development. Its site is now occupied by a Morrison's supermarket.

Other major attractions in Southport include Splash World, an indoor water park situated on the back of the Dunes swimming pool which opened in June 2007.[52]

Meols Hall,[53] a manor house, home of the Hesketh family is open to the public some of the year. Set in its own expansive grounds, it boasts a history back to the Domesday Book and is full of interesting pictures and furniture.

Southport also boasts one of the few lawnmower museums.[54]

The Power Station, home of the town's own Radio station Dune 107.9 on the edge of Victoria Park, which itself is home to the Southport Flower Show.[55]


Southport has many fascinating buildings and features. Buildings, gardens and places of architectural interest to note are:

  • Lakeside Miniature Railway
  • Southport Pier with its Southport Pier Tramway
  • Marine Way Bridge
  • Lord Street
  • Victoria Baths
  • Promenade Hospital (Renovated as luxury apartments and renamed Marine Gate Mansions)
  • Southport General Infirmary (Demolished – 2008) (The rest of the hospital buildings on site where demolished summer-autumn 2009 with only a wing of the infirmary remaining as it is being used for mental health services)
  • The Ribble Building (The small shops on Lords Street are derelict, but the back is part of the Morrisons supermarket).
  • Scarisbrick Hotel, Southport
The Scarisbrick Hotel on Lord Street
  • Smedley Hydro (A formor Victorian Hydropathic Health Spa, now under ownership of the home office for the UK's Birth, Deaths and Marriages)
  • Botanic Gardens- home of only local history museum in southport - due to be closed by Sefton in 2011
  • Hesketh Park
  • Kew Gardens (Southport District General Hospital now occupies most of the site)
  • Meols Hall
  • Royal Clifton
  • The Round House
  • Wayfarers Arcade, Southport
  • Cambridge Walks (Closed by Sefton Council for Refurb)
  • Atkinson Art Gallery & Library (Closed by Sefton Council for Refurb)
  • The Arts Centre & Town Hall
    Rosefeild Hall, one of Southport's Victorian Mansions in 2007 while being restored.
  • St Cuthbert's Church
  • Emmanuel Church
  • Holy Trinity
  • Cannon Cinema (Lord Street)-(Demolished and replaced with the Vincent Hotel that opened in 2008)
  • Open Air Baths (demolished 1990s, The South Ocean Plaza complex now occupies the site)
  • Queen Victoria Statue – originally moved from the town hall gardens to Neville Street junction to the Promenade and again to the pedestrianised side of Neville Street.
    Queen Victoria Statue on Neville Street



Due to its position by the coast, Southport is a linear settlement and as such can only be approached in a limited number of directions by road.

The main roads entering Southport are:-

  • A565 (from Preston to the north east, from the A59 Liverpool – Preston – York),
  • A570 (from Ormskirk and St Helens to the south east),
  • A565 (from Liverpool and Formby to the south).

There is no direct connection to the motorway from Southport; the nearest connections are:

  • from the south – junction 3 of the M58 (on the A570, twelve miles)
  • from the north – junction 1 of the M65 (on the A582/A59, nineteen miles)
Marine Way Bridge

An east-west bypass for the A570 at Ormskirk is planned to relieve congestion on Southport's main access route to the motorway network, although the effectiveness of the proposals are still under debate.[56]

Several areas within Southport town centre have recently undergone major road redevelopment; the largest scheme was the construction of the Marine Way Bridge (opened May 2004), which connects the Lord Street shopping district with the new seafront developments. The 150-foot (46 m) high structure is thought to have cost in the region of £5m.[57]

Also one of the main shopping areas in the town, Chapel Street, has undergone a pedestrianisation scheme to be similar to parts of Liverpool city centre.


Due to the limited number of directions by road, many of the services operated in Southport are from one place South to one place North or East of Southport.

The main operator is Arriva North West, that operates many services to Liverpool, Ormskirk and other places to and through Southport as well as some local services.

Stagecoach in Preston operates two services in Southport, the citi 2 (Preston – Southport) and the X2 (Preston – Liverpool)


Southport is also home to Birkdale Sands, a sand runway located on one of Southport's beaches. For many years this was used for pleasure flights using one of the last De Havilland Fox Moth aeroplanes flying in the UK. In 1919, it was for a time one of the stops on the UK's first scheduled air passenger service, linking Blackpool, Southport and Manchester.


Southport has a railway station with a frequent service of trains to Liverpool and a regular service to Wigan, Bolton, Manchester and Manchester Airport.

The Liverpool line was originally built by the Liverpool, Crosby and Southport Railway in 1848 and is now included into the Merseyrail network. It was followed on 9 April 1855 by the Manchester and Southport Railway with a line to Manchester via Wigan.

Formerly, Southport was also served by two further railway lines:-

  • From 1882, the West Lancashire Railway operated from Southport Derby Road station to Preston Fishergate Hill. This line was shut in 1964, and nowadays, Southport and Preston are linked only by the (largely dual-carriageway) A565 and A59 roads.

In July 1897, both the West Lancashire and the Liverpool, Southport and Preston Junction Railways were absorbed into the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (L&Y). The L&Y had a large terminus at Southport Chapel Street and could see no sense in operating two termini at very close proximity. In 1901, the L&Y completed a remodeling of the approach lines to Central to allow trains to divert onto the Manchester to Southport line and into Southport Chapel Street Station. Southport Central was closed to passengers and it became a goods depot eventually amalgamating with Chapel Street depot. It survived intact well into the 1970s.

On Southport Pier can be found the Southport Pier Tramway which transports passengers from the Promenade to the pier head over 3,600 feet (1,100 m) on a 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge.


The town possesses a variety of academic institutions, both private and state-funded. The prestigious all-girls Greenbank High School is situated next to the Royal Birkdale Golf Club,[59] and consistently achieves high grades. It offers pupils a wide-range of subjects, particularly languages, and has educated some of the country's most esteemed talent, including the actress, Miranda Richardson. The male equivalent (also situated in Birkdale) is the all-boys' Birkdale High School,[60] also known for its academic success. The school has taught a few football stars, including Huddersfield captain Peter Clarke, Everton star Jack Rodwell, and Jake Bidwell, the youngest player to play for Everton in a European competitions.

There are several other high schools prominent in the town, including Stanley High School,[61] which is a specialist Sports College, Meols Cop High School,[62] and Christ the King which is the highest achieving high school in Southport.

Churchtown Primary School is among the ten biggest primary schools in the country, with nearly 900 pupils, and was described by OFSTED in February 2010 as "outstanding" (grade 1).

Independent schools

The town has one Independent School, called Sunnymede School, which is in Birkdale.[63] In the past the town had more independent schools which included Tower Dene, which was situated on Cambridge Road. The school closed due to lack of pupils and funding in 2002 and now one of the Victorian houses that housed the school has since been turned into apartments, the other is currently being renovated. Kingswood College (originally St Wyburn's) is now housed outside Southport at Scarisbrick Hall, but it takes many pupils from the town. Brighthelmston School (girls) and University School (boys) are long closed.

Further education

The town has two Further education colleges: Southport College that is situated near to the town centre and King George V College which is on Scarisbrick New Road in the Blowick area of the town.

Southport College offers a wide range of subjects and courses that are available to meet a range of students with different abilities. The college does not offer a wide range of A-Level courses as they used to when they first opened as Southport Technical College. Courses at the college include Diplomas, NVQs, BTECs and Access courses. In addition, Southport College offers some higher education courses in conjunction with the University of Central Lancashire, Edge Hill University and Liverpool John Moores University.[64]

King George V College (KGV) offers both A-Level and Business And Technology Education Council courses and the college requires higher GCSE grades in order to be accepted onto the course desired. From September 2009 the college started to offer the internationally accepted International Baccalaureate Diploma. KGV is the only college in the area to offer this qualification. From September 2011 the college will stop offering the qualification, this is due to reductions in funding and lack of uptake, with only 10 students enrolling for the course in 2010.

Currently, the college is the best performing state funded college in an 18-mile radius of KGV.[65] For the fourth year running, KGV achieved the highest point score per student for state education in Sefton for A levels and their equivalent advanced level courses.[66] The college has also been described by OFSTED as "outstanding" (grade 1).

It originally opened as King George V Sixth Form College in 1979, and replaced the former King George V Grammar School for Boys, which occupied the same site from 1926 until its demolition in stages during the 1980s as the College was fully opened.[67]



Southport is home to Southport F.C. who play in the Conference National, the 5th tier of English football after winning the Conference North season of 2009-10. They have played at the Haig Avenue ground since 1905.

Southport is also home to Birkdale United, one of the largest junior football clubs in the north west, boasting both a boys' and girls' sections, as well as male and female adult teams. It is also the only FA Charter Standard Community Club in Sefton. The youngest boys' team are Under 7s, with the girls being Under 9s. The club has been the foundations for many professional footballers, including Dominic Matteo, Shaun Teale, Paul Dalglish, Jack Rodwell and Clint Hill.


Southport is also home to a rugby union club, Southport RUFC,[68] who play at the Recreational Ground on Waterloo Road, Hillside.

The junior section of Southport RUFC are known as the Southport Sharks,[69] and have sides that range from 7 years old upwards. They also play on the same grounds, and train every Sunday 10am-12noon.


The town is probably best known for golf; the Royal Birkdale Golf Club situated in the dunes to the south of the town is one of the venues on The Open Championship rotation and has hosted two Ryder Cups. Nearby Southport and Ainsdale Golf Club is also a two time Ryder Cup venue and Hillside Golf Club hosts many major events as well as being a final open qualifying course. Many smaller links courses, such as Hesketh Golf Links, also surround the town.

Kite surfing

Sculler on Marine Lake

Southport's location by the coast also lends itself to some more specialised sporting activities – Ainsdale Beach, south of the town, is popular for kite sports, including kite-surfing. In 1925, Henry Segrave set a world land speed record of 152.33 mph (245.15 km/h) on the beach, driving the Sunbeam Tiger. His association is largely forgotten locally, but is commemorated by the name of a public house on Lord Street.


Marine Lake lies nestled between the town centre and the sea and is used for a variety of water-sports including water-skiing, sailing and rowing. The lake is home to the West Lancashire Yacht Club and Southport Sailing Club, both of which organise dinghy racing. The annual Southport 24 Hour Race, organised by the West Lancashire Yacht Club, is an endurance race of national standing, with an average turnout of 60 to 80 boats. In 2006, the event marked its 40th anniversary.[70]

Water polo

Southport Water Polo Team train on a Monday night and have won numerous tournaments and competitions throughout the years.


The flat and scenic route alongside the beach is very popular with cyclists, and is the start of the Trans Pennine Trail, a cycle route running across the north of the country to Selby in North Yorkshire, through Hull and on to Hornsea on the east coast.

In June 2008, Cycling England announced Southport as one of the 11 new cycling towns. These 11 towns shared £47 million from the government to be spent solely on cycling schemes in the towns.[71] Southport’s Cycling Towns programme aims to encourage tourism and leisure cycling, create regeneration opportunities and significantly increase cycling to school.[72] There are now many cycle lanes in Southport and more are planned, to encourage cycling in the town.

Notable people

Famous animals and entities

  • Red Rum, record breaking racehorse and three time winner of the Aintree Grand National.
  • Eagle, a comic for boys, was started in Southport.



The town's media consists of two rival newspaper groups, and two radio stations. The independently owned 'Champion' newspaper is a free weekly paper and Trinity Mirror's 'Sefton & West Lancs Media Mix' titles The Mid-week Visiter and The Southport Visiter (now out on a Thursday) are free and paid-for respectively. The town also falls within the circulation areas of three regional hard copy newspapers; The Liverpool Echo, The Liverpool Daily Post and The Lancashire Evening Post. Southport is also covered by several local and regional magazines, like Lancashire Life. The local Ranger Service, which is part of Sefton MBC, runs a quarterly free magazine called Coastlines.

Old Southport newspapers now out of print are as follows: Independent 1861-1920s;[73] Liverpool & Southport News 1861–1872;[73] Southport News (West Lancs) 1881–1885;[73] Southport Standard 1885–1899;[73] Southport Guardian 1882–1930;[74] Southport Journal 1904–1932;[74] Southport Star; Southport Advertiser.

The area also has many online media sites, including the UK's First online newspaper,[75] the Southport Reporter,[76] as well as Internet forums (chat forums) and blog sites.


The town's commercial radio station Dune 107.9 (renamed from 107.9 Dune FM in October 2008). On a regional level Southport is covered by several local and regional radio stations, including BBC Radio Merseyside, BBC Radio Lancashire, Radio City 96.7, City Talk 105.9, and 97.4 Rock FM.

Southport is situated within the television regions of BBC North West and ITV's Granada Television.


Useful history books

  • The Sands Of Times, an introduction to the Sand Dunes of the Sefton Coast Line, written by Philip H. Smith. ISBN 1-902700-03-1
  • New Ainsdale, a book about the seaside suburb of Southport covering from 1850 to 2000. Written by Harry Foster of the Birkdale and Ainsdale Historical Research Society. ISBN 0-9510905-5-0
  • New Birkdale – The Growth of a Lancashire Seaside Suburb 1850–1912, by Harry Foster, 1995. Published by Birkdale and Ainsdale Historical Research Society. ISBN 0-9510905-1-8
  • Viking Mersey, written by Stephen Harding. ISBN 1901231-34-8
  • Southport A Pictorial History, a book by local author Harry Foster. ISBN 0-85033-966-9
  • Local Newspapers, holds newspaper title names from 1750—1920. ISBN 0-907099-46-7
  • Britain's First Lifeboat Station, written by Yorke, Barbara and Reginald, published by Alt Press. ISBN 0-9508155-0-0
  • Pleasureland Memories, A history of Southport's amusement park, by Stephen Copnall (2005), Skelter Publishing. ISBN 0-9544573-3-1
  • What The Butler Saw – And All That, a pictorial history of Southport pier, by Harold Brough. ISBN 0-9554780-0-6
  • Southport Stories and Landscapes, by David Lewis (2005). Breedon Publishing. ISBN 1-85983-467-1
  • Thatch, Towers and Colonnades – The story of architecture in Southport, by Cedric Greenwood (1971, reprinted 1990). Carnegie Publishing. ISBN 0-948789-64-6
  • An Illustrated Survey of Railway Stations Between Southport & Liverpool 1848–1986, by Rob Gell (1986). Heyday Publishing Company, ISBN 0-947562-04-4.
  • North Meols and Southport – a History, by Peter Aughton (1988). Published by Carnegie Press ISBN 0-948789-17-4
  • The Sandgrounders: The Complete League History of Southport F. C., by Michael Braham and Geoff Wilde (Palatine Books, 1995). ISBN 10-1874181144
  • The Complete Non-League History of Southport Football Club 1978–2008, by Trust in Yellow (Legends Publishing, 2008). ISBN 978-1-906796-01-3

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Longest Piers in the British Isles". National Piers Society. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  3. ^ "Lord Street's History". Champion Media Group. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  4. ^ "ramsar – JNCC". 
  5. ^ "Natural England – Special Sites". Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  6. ^ "Southport". Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  7. ^ "Southport Air Show Official". Sefton Council. Retrieved 2006-08-01. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Mersey Reporter – Home Page, 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Local report
  15. ^ Nevin, Charles (2004-08-21). "Ooh La Lancashire". London: The Guardian.,,1287609,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-13. 
  16. ^ Newspaper report of the wreck of the Mexico
  17. ^ S.O.R.T. Website
  18. ^
  19. ^ Parliamentary Debates, House of Commons, 6 July 1972, column 878.
  20. ^
  21. ^ Southport Conservative Party Website, Conservative Party Website
  22. ^ Final Recommendations on the Future Local Government of Sefton, Local Government Commission for England, November 1997
  23. ^ __E__.pdf Boundary Committee Website
  24. ^ Sefton Coast
  25. ^ Met Office – Mapped Averages
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ , Vision of Britain,  : Total Population, retrieved 2010-12-01 
  29. ^ Cowell, Alan (2007-04-12). "Postcard From Ailing British Coasts: Wish You Were Here". The New York Times. 
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ Southport CAMRA. "Beer Festival". 
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^ New Pleasureland Website
  46. ^ Local Newspaper Website Report
  47. ^ YouTube – Wonderful Life
  48. ^
  49. ^ "River Caves destroyed by fire". Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  50. ^ "New Pleasureland". Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  51. ^ Model Village Website
  52. ^ Splash World URL
  53. ^ The Meols Hall Website.
  54. ^ Lawnmower museum
  55. ^ SFS Website
  56. ^ Local Gov. Website.
  57. ^ Local newspaper report
  58. ^ Southport Past Website
  59. ^ Greenbank High School
  60. ^ Birkdale High School
  61. ^ Stanley High School
  62. ^ Meols Cop High School
  63. ^ ISD Website
  64. ^ Southport College Website
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^ KGV website
  68. ^ Southport Rugby Football Club Website
  69. ^ Southport Sharks Website
  70. ^ 24-hour yacht race (video)
  71. ^
  72. ^
  73. ^ a b c d Federation of Family History Societies. Local Newspapers. ISBN 0-907099-46-7. 
  74. ^ a b Federation of Family History Societies. Local Newspapers. ISBN 0-907099-46-7.  – "Published from" date only
  75. ^ Published in UK as the "UK's only web-based newspaper" in January 2005 in hard copy magazine called "Web Pages Made Easy." and on the Trade Mark Register as a newspaper No. 2292469
  76. ^ Hollis PR & Media Guide 2006. – ISBN 1 904193 250 UK ISSN 1364-9000

External links

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