Liverpool shipping records: imports and exports, 1820-1900 - Part 2

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Liverpool Customs Bills of Entry, 1820-1900 - Part 2

Liverpool Customs Bills of Entry, 1820-1900 - Part 2

The material contained in this edition constitutes an essential source for the study of Liverpool's shipping and trade over a long stretch of time. The Bills of Entry list details of ships, cargoes and merchants involved in voyages
Kenneth MorganBrunel University

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Liverpool's trading history, in records of imports and exports from 1861 to 1870

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The Livepool Customs Bills of Entry were printed broadsheets designed to provide factual information - primarily statistics - for merchants and other interested parties to keep abreast of the flow of commerce into and out of the port. Liverpool is an appropriate port for examining the details of ships and their cargoes in depth, for it rose significantly to become an important maritime centre during the eighteenth century. It was a rise that followed the pouring of millions of pounds by the wealthy city corporation into constructing wet docks that became the envy of other British ports. Liverpool shippers became significant traders in the Caribbean sugar and Chesapeake tobacco trades but, above all, in the African slave trade to the Americas, so that by 1800 Liverpool was the largest slave trading port in the world. In the nineteenth century the port of Liverpool grew even larger with industrialisation, the financing of additional docks, internal links with the canal and railway network, the growth of the cotton trade with the United States, the rise of the emigrant trade, and the development of successful steamship companies such as Blue Funnel and the Guinea, Bibby and Castle lines. By the 1840's, Liverpool handled more export tonnage than London. Many of these commercial trends can be analysed via the Bills of Entry. Collectively drawn from the Liverpool Record Office and Liverpool Maritime Museum, these Bills of Entry are complete for the period 1820-1900 with the exception of the years 1821-24, 1833, 1836 and 1838-40 where lacunae exist. This description was drawn from the introduction and online guide to the microfilm edition by Professor Kenneth Morgan of Brunel University.


Liverpool shipping records: imports and exports, 1820-1900 - Part 2...

Containing 7,570 pages belonging to 7 documents housed in 2 volumes...

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Bills of Entry, 1861-1865

All bills are complete for each year.

Bills of Entry, 1866-1870

All bills are complete for each year.


  • Liverpool was one of the largest ports in the United Kingdom during the 19th century. The extent of this trade can be seen in the quantities of goods recorded at this port.
  • Comparing the source countries and the volumes of cargoes reveals trends in shipping. Different countries' produce would be in demand at different times over the years.
  • Between 1861 and 1870 Britain fought Bhutan as well as the Ashanti for the 2nd time. The main impact of these land-based wars would have been upon which imports and exports were passing through Liverpool.
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