The story of how Liverpool rebuilt itself after the devastating Blitz of 80 years ago has been illustrated in a collection of ‘then and now’ photographs for a new trail around the city.

Photographer Keith Jones visited sites featured in the Museum of Liverpool’s exhibition Blitzed: Liverpool Live. Using photographs taken by Liverpool City Police to document the terrible bombings, he placed himself as close as possible to the viewpoint of the original photographer to capture the same scene as it is now, eight decades later. 

The result is a fascinating pair of images, contrasting the devastation the Blitz wrought over Liverpool with the resilience and eventual regrowth of the buildings, businesses and the communities that now inhabit them.

The before and after pictures will form part of a walking trail, which can be picked up at the Museum of Liverpool and at Saint Nicholas, Liverpool Parish Church, and around some of the waterfront and city centre locations hit hardest by enemy bombs.

Kay Jones, lead curator of urban and community history, says: “Keith’s photographs invite us to travel back in time when the streets and buildings we know so well looked very different, and the people who lived and worked in them were facing unimaginable fear and distress. Today, these images feel particularly poignant while we’ve watched the war in Ukraine unfold and so many people around the world continue to face violence and oppression.

“We hope that the trail will help encourage conversation and memories to be shared. This was a terrible period in our city’s history but we can make sure that the struggle of the people who experienced it and the city they built back is never forgotten.”

Jones says: “My photography explores the many changes the city has seen, but the images of destruction caused by the Blitz bombing, on display at the Museum of Liverpool, are particularly shocking. I was really pleased to be asked to be part of this important project and I hope my photographs show how the city has rebuilt itself since this terrible time. It’s an amazing testimony to the spirit of Liverpool.”

Liverpool Blitz

  • The Liverpool Blitz lasted from 1940 to 1942, with the heaviest period between May 1-7, 1941.
  • The Port of Liverpool and surrounding areas were key targets for German bombers.
  • In Merseyside, 4,000 civilians were killed, 10,000 homes destroyed, and 70,000 people made homeless.
  • Liverpool suffered the second highest number of civilian deaths in air raids in the country and, due to censorship, press reports often didn’t tell the whole story.