Smithdown Road, Liverpool

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The large Asda store on Smithdown Road

Smithdown Road is a historic street in Liverpool, England, which now forms part of the A562. The area was previously known as Smithdown (Esmedune[1] or Smeedon in Olde English) and dates back to 1086 when it was listed in the Doomsday Book. The causeway that actually became what is now Smithdown Road emerges in documentation around 1775.

It is currently the location of Toxteth Park Cemetery, Wavertree Playground and was previously the location of Sefton General Hospital, known as the Smithdown Hospital and before that the Old Workhouse.


Penny Lane junction, the subject of the Beatles song "Penny Lane", is situated at the junction of Smithdown Road, Smithdown Place and Penny Lane. A song called "Smithdown Road" appeared on the second album of Liverpool band Tramp Attack inspired by the band's experiences of living there after leaving home. The Liverpool band The Christians recorded "Greenbank Drive" (junction of Ullet & Smithdown Rd) in 1990. It reached 63 in the UK charts.


Both sides of the entire length of Smithdown Road (approximately 1.7 miles) are populated by commercial buildings, such as shops, supermarkets, restaurants and bars. The road is also known for "The Smithdown Ten" pub crawl although the exact number of pubs in business varies to meet the ever-changing demographic of the area. In the 1960s, '70s and '80s it was residence to a small but vibrant craft trade consisting of tailors, watchmakers wrought iron workers and even leather-smiths.

The area saw huge decline in the 1980s as privatisation affected various areas of the UK and globalisation meant the migration of Britain's crafts and manufacturing to Asian countries such as India, China and Indonesia. Smithdown Road was one of the central areas where the 1981 Toxteth Riots occurred due to increasing poverty and the tensions between the multicultural communities in the area and the local police force. The troubles that afflicted the area meant a lot of shop owners moved out of the area and it has taken considerable time to re-establish the area.

Smithdown Road is the official border line between the Liverpool districts of Wavertree and Toxteth and these areas have seen tremendous growth, especially since 2008 when Liverpool won the European Capital of Culture award.


Smithdown Road, a long established student quarter is home to a large percentage of Liverpool's 55,000 plus university student population (alongside the city centre and Kensington). The street separates Toxteth and Wavertree, two of Liverpool's most ethnically diverse districts, Smithdown Road itself is the hub of Merseyside's Afro-Caribbean community, which is evident from the large number of shops and businesses situated along it. The area surrounding Smithdown Road is also home to a sizable South Asian population, with a number of mosques and gurdwaras being located in the area.

Famous births[edit]


  1. ^ Smithdown Road: A History, Liverpool Echo
  2. ^ Ashley, April. "My Odyssey - Chapter One". Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Sissons, Peter (2011). When One Door Closes. Biteback. p. 11. 

Barbara Smart

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°23′43″N 2°56′20″W / 53.39519°N 2.93889°W / 53.39519; -2.93889