Originally opened in 1896 as Diamond Matchworks, this huge factory was taken over by Bryant and May in 1901. The Bryant and May Diamond Match Factory, known locally as the “Matchy”, on Linacre Lane, Litherland became one of the biggest match manufacturing operations in Europe and had the reputation of being one of the best employers in the area.
On 8th May 1941 it was in full production, by the following morning it was a heap of rubble and twisted metal. The fire and glow from the burning factory could be seen in the night sky from twenty miles away in North Wales. This well-known photograph shows the smouldering ruins of the ‘Matchy’ after the Luftwaffe May Blitz of 1941…
To increase the water being directed onto the blazing factory, the canal was used as an auxiliary water supply to fight the blazing fires. The level of the canal was recorded as dropping by 2 feet.
The factory never re-opened as a result of the devastating damage inflicted on the night of the 3rd May 1941 and hundreds of workers lost their jobs.