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Survival of the Liver Birds

Atop each tower of the Liver Building stand the mythical Liver Birds.  Popular legend has it that while one giant bird looks out over the city to protect its people, the other looks out to sea to observe the ships coming in to port.  An alternative theory claims one Liver Bird is male, looking inland to see if the pubs are open, whilst the other is female, looking out to sea to see if there are any handsome sailors coming up the river!  Perhaps more significantly, the third legend states if one of the birds were to fly away the city of Liverpool would cease to exist.

Whichever legend you prefer, there’s no denying the Liver Birds have become an important symbol of the City of Liverpool.

During World War II the Royal Liver Building, at 90m, was the tallest building in Liverpool and given it’s waterfront position at the Pier Head it seemed inevitable the building would be targeted during the Blitz.  As well as industrial areas, the Luftwaffe were keen to target buildings of heritage in an attempt to break British morale.  If the Liver Birds were destroyed, what would it mean for Liverpool?

liver building night 1936

Thankfully, despite widespread destruction around the Three Graces, all three spectacular buildings survived the Blitz on Liverpool and the Liver Birds remained a symbol of the city’s strength and perseverance.  This year the Liver Birds celebrate their 100th birthday!