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Journal Article

'Ferry off the Mersey': The Business and the Impact of Decolonization in Liverpool

NICHOLAS J. WHITE
History
Vol. 96, No. 2 (322) (APRIL 2011), pp. 188-204
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24428976
Page Count: 17

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Topics: Shipping, Older adults, Oceans, Decolonization, Trade, Ports, Business, African history, Business structures, Steam
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'Ferry off the Mersey': The Business and the Impact of Decolonization in Liverpool
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Abstract

Liverpool remained the UK's second port into the late 1960s, and, at the same time, its overseas trade remained highly skewed towards the empire–Commonwealth. By the 1980s, however, Merseyside had become almost a byword for British economic decay. Through focusing upon Liverpool's leading shipping group – the Blue Funnel/Elder Dempster complex, representing the premiere UK lines to eastern Asia and western Africa – this article provides a testing ground for recent debates on economics and the end of empire. It confirms that in line with other UK imperial business leaders, Liverpool shipowners were disaffected with the process of decolonization. Yet, whereas the historiographical consensus has pointed to a limited impact of imperial dissolution on the British economy as a whole, the diversification strategies pursued by these disgruntled Liverpudlian 'gentlemanly' businessmen unwittingly contributed to the port city's late twentieth-century downturn.

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