21 moments that shaped Liverpool in 2021 - The Guide Liverpool

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21 moments that shaped Liverpool in 2021


2021 has been quite a year in Liverpool – maybe not always the way we thought or even hoped, but no question there’s been plenty of memorable moments. You can watch our year highlights above.

 We’ve seen lots of milestones and highlights, but even when we’ve been tested by some shocking events, Liverpool has always stood together to face them.

With 2022 hopefully about to be good to us all, here are 21 moments that shaped 2021 in Liverpool …

The city pulled through and came together during lockdown

We thought we’d seen the back of lockdowns, then there was another big one in January. But it wasn’t all about what we were told we could and couldn’t do, it was about how people in our city went over and above to support their family, friends, neighbours, the elderly and vulnerable, pulling together like we always do in tough times. 

Liverpool chosen for test pilot events

We’re ahead of the game when it comes to culture, and we led the way again in April and May when we held pilot events – The Good Business Festival, two Circus club nights and Sefton Park music festival – which, by testing everyone before and after, helped get things safely opened up again across the country. 

First ever female Mayor of Liverpool

Another major first came in May when Liverpool made history by choosing the UK’s first directly elected black female mayor and the first woman to lead the city. Princes Park councillor Joanne Anderson promised to “make sure that we have an accountable and transparent local authority, the one that the people of Liverpool deserve”.

The staycation city with hundreds of thousands visiting

With foreign travel still uncertain and countries bouncing around the red and amber lists, lots of people decided not to risk going abroad. Marketing Liverpool positioned us to be one of the staycation capitals of the UK, working with culture, hotels and hospitality to woo visitors with safe outdoor attractions like the Biennial and Liverpool Without Walls.

The tragic death of Ava White

The entire city was left shocked and saddened by the tragic death of 12-year-old Ava White after the city centre Christmas lights switch-on in November. Hundreds gathered in Church Street for a vigil days later to pay their respects to the Notre Dame schoolgirl and the Radio City Tower was lit up blue in her memory.

Andrew Devine became the 97th victim of the Hillsborough disaster

Reds fan Andrew Devine died in July aged 55, 32 years after suffering life-changing injuries in the Hillsborough disaster. His family issued a statement saying: “Our collective devastation is overwhelming but so too is the realisation that we were blessed to have had Andrew with us for 32 years since the Hillsborough tragedy.”

2021 was a year of female leaders in Liverpool

Mayor Joanne Anderson was just one of many women to take on leading roles in the city. Serena Kennedy became Chief Constable of Merseyside Police in April Emily Spurrell was elected as Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner and Faye Dyer took on the job of ACC managing director in May.

We waited a LONG time on the Strand as the Big Dig took place

It felt like forever, especially if you were stuck in traffic jams looking at the Three Graces as you crawled by, but the first phase of development of the waterfront route was finally completed in November and all the barriers came down to reveal new cycle paths, green space, trees and seating. Looks lovely – make the most of it because phase two starts in spring 2022!

We got smart with the launch of The Spine in the Knowledge Quarter

Liverpool became home to one of the world’s healthiest buildings in May with the launch of landmark building, The Spine, in Paddington Village. Costing £35m, the 14-storey eco building became the highest in the city, sitting proudly at the eastern gateway to the Knowledge Quarter Liverpool (KQ Liverpool) Innovation District.

Liverpool Women’s Hospital was targeted in terrorist incident

Aerial view of damaged car being removed by forensic officer after the explosion at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital

Liverpool was rocked by a terror attack outside The Women’s on Remembrance Sunday. Bomber Emad al Swealmeen was killed when his homemade device exploded in a taxi outside the hospital. Taxi driver David Perry said it was a miracle he was alive and no-one else was injured, and leaders praised the city for uniting in the face of adversity.

We welcomed the world at G7

The city was in the global spotlight in December as we played host to foreign and development ministers from around the world at the three-day summit marking the end of the UK’s Presidency of the G7. The Museum of Liverpool was the main location for the talks, and a pretty stunning backdrop for all those photos.

Commissioners came in

After a turbulent few months and a scathing report, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick announced in June that the Government was bringing in commissioners to oversee the council’s highways, regeneration and property management over the next three years.

Lots of new stuff!

It was definitely out with the old and in with the new in Liverpool in 2021, and in came lots of new places to visit, shop and eat out. They included INNSiDE by Melia on Old Hall Street with its Gino’s and amazing Sky Bar, Barnacle restaurant on the mezzanine at Duke Street Market, stunning 35-storey

The Lexington apartments at Princes Dock, super-cool Baltic Hotel on Jamaica Street, the History Whisperer experience at St George’s Hall, gorgeous cocktail bar Tres Liverpool in Temple Court … and a massive Next on the corner of Church Street and Whitechapel.

Rafa returns but not to the Reds

Not many people are brave enough to cross over Stanley Park and shift their allegiances between the Blues and Reds but Rafa Benitez did just that when he returned to Liverpool the city, but not the club – taking over as boss of Everton in June on a three-year contract, replacing Carlo Ancelotti.

Bramley-Moore Dock got underway

More than four years after signing a deal for land at Bramley-Moore Dock to build a new £500m stadium, Everton confirmed it was finally starting work in July. A ground-breaking ceremony took place in August with Blues chairman Bill Kenwright telling fans: “Now we can all watch our magnificent home as it comes to life.” On December 21, the first above-ground giant concrete panels and pillars went up.

We welcomed everyone from Nile Rodgers to Madness, Gary Barlow to Camelphat

Despite on-off restrictions, it was still a stellar year for live gigs in Liverpool, with the city showcasing some of the biggest stars in music. Nile Rodgers played a massive Pier Head show in September, then 12,000 clubbers had the waterfront bouncing at Scouse superstars Camelphat’s fastest-selling date of the year, on the second day of the On The Waterfront festival.

Merseyside Police got a new home 

Merseyside Police moved from its old HQ at Canning Place into a new £48m building on Cazneau Street overlooking Scotland Road and the Queensway tunnel in October. The new HQ, named Rose Hill, will house over 1,000 officers and staff and has a memorial garden dedicated to the officers who have given their lives while serving.

The city shone twice at River of Light

The waterfront and city centre was lit up twice with two River of Light trails at Easter and then again in October. Huge crowds joined in the free-to-see festival featuring an outdoor illuminated gallery of stunning light installations by local, national and international artists.

And shone again on screen, featuring in films and TV shows

Stephen and Jodie in Ch4’s Help

Film and TV programme makers love our city and the results of all those hours of filming was watched by millions in 2021. Stephen Graham and Jodie Comer’s powerful drama for C4, Care, was a real stand-out, the Georgian Quarter doubled as Baker Street for The Irregulars, It’s a Sin and Ridley Road both shot around the Town Hall, Doctor Who filmed at the Albert Dock and Metropolitan Cathedral … and of course, who could forget the incredible sight of the Caped Crusader, Batman, at the top of the Liver Building!

We shopped ‘til we dropped and bucked the retail trend

After a tough time for shops with enforced closures, Liverpool came back spending in 2021, boosted by the big flagship openings of Next, New Look and Pandora. Sales trends were looking good all over the city centre and at the Albert Dock, including at Liverpool ONE where sales in the second half of the year were up more than 7% compared to a national average of less than 1%.

Campaigner Frances Molloy changed the law


Frances Molloy, whose 18-year-old son Michael was killed when a coach tyre blew out as he travelled back to Merseyside from a festival in 2012, won her years-long campaign for a new tyre law in February. “I feel that I’ve finally done what I set out to do, and had to do, for my son,” she said.

Get in touch with The Guide Liverpool on TwitterFacebook and Instagram or email [email protected]theguideliverpool.com.

Your can visit the Liverpool Directory here for the best food, drinks, shopping and attractions in the city.

Get all of the latest news for Liverpool and beyond here.

Got a story you would like to share with us? Email us at [email protected] and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for regular updates for Liverpool.


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