How every area of Liverpool got its name

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There are plenty of Liverpool place names that out-of-towners struggle to pronounce – but how did our local areas get their unique names?

From Aigburth to Woolton, there's a fascinating history behind the place names of Liverpool's suburbs.

Back in 2011, the ECHO reported on a comprehensive study which revealed the meanings and origins of the names of Liverpool's different areas.

According to a report by the Museum of Liverpool and Historic England, the place names of our local areas have some pretty interesting origins.

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Influenced by everything from local geography, livestock and plant life, some of the place names even are recorded in some form or another in the Domesday Book.

Here's how all the different areas of Liverpool got their names.


Aigburth means “oak tree hill” and the word comes from “Aykeberh” – which in turn comes from the Old Norse “Eikiberg”.

The area dates back to at least the 13th century, growing up around a monastery, barns and granary run by monks.

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Allerton means “a town of Alder trees”, from the Old English “alder tun” – which had become “Alretune” by 1086 and Allerton by 1292.

It grew as a home for wealthy Liverpool merchants in the late 19th century, living in manor houses with large parkland estates.


Anfield means “a field on a slope”, starting out as “Hongfield” in the 1600s from the Middle English word “hange” and Old English word “feld”.

The land was historically used for catte grazing and quarrying. In the 1850s it was still a rural settlement with mainly open fields and villa houses owned by Liverpool’s merchant classes.

But the industrial revolution saw the large homes replaced by terraces for the city’s workers.


This area’s name means “the stream of the children” – or of the first name “Cilda”.

It was known as Cildeuuelle in the huge Domesday Book survey of 1086, becoming “Childewalle” in 1212.


Croxteth comes from the Old Norse word “Croc” and Old English “staep” – meaning “Croc’s landing place” or “river-bend landing place.

It was known as “Crocstad” in 1257, becoming “Croxsath” by 1297.

Vikings had sailed up the River Alt and established a settlement in the area in the ninth century.


Dingle comes from Middle English “Dingyll” – meaning deep dell, or a village around a creek.

Historians think “Dingle” suggests medieval origins, but there is little evidence of the settlement many centuries ago.

It grew up in the 19th century as Liverpool’s docks grew and industries including potteries and steel, iron and gas works appearing in the area.


Everton comes from a word meaning either “pig enclosure” or “Eofor’s enclosure”, from the Old English word “eofor” for a domestic pig or the first name “Eofor”.

It was once called “Euretone”, but had become “Evretona” by 1094.

The area was known for cattle-grazing and the farmland was handed between various elites before it was declared an independent area in the 17th century and the land was gradually sold off to local people.


This area’s striking name comes from the Old English words for border, fringe or “woodland near a boundary field”.

The words “Fas” and “Leah” came together and it was known as “Fasakerlegh” by 1277.

The first known reference to the area is in the local family records of Henry and Robert de Fazakerley, with the settlement growing from a hamlet in an area where woodland had been cleared.


Garston comes from Old English words “great” and “stan” – meaning “the great stone or grazing town”.

It was called “Gerstan” in 1094, but had become Garston by 1265.

There is evidence of prehistoric and Roman activity, though only became a significant settlement in the medieval era.

It was known as a major fishing spot – with many fish including salmon, whitebait and sturgeon in the area.


Kensington takes its name from the road of the same name, and is thought to have taken its name from the other Kensington in London.

The settlement grew up along the important coach road that linked Liverpool to Prescot, initially as a home for wealthy merchant classes before more housing was built for workers as Liverpool boomed as a port.


Kirkdale means “a valley with its own church”, after the Old Scandinavian words “kirkia” for church and “dalr” for dale.

It was called Kirkedale by 1185, with the land owned by the Moore family for centuries before it became a major industrial and housing area linked to Liverpool’s booming docks in the 19th century.

The Moore family home was known as Bank Hall, which was demolished in the 1770s but is remembered locally through Bankhall station.

Old Swan

This area’s name dates much more recently than many other parts of Liverpool – coming from The Old Swan Inn in the area in the 1820s.

It was rural until the 19th century, with a settelement developing around the coaching inn.


Speke comes from the Old English word “spaec” – meaning dry twigs or brushwood.

It was recognised in the Domesday Book in 1086, but was largely agricultural had two small, main hamlets called Speke and Oglet.

Most of the town was built from the 1930s onwards.


This area means “Toki’s landing place”, from the Old Scandinavian first name Toki and Old Norse “stod”.

It was once called “Stochestede”, becoming “Tokestath” by 1212, and much of the land was wooded until the 17th century – serving as a hunting park for King John in 1204.


This area is named after a local stream called “Tew Brook”.

Tue Brook House is the oldest dated house in Liverpool, though most of Tuebrook was still open fields in the 1840s.


This area means “wooden enclosure”, from the Old English “Wald” and “Tun” and becoming Walton by 1305.

The church of Walton-on-the-Hill is known to date back to at least the late 11th century, even serving as a so-called mother church to Liverpool until 1699 when Liverpool became its own parish.


This area’s name comes from “wavering tree” – possibly a reference to aspen trees which are still common in the area.

It comes from the Old English “waefre” and “treow”, and was known as “Wauretreu” in the Domesday Book.

The area once had a sandstone quarry which was free for all villagers to help themselves, but it was in-filled in the 1870s to stop them as it was so deep and dangerous, and is now covered by housing.

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West Derby

This area’s name comes from the Old Scandinavian word “diurby”, meaning a farmstead where deer are seen.

The “West” may have been added to “Derbei” to distinguish it from Derbyshire.

It was described in the Domesday Book as one of the most important areas in the region.

It was classed as a Royal Manor which once belonged to Edward the Confessor, one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England before the Norman Conquest of 1066.


Woolton’s name means “Wulfa’s enclosure” – from the old Scandinavian first name “Wulfa” and “tun”.

It was known as Uluentune in the Domesday Book, but was made up of two different stretches of land which became known as Much and Little Woolton.

You can find more information about these and other parts of Liverpool in the full Liverpool Historic Settlement Study report.