Liverpool History Society Questions

A selection of Liverpool history questions submitted to the Liverpool History Society

Nova Scotia Liverpool

Hello Rob,

I have been researching my family history and located a relative whose adrress was listed as Nova Scotia, Liverpool.  I can not find any reference to this area.  Can you help.



 Mann Island before the recent demolitions

19/03/2010 - Posted by | Nova Scotia Liverpool


  1. Hello Mary,

    Mann Island near Liverpool`s Pierhead was once known as 'Nova Scotia'.

    This was due to the off-loading of lumber laden ships from Canada's east coast. This lumber was to feed the Mersey shipbuilders which were located, at that time, on the Liverpool side of the River where the South Docks are now located. It was because of the value of docking space that the shipbuilders moved over the water to the Wirral.

    Also the Canadians began to build the ships themselves, sail them in ballast to Liverpool where they were sold to the shipping companies. The famous Black Ball Line clipper MARCO POLO was one of those ships. Built in St. John, New Brunswick of softwood, she made the fastest west to east crossing of the North Atlantic of any ship before her and subsequently, under the command of Capt. Bully Forbes, became the fastest ship on the sea.

    Her regular route was from Liverpool to Geelong and Melbourne and return. Captain Forbes is buried in Smithdown Road cemetery and the inscription on his headstone reads “Master of the MARCO POLO”.

    Cynthia Stonall

    (Librarian for the Liverpool History Society)

    Comment by Anonymous | 19/03/2010 | Reply

  2. Hiya Cynth,

    My ancestors in about 1860 built clipper ships and their timber importing yard was in Nova Scotia.

    I always thought when reading the family papers that this referred to land in Canada, until recently.

    One of the old docks was called Chaloner Dock before it was expanded into Queens Dock.


    Comment by Terry | 31/03/2011 | Reply

  3. Hello, Mary.

    You said that the shipbuilders moved from the South Docks to Wirral.

    Do you know when this change took place? I’m writing a novel that takes place in Liverpool in the mid 1840s, called, Painter of Dreams, and it revolves around a fictional shipping company out of Liverpool. The character is raising a company similar to the Black Ball Line.

    I’ve never been to Liverpool and live in the United States. I find this blog fascinating and very informational. Thank you for such a comprehensive resource.

    Bobette Bryan

    Comment by Liverpool History Society Questions | 05/09/2011 | Reply

  4. Hello Bobette,

    Shipbuilding developed at Liverpool in the late seventeenth century and was of national importance by 1800. However, by 1830 its prosperity was threatened by high labour costs and unrest, a lack of security of tenure and competition from low cost builders in Sunderland and Canada.

    Towards the end of the nineteenth century the only shipyards remaining on the east side of the Mersey were Thomas Royden & Sons, R & J Evans & Co. W. H. Potter & Sons, and John Jones & Sons.

    In 1893 Roydens launched their last vessel, the steel barque Prince Robert (2846 tons), the 262nd vessel to be built at the yard. Their activities had started in era of sails of ships and wood, passed through that of iron, and onto the steel steamships. So ended a shipbuilding firm well known and highly respected throughout the country. The more far sighted changed to building iron ships and four yards survived until the 1890s when lack of demand and the need to rebuild the South Docks ended ship building in Liverpool.

    By 1899 shipbuilding on the Liverpool shore was completely extinct.


    Rob Ainsworth
    Liverpool History Society

    Comment by Liverpool History Society Questions | 05/09/2011 | Reply

  5. Hello Bobette,
    You will find more about the Royden yard here:
    which is where the uncredited info in Robs answer and the sketch at the top have been taken from (beware the internet police Robert :-)) )
    You can also find a full chapter on Liverpool Shipbuilding in ‘Tracing Your Liverpool Ancestors’ link here:


    Mike Royden

    Comment by Mike Royden | 21/01/2012 | Reply

  6. Hello Mary,
    I have a story similar to yours. The 1911 census lists my family as living at #9 Nova Scotia in Liverpool.

    Comment by myra diblasio | 25/02/2012 | Reply

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