Liverpool gets the hard days right – thanks to its creativity


Liverpool is famous around the world for its creativity and ingenuity – even when times have been hard. From wars and pandemics to economic crashes and mass unemployment the city’s people have proven themselves to be some of the most enterprising and innovative in the world. Partner Ross Walker, based in our Liverpool office, talks about why, during the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a rise in patent applications.

Taking a step back often allows people to see things more clearly.

We know that some businesses have had a lot of down-time over the last few months and those that are still thriving used that quiet time wisely. They were able to take their focus off the day-to-day running of the business and instead looked at how they could change their business, make things better – and create something new.

Liverpool has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, recently our attorneys have seen an increase in the number of people making enquiries about how they can protect their Covid-19 related designs. It is during challenging times that there are science and technical niches to be filled, and as life changes there are new needs to be met.

At Forresters we feel privileged to be able to work with artists, entrepreneurs and designers from an early stage and see their dream become a reality. Often the ingenuity we see coming through during the hard times isn’t just clever – it is so revolutionary it changes life as we know it. Liverpool has always been successful, because its people have the ability to transform and adapt to constant change.

Here are five examples of innovative and creative ideas that came out of Liverpool at times of crisis:

1. The RSPCA: During the time of the Napoleonic Wars The RSPCA was created. In 1809 a meeting was held in a coffee house on Bold Street where the society ‘for the suppression of Wanton Cruelty to Brute Animals’ was formed. This now stands as the world’s oldest animal charity.

2. Football nets: During the Long Depression football nets were invented by Liverpool city engineer John Alexander Brodie. His invention was trialled by the FA in 1891 at the Nottingham Forest’s Town ground during a North v South game. The first goal to be scored in one of his nets was by Everton player Fred Geary who was the first ever player to legally hit the back of the net.

3. Overhead railway: In 1893, during the Long Depression, the world’s first overhead railway was opened to help reduce traffic along the docks. Instrumental in its creation was Sir William Forwood, the Chairman of the Liverpool Overhead Railway.

4. Dinky Toys: The global economic downturn in the 1930s led to widespread unemployment and was worse in industrial heartlands, such as Liverpool. In 1934 Liverpool inventor Frank Hornby began producing Dinky Toys, one of the most popular collectible vehicle sets. He also produced Meccano, and Hornby Model Railways.

5. Chart topper: During the Second World War, Liverpool was the most heavily bombed area of the country outside London. While the city was still rebuilding, Liverpool’s Lita Roza became the first woman to top the UK singles chart, with How Much is that Doggy in the Window? in 1953.

When you think of Liverpool, names like The Beatles, Cilla Black and Brian Epstein come to mind – and the city is still building on its creative past. It is currently home to more than 7,000 creative and digital firms and it also happens to be one of Europe’s focal points for the games industry.

The city is used as a backdrop for TV shows and films including the Fast and Furious franchise and the Harry Potter movies, along with BBC hit series Peaky Blinders. Just the other day filming was taking place by our offices for The Batman, starring Robert Pattinson – and it included a scene shot at the top of the iconic Liver Building.

Liverpool has always attracted creative people, and those who look beyond their boundaries to improve the world around us. From engineers and scientists to song writers and film makers, Liverpool is so diverse and full of talent it is no wonder it is known as ‘A World in One City’.