Liverpool Then and Now

How has your high street changed?


Use our sliders to explore Liverpool’s high streets and discover how they’ve changed


From the latest retail trends to old favourites closing up shop and from pedestrianisation to new transport routes, nowhere feels the impact of modernisation quite like the UK’s high street.

But is a changing high street really all bad news for local retailers? What does this really mean and how can you keep your business relevant in the face of change?

We’re taking a look into the past of some of the UK’s busiest shopping destinations to pull out some lessons history can teach us about staying the course in retail. Here, we’re sailing up the Mersey to Liverpool.

Home to Mersey beat and the Titanic, Liverpool underwent a huge amount of regeneration after being awarded the title of European Capital of Culture in 2008. Independent businesses have been thriving in the city, as have high street favourites in newly developed areas like the Liverpool ONE shopping centre.

Use the sliders to compare and contrast Liverpool’s streets then and now.

Ranelagh Street

Changing Liverpool Retail shops
Changing Liverpool Retail shops

Ranelagh Street is a joyful mishmash of big high street names and small independent businesses, while market traders still sell fruit and veg outside Clayton Square shopping mall. There's been lots of investment in this street recently, with an exciting influx of new restaurants and bars.

Ranelagh Street was first put on the map as a shopping destination by Lewis's department store. When it opened in 1856, its fixed prices and fuss-free returns policy made it a real high street pioneer. Unfortunately this Liverpool landmark went the same way as its sister stores in Glasgow and Liverpool, as it was unable to reinvent itself in the face of modern competition. After years of low sales, and upper floors slowly closing to the public, Lewis's closed its doors for the last time in 2010. The building still stands, as does its famous naked man statue – a popular meeting spot for generations of Liverpudlians (including John Lennon).

Not all businesses have managed to stand the test of time on Ranelagh Street. Most have changed hands several times over the years. Amenities-based businesses such as bookkeepers, pubs and ladies' hairdressers continue to do well on this buzzing street (services that people tend to use consistently), even if the more traditional drapers and jewellers have moved on as people’s habits change with the times.

Shop insurance that stands the test of time

Whether your shop is brand new or a high street stalwart, we’ve got you covered with our shop insurance for retailers.

There’s no need to shop around – it’s insurance you can tailor to your store’s needs. What’s more, you’ll benefit from a 10% discount for buying online. It’s the protection you’d expect from AXA – for less.

  • Public liability cover as standard, with up to £5m protection
  • Free 30% increase in stock cover – at dates of your choice – with contents cover
  • Accidental damage as standard with contents cover
  • 24-hour glass replacement with contents cover
  • Free 24-hour emergency helpline