Around the time this picture was created, Liverpool was making its mark on the world in a variety of ways. The Ma Roberts, the world's first steel ship was built at Birkenhead's Laird shipyard for David Livingstone's expedition to Africa in 1858 while the Banshee was the world's first steel ship to cross the Atlantic when it joined the Confederate fleet as a blockade runner having been built at the Jones Quiggin shipyard. The American Civil War had begun a year before in 1861, the very first shot being fired by a gun made by Liverpool firm Fawcett and Preston. The Banshee was joined by the Laird's built raider CSS Alabama  whose mostly Liverpool crew sank an unequaled 65 enemy vessels. Having been instrumental in the start of the Civil War, perhaps it was fitting that the very final act took place in the Mersey when CSS Shenandoah's captain James Waddell surrendered his vessel to the Mayor of liverpool and the confederate flag was lowered for the last time as the ship was handed over to Captain Paynter of the Royal Navy. Barely a year later the first ever transatlantic telegraph cable was laid, with Liverpool the driving force behind the venture. Closer to home, the first ever slum clearance programme coincided with the construction of the world's first metal framed, glass curtain walled building, Oriel Chambers and the world's largest train station span at Lime Street, measuring an impressive 200 feet. Liverpool Rugby Club was the first in the world being founded in 1857, while Picton Library  was Britain's first purpose built library.

Image details: Engraved by J Stephenson