Liverpool Carters

My last post was about George Tickle, who emigrated to America in 1875. I believe he was the son of William Tickle b.1811 and Emma Therme or Tharme b.1810. William was born in Upholland, Lancashire, a village a few miles west of Wigan. Like many from the surrounding country, he moved to Liverpool and eventually became a carter in West Derby, a suburb of Liverpool.


Horses and carts were an integral part of Liverpool life. They were used to move goods from the docks and into the city for more than 250 years. At the peak, more than 250,000 horses worked in the city and there was a stable in every neighbourhood. Liverpool had extremely busy docks, with ships arriving from all over the world. However, there was no direct railway connection to most of the Liverpool docks, so goods had to be carted out of the docks to warehouses or to railway goods stations.

Liverpool carters and their horses were famous for moving heavier loads than was common elsewhere, but the men also had a reputation for treating their animals well. The roads around the docks were paved with granite setts, which required the horses to have special shoes, but gave the horses a powerful grip. (My Tickle ancestor was a blacksmith and farrier who made shoes for the horses working in the Liverpool docks)

Every May Day weekend, the carters would decorate their horses and parade through the city. Members of the Liverpool Carter’s Association spent 13 years raising funds for a monument to the working horses of Liverpool. A life-size statue was unveiled on 1st May 2010 on the quayside outside the Museum of Liverpool.

The sculpture, called “Waiting” shows a dock horse waiting to set off on its next journey.

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