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Minutes of the Presidential Address
Liverpool Society of Anaesthetists
9th May 2014

'Liverpool and Manchester: Cities United'

Dr Janice Fazackerley

Dr Fazackerley started her talk by looking at the Coats of Arms and mottoes of the two cities. Manchester had the motto, when translated from the Latin, of “By Wisdom and Effort”. The literal translation of the Liverpool motto was “God has given us Leisure”.  She then discussed the rivalry of the two cities principally due to their proximity. She quoted Charles Horton-Cooley, an American sociologist, who wrote “the most effective way of utilising human energy is through an organised rivalry, which is, at the same time, organised co-operation”. She then spoke about the similarities between the two cities in their development over the last 50 years.  She characterised the ultimate rivalry between them as being on the football pitch where Sir Alex Ferguson had thought that his greatest managerial challenge “was knocking Liverpool off their perch”. She emphasised her view that being rivals was actually very complimentary to each other because of the importance with which each party views the other.

Dr Fazackerley looked at the origins of the two cities. Liverpool had come to prominence in the 1750’s with the triangular trade of textiles and manufactured goods to West Africa, the slave trade to the Americas and the importing of cotton, tobacco and sugar to Liverpool. This had brought great prosperity to the city. In Manchester and surrounding Lancashire, cotton became an important raw material for manufacturing. This was helped by the invention of new processes for the spinning of cotton powered by the newly invented steam engine, fuelled by the Lancashire coal field on which Manchester was placed.  Once manufacturing had been established, transporting the raw materials rapidly and in bulk to Manchester and manufactured goods back to the port of Liverpool became increasingly important.  Prior to the construction of the Bridgewater Canal pack horses had been used. However with the invention of railways in the early 19th century, the world’s first two track line between Liverpool and Manchester was completed in 1830.  In 1870 there was a recession which brought disharmony to the two cities with Liverpool raising taxes and port fees, on imports and exports, thereby greatly increasing the expenses of the Lancashire manufacturing industry. To bypass the port of Liverpool, the Manchester Ship Canal was completed in 1894. Indeed the peak of activity in the Liverpool docks was in 1890 from which point, trade slowly diminished. In contrast the peak activity in the port of Manchester was in 1950, however as ships became larger and containerisation was introduced, the 1970’s saw the closure of the Manchester docks with consequent industrial decline. 

Dr Fazackerley then looked at the early 1980s and in particular the 1981 Toxteth riots followed several days later, by similar riots in Moss Side in Manchester.  Michael Heseltine MP was sent by the Thatcher government as a trouble-shooter to deal with this explosion in inner-city violence which had been particularly marked in Liverpool. Among his initiatives was the establishment in 1985 of the Mersey Basin Campaign which was planned to transform the River Mersey from its source to its estuary.  Dr Fazackerley showed a picture of the silted up Albert Dock which was almost unrecognisable from its appearance today. She demonstrated the appalling water quality in the vast majority of rivers in the Lancashire area and the aims of this very ambitious project. The consequence of this campaign had also been to greatly improve dissolved oxygen levels and water quality not only in the River Mersey but also in many other adjacent rivers and tributaries.  Other notable outcomes of this campaign were the redevelopment of the Albert Dock in Liverpool and Salford Quays in Manchester. 

Dr Fazackerley then turned to anaesthesia and collaborations in this sphere between the two cities. She turned her attention to the BJA which was established in 1923 and its first editor was Hyman M Cohen of the Manchester Royal Infirmary.  It also included on the Board, A J O’Leary, who was the first President of the Liverpool Society of Anaesthetists. She highlighted an article from S R Wilson in 1923 where he wrote “the up-to-date anaesthetist is not simply concerned with the production of unconsciousness but with the comfort, safety and ultimate recovery of the patient”.  She thought that this perhaps was the first incarnation of perioperative medicine. The article also stated “such a standard can only be obtained by a scientific knowledge of the effects of the anaesthetics concerned”.  The importance of the basic sciences was certainly recognised at that time.  In the 1930’s, R J Minnitt from Liverpool was on the Board and in the 1940’s and 1950’s, E. Falkner Hill from Manchester and T Cecil Gray from Liverpool became joint general editors.  In the 1960’s and 70’s A R Hunter from Manchester and J E Riding from Liverpool were Assistant Editors and in 1998 Professor J M Hunter from Liverpool became the Editor.

Dr Fazackerley then looked to the future. She highlighted the changes in medical education with the establishment of Health Education England and Liverpool and Manchester now coming under one Local Education Training Board, Health Education North West.  She then looked at the UK economy and noted that London and the South East produced an increasing percentage of UK GDP.  This was the idea of ‘agglomeration economics’ where large masses of people living close together generate the most economic activity. She then posed a question, should Manchester and Liverpool combine for economic gain?  She thought that this would be a very good idea with Warrington becoming the new capital of the two cities!

Dr Fazackerley concluded her talk with a thought that two cities could become united however they would always retain their distinct identities. They had been co-operative competitors and would always remain friendly rivals.

Ewen Forrest
Hon Secretary
12th May 2014

 

 

 

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Last updated: 15 September, 2014 LSA