Liverpool City Mission was founded in 1829 under the title of “The Society for Promoting the Religious Improvement of the Poor of Liverpool and the Neighbourhood” by some 40 pioneers (Christian businessmen and ministers) in response to the poverty and squalid living conditions in Liverpool at that time. This rather cumbersome title was later shortened to “The Liverpool Christian Instruction Society”. Later it became the “Liverpool Town Mission” and eventually when Liverpool was given the city status we became “Liverpool City Mission.”
In the early days of the Mission, the “agents” would visit homes all over the city to read scripture and explain the way of salvation to those who were unable to find a home in the established churches of the day. It was founded in the same year as the “Stephenson’s Rocket” trials.
The purpose of the Mission was to bring practical help and support to poor families and to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. Later, Mission Centres were established as places of worship for the poor. Some are still part of the Mission today.
Dr W.H. Duncan, the first medical officer of health for Liverpool was on the Mission Committee from 1844 -1848. He estimated that in 1844 there were 6,294 cellars, with 20,168 inhabitants. He described these cellars as being 10 to 12 feet square, generally flagged (but frequently having only the bare earth for a floor and sometimes less than 6 feet in height). Often there was no window and through defective drainage, generally very damp.
Among other famous Christian men of Liverpool was Alexander Balfour. Although not on the LCM Committee he was a great supporter of LCM in the 1870’s, both prayerfully and financially. His statue can be found in St John’s Gardens at the rear of St George’s Hall.
CARING FOR THE POOR
In 1845 the Irish Potato Famine brought thousands more destitute and starving people across the Irish Sea to Liverpool. This mass immigration continued to its height in 1847 when it is estimated that 80,000 people came to live in the town.
Since 1829 the Liverpool City Mission has been caring for the poor and needy within the city. Although social and economic conditions have improved beyond all recognition over the past two centuries there still remains a significant minority who are homeless, or who have accommodation but live in abject poverty. The Mission seeks to minister to these people by actions and words.