Bootle is part of the Liverpool urban district but has never been subsumed into Liverpool. Bootle's unusual name derives from the Anglo Saxon word Botle which meant a 'dwelling house' or 'lord's hall'. The town was noted as 'Boltelai' in the Domesday Book. During the 19th century, Bootle became known as Bootle-cum-Linacre, and in fact the town hall has "Welcome to Bootle-cum-Linacre" inscribed in its stonework. Linacre is an area of Bootle. The name Linacre also refers to a ward in the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton containing Bootle centre, the New Strand Shopping Centre, and Gladstone Dock.
Until the mid-19th Century, Bootle was just a small village on the outskirts of Liverpool. The town was home to wealthy businessmen and was a popular resort due to its golden beach. Bootle was also famed for its pure spring water which it supplied to Liverpool.
But during the Victorian era, like its neighbour Liverpool, Bootle experienced rapid industrial growth and became a built up area as the urban sprawl from Liverpool spread and new docks were built.
During the Second World War, Bootle was extensively bombed by the Luftwaffe and only ten percent of properties in the town were left unscathed. Consequently a massive rebuilding effort ensued after the war and the town centre was redeveloped with new office blocks and a new shopping centre - the 'New Strand', which opened up in the 1960s. A shortage of affordable local housing was addressed by the construction of council housing such as the Netherton estate.
Nowadays, Bootle is predominantly residential but still enjoys all the facilities you would expect from a large town with a great selection of shops, pubs and restaurants, and good leisure facilities. Bootle is bordered by the Leeds and Liverpool canal, the longest canal in England.
Along with Southport, Bootle forms on of the two administrative centres of the borough of Sefton. Apart from its significance in its administrative capacity, Bootle's civic area has some impressive architecture with fine buildings such as the classic Victorian Town Hall and Municipal Baths.