The Second World War dealt a major blow to Liverpool, but it was the most important factor influencing the replanning of the city. 8 days of enemy bombing raids on the city, in May 1941, left widespread devastation across the central area of the city in particular. Despite the grief felt at the loss of human life and the terrible damage to some of the city?s most treasured buildings, the city?s planners saw it as an opportunity to rebuild the city.
One of the first jobs after the war was to find temporary uses for the bomb-damaged sites in the city centre. A report by the City Engineer?s Department in 1951 listed around 1,500 war-damaged sites in the city. The report suggested that some of these sites could be used as temporary children?s playgrounds and others as car parks.
Liverpool collaborated with a number of private enterprises in rebuilding the city, slowly rejuvenating the blitzed areas with new shops, offices and other commercial buildings. Many shops had to close for business whilst they carried out repairs and in some cases major rebuilding work, as was the case for the famous department stores Lewis?s. Some of the city?s finest cultural institutions also had to be rebuilt. The William Brown Public Library and the Bluecoat Chambers on School Lane were both badly damaged in May 1941. These buildings were restored in the 1950s.