Mersey Close is one of many Efford streets built in the fifties to take its name from a British river. In this case, it is one of the country’s most commercially important rivers – second only to the Thames – that provides the street name.
At seventy miles long it is formed by the confluence of two rivers that rise in the Pennines – the Goyt and the Tame – and, having passed Warrington, Widnes, Runcorn, Birkenhead and Liverpool along its way it flows out into Liverpool Bay, where it joins the Irish Sea. The estuary alone stretches over an impressive seventeen miles. In 1935 a road tunnel, over 2.5 miles long, was opened under the Mersey, complementing the earlier rail tunnel of 1886.
Like the Tamar, the Mersey has long been a county dividing line. In earlier times it separated Mercia and Northumbria – the river’s name is derived from the Old English Maeres-ea, meaning ‘boundary river.’ – currently, however, the Mersey splits Lancashire and Cheshire.