The current Liverpool Chamber of Commerce was originally founded in 1850 by a group of local merchants to provide a voice for the local business community, to guide and debate issues of the day and to influence and lobby government policy.
The Chamber was predated by the first Chamber of Commerce in Liverpool, which existed from 1773-1796 and was one of the first chambers of commerce in the world, and the earliest in a major mainland UK port.
Despite the huge changes within our economy, the Liverpool Chamber has maintained its original purpose throughout its history, seeking to adapt its service and support to the businesses of Liverpool to be relevant, authentic and credible.
The business has evolved during the previous 247 years and now helps support individual businesses with information, training and advice; offers networks of opportunity through meetings between groups of businesses; and links the business community to the wider economy.
1774-1796 – A group of local merchants, unhappy with the Liverpool Corporation’s excessive dock fees and levies, drafted the articles for the formation of a Chamber of Commerce in the town of Liverpool. It initiates several lobbies to government on various legislative issues and operates until approximately 1796 when it appears to cease activity.
1850 – The ‘modern’ Liverpool Chamber of Commerce is formed by a group of local merchants led by Leone Levi. There are 345 initial subscribers who agree “to meet and act for the common good” in pursuit of the Chamber’s remit “to benefit and protect the trade and commerce of Liverpool”
1874 – Liverpool Chamber of Commerce & Industry is officially incorporated as a company limited by guarantee.
1901 – Liverpool Chamber of Commerce joins the Association of British Chambers of Commerce
1914-1918 – First World War. The Chamber undertook a recruitment campaign known as the Chamber of Commerce Scheme. This led directly to the national call-up system.
1936 – The Chamber moved from Exchange Buildings to Old Hall Street.
1939 – 1945 – Second World War. The Chamber was involved with air raid precautions, national defence, black-out tests and conscription. It also addressed the increasing problems of maintaining trade and commerce in a city as heavily bombed as Liverpool.
1950 – The Chamber’s centenary was celebrated with a reception at Liverpool Town Hall and a service at Liverpool Cathedral.
1966-67 – First Chamber Overseas Trade Mission, to the Middle East and second to East and Central Africa. Regular missions would subsequently take place, resulting in considerable export businesses for participants.
1972 – The Chamber introduced a computerised payroll service for its members. In the same year it changed its name to Merseyside Chamber of Commerce, anticipating the 1974 formation of Merseyside County Council.
1986 – Trident Training Ltd founded to deliver accredited training courses to local companies and offer an apprenticeship service to young people and employers.
1992 – The Chamber reverted to its original title of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce. This was a recognition of Liverpool’s international reputation and the mainly UK significance of ‘Merseyside’.
1997 – Liverpool Chamber was elected to the Network of Approved Chambers of Commerce, part of the British Chambers of Commerce. This organisation pools the resources of accredited chambers around the country to improve and expand services on offer to members.
1999 – The Chamber plays a key role in the civic twinning of the cities of Shanghai and Liverpool
2007-2008 – The Chamber played a full part in the city’s 800th birthday celebrations and the Capital of Culture festivities, including hosting the British Chambers of Commerce Annual Conference at the newly opened Arena & Convention Centre Liverpool
2010 – Liverpool Chamber changes its legal status to become a Community Interest Company with a dedicated mission statement to provide development, growth and sustained economic viability to chamber members and to the business community within Liverpool and throughout Liverpool City Region.
2013 – The Chamber acquires the liquidated Sefton Chamber of Commerce and becomes a combined Chamber with representation of both Liverpool and Sefton areas.
2017 – The Chamber refocuses its position as Liverpool and Sefton’s Voice of Business within the Liverpool City Region, ceasing to be a training provider of apprenticeships and directing attention towards delivery of international trade services, documentation and membership.
2020-21 – The Chamber provides front line support to businesses throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, lobbying for support measures to be implemented at national and local level and signposting businesses to sources of help and support.
2021 – After 86 years, the Liverpool Chamber relocates its offices to the Cotton Exchange Building.