Merseyside is a metropolitan county in North West England, with a population of 1.38 million. It encompasses the metropolitan area centred on both banks of the lower reaches of the Mersey Estuary and comprises five metropolitan boroughs: Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton and the city of Liverpool. Merseyside, created on 1 April 1974 as a result of the Local Government Act 1972, takes its name from the River Mersey. Merseyside spans 249 square miles of land which border Lancashire, Greater Manchester and the Irish Sea to the west. North Wales is across the Dee Estuary. There is a mix of high density urban areas, semi-rural and rural locations in Merseyside, but overwhelmingly the land use is urban, it has a focused central business district, formed by Liverpool City Centre, but Merseyside is a polycentric county with five metropolitan districts, each of which has at least one major town centre and outlying suburbs. The Liverpool Urban Area is the fifth most populous conurbation in England, dominates the geographic centre of the county, while the smaller Birkenhead Urban Area dominates the Wirral Peninsula in the south.

For the 12 years following 1974 the county had a two-tier system of local government. The county council was abolished in 1986, so its districts are now unitary authority areas. However, the metropolitan county continues to exist in law and as a geographic frame of reference, several county-wide services are co-ordinated by authorities and joint-boards, such as Merseytravel, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and the Merseyside Police; as the Lancashire county palatine boundaries remain the same as the historic boundaries, the High Sheriff of Merseyside, along with those of Lancashire and Greater Manchester are appointed "within the Duchy and County Palatine of Lancaster". The boroughs of Merseyside are joined by the neighbouring borough of Halton in Cheshire to form the Liverpool City Region, a local enterprise partnership and combined authority area. Merseyside is an amalgamation of 22 former local government districts from the former administrative counties of Lancashire and six autonomous county boroughs centred on Birkenhead, Liverpool, Southport, St Helens, Wallasey.

Merseyside was designated as a "Special Review" area in the Local Government Act 1958, the Local Government Commission for England started a review of this area in 1962, based around the core county boroughs of Liverpool, Bootle and Wallasey. Further areas, including Widnes and Runcorn, were added to the Special Review Area by Order in 1965. Draft proposals were published in 1965, but the commission never completed its final proposals as it was abolished in 1966. Instead, a Royal Commission was set up to review English local government and its report proposed a much wider Merseyside metropolitan area covering southwest Lancashire and northwest Cheshire, extending as far south as Chester and as far north as the River Ribble; this would have included four districts: Southport/Crosby, Liverpool/Bootle, St Helens/Widnes and Wirral/Chester. In 1970 the Merseyside Passenger Transport Executive was set up, covering Liverpool, Sefton and Knowsley, but excluding Southport and St Helens; the Redcliffe-Maud Report was rejected by the incoming Conservative Party government, but the concept of a two-tier metropolitan area based on the Mersey area was retained.

A White Paper was published in 1971. The Local Government Bill presented to Parliament involved a substantial trimming from the White Paper, excluding the northern and southern fringes of the area, excluding Chester, Ellesmere Port. Further alterations took place in Parliament, with Skelmersdale being removed from the area, a proposed district including St Helens and Huyton being subdivided into what are now the metropolitan boroughs of St Helens and Knowsley. Merseyside was created on 1 April 1974 from areas parts of the administrative counties of Lancashire and Cheshire, along with the county boroughs of Birkenhead, Liverpool, St Helens. Following the creation of Merseyside, Merseytravel expanded to take in St Southport. Between 1974 and 1986 the county had a two-tier system of local government with the five boroughs sharing power with the Merseyside County Council. However, in 1986 the government of Margaret Thatcher abolished the county council along with all other metropolitan county councils, so its boroughs are now unitary authorities.

Merseyside is divided into two parts by the Mersey Estuary, the Wirral is located on the west side of the estuary, upon the Wirral Peninsula and the rest of the county is located on the east side of the estuary. The eastern part of Merseyside borders onto Lancashire to the north, Greater Manchester to the east, with both parts of the county bordering Cheshire to the south; the territory comprising the county of Merseyside formed part of the administrative counties of Lancashire and Cheshire. Birkenhead Park, opening in 1847, was the first publicly funded civic park in the world; the two parts are linked by the two Mersey Tunnels, the Wirral Line of Merseyrail, the Mersey Ferry. Merseyside contains green belt interspersed throughout the county, surrounding the Liverpool urban area, as well as across the

The African Brothers

The African Brothers were a Jamaican reggae vocal trio formed by three Kingston teenagers - Lincoln "Sugar" Minott, Winston "Tony Tuff" Morris, Derrick "Bubbles" Howard. The three singers met in 1969 when "Bubbles" overheard "Sugar" Minott singing along to "Tony Tuff" playing the guitar, they formed a group, with early influences including The Abyssinians, The Heptones, The Gaylads, the name the African Brothers a reference to their African heritage. Morris was the main songwriter, being the most experienced member of the group, with Minott and Howard contributing harmony vocals, they first recorded in 1970 for producer Rupie Edwards, for whom they recorded "Mysterious Nature", they recorded for Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, Winston Blake, Duke Thelwell, Mike Johnson and Ronnie Burke at Micron Music. They followed these with self-productions, including "Torturing", "Want Some Freedom", "Practice What You Preach", several released on their own Ital label. In the mid-1970s, the group split up, with Minott going on to work at Studio One before launching a successful solo career, Tony Tuff becoming a successful solo artist.

Howard moved into production. The US label Easy Star released the album Want Some Freedom in 2001, comprising recordings from between 1970 and 1978. Minott and Tuff reformed the group for a 2004 album, Mysterious Nature featuring Triston Palma and Ken Bob. Collector's Item, Uptempo - credited to Sugar Minott & The African Brothers, split between Minott solo and group material Want Some Freedom, Easy Star Mysterious Nature, Discograph The African Brothers Meet King Tubby In Dub, Nature Sounds The African Brothers at Roots Archives The African Brothers at

Ban de la Roche

Le Ban de la Roche is the name of an ancient seigneurie a county. It is situated in France, Département du Bas-Rhin; this small region is referred by its old Ancien régime name because of its strong identity and because it is different from its neighbors, including the fact that it was a Lutheran community surrounded by Catholic villages. There was an Amish farm in the village of Neuviller; the Seigneurie included eight villages: Rothau, Neuviller-la-Roche, Bellefosse, Belmont and Solbach. One of the most important lords of Ban de la Roche was Georges-Jean de Veldenz, son-in-law of the king of Sweden, founder of the city of Phalsbourg. Count de Veldenz bought Le Ban de la Roche for its mining possibilities. There were many witchcraft trials held in Le Ban de la Roche between the years 1620-1630. Ban de la Roche was on the Amish centre. There was an Amish farm called Sommerhof in La Haute Goutte. Beginning in 1763, many emigrants traveled to the United States to the state of Pennsylvania aboard ship Princess Augusta.

The 19th century emigrants went to Illinois. It was a land of religious intolerance, it is the land of the famous minister and philanthropist J. F. Oberlin, whose parish was Waldersbach. Frédérique Brion, who had a love affair with Goethe lived in Rothau Gustave Brion was an artist who illustrated Victor Hugo's masterpieces Les Miserables and Notre-Dame de Paris Philippe-Frédéric de Dietrich, Count of Le Ban de la Roche, Maire of Strasbourg, an industrialist, a scientist and a man of the Lumières, a friend of La Fayette. Le Ban de la Roche is twinned with Woolstock in Iowa. An English language site about Princess Augusta Amish places in the neighbourhood, with many photos of farms and cemeteries