Mike Royden's Local History Pages in the Media

Who Do You Think You Are? - Gareth Malone - Series 12 - Episode 5

In 2015 I again took part in Who Do You Think You Are? - This time to give help to choirmaster Gareth Malone's search for his threatrical roots. My role was to tell Gareth about his his 4x great grandfather, Daniel Lowrey, who came to Liverpool from Leeds in the mid-nineteenth century. After working as a publican and a singer, he opened a music hall before moving into local politics in 1870 when he stood for election as an independent in a safe Conservative council ward.

More information and photographs here.

Blitz Cities - Liverpool

Liverpool's docks were a primary German target in the Blitz and to mark the 75th anniversary, actor Ricky Tomlinson went up in a plane to look at the effect it had on his home city. In an emotional programme, he talked to survivors, family members and old friends like comedian Stan Boardman, whose brother was killed in an air-raid shelter. I took Ricky to a couple of sites on the docks to get a more detailed understanding of what happened to the port during that week in May 1941.

More information and photographs here.

Heir Hunters - BBC - Series 4

In November 2009 I was invited to take part in Series 4 of Heir Hunters. The aim of the programme is to show how professional agencies track down potential beneficiaries of unclaimed estate. Usually, the programme features two actual case studies and shows the social and historical background of those concerned. In this particular programme Celtic Research looked into the case of Ivy Sherry who died in April 2009.

More information and photographs here.

Who Do You Think You Are - BBC - Series 7

I was contacted by the producer in May 2009 as their featured celebrity had ancestors in Toxteth, Liverpool. I was asked if I could give them background information about the area and the period they were concerned with, then they asked me to act as the 'expert' on camera, explaining to the celeb the story of her family at this stage of the tree.

Before broadcast I was contracted not to reveal her identity, but all can now be revealed.

More information and photographs here.

'TV Towns' Stuart MacConie

A series of prgrammes where Stuart MacConie looks at TV and film connections in Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle. In the Liverpool programme we filmed an interview in the Philharmonic pub about Hitler in Liverpool.

'Edwardian England' - Woolworths and Selfridges' BBC

In this series of programmes about Edwardian England the BBC covered the founding of the department stores. The first Woolworths outside of the USA was built in Church Street, Liverpool. I helped with the research and was interviewed about Woolworth coming to Liverpool. (Filmed on the ferryboat on a freezing, foggy January morning. Hence the windswept look with numb face and a red nose, in contrast with everyone else on the programme who were all filmed in warm libraries. We were on the ferry for three hours while they waited for the fog to clear to get a decent shot of the Pier Head in the background for the interview. It didn't clear. As soon as we got off the ferry it went back out and promptly crashed into the Seacat. That would have been a better background shot.

' 'Mission Unfindable' Katja Schuurman - Dutch TV

Although unknown in the UK, Katja is a well known celebrity on Dutch TV. She presented a TV series where she had to go out and track down impossible targets (like the recipe for coca-cola or to find Bi-Laden (!). In this case she was trying to find the family of Adolf Hitler and see if there were any living relatives. She came to Liverpool to trace the Hitler connection, where I was interviewed. I then took her to the record office, Dale Street where Hitler's half brother worked, then to Upper Stanhope Street where he lived.

Watch the programme

An 'iplayer' format of the full programme acan be watched on the BNN TV website here. You may need to download and install the windows plug from the page this link directs you to ensure the video player runs.

Cassini Maps - Radio City Talk

Interviewd on Radio City Talk by Neil Fitzmaurice (co-writer and actor on Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights) to publicise the boxed set of Liverpool Maps I helped to get into print.

Click photograph for Cassini Maps website.

Making History - The Liverpool Overhead Railway - BBC Radio 4

I took the presenter Dylan Winter on a guided tour of the Overhead Railway, along the former route and looking for remnants. We also ventured unannounced into the garage in the Dingle where the underground station used to be located.

'Norman Thomas and Friends
on Sunday Show'

Produced by Gemma Maull

A series of appearances where I was interviewed in the studio by Norman Thomas
about various aspects of Liverpool history listed below:

A History of Liverpool Airport

Broadcast 9th January 2005

Following on from the Otterspool Broadcast during which there was a discussion about the Airport due to Norman having flown home from a cruise the previous evening, we decided to look at the history of the site of the old airport.

Further information Click here.


Broadcast 5th December 2004

This programme featured the History of Otterspool, from its Saxon origins to the dumping of the city refuse and Mersey Tunnel spoil to construct a promenade. Intriguing stories about coin hoards, a Roman Road and a testing ground for Stephenson's pioneering Liverpool to Manchester Railway all feature in this discussion.

Article on Otterspool can be found here - Click here.

Salt and the rise of Liverpool

Broadcast 24th October 2004

Most historians refer to the slave trade as the cause of the development and growth of Liverpool, yet this would not have happened if an infrastructure had not already been in place. The salt trade was the catalyst.

Article on Salt and the Rise of Liverpool can be found here - Click here. This set up the infrastructure to enable the port to grow and to be used by the slave trade

School for the Blind

Broadcast 16th May 2004

This programme featured the History of the Royal School for the Blind, Liverpool 1791-1991 published in 1991. The early origins of the school were discussed, together with Royal Patronage, the unusual story of the chapel and its relocation, the mystery of the doric columns, the eucation of the blind and the visit of the Queen in 1991.

The book is still available - Click Here: Amazon.com

Article on Edward Rushton and the origin of the School - Click here.

Liverpool Workhouses

Broadcast 25th April 2004

This Programme discussed the origins of the Poor Law, its early application in Liverpool and the Workhouses that resulted from the legislation.

Click here for article.

William Patrick Hitler (born in Liverpool)

Broadcast 21st March 2004

William was born in Upper Stanhope Street, son of Hitler's half brother, Alois. This programme discussed his meeting his father again at 18 (Alois left the family home when William was an infant), his first encounter with Uncle Adolf and his bizarre attempt to join the U.S.Navy before slipping into obscurity after 1945.

Click here for more information.

Hitler in Liverpool

Broadcast 18th January 2004

Did he come to Liverpool before the First World War? Or was it just nonsense dreamed up by a publicist to cash in on the family name? His brother certainly lived in Upper Stanhope Street but could young Adolf have spent a short time there?

Click here for more information

Liverpool Castle

Broadcast 21 November 2003

A look at the origin, role and demise of a once well known landmark which was finally removed in the early 18th century.

Click here for the article.

The Calderstones

Broadcast 5 Oct 2003

A discussion about the origin of the famous Caldersones.

Click here for the article.

BBC Legacies - Local Legends:
Adolf Hitler - Did he visit Liverpool during 1912-13?

The BBC legacies web site commissioned this article in December 2003.

This can be viewed here, although the fully illustrated version is on my site - Click here.

Adolf Hitler - did he visit Liverpool during 1912-13?
Making History - 2nd December 2003 presented by Sue Cook - BBC Radio 4

Making History - BBC Radio 4 Website

Adolf Hitler in Liverpool:Programme 10 broadcast on 2nd December 2003
can be accessed here in streaming Real Player format

Direct Link to run the program with real player


Complete transcription of the 'Adolf Hitler in Liverpool' feature by Nick Patrick

Adolf Hitler - did he visit Liverpool during 1912-13? by Mike Royden

The Village in History - September 2002 - BBC Radio 4

Broadcast September 2002, Radio 4

The Village in History - BBC Radio 4 - researched and written by the Making History team, Nick Patrick and Ivan Howlett

A series of programmes about the history of the English Village. Mike Royden was interviewed about village history in the industrial revolution and specifically about Port Sunlight Village.

Click here for summary on the BBC Making History web site.


A Sense of Place - May 26th 2002




(broadcast on Radio Merseyside on Sunday May 26th 2002 at 12.05 p.m. and Radio 4 at 11.30 pm August 13th 2002)

A series of local history programmes, including The Map. This was about the Woolton Road/Taggart Avenue/ Caldertones area. The local primary school (Bishop Eton) toured the locality with their map studying features along the way. Mike Royden talked about the prehistory of the Allerton area, before concentrating on the Calderstones and the Robin Hood Stone.

Written and produced by Pauline McAdam
(pictured left with Mike Royden at the Radio Merseyside launch of the series)

A Sense of Place - Radio Merseyside web page
All Sense of Place programmes are available on line at Radio Merseyside.
Click here for the full list, which includes The Map.

Liverpool During the May Blitz
Making History - 13 May 2002 - BBC Radio 4

Making History - BBC Radio 4 - presented by Sue Cook

Broadcast 13 May 2002 Radio 4

During the May Blitz in Liverpool a munitions train had been moved to a siding in a residential area which was hit during the raid with devastating consequences. Mike Royden participated on the programme telling the story on the events of that evening. Mike's mother Hazel Royden was also interviewed on the programme as she had been an eyewitness as a little girl living nearby.

Click here for summary on the BBC Making History web site.

Visit the Royden History Index Page listing web sites designed and maintained by Mike Royden
No pages may be reproduced without permission
copyright Mike Royden
All rights reserved