Scouse or Wool: Liverpool’s Big Debate…Settled

Scouse or Wool: Liverpool’s Big Debate…Settled

In Liverpool, there is one debate which never fails to stir trouble and ignite feuds and that is; Scouser or Wool.

The parameters of a scouse borderline have long been debated and continue to be a hot topic but where exactly did all of this start and why is being a Wool so controversial?

Liverpudlians are a fiercely proud bunch, whether it be their football team, food or city, the people of Liverpool will passionately defend their identity to the very end.

But why is there so much hostility towards Wool’s from Scousers and how do the people of Liverpool define their boundaries?

What is a Scouser?

The word scouse derives from the popular Norwegian dish, lobscouse which is a stew made up of beef or lamb, potato, carrots and onions, typically topped off with pickled cabbage and some crusty bread.

In the 18th century, this dish was frequently enjoyed by sailors on the seaports of Liverpool and the people of Liverpool adopted this dish as their own and adapted it in many wonderful ways, which is the right way is another argument.

After nicknaming the dish scouse, the people of Liverpool became Scousers but what exactly defines a Scouser?

Here are just some of the arguments which outline the criteria you need to meet before claiming to be a proper Scouser.

The One O’clock Gun

Historically, Scousers are those who were born within hearing distance of the one o’clock gun. This one o’clock cannon became a daily tradition which lasted more than a century in the Port of Liverpool.

The gun was placed on the river wall at Morpeth Dock in Birkenhead and was used to give ships a time check although many people on land would use it as an indicator for lunch. The eerie sound of this striking cannon could be heard for miles around and maybe believe that if you could hear the one o’clock gun, you were a true Scouser, including those over the water.

View of the Liver Building

Another old wives tale claims that if you were born within eye distance of the Royal Liver Building than you were a Scouser.

Of course, back in the day, the surrounding area of the Pier Head was occupied by factories and businesses, and not residential areas as it is now and the cities high rises were non-existent so you could argue that the iconic building could be seen for miles.

Don’t forget you can also see the Liver Building from over the water, so does this mean that those living on the Wirral are Scousers? Not quite, the tale states that if you had to travel across the river to get to the Liver Building, you were not a true Scouser.


For some, defining a Scouser couldn’t be simpler; where were you born?

This justification believes that if Liverpool is the city named on your birth certificate, then this qualifies you as a Scouser for life, no matter where you move to. But that beggars the question, what about those who were brought up in Liverpool or those who have lived here their entire lives? Are they not Scousers?

Bin Colour

Whenever the argument of Scouser of Wool arises, one question you’re bound to hear is, what colour is your bin?

When presented with this question, if the answer isn’t purple, then you’re a wool. Those living in Liverpool’s city council boundaries will have a purple wheelie bin for general waste and if this is the case, then you’re deemed by some, as a real Scouser.

However, this excludes areas such as Sefton and Knowsley, which some will argue are scouse but they have grey bins.


And of course, what about the all-important postcode?

The Liverpool area postcode starts in the city centre and branches out as far as Ormskirk and Prescot who have L40 and L35 postcodes, having this L postcode is something which locals are hugely proud of.

This again excludes those on the Wirral who all have a CH postcode but includes those who are within the region of St Helens and Lancashire, which some will strongly argue are not Scousers.

What is a Wool?

Deriving from woolyback, a wool is defined as someone who lives outside, but near to Liverpool.

This derogative term is used to describe those who pretend to be from Liverpool but are not really according to one of the points outlined above.

Some believe this includes those from neighbouring towns such as Birkenhead, Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Warrington, Widnes, Wigan and St Helens but do you agree?

So who exactly is a Scouser and who is a Wool? We’d love to hear your views around this, so let us know what you think defines a Scouser and a Wool and why it’s so important.

Think you know the scouse lingo? See how many of these boss scouse phrases you know.


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