Merseyside is a county in North West England with a population of 1.3 million and one of the smallest land masses of any county in England (43rd of 48 counties) and is positioned on either side of the River Mersey. Settlements in Merseyside include the main city Liverpool, the Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley and St Helens.
Liverpool is the main city of Merseyside with a population of 436,000. Built on the banks of the River Mersey with access to the Irish Sea it has long been associated with trading, ship building and seafaring. Ship building centred at Albert Dock declined after World War 2 and present industries include computer software, car manufacture, the headquarters of the Criminal Records Agency, National Health Service, Passport Office and the Revenue and Customs office.
Wirral is seen as a separate entity from the rest of Merseyside and is made up of various small towns and villages and a total population of over 311,000. Major towns are Birkenhead, West Kirkby and Wallasey.