This chapter offers a critical examination of the rhetoric and reality of the ‘cosmopolitanism’ through which Liverpool sought to project itself in the high Victorian era. Closely entwined with notions of imperial mission, racial hierarchy and national efficiency, its limitations were readily apparent by the Edwardian period. While distinguishing Liverpool from provincial cities, the physical presence of ‘backward’ races in the port was increasingly seen as hindering the city's efforts to attain national standards and minima and secure due primacy within the urban hierarchy, a major concern of Ramsay Muir in his 700th anniversary history in 1907. Thus, while still vaunting its cosmopolitan credentials, Edwardian Liverpool supported the campaign for restrictive legislation, deported ‘alien’ Chinese (the ‘yellow peril’), and, after the initially welcome expansion in numbers to serve the needs of the First World War, began to grapple with the intractable problem of ‘British coloureds’.
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