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Sefton

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In 1974 the boroughs of Bootle, Crosby and Southport were merged to become the modern borough of Sefton, which comprises Bootle's docks and industry, Crosby's suburbs and the sleepy seaside town of Southport. The centre of the borough, Bootle - which borders Liverpool - is dominated by several pieces of classic Victorian architecture including the impressive town hall. Owing to the area's position as a key target for German bombers during the Second World War because of it's docks and satellite industries, a huge percentage of Bootle's houses were badly damaged by the Luftwaffe. The area is also the site of one of the more chilling events of recent years, for in the late nineties local youngster Jamie Bulger was abducted by two boys from the New Strand shopping centre. After several leads that eventually lead nowhere and TV appeals by his parents, tragically Jamie's body was found; his young killers were later relocated and given new identities. Sefton plays host annually to one of the biggest events in the British sporting calendar: Aintree race-course takes pride of place in the borough and once a year becomes the centre of world horse-racing with the running of the Grand National. The world-famous horse race has been staged at Aintree since the 1800's and is well known as a daunting prospect for both horse and rider; huge jumps such as Beecher's Brook and The Chair have humbled the hopes of many a favourite. Less well publicised is the race-course's use during the 50's and 60's as the venue for the British Grand Prix on the motor-racing track which used to be on the site, even utilising some of the race-course's grandstands. The borough historically has connections to early Viking invaders with some local place-names deriving from common Norse names of the time.