Posted by Henry on November 15, 2004
In Reply to: Woolley back posted by helen on November 14, 2004
: : : : why is this saying common in Liverpool.
: : : I'm not from Liverpool. But I have a suggestion. Could you use the phrase in a sentence?
: : You're from Liverpool? Any relation to Eleanor?
: I am from st helens which is a smaller town about 10 miles from liverpool. as such I am a "woolley back".
: the phrase refers back to when the docks in liverpool were used alot more commercially than they are now. the goods from the ships were lifted onto the docks and the dockers would take care of them. however, they reckon that theives from out of town would run down the dock, wearing a real sheeps skin over them (to conceal their identity) and steal the goods. hence most people from towns surrounding liverpool are referred to as "woolleybacks" ( or plastic scousers!!)
A woollyback comes from outside Liverpool, but from that region. I don't think that it's regarded as a pejorative term. Its origin is obscure; it may come from people carrying sheep on their backs to market in Liverpool.