Merseyside is a metropolitan county in North West England. Taking its name from the River Mersey, the title "Merseyside" came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974, after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, and the county consists of five metropolitan boroughs adjoining the Mersey estuary, including the City of Liverpool.
Between 1974 and 1986 the county had a two-tier system of local government with the five boroughs sharing power with the Merseyside County Council. However in 1986 the government of Margaret Thatcher abolished the county council along with all other metropolitan county councils, and so its boroughs are now effectively unitary authorities. Merseyside however still exists legally, both as a metropolitan and ceremonial county.