Liverpool Street station was built as the new London terminus of the Great Eastern Railway (GER) to serve its lines to Norwich and King's Lynn. In 1862 the GER had been formed by the merger of several railway companies and had inherited Bishopsgate station as its London terminus. Bishopsgate was inadequate for the company's passenger traffic and, being located in Shoreditch, was poorly situated for the City of London commuters the company was seeking as customers; as a consequence the GER made plans for a new, more central station. The line and station construction was authorised by the Great Eastern Railway (Metropolitan Station and Railways) Act 1864. The station was built on a 10 acres (4.0 ha) site previously occupied by the Bethlem Royal Hospital, adjacent to Broad Street station, west of Bishopsgate and facing onto Liverpool Street to the south; prior to the station's construction the site was part of the general urban development of London. The development land was compulsory purchased displacing around 3,000 residents of the parish of St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate. In order to offset the distress caused by the displacement of persons the company was required by the 1864 Act to run daily low-cost workmen's trains from the station. Although initially viewed as an expensive white elephant, within 10 years the station was working at capacity (circa 600 trains per day) and the GER was acquiring land to the east of the station for expansion. An Act of Parliament was obtained in 1888 and work started in 1890 on the eastward expansion of Liverpool Street by the addition of eight new tracks and platforms
In 2013, during excavation work for the Crossrail project, a 2 acres (0.81 ha) mass burial ground dating from the 17th century was uncovered a few feet beneath the surface at Liverpool Street. It contained the remains of several hundred people and it is thought that the interments were of a wide variety of people, including plague victims, prisoners and unclaimed corpses. A 16th century gold coin, thought to have been used as a sequin or pendant, was also found. In early 2015 full scale excavation of the burials began, then estimated at around 3,000 interments. In advance of the opening of Crossrail from 2017/18, precursor company TfL Rail took over from Abellio Greater Anglia the operating of the Liverpool Street-Shenfield stopping "metro" service from May 2015. At the same time, services on the Lea Valley Lines out of Liverpool Street to Enfield Town, Cheshunt (via Seven Sisters) and Chingford transferred to London Overground. London Overground trains for the aforementioned destinations depart from platforms 1, 2 and 3. The station has wi-fi, payphones, cash machines, Euro cash machines, lifts, escalators, waiting room and help points.