Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘docks’

We’re all living future memories of historic Liverpool

Memories are liberally scattered around this week’s links. Photos of life in Liverpool, plus revealing the hidden corners of the city, and life on the Home Front. Read more

Liverpool from above and around

This week (fortnight?) I’m looking at the historic city of Liverpool from above, and from raised perspectives both literal and metaphorical. Read more

Bootle: seaside village

Today’s map is taken from a detailed one that I picked up recently, from the Illustrated Globe Encyclopedia printed in 1878.

The point of interest I’m drawing your attention to is Bootle. In 1878, and also visible on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map of the area, the village of Bootle sits alone to the north of Liverpool. The docks to the west have stretched this far north, but Bootle’s strong links with the port were still a little way in the future. Read more

Liverpool at the forefront of dock technology: Waterloo, Victoria and Trafalgar Docks

I’ve been obsessed with Liverpool’s docklands this week. I’ve been reading a lot about them while writing the 19th century chapter of my book. Although the book’s focus will be on the changing historic landscape of Liverpool and its docks, you can’t help but be drawn into the technological advances. These too helped create the dock landscape we see today. Read more

Liverpool Heroes 4: Jesse Hartley

Continuing our look at the men and women who have had the greatest impact on the Liverpool landscape, this time we examine the work of Jesse Hartley, dock engineer.

Jesse Hartley (1780-1860) is best known as the architect of the Albert Dock. But this was just one of his achievements as Civil Engineer and Superintendent of the Concerns of the Dock Estate in Liverpool from 1824 to 1860, and his career was one which changed the face of Liverpool. It’s a landscape we can still see today, and his buildings continue to affect how we move through and how we deal with the built environment of the city.

Read more

Liverpool: a port of world significance

Screenshot of the introduction to a photo essay

Liverpool: a port of world significance, on ViewFinder

There are many sources of information we can use to investigate Liverpool’s history. There is the local Historic Environment Record (HER), the many libraries, and the local record office.

On a national scale, and a counterpart to the HER, is the National Monuments Record (NMR) in Swindon, which has been part of English Heritage since 1999. The NMR holds millions of photos, plans and other documents, some of which it puts online.

When I first started work for the NMR I played a small role in the expansion of ViewFinder, and this is still my favourite English Heritage site. One of the best, but little-known features are the entrancingly-titled Photo Essays, one of which is called Liverpool: a port of world significance.

This is a short introduction followed by 12 images taken from the NMR’s archives, with captions written by Keith Falconer, one time Head of Industrial Archaeology for English Heritage.

It was written a little while ago now, and some of the pictures feel a little out of date (the view across from the Albert Dock to the Pier Head seems to be missing… something) but it’s refreshing to read about the city’s history and architecture from an author who doesn’t appear to feel the hot breath of passionate Scousers looking over his shoulder. He gives the city its due without hyperbole, and acknowledges that it was, indeed, a city of world importance.

As well as the Pier Head and Stanley Docks, Falconer takes in civic buildings like the Town Hall, and the under-appreciated Oriel Chambers, one of the first iron-framed buildings in the world.

Once you’ve read that, there are a couple of other Photo Essays which might take your fancy, but don’t forget to look at ViewFinder’s entire collection of Liverpool photos. There’s stuff from over 150 years of history, including photos that aren’t that old, but are already becoming important records of Merseyside’s past.

Found any gems?

Docks, Drinking Dens and Development Committees

Liverpool Waters image by Jaybuoy

Liverpool Waters image by Jaybuoy

Peel’s Liverpool Waters scheme has reached another milestone with their plans for Birkenhead Docks being submitted to the local council. The Northbank east section has already been approved, but this East Float part is apparently the UK’s largest planning application.

Peel hopes the Mersey estuary will rival Shanghai and Sydney once the development is completed, and the artists’ impressions I’ve seen certainly show a massive change from what the area looks like now.

Perhaps I’m being old-fashioned, or at least conservative, but to me this will completely change the character of Liverpool and the Wirral. I’m not opposed to big cities per se, but what I love about Liverpool is the human scale of it all. Say what you want about the Mann Island development and the new Liverpool Museum, but the size (if not the design) of these buildings fit with the character of Liverpool. So does Liverpool One. The forest of skyscrapers promised by Peel will remove that feeling, and alter the balance and focus of the river bank. No longer will the Three Graces be the prow of the good ship Liverpool. All eyes will be on Peelsville.

I’d dearly love to see the vast swathes of dereliction in Liverpool and Birkenhead brought back into use (see for instance my earlier posts on Stanley Dock). But whether historic buildings are brought into use or new development takes place, I’m sure there are better, more individual ways of doing it. Discussions on Yo! Liverpool certainly show enthusiasm for the project, although there are some who want tougher questions asked.

Perhaps the new version of Liverpool – Peel’s version – will be a hugely exciting place to live and work, but I fear that I’ll feel a little lost in it all. The plans concentrate in the north docks, so perhaps both towns can successfully contain their ‘scraper cities’. What do you think?

Liverpool’s own scrutiny committee

Speaking of my recent Stanley Dock article, I was contacted by Peter Baines, Local Government Improvement Adviser for English Heritage, who pointed me in the direction of Liverpool City Council’s Regeneration Select Committee. Peter tells me that “these committees hold in-depth reviews on all manner of policy areas and make recommendations to the Council’s Executive / Cabinet about how things can be improved”. This page shows how open this committee is, with agendas and minutes posted for all their meetings. The page also lists their responsibilities, which to me look like exactly the kind of progress and development we should be after.

Thanks, David! Good to know we have these committees!

When Christmas shopping gets a bit much…

Liverpool.com has a great little article on the best pubs and bars to be found in the city centre. From the Grapes and Carnaevon Castle to the Richmond and the Globe, the list gives away some hidden gems in Liverpool’s pub landscape. Have you tried any?

Liverpool Landscapes and Historic Liverpool go social!

If you’re a regular reader (and if not, why not?!) then you may have noticed the headlines in the left-hand bar. These are my posts on the new Historic Liverpool Twitter page! Click straight through to the stories from this blog, or follow all the updates at @histliverpool.

You can also keep an eye on all the links used in this blog by going to the Historic Liverpool Delicious page. This is a site where I can publicly bookmark interesting pages, and keep them collected in one place.

Both these pages can be viewed without opening an account, and you can keep up to date with each page by adding their URLs (Delicious, Twitter) to a feed reader.

Impacts of Capital of Culture

The University of Liverpool and John Moores University are assessing the impact of the 2008 Capital of Culture year in a project called Impacts 08. Research has gone on since 2005, and is now at the stage of judging the effects the year had on the city of Liverpool.

Already a whole load of reports are available divided into themes of economics, taking part, culture and the arts, as well as others. My eye was naturally drawn to Liverpool 08 – Centre of the Online Universe, which covers the web and social media (unfortunately my own sites don’t get a mention :)).

You can follow Impacts 08 on Twitter, or on the Impacts 08 blog.

I was going to pick and choose a couple of read, but to be honest, these all look like interesting stuff! Let me know what you think of these in the comments section below. Do they reflect your experience? Did they miss anything out?

Trading Places: A History of Liverpool Docks

Trading Places - a history of Liverpool's dock system

Trading Places: A history of Liverpool docks

This looks like a fairly old corner of the Liverpool Museums site, but Trading Places is a simple and informative interactive map of Liverpool’s dock system and its history. The left-hand menu highlights the docks involved in trade with different parts of the world, as well as the docks’ names and the very reason for the dock systems construction. There’s also a timeline of significant dates along the bottom.

This is a great little tool, and its slightly old-fashioned look and pop-up windows just reflects the simplicity of getting the information across. I’ve been playing around with interactive web maps for a good few years now, so it’s great to see what can be achieved very simply. There’s even an accessible version (click on “begin the voyage”)!

Kudos to Laura Davis’ blog on the Daily Post website, whose advent calendar pointed me to this site, and which has been an lovely little source of historic websites over the last week! Trading Places is the destination behind door 11.