.UK. Liverpool Old Dock tours to visit historic city site

Wednesday, 09 January 2013


Starting this week, tours of Liverpool’s revolutionary Old Dock will take place daily to meet demand.

Free tours from Merseyside Maritime Museum have been running twice a week since March 2010.

More than 9,000 people have already been wowed by the world’s first commercial wet dock which is situated under Liverpool ONE.

Guided tours organised by National Museums Liverpool will now run three times a day at 10.30am, 11.30am and 2.30pm. Places must be booked in advance on 0151 478 4499. Schools and group booking enquiries should ring 0151 478 4788.

Described by some archaeologists as being “as important as Stonehenge”, the Old Dock was constructed 300 years ago and was one of Liverpool’s greatest contributions to world trade.

Visitors to the Old Dock Experience go back in time and see the birth of Liverpool. A large section of the dock wall still stands from the bed of the pool – the creek that gave Liverpool its name.

Ian Murphy, Deputy Director, Merseyside Maritime Museum, said: “The tours have been extremely popular with people visiting from across the UK. This site is the birthplace of Liverpool. It enabled ships to load and unload cargoes whatever the state of the tide. In 1715 this was revolutionary.”

In the early days of the dock, author Daniel Defoe commented: “This is of so great a benefit and its like is not to be seen anywhere in England.”

The Old Dock was discovered during excavations in 2001 after being buried since 1826. Developers Grosvenor preserved the dock and made it publically accessible.

Chris Bliss, Estate Director, Liverpool ONE said: "The Old Dock forms a huge part of Liverpool's maritime history and we are incredibly proud to have preserved it. By working with National Museums Liverpool we are able to give visitors the opportunity to explore something that is of local, national and international historic significance. Liverpool ONE is much more than just shopping and by increasing the number of tours it means that our visitors will enjoy an even more rounded experience of the city." 

History of the Old Dock:

When built, the Old Dock was a huge risk but it paid off handsomely, paving the way to many decades of dock expansion on both sides of the river. The impact of this radical structure was immense and allowed Liverpool to overcome the problems created by the River Mersey’s tide and become one of the world’s greatest ports. The Old Dock was constructed in 1715 at the mouth of the Pool which had been at the heart of the town’s successes but, with increasing numbers of ships using the port, it was struggling to cope.

In 1708 the merchants who controlled Liverpool Corporation employed Thomas Steers, one of Britain’s leading canal engineers, to find a solution.  He converted the mouth of the Pool into a dock with quaysides and a river gate. It was now possible for ships to load and unload whatever the state of the tide – a revolutionary development. The dock was technically very difficult to build and cost £12,000, double its original estimate. The Corporation was nearly bankrupted but its success encouraged further rapid increases in overseas trade through Liverpool.
In 2001 during the Liverpool ONE development the Old Dock was discovered. In 2010 it was made accessible for visitors. 

National Museums Liverpool 
National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic. We attract more than three million visitors every year. Our venues are the Museum of Liverpool,  World Museum, Walker Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum, International Slavery Museum, UK Border Force National Museum, Sudley House and the Lady Lever Art Gallery. 

Merseyside Maritime Museum
Merseyside Maritime Museum is situated in the Albert Dock. The Museum tells the story of the great liners such as Lusitania and Titanic. Galleries include: Art and the sea, Emigrants to a New World, Battle of the Atlantic and Life at Sea. A major new exhibition: Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story, explores Liverpool’s links to the ship and runs throughout 2013. 

Liverpool ONE
Liverpool ONE is one of Europe’s leading retail and leisure destinations, set in the heart of Liverpool City Centre. Built around the existing streets of Liverpool, the 1.65million sq ft contemporary open-air complex is a stylish must-visit for those who love to shop, eat, drink and relax. Liverpool ONE includes over 160 stores, bars and restaurants, a fantastic 14 screen cinema, an indoor adventure golf course and a five-acre park. Stores include high street favourites such as Topshop, John Lewis and Debenhams.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 09 January 2013 )