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Thread: Liverpool Old Dock and Custom House

  1. #1
    Creator & Administrator Kev's Avatar
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    Exclamation Liverpool Old Dock and Custom House

    I was reading some information about Liverpool's Old Doc/ Steer's Dock that is currently beneath the new bus station and part of the Paradise Street Development opposite the Police Headquarters.


    How the area looked before the dock was constructed, Liverpool Castle still visible.

    Apparently there has been something there since the 17th century and it wasn't until the Dock Act was passed in 1709 did Thomas Steers start the work on the recognisable dock as seen on the maps. It was partially opened in 1715 for shipping.


    The dock is visible here, by now the castle was gone (1715)

    Steers was supposed to have used the old bricks and stone from the Liverpool Castle ruins to construct the dock.


    You can see the developing area around the dock



    In the years to come, Liverpool and its docks expanded and by the 19th century, problems became apparent, the small size of the dock plus its now isolated position with the north and south docks meant that with the introduction of the 1811 Liverpool Dock Act, the dock could be filled in. It stayed open until it was filled in a few years after.

    Now this is where I became interested in Liverpool's Old Custom House that was built on the site. Certainly a candidate for the great lost buildings from Liverpool's past.




    Salt House Dock in the foreground


    You can see its proximity to the Albert Dock

    How this building was lost is beyond me, it was heavily bombed during the war but the shell remained for many years afterwards. It should have been saved, no doubt



    1941

    Since then there has been a period of poor buildings being constructed once gems have been destroyed, something we are all regretting in this conservation conscious environment in 2006.



    Remember this in the years that came? Then in 2001 came the big clear-up for the forth coming PSD.


    Chavasse Park in the distance

    Its almost heart wrenching when you suddenly realise how important historical dock locations are being filled in. The developers have promised to put a section of the Old Dock on show with a viewing gallery.


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    Last edited by Kev; 06-07-2007 at 06:37 PM.
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    Still alive snappel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev View Post
    Its almost heart wrenching when you suddenly realise how important historical dock locations are being filled in. The developers have promised to put a section of the Old Dock on show with a viewing gallery.
    Amazing collection of images there Kev, thanks.

    Yes, it would be good to see a bit of the Old Dock - I was excited enough just to see the George's Dock wall underneath the Cunard Building!! Imagine they'd dug up all those docks and built waterside promenades and that... It'd be so much better, far more unique and would make Liverpool a more desirable and unique tourist destination.

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snappel View Post
    Amazing collection of images there Kev, thanks.

    Yes, it would be good to see a bit of the Old Dock - I was excited enough just to see the George's Dock wall underneath the Cunard Building!! Imagine they'd dug up all those docks and built waterside promenades and that... It'd be so much better, far more unique and would make Liverpool a more desirable and unique tourist destination.
    It would be good enough to see the whole of the Old Dock as you said. We had a perfect opportunity to dig it out and put it back. What a lost opportunity!!!! What goons run this city? Only in Liverpool. The world's first enclosed commercial dock.

    The Customs house was not heavily bombed. It was fire bombed and the structure was totally intact. London decided that Customs would be centred in the south - another raping of Liverpool - so the building was demolished. In 1950 a proposal came in for a 50 plus floor glass block on the site - being Liverpool, of course it was turned down. Miraculously a similar design emerged in New York, called the Pan-Am building.
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
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    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    Creator & Administrator Kev's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments, once I started looking through the old maps of the area, I wanted to know much more. The change in land-use over time has interested me too, the area still retains its shape with the Chavasse Park bit once a maze of dwellings. Once the old sailors were off of the ships at the docks, I can only imagine to delights that awaited them in the pubs etc.. the atmosphere, the singing, the smells.....but now the PSD is going ahead, these might return, in a much more sumptuous environment!

    Loosing the custom house though
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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    This shot of me was taken during the promo recording of "Jack: The Musical" in October 2000 in Paris. The picture behind me is the Customs House, Liverpool by Atkinson Grimshaw, reminiscent of the docklands of the East End in the same period.

    Chris
    Christopher T. George
    Editor, Ripperologist
    Editor, Loch Raven Review
    http://christophertgeorge.blogspot.com/
    Chris on Flickr and on MySpace

  6. #6
    PhilipG
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    I'm rather late coming to this.
    The Castle wasn't on the site of the Old Dock.
    The Castle was where Derby Square is, and the Old Dock was the site of the Custom House/Canning Place.

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