The "Dark Side" of the river!!

I lived on the Wirral for many years, up to 1981. I worked on and near the Pier Head and the docklands in the mid 60s. I travel up to here sometimes on photo trips to supplement this web site. I do not like the changes being made to the Pier Head area, the Three Graces (Royal Liver Building, Cunard Building & Mersey Dock & Harbour Board are being swamped. The magic of the 60s, the bustling dockland, the busy river, the hubbup of activity in the shipping offices and surrounds had gone. Its like a ghost town. All the shipping is now confined to a privately owned area of dockland in Bootle. Liverpool, as a port, is extinct. I loved the place, but not now. The image on the right is the Pier Head as it was in 1955.
The following is from the Illustrated London News of June 12, 1847. Liverpool - The Completion of the Landing Stage

This stupendous work has just been completed at Liverpool, for the convenience of the public; it was launched on the 31st, from the dock in which it was built, and then took up its station for permanent use opposite the St George's Pier Head. The stage was towed to her moorings by seven steamers; and on its leaving the dock works there was long and loud cheering among the workmen; and the piers were also crowded with spectators, from the Clarence to the Albert Dock.

The figure of the upper surface of the Landing Stage is very nearly that of a ship's deck, with a bow at each end. The length of the Stage is 508 feet, and its width all over 82 feet. The flooring consists of 5-inch planks, of the best pitch pine, such as is used for the same purpose in a first-rate line-of-battle ship. The planks are secured with patent compressed tree-nails, and are made perfectly tight by caulking; and, to prevent the lodgment of water, the surface is made to slope gently towards the edges. From the edge inwards, for a breadth of 16 feet, the planks are laid longitudinally, or parallel with the sides of the stage; after that, for a breadth of 18 feet, they are laid diagonally, down the centre, they again run longitudinally, and in the same order between the centre and the opposite side. Thus, much additional strength is gained, by increasing the power of resisting the shock of a vessel or other body coming in contact with the sides of the Stage.

The edges are not protected by any bulwarks or chains, as they might interfere with the passage. Massive oaken stanchions, a foot square, and secured on the inside by strong iron knees, encircle the deck, at intervals of ten feet, with low mooring-posts in the intermediate spaces, well strapped to the deck. Near each bow are four longitudinal timbers, thirty-five feet in length, to serve as mooring-bits, and bearing evidence of a capacity for sustaining the utmost strain to which the mooring-chains may be subjected.

The flooring rests upon a double tier of balks firmly strapped together, making the entire depth of the wood-work 3½ feet. Underneath, running transversely with this substantial platform, are 39 iron pontoons, flat on the upper surface, on which the timbers rest, and cylindrical on the lower, so as to offer the smallest amount of obstruction to the flow of the tide beneath. The length of the pontoons corresponds, of course, with the breadth of the flooring; except when the latter tapers off towards the ends, they are 80 feet long, by 10 feet in width, and 6 in depth. These pontoons are connected with the wood-work by iron straps, and they can be entered by man-holes from the deck, for the purpose of being examined and repaired.

The connection between the Landing Stage and the Pier will be by means of two iron bridges, which are now in course of construction by Mr. Cubitt, the engineer of the Stage. The length of these bridges will be 150 feet, and the width 17 feet; one for ascending, and the other for descending.

The pontoons will always be in deep water, so that steamers will be able to come alongside in any state of the tide. The area of the deck is 4467 square yards, or nearly an acre. The tonnage, by carpenters' measurement, is 16,000 tons; upon the centre area of the deck, 40,000 persons could find standing room. There are 40,000 cubic feet of timber in the Stage. And, in the construction of the pontoons, from six to seven hundred tons of iron have been used. The draught of water is two feet ten inches, but it will be over three feet when at its proper bearings, a draught which will require a superincumbent weight of 2500 tons. The entire depth is eleven feet, namely, pontoons 6 feet, and deck 5 feet. The cost of the Stage will be upwards of £50,000, and the working of it £1500 per annum, irrespective of repairs. A lighthouse, with powerful reflectors, is erected at each end of the Stage.



Liverpool Castle 1257

The Strand

After 1908 but before Cunard Building







Sadly the entire seafront has undergone monumental changes with steel and glass towers springing up everywhere. Its called progress but is actually more money for the council. Personally, I don't like it.


Nothing unusual, except I was in Birkenhead at the time, zoom shots across the river looking up Water Street

Oops! Note the wrong time on the river side clock (facing).  
The PSNC Building on the corner of The Strand and James Street, Liverpool Pier Head. In the 60s it was a hive of maritime activity but the offices now stand empty and forlorn, reflections of bygone days. It was once the home of the White Star Line and it was from the lower central balcony that the Chairman announced to the world that the Titanic had sunk. 070405.

Liverpool Skyline taken from Holts Hill, Birkenhead - Sept 2009

Taken from Egremont, Wallasey - Sept 09

I worked in the Corn Exchange, by the red car, in the mid 60s. The whole area was a hive of activity.
This image was taken on a normal working morning around 2009

Mid 60s
Other Images from Liverpool

2 May 1966

This image comes from the late 80s and shows the Maria Asumpta, built in 1858 and (then) the oldest seagoing sailing ship in the world.

The photo of the statue of John Lennon was sent to me by the brother of the artist, Allen Curran. It was in colour but looks better in black & white. Thanks John. I found another statue in April 07 in Matthew Street.

Cavern in the 60s

St Georges Hall  

Liverpool is a microcosm of the whole world and has some fantastic places to visit and see. In fact I would go as far as to say a holiday could easily be spent there, getting the best of many worlds, across the river to the Wirral, its countryside and sea coast. Liverpool has many places to stimulate the mental processes. Merseyside sights to behold include:

Animation World - Albert Dock
Beatles & City Tours
The Beatles Story Museum - Albert Dock
Bidston Hill (Windmill, Observatory, Hall & Village
Birkenhead - home of U Boat U544 and Maritime Museum. Bidston Hill for lovely walks, Bidston Windmill, Central Park was model for New York Central Park.
Bluecoat Chambers dated 1717
Brown, Picton & Hornby Libraries
Bold Street, tyop of Bold Street remains of bombed out Church, turn right to magnificent arched entrance to China Town
Cavern Club - where it all began, Beatles, Searchers, Merseybeats, Billy J Kramer, Billy fury, Cilla Black, the list goes on
Chester Zoo, foremost amongst zoo's for natural layout and conservation. Large free flying bat "cave" and Aquarium
Church of St Nicholas & Our Lady - Seaman's Church
Derby Square beneath which lies
Headquarters Western Approaches Museum - 1942 layout, entrance in Rumford St
Exchange Flags
Everyman Theatre
Mersey Ferries
Leasowe - Castle and sea wall. Scene of prolific smuggling enterprises and wreckers
Liverpool Cathedrals one gothic the other modern
Liverpool Empire - plays, musical, concerts.
Liverpool Museum, excellent Egyptian section as well as aquarium and planetarium
Playhouse Theatre in city centre
Maritime Museum - Albert Dock Excellent Battle of the Atlantic section.
Municipal Buildings - 1866
Neptune Theatre - 1910
New Brighton - Fort Perch Rock Museum and Lighthouse
Philharmonic Hall - art deco rebuilt 1933
Pier Head - Home of the "Three Graces", one of which is the Royal Liver Building.
Prescott - Museum of Clock & Watch making
St Helens - famous for its glass
Sefton - 16th C Church
Speke Hall - Built between 1490 - 1612
Standish - 16th C St Wilfred's, Victorian steeple
Stretton Mill - Working museum 1596
Tarporley - 1585 manor house, medieval church
Thurstaston - high limestone outcrops give good views to North Wales and surrounding countryside, good walks
Wallasey - once home for Liverpool shipping magnates merchants, river and sea front walks
Warrington - Museum & Art Gallery worthy of a visit
West Kirby - Hilbre Island and Deeside walks, Country Park
Widnes - Victorian Promenade, museum, viaduct
Wigan - Famous Wigan Pier, actually does exist. Waterbus to mills with worlds largest working engine.