The Old Dock Tours at Maritime Museum, Waterfront, Until 31 January 2025, £8.50 with concessions - Book now
Want to learn more about Liverpool’s history? Discover a hidden archaeological site deep underneath the streets of Liverpool. The Old Dock Tours let you get up close and personal with the story of the world’s first commercial wet dock.
Built in 1715, this radical industrial structure transformed Liverpool’s fate. Meet your guide at the Maritime Museum and journey across to the site, buried under Liverpool. Told with humour as well as extensive historical knowledge, the tour provides a unique chance to see the results of the archaeological excavations that first began 21 years ago in the heart of the city.
The story of the Old Dock began as The Pool. This river inlet provided access to the open sea, whilst also protecting ships from extreme weather, eventually becoming too small to deal with the increasing number of vessels. The Corporation of Liverpool brought on leading canal engineer Thomas Steers to develop the area and the dock was born: a pioneering structure with quaysides and a river gate, which allowed ships to load and unload whatever the state of the river’s tide. It was the world’s first commercial wet dock – and for this reason, the site is of worldwide historical significance to this day.
After five years of construction, the development of the site almost bankrupted the Liverpool Corporation. However the Old Dock was an immediate success: becoming so well-used that Liverpool became the busiest port in the whole of the UK.
The Old Dock Tour provides a fascinating insight into our history, told through the lens of Liverpool’s industrial heritage.
To carry on your history-themed adventure, why not visit the Maritime Museum’s On The Waterfront exhibition too? And perhaps the next time you’re walking around the shops in Liverpool ONE, you’ll remember the incredible structure beneath your feet.
Tours run multiple times a week, leaving from the Maritime Museum, Liverpool.
The Old Dock Tours at Maritime Museum, Waterfront
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