Please note: tours will run continuously into the new year, so see the website for more details.
Fancy learning more about Liverpool’s history? Come along on a tour of the Old Dock to get up close and personal with the story of the world’s first commercial wet dock.
The guided tour will dive deep into the story of the Old Dock built in 1715, which was once an enormous radical structure. It is now buried under Liverpool ONE and the tour provides a unique chance to see the results of the archaeological excavations which first began 21 years ago in the heart of the city.
It all began as The Pool, a river inlet which provided access to the open sea whilst also protecting ships from extreme weather, but eventually became too small to deal with the increasing number of vessels. The Corporation of Liverpool brought on leading canal engineer Thomas Steers to deal with the problem 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.
This revolution did not come cheap though, taking five years to construct, costing £12,000 and almost bankrupting the Liverpool Corporation. Yet the initial strain was alleviated by the dock’s success: it became so prolific that Liverpool became the UK’s biggest trading port city.
The Old Dock tour will be a treat for fans of the city’s maritime past and anybody even just a little bit curious about social history and the Transatlantic slave trade. 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, your mind will drift to the incredible structure beneath your feet.
Dates and Times