The Irish Sea Shipping Archive

About ISSContactContentVoyage ReportsISS Amazon Shop
PhotographsFeaturesShip AISShips on FilmNews
Finished With Engines: Irish Sea Shipping is now closed to new updates - J.H. Luxton Photography - Transport, Industrial History, Regional Photographs UK & beyond

Visiting Liverpool for a Maritime Heritage Experience?

Think Again!

Photographs © John H. Luxton 2007

This page contains a selection of photographs taken on Saturday morning, March 10, 2007. The photographs show the desolation and almost total inaccessibility to the Liverpool waterfront in the Pier Head area. The cordoned off areas will remain inaccessible throughout 2007 and through half of 2008. Tourists and locals are being denied access to perhaps the city's most famous and popular public open space for the whole of 2007 - Liverpool's 800th Birthday Year and half of 2008 - the year in which we are supposed to be European Capital of Culture. Mainly to allow for a canal link of very dubious merit.

Additionally a number of new buildings are being constructed in the Pier Head area - none of these buildings have attracted public acclaim in the letters pages of the local press.

Liverpool is supposed to be making a great effort to attract visitors in 2007 and 2008 as it celebrates 800 years since the granting of its charter by King John in 2007 and has been designated European Capital of Culture in 2008.

Irish Sea Shipping - The Online Shipping Magazine is pleased to reveal the true face of the famous Liverpool waterfront which is not likely to feature in the brochures and tourist web sites!

If you are a tourist or a shipping enthusiast who is thinking of coming here to savour the nautical flavour of this maritime city - you are recommended to stay away!

You will get a much better experience elsewhere! If you would like a maritime themed weekend or longer break why not try Plymouth?

Plenty of shipping movements, easy access to the waterfront, a range of nautical excursions ranging from a one trip round the Devonport Dockyard to a 40 hour excursion to Spain onboard one of the finest passenger ferries to serve this country - the PONT-AVEN. 

Some Important Features of the Liverpool Waterfront:

  • A museum organisation that:
    • appears reluctant to add additional preserved ships to its maritime collection.
    • has reduced the nautical displays at the maritime museum over the years - remember the model ship gallery?
    • has a museum shop which has recently been selling off its serious nautical book titles cheaply presumably to stock more "kitsch".
    • wishes to foist on the local populace a new Museum of Liverpool which is of dubious architectural merit.
    • does not want visitors to arrive in cars - why else would they be building the new museum on the existing museum car park?
  • A group of wonderful Grade I listed warehouses at the Albert Dock managed by organisations who wish to evict a historic Liverpool ship the Mersey Bar Lightship  L.V. PLANET and install a weird and wonderful sculpture in the middle of the dock?  Something strange here - are docks not intended for ships?
  • Lack of access to the river wall brought to you by a City Council who has permitted builders to turn the waterfront into an inaccessible construction site for 18 out of 24 key months which encompassing the whole of 800th Anniversary Year and half of European Capital of Culture Year. Why didn't the council commence construction earlier on a phased basis?
  • Construction works for an unwanted canal which will disfigure the Pier Head area, will benefit a few narrow boaters, and will probably end looking as uncared for  as the water feature which was installed at Birkenhead Woodside 10 years ago. - Do follow this link for a preview  <click here>
  • Work soon to commence on a strangely designed terminal for the Mersey Ferries. [Yes the old one the adjacent restaurant need replacing] - But why is the new building so tall and clearly facing the wrong way?
  • A landing stage which sank over a year ago and which still remains stuck in the mud at the bottom of the Mersey.

Yes - Liverpool's water front - the place you just don't want to visit in 2007 and for the first half of 2008!

Capital of Culture ? You have to be joking!

Here are the photographs ......

The Big Dig logo has been seen around Liverpool city centre for around two years in association with road "improvements" - now its been applied to the Pier Head to the Pier Head work.

The road "improvements" have been very effective! Resulting in narrowed roads, pollution enhancing traffic calming and illogical routes and enhanced traffic congestion! The Big Dig has led to widespread disruption. The recently announced insolvency of Liverpool's most famous department store - Lewis's has been directly blamed on the Big Dig

The entrance the Maritime Museum Car Park which facilitated cost effective car parking for visitors to the Maritime Museum and Museum of Liverpool Life. This is going to be the site for the new Museum of Liverpool.

Artists' impressions of the new museum do not reveal any car park for the new building! Now visitors to the Albert Dock area have to pay high parking charges in the main dock and are subject to a rigorous clamping regime if they out stay their time.

Construction of the new museum building will result in the destruction of part of the nice cluster of buildings around the Pilotage House.

The view from Mann Island along Canada Boulevard. Canadian maple trees planted in the 1990s as part of a WWII memorial to Canadian seamen were felled without warning at the beginning of March.

The council claimed in the local press that the Canadian maples had not thrived and will be replaced by Norwegian maples!

Strange they didn't look that bad and now the place looks exceedingly bare without them.

Tourists arriving at Mann Island from City Centre Hotels are greeted by this notice directing them along an obstacle course to the temporarily combined Isle of Man Steam Packet and Mersey Ferries joint terminal.

Though the ferries have been forced to use the Steam Packet facilities due to the sinking of the Georges Landing Stage - one wonders why the plans for a new river front ferry terminal can't provide for joint passenger facilities serving both operations?


There is no longer access to the river front at Mann Island everyone has to follow the arrow which leads them along the now maple - less Canada Boulevard.

With the 2007 / 2008 Round the World Clipper Ventures Yacht Race due to begin later this year one wonders just where the vantage points on the Liverpool side of the river will be?



A gap in the continuous hoarding provides a small opening to the river front - see next photograph.Yes - at the time of taking these photographs it was possible to get a glimpse of the river - just as one passes between the construction sites for the Pier Head ditch (oops - canal!)The now abandoned Mersey Ferries terminal building with its wigwam canopy roof. It needed replacing. But is the new terminal - (below) the correct design or the correct way round?The former restaurant which has had a number of names since it was completed as part of the Pier Head Bus Station complex in the mid 1960s closed in mid February 2007.Once demolition of these buildings commence, expect even this small remaining river front area to be fenced off!
Come to Liverpool?

- Don't bother!

It is now impossible to walk from the Pier Head to the Albert Dock - these blue fences block the way, though you can just about poke a camera lens between them. Sorry about the blue fringes its not a camera lens defect, but the effect caused when photographing between the gaps in the fencing. The riverside walkway can be clearly seen. Why couldn't the right of way along the river front be maintained here?

The new Mersey Ferry terminal. The café terrace would have been better on the river front, with windscreens as fitted to cruise ships.

Not at least until summer 2008!

Visit for Transport, Industrial Heritage & Regional Digital Photographs and Growing Online Archive

Irish Sea Shipping - What's New July 2008Irish Sea Shipping - What's New August 2009Back Home Up NextIrish Sea Shipping - What's New May 2012Irish Sea Shipping - What's New August 2009Irish Sea Shipping - What's New August 2009Irish Sea Shipping - What's New August 2009

Irish Sea Shipping © John H. Luxton 1995-2015. Content © John H. Luxton and Contributors