A Brief History of Liverpool’s Albert Docks
The days when mighty sailing ships chugged into harbour laden with wares may be a distant memory, but regeneration has kept the lofty colonnades of Albert Docks at the heart of Liverpool‘s bustling city atmosphere.
Albert Dock: The Beginning
First opened in 1846, after five years of construction, Albert Dock was an architectural revolution. The raised warehouses were the nation’s first structures to be fashioned solely from cast iron, brick and stone.
The lack of wood meant that this was the only non-combustible warehouse system in the world.
Brandy, cotton, ivory and tobacco flooded into the docks as a whole manner of riches were stored on the banks of the Mersey.
The innovation continued as Liverpool’s docklands become the home of another world first after the installation of hydraulic cranes to assist in the loading and unloading of cargo.
The boom years were short-lived, however. As product demand increased, so too did the size of the ships ferrying wares across the seas, and Albert Docks found itself too much of a tight squeeze.
Half a century after first opening, Albert Dock fell into disuse, with the warehouses finally being closed in 1972.
Plans for the regeneration of the impressive buildings were passed around for years, with nothing ever coming to fruition until 1982 when work began on restoring the derelict docklands.
Albert Docks: A Regeneration
In only two years, Albert Docks were functioning once more, with the area soon to become Liverpool’s leading cultural and entertainment site.
Restaurants, bars and shops began to flood the surrounding area as ships once had in years before. Amongst the new arrivals was the lauded Merseyside Maritime Museum, Granada TV and the northern branch of the Tate gallery.
The Docks officially reopened in 1988 and is now a vibrant cultural hub. The pillared warehouses that once hoarded tea and sugar now house leading brands and tourist attractions.
The Victorian era waterfront is now the most visited multi-use attraction in the UK, outside of London and a key component of Liverpool’s illustrious maritime history.
Chart the history of Liverpool’s most famous export, The Beatles, at the Beatles Story.
This museum contains recreations of famous landmarks from Beatles history, including Abbey Road Studios and The Casbah Coffee Club.
Albert Dock is the largest singular location for Grade I listed buildings in the UK.
Albert Docks open at 10am and are free to enter, with many restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment establishments now occupying the former warehouses.
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