A Brief History of Liverpool’s Albert Docks

Jan 8, 2018

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.

A post shared by Q (@q_bnw) on

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.

A post shared by Christine (@turpsandtea) on

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.

Must See:

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.

A post shared by Amy ✨ (@thesixtiesdoll) on

Fox’s Fact:

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.

Also In The Area

Connect With Us

Related Posts

Get the Liverpool guide app

Everything you need to plan your perfect trip to 'the Pool' (find out more).

A Local's Eye View

Get the ‘local low-down’ on Liverpool with insight into great things to see and do, as well as recommended places to eat, drink and dance in the iconic Merseyside city.

Daily Highlights Roundup

A seamless week’s feed of content, providing daily choices of restaurants, attractions and events in Liverpool, as well as a comprehensive spotlight on the best upcoming high-profile concerts, productions and more.

Book Through The App

Discover and book tables, takeaways, tickets, hotels, taxis and more in 'Pool', all in the same place without leaving the app, or create and share plans to help maximise your time with friends.

Download Citi-Wise from the Apple storeGet Citi-Wise on Google Play


Privacy Policy 

© 2018 CitiWise | Part of intechWiFi


Visit Citi-Wise on Facebook

Download Citi-Wise from the Apple storeGet Citi-Wise on Google Play