Liverpool’s Docks and Railways

by Martin

Although Liverpool is famous for its docks, and (criminally, to a lesser extent) the railways, taking a wider view reveals the interlinking threads which join the two transport systems, and gives a few insights into the buildings nearby. The recently revealed Manchester Dock (once under the car park of the old Museum of Liverpool Life) was one of the earliest docks on the river front, having originally been no more than a tidal basin connected to the river Mersey. The dock was used to hold the barges of the Shropshire Union Canal Company, and later the Great Western Railway, in order to transport goods between Liverpool and the rail terminal at Morpeth Dock in Birkenhead. In this way Manchester Dock played a role as a go-between, from the national rail network (connecting Liverpool – via Lime Street – to the industrial centres of Britain) and further ports of call on the other side of the river. The warehouses standing next to Canning graving docks – until recently the home of the Liverpool Museum field Archaeology Unit – still bear the name Great Western Railway on the canopies at the front.

Time Team are showing a’ Special’ on the Manchester Dock on the 21st April. Although the adverts would have you believe Phil uncovered this crucial piece of Liverpool’s (and indeed the world’s) maritime history, excavations have been taking place for a while. Read Liverpool Museum’s blog to stay up to date. Also check out their Flikr site.

Michael Palin is coming to Liverpool to open an exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery on art and railways (Art In the Age of Steam, Walker Gallery, April 18 – August 10).

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