Hidden History

Lumberjack on the former Dominion pub, Kirkdale

Photograph of the lumberjack statue on top of the former Dominion pub, Liverpool

Credit for this goes to Phil Nash, who posted a couple of photos to the Liverpool Hidden History Facebook group.

The former Dominion pub (or Dominion Hotel) at the junction of Regent Road and Bankfield Street in Kirkdale is now the Bankfield Enterprise Hub. This, its latest role, represents the early years of a new direction for this part of the docks. With the decline in shipping, much of the area became a lot quieter. But now, with the advent of Peel Waters and a potential influx of new residents and businesses, the building that was once the Dominion no doubt hopes to get a new lease of life.

The building has a curious figure stood atop its roof. Often mistaken for a child or a shepherd, this chap is in fact a lumberjack. He gazes across the Dock Road to Canada Dock, and it’s this location that explains his presence.

The Canadian timber trade

Canada Dock opened in 1869, and was Jesse Hartley’s biggest dock project. It dealt in timber, its name a reflection of the predominant source of that material at the time.

Canada Dock was originally relatively isolated from other docks, and was far from the town centre. The northwards expansion of the dock estate was forced by the shape of the river, but its location was also handy in reducing the risk of fire – always a danger with large quantities of wood. Hartley’s Albert Dock was built entirely wood-free for this very reason.

Other timber docks, such as London’s own Canada Dock, handled timber by offloading it into the water, and making rafts of the trunks to move it further inland. Today, Canada Water in Rotherhithe is the remains of Canada Dock, and the nearby Canada Pond and Quebec Pond were for the temporary rafts.

He’s a lumberjack and he’s OK

Liverpool’s Canada Dock was therefore a little unusual in its design, offloading wood directly onto the quay. But next time you’re passing down the Dock Road, look out for the lumberjack, complete with impressive facial hair, trusty hound and plaid shirt. Just don’t call him a hipster. He’s also got an axe.

Further Reading

Images of the lumberjack on the former Dominion pub: http://www.liverpoolmonuments.co.uk/pubs/dominion02.html, retrieved 24th February 2020

The Dominion, The Lost Pubs Project, https://www.closedpubs.co.uk/lancashire/liverpool_l20_dominion.html, retrieved 24th February 2020

Image: Dominion pub detail. https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1433121 Copyright Sue Adair and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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