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Old Dock 300 Festival, 1715-2015

26 August 2015 by Paula

Image a Prospect of Liverpool, about 1725, is an oil painting by an unknown artist. The Old Dock is at the bottom right, behind the bridge.

Image a Prospect of Liverpool, about 1725, is an oil painting by an unknown artist. The Old Dock is at the bottom right, behind the bridge.

2015 is the 300th anniversary of Liverpool’s Old Dock – the world’s first enclosed commercial wet dock. The Old Dock was discovered during excavations in 2001 after being buried since 1826. Developers Grosvenor preserved the dock and has made it publicly accessible as an important reminder of Liverpool’s historic status. The Merseyside Maritime Museum offers free guided tours of the carefully preserved Old Dock under Liverpool One on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the year.

Old Dock Family

Old Dock family visit

The Old Dock was instrumental in the growth of Liverpool from a small provincial town to a bustling, thriving centre of commerce. It seems only right that we celebrate the 300th anniversary of the opening of this radical structure at Liverpool’s modern-day waterfront.
The small inlet of the River Mersey – known as the Pool – had been used for many years as a port for trading vessels but, by the start of the 18th Century, it was becoming unable to cope with the growing number of ships coming to trade in Liverpool. Liverpool Corporation employed renowned canal engineer, Thomas Steers, to come up with a solution.

Thomas Steers’ plan was a huge risk – converting the mouth of the Pool into a dock with quaysides and a river gate – but the gamble paid off and the world’s first commercial wet dock was a resounding success. Since the Old Dock opened in 1715, Liverpool has grown and prospered as a port city with dock expansion on both sides of the River Mersey.

Georgian tour performance

Georgian tour performance

This weekend from 27 – 31 August, the Museum of Liverpool and the Merseyside Maritime Museum are commemorating the 300th anniversary of the opening of the Old Dock with a special programme of events for all ages.

At the Merseyside Maritime Museum, come and explore the Old Dock for yourself on one of our Old Dock Experience tours, led by our expert Visitor Hosts. During the tour you will see the dock walls and the bed of the Pool that gave the city its name.

At the Museum of Liverpool, on Friday 28 August, you can embark on a virtual tour of Liverpool as it was in the Old Dock’s heyday with two characters of dubious reputation! This performance exploring Georgian Liverpool is sure to be both informative and highly entertaining!

Throughout the Old Dock 300 Festival there will be talks, tours, handling sessions, craft workshops and storytelling at both the Museum of Liverpool and the Merseyside Maritime Museum, exploring all aspects of Liverpool’s dock history. Visit our website for full event details.There’s plenty for the whole family to enjoy so come down to Liverpool’s waterfront this weekend and help us celebrate where it all started 300 years ago!

Join in and follow all the latest updates on Twitter #olddock300

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