On the Waterfront

25 November 2015 by Sarah Starkey

Black and white image of ships and warehouses, Georges Dock, Liverpool, 1874

Glass lantern slide of George’s Dock and Goree Warehouses – Liverpool c1874 – courtesy of National Museums Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum

For the last few months I’ve been working on an exhibition that is based around Liverpool’s waterfront. Its aim is to explain the buildings that line the Mersey from Kings Dock to Princes Dock. Considering that includes Albert Dock, the Three Graces and the Landing Stage, that is quite a wide brief, so the focus is on explaining why the buildings exist and how the area has changed from a commercial to a cultural one, as the demands of the port of Liverpool have changed.

It was also a lovely opportunity to look at lots and lots of the photographs and dock estate plans we hold at the Maritime Archives and Library. Of the many images in the exhibition one of my favourites is this lantern slide view of George’s Dock (the use of possessive apostrophes in dock names is inconsistent – blame the Victorians) from the 1870s. The original is about 10cm by 10cm but in the gallery it is shown on a light box about 1m square.  The detail on it is amazing, from the snow on the vessels to the barrels on the carts.

The On the Waterfront exhibition is now open on the ground floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum and runs until 19 June 2016. I hope you will come and admire this image and many of the others.

  1. alan jackson says:

    Wow, that’s a beautiful picture. I would love to see more photos of a) the days of sail and b) photos of, and from the overhead railway looking down on the docks.
    I will make every effort to see this exhibition before next June.
    Thanks for publicising this – very impressed.

    • Sarah Starkey says:

      Dear Mr Jackson, I hope you manage to visit the Maritime Museum to see the exhibition. The film that is running in the entrance area features some shots taken looking into the docks from the Overhead Railway, so remember to look up on your way into the gallery.
      Best wishes
      Sarah Starkey

  2. Paul jamieson says:

    What a brilliant project !!! As a Liverpool photographer I look forward to seeing these images and being facinated as I’m taken back in time …able to look through this medium at people living lives creating the reputation of this fantastic city.

    Thank you .

    • Sarah Starkey says:

      Dear Mr Jamieson, It has been a lovely project to work on. I wish sometimes we had more information about the people captured in the images. I hope you are able to visit the exhibition.
      Best wishes
      Sarah Starkey

  3. Kevin Humphreys says:

    Atkinson Grimshaw painted this.

    • Sarah Starkey says:

      Dear Mr Humphreys, Thank you, I didn’t know that. I’ll have a look for the painting.
      Sarah Starkey.

  4. Trevor Hill says:

    Please, you are doing an historical exhibition would you stop using the modernistic term ” Three Graces ” . They are and always have been the Merseydock and Harbourboard building the Cunard building and of course the world famous Liver Building , thank you Trevor Hill

    • Sarah Starkey says:

      Dear Mr Hill, I think the term is mainly just used because we are working to tight word counts and writing out the full title of each building would use most of them up. Within the exhibition each building is treated separately, and the point made that they were all planned and constructed independently, and their full titles given.
      Best wishes
      Sarah Starkey

  5. Len Sims says:

    The sailing boats are before my time ,however it is fantastic that these memories have been preserved for other generations to see their historical heritage.

    • Sarah Starkey says:

      Dear Mr Sims, Preserving memories is what we are all about! I hope you are able to visit the exhibition as I think there are plenty of other images in it that will spark memories, especially some of the photographs of the Landing Stage and the Mersey Ferries.
      Best wishes
      Sarah Starkey

  6. Fina says:

    My great grand mother used to tell me stories of old liverpool she was her fathers horse tenderer for food water etc. When they took things for delivery in their horse an cart business her father did. At the docks into the city etc

    • Sarah Starkey says:

      Dear Fina, I hope you are able to visit the exhibition because the detail on the larger version of this image is so much clearer. It really gives you a sense of the size of the loads that the carters are moving.
      Best wishes
      Sarah Starkey

  7. Jacqui says:

    Hi Sarah,
    We tried to visit the library & archives on Monday 21st December but it was unfortunately closed until January. Is it now open again? Also, am I correct in thinking it only opens on a Monday & Tuesday, please?
    Kind regards,

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