Discover the origin of Liverpool’s fortune, buried right underneath us here at Liverpool ONE with a tour of the Old Dock.
Revealed during excavations on our site in 2001, the story of the world’s first commercial enclosed wet dock is explored on this guided tour. You will discover how a brave idea and an innovative feat of engineering shaped Liverpool’s destiny forever.
The Old Dock Tours are available on Wednesdays, Fridays and every other Thursday and Saturday at 10.30am, 12pm and 2.30pm. Each tour lasts up to an hour.
Guided tours, organised by National Museums Liverpool, start by the large anchor outside the Merseyside Maritime Museum at Royal Albert Dock Liverpool and visitors walk a short distance to the Old Dock.
On the tour visitors are taken back in time as they see a large portion of the Old Dock rising more than 20 feet from the bed of the Pool – the creek that gave Liverpool its name. A modern bridge and walkways give grandstand views.
|National Museum Liverpool Member
Group discounts available for groups of 10 or more please call the Box Office on 0151 478 4444 to book group tickets
*Concessions include 60+, people with a disability, jobseekers. ** Free carer/companion ticket available for people with a disability
The Old Dock is accessible, the space allows one wheelchair user per tour.
History of the Old Dock
When built, the Old Dock was a huge risk but it paid off handsomely, paving the way to many decades of dock expansion on both sides of the river. It was one of Liverpool’s greatest contributions to progress in world trade and commerce.
The impact of this radical structure was immense and London, Bristol and Chester lost significant amounts of trade throughout the 18th century as a result.
The Old Dock was constructed in 1715 at the mouth of the Pool which had been at the heart of the town’s successes but, with increasing numbers of ships using the port, it was struggling to cope.
In 1708 the merchants who controlled Liverpool Corporation employed Thomas Steers, one of Britain’s leading canal engineers, to find a solution.
He converted the mouth of the Pool into a dock with quaysides and a river gate. It was now possible for ships to load and unload whatever the state of the tide – a revolutionary facility.
The dock was technically very difficult to build and cost £12,000, double its original estimate. The Corporation was nearly bankrupted but its success encouraged further rapid increases in overseas trade through Liverpool.