Monday, 6 August 2012

In Liverpool

We’ve now been in Liverpool for just over a week and we’re still finding plenty to do.  We do seem to have visited some of the stranger sights of the city.  We went to see the Old Dock which was the first wet dock anywhere in the world, built in 1709.  The oddity is that from ground level you cannot see this dock.  It lies deep down under the new ‘Liverpool One’ shopping complex.  The Old Dock enabled ships to be unloaded in days rather than weeks because otherwise they could only stay by the unloading bay while the tide was high.  In many ways the Old Dock marked the beginning of the development of the city.

As another subterranean excursion we visited the Williamson Tunnels.  These were built in the early 1800s by Joseph Williamson in the Edge Hill area of the city.  Williamson was an eccentric and started by building brick arches to support flat gardens to houses on steep ground.  He then set out to dig a total of 34 tunnels into the local sandstone.  These are beautifully arched over by brick or by neatly cut sandstone blocks and up to 26 metres wide.  No-one now knows why Williamson built these tunnels.  The best guess is that he was mainly motivated by providing employment to the poor.  When Stevenson was building the new railway from Manchester to Liverpool the navvies digging a cutting at Edge Hill cut into a Williamson tunnel and found his workers below them.  The Irish navvies thought that they had broken through into Hell and ran away!  As a result of this, Williamson met Stevenson and reputedly told him that he could teach Stevenson a thing or two about building tunnels.

We have of course had some trips above ground too.  As well as exploring the many museums and Art Galleries including the new Museum of Liverpool, we saw the huge liner, Queen Elizabeth, visiting the city.  With many locals we watched the liner leave late one evening.  We saw the Queen Elizabeth from the Mersey Ferry as we crossed to the Wirral and then walked to New Brighton:
Queen Elizabeth berthed at Liverpool

Liverpool Skyline from the Mersey Ferry

Yesterday we caught the train to Crosby (on the coast to the North of the city) and went to see the Anthony Gormley statues called “Another Place”.  This work of art consists of 100 life size iron statues all standing on the beach facing out to sea.  The statues get covered at every tide and are slowly rusting away.  The effect of all the statues is curiously compelling.
The Watchers - looking towards Liverpool

Watcher - looking at passing ship
Helen and a friend
 On Saturdays there is a long distance swimming event in the docks with the swimmers going right past the boats:
Swimming in Salthouse Dock
It has been a good rest coming here too and we have taken the opportunity to repair the accumulated damage to Leo from the many knocks the journey has delivered.  Ian has repainted the black down the sides of the hull, so she now looks much less tatty.  Today we've also added a vertical pole to the front of the cratch which serves to support either a TV aerial at a decent height to improve the signal or a ‘whirly’ for drying the washing.  We should now manage to see the rest of the Olympics.

And here to finish off this posting are a couple of photos of the view at night from Leo:
Big Wheel, Albert Dock

Albert Dock - the big chimney is the Pump House, a nice quayside pub

We are coming to the end of our stay here and will be sailing out of the city and its docks on Thursday with some of the friends we have made on surrounding boats during our stay.


  1. Lovely post, picked up from Katherine's on the other Leo.
    We are just on our way into Liverpool and had earmarked several of your visits for a look too. We shall be following your footsteps.
    Enjoying the summer this week!

  2. Good to hear that you are going to Liverpool. Have a good time. May see you on the waterways some time. What is your boat name?

    Best wishes.


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