Liverpool Waterfront by night

As the clocks go back and the nights draw in I went down to the Woodside Ferry terminal in Birkenhead on the Wirral side of the River Mersey to take some images of the World renowned Liverpool water front in the fading light of the day.  If anything the darkness and the artificial lighting of night enhances the views of the Pierhead and waterfront buildings.

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In December last year Liverpool’s waterfront was named as England’s “greatest place”.  Liverpool came top in a nationwide competition organised by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).  Over 11,000 people voted from a shortlist of ten places aimed at highlighting areas which town planners have created, protected and enhanced for communities.   Liverpool was the overall winner in ‘England’s Great Places’ competition.  The High Street in Thame, Oxfordshire and Saltaire, the World Heritage Site-designated historic village near Bradford were second and third respectively.

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The RTPI organised the competition to show what planning and planners can do to make the most out of England’s stunning heritage to create vibrant, beautiful places for people to live and work.

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Liverpool’s waterfront is arguably the jewel in the city’s crown and is a source of immense civic pride. The iconic Liver Birds, the Three Graces (the Liver Building, the Port of Liverpool building and the Cunard Building) along with the Anglican and Catholic cathedrals and other landmarks such as St John’s beacon provide a stunning backdrop to the River Mersey.  UNESCO World Heritage Site status was bestowed on the city’s waterfront in July 2004.

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There is now so much to see and do on the waterfront with the Tate Liverpool art gallery; the Merseyside Maritime Museum; the International Slavery Museum and the Museum of Liverpool; the Echo concert arena and the BT Convention Centre, the 60 metre high Liverpool Big Wheel and the recently opened Exhibition Centre Liverpool – are all within a stone’s throw of one another.

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There have been other developments over the years including the re-instatement of the cruise liner terminal at Prince’s Dock and the building of a number of tower blocks such as Beetham Tower and Its close neighbour and the tallest building in Liverpool, the West Tower.

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As well as the big cruise liners, the river is regularly used with the Belfast ferry from Birkenhead and the Isle of Man Steam Packet company ferry from Liverpool.  Both were moored in the river tonight.

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The waterfront has been transformed over the last few years and makes a great subject for photographers.

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2 thoughts on “Liverpool Waterfront by night

  1. Hi Brian, thank you so much for all these photos and words. I love looking at your website as living in Australia I always feel nostalgic for England and the Wirral especially where I grew up. I’ve been writing a memoir for the family of my childhood growing up on the Wirral and your article about the Liverpool Waterfront reminded me of when I used to catch the ferry to work every day and walk up from the Pier Head to Church St where I worked in the Littlewoods Offices. In those days businessmen in black bowler hats carrying black umbrellas and briefcases would walk the top deck of the ferry no matter what the weather. I used to walk with them; it was good exercise. Here’s an extract from my memoir for interest.

    “Above all, I recall the fresh crisp air on the deck of the ferry, even on cool summer mornings with the sun mistily shining and a strange iridescent light on the the waves, and the motion of the ferry, the rise and fall of the tide, the sometimes stormy weather on the river, the sound of the ferry crashing into the landing-stage, cushioned by massive rubber tyres, how it sometimes crashed into the tyres again and again before the ferry hands were able to secure the boat using massive mooring ropes, perhaps measuring 12 inches or more in thickness, traditional shipping ropes made of jute, which they used to secure the boat to huge metal bollards on the pier. The trick was to catch the boat on its first or second crush against the landing-stage and quickly wrap the rope around the bollards in a figure of eight pattern. Two men could do this job quite easily, although it required strength and fitness to moor a large ferry, and the ropes once secured in this way would stretch and creak as the ferry rose on the next wave and crashed again into the landing-stage. Then the gangway would be dropped and, as children, it was something of a competition to be first across the gangway and run as fast as we could up the pontoon, which depending on the tide might be steeply angled, or flat, and be first through the turnstile and out into the open terminal.” – J Grey

    • Hi Jeanne

      Thank you for your kind words and continued support. I’m glad you like the blog and it brings back fond memories.

      The extract from your memoir is very powerful and evocative. It captures the essence of the time. You should consider writing a blog featuring your memories. It would bring this period to life for a wider number of people. The world is changing and changing fast. We need to record the past as the present and the future are so very different.

      Thank you for sharing this little bit of your past.

      Best wishes

      Brian

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