The Great Port

detail of the Lion locomotive

Discover how Liverpool transformed from a small tidal inlet into one of the world's greatest ports in The Great Port Gallery. Pioneering the world's first commercial wet dock in 1715, the city was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. It led the way with new technological developments including early canals, the first timetabled passenger railway, and the world's first elevated electrified railway line.

Gallery highlights

Further information

The gallery looks at the development of the dock system and its impact on city infrastructure and employment. It explores how the city expanded due to the opportunities of the Industrial Revolution and development of world trade.

Communication and transportation were key to Liverpools 19th century success and the city was at the centre of new technological developments, as shown by the building of the first managed wet dock in the world in 1715, the continuing development of those dock technologies and the opening of the 1830 Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the first inter-city railway in the world. Key exhibits include Lion, the famous 1838 steam locomotive|, as the centrepiece of the section following the impact of the industrial revolution.

The displays within The Great Port include:

  • Liverpool docks
  • The Industrial Revolution
  • Imports and exports
  • Dock people
  • The docks today