Mapping Memory by National Museums Liverpool

Mapping Memory Liverpool Maritime Museum

About the Project

Mapping memory on the Liverpool Waterfront 1950s-1970s

Mapping Memory brought together historians, museum curators and film-makers to work with the citizens of Liverpool on a public history project.

Until the 1970s the streets behind Liverpool's South Docks were the heart of a busy seaport city. This area was full of shops, small businesses and industries, bars and boarding houses, many connected in some way to the work of the port. All this changed when the South Docks closed and Liverpool suffered in the recessions of the 1970s and 1980s. Mapping Memory has been recording the recollections of people who lived or worked in the area during these years of very dramatic change.

These web pages offer a selection of memories and images gathered by the project. We hope that these recollections will inspire users of these pages to investigate the history of Liverpool further. Please bear in mind that these are the memories, impressions and opinions of individuals; they are hugely valuable, but we all remember things in different ways, and everyone has a different story to tell. We see these memories as part of a rich tapestry of Liverpool history and life, not as any kind of definitive statement about the city's history made on behalf of the organisations that worked together on the project.

The material on this website relates to the period from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, and although some memories relate to a very specific time, most cover a longer time period. For this reason, we have not separated memories into decades or other timeslots within the period covered; that would have been artificial. We have included dates in the photo captions where possible, but bear in mind that this only dates the photograph itself; in some cases that view of the city persisted for many years on either side, while in others the view changed quickly.

The film of the project

Watch a 40 minute documentary about the project, 'Mapping and Memory' on the Liverpool Waterfront since the 1950s, on this website.

Project team

The Mapping Memory research team consisted of historians Graeme Milne and Laura Balderstone (University of Liverpool), museum professionals Rachel Mulhearn and Michelle Walsh (National Museums Liverpool), and film-makers Sam Meech and Tim Brunsden (Re-Dock). We are very grateful to Dawn Littler and her team at the Maritime Archives and Library (National Museums Liverpool); the National Museums Liverpool web team; David Stoker and Paul Webster (Liverpool Record Office); Error Creative Studio.

Mapping Memory was funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of the Beyond Text Research Programme. We are very grateful to the AHRC, and most particularly to Professor Evelyn Welch and Ruth Hogarth, Director and Research Coordinator for Beyond Text.


The design of the Mapping Memory web pages and all interviews produced for this project are copyright of National Museums Liverpool, the University of Liverpool and Re-Dock.

See the captions for the copyright details of images and archive video clips. Archive film footage has been used courtesy of North West Film Archive at Manchester Metropolitan University, Angus Tilston, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and John Quirk. Images have been used courtesy of Liverpool Record Office, John Quirk, Joe Neary and National Museums Liverpool.

Logos for University of Liverpool, National Museums Liverpool, Re-Dock and the Arts & Humanities Research Council