Liverpool's Old Dock turns 300

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Celebrating anniversary of dock that shaped the city: 27 to 31 August

Celebrate the 300th anniversary of Liverpool's revolutionary Old Dock - the world's first commercial enclosed wet dock - with National Museums Liverpool’s free programme of events and talks from 27 to 31 August at Merseyside Maritime Museum and the Museum of Liverpool.

The Old Dock was constructed in 1715 at the mouth of the Pool, the creek that gave Liverpool its name. Its ground-breaking design was central to encouraging rapid increases in overseas trade to and from Liverpool, transforming it into a world-trading hub.

During the Old Dock 300 Festival, people can tour the Old Dock with expert guides, or join our costumed Georgians as they go on a virtual tour of the city during the Old Dock’s peak in the 1700s, uncovering both the wonderful and dubious effects of becoming an international port.

To commemorate the construction of the Old Dock, join us for exciting and fun family events including sketching, shanty singing, tall ship tales and educational talks about the seafaring history of the city, including the opportunity to meet David Cottrell and John Hinchliffe, authors of Old Dock: Liverpool 1715-2015.

Director of Museum of Liverpool & Merseyside Maritime Museum said:

“Ground-breaking in its day, the Old Dock remains central to the growth and importance of Liverpool, to our maritime, social and economic history, and our understanding of the impact of the international slave trade. Without the Old Dock, Liverpool simply would not be the city that we know today. There was nothing else like it in its time.

This weekend we are celebrating 300 years since the Old Dock’s construction. For anyone that wants to understand more about the city they come from, live in or are visiting, we hope they will come along to enjoy and learn more about the internationally-important Old Dock and the World Heritage Site.”

Leading British canal engineer, Thomas Steers, converted the mouth of the Pool into a dock with quaysides and a river gate. This made it possible for ships to load and unload whatever the state of the tide, making Liverpool the most competitive dock of its time.  

The most prominent trade was the international slave trade; as the century progressed, slave ships left and cotton arrived. Every year on 23 August, the International Slavery Museum organises the Slavery Remembrance Walk which passes the site of the Old Dock.

The actual site of the Old Dock was discovered during excavations in 2001 after being buried since 1826. Developers Grosvenor preserved the Dock and made it publicly accessible as an important reminder of Liverpool's historic status, with tours operated throughout the year by National Museums Liverpool.

Chris Bliss, Liverpool ONE Estate Director said:

“It’s hard to imagine Liverpool today without the creation of the Old Dock. The impact it has had on the trade, wealth and evolution of the city is monumental. Liverpool ONE is built upon the very site that first put Liverpool on the trading map, and I’m sure our ancestors would be proud of the legacy we’ve continued. I am honoured to call Liverpool ONE a guardian of the Old Dock and that we’re able to promote an experience of such revolutionary and historical importance to visitors.”

For more information on the Old Dock 300 Festival visit: and @Merseymaritime


Notes to Editors

About National Museums Liverpool

National Museums Liverpool comprises eight venues. Our collections are among the most important and varied in Europe and contain everything from Impressionist paintings and rare beetles to a lifejacket from the Titanic.

We attract nearly 2.7m visitors every year. Our venues are the International Slavery Museum, Lady Lever Art Gallery, Merseyside Maritime Museum,  Museum of Liverpool, Sudley House, Border Force National Museum, Walker Art Gallery and World Museum.    

Merseyside Maritime Museum is situated at the Albert Dock. It contains a variety of objects associated with the social and commercial history of the port of Liverpool. Highlights include ship models, maritime paintings, colourful posters from the golden age of liners and even some full sized vessels. There is also the major current exhibition Titanic and Liverpool: the untold story. This tells the story of Liverpool's links to the ill-fated liner.

The Museum of Liverpool is one of the country’s most visited museums outside of London. It is the largest newly-built national museum in Britain for more than a century, demonstrating Liverpool’s unique contribution to the world. The first national museum devoted to the history of a regional city, it showcases popular culture while tackling social, historical and contemporary issues. It has attracted more than two million visitors since opening in July 2011. The prestigious Council of Europe Museum Prize for 2013 was awarded to the Museum for its commitment to human rights as well as its work with children and families from all backgrounds.

The International Slavery Museum opened in August 2007. It is situated on the third floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum at the Albert Dock. It is the only national museum in the world to cover the transatlantic slave trade and its legacies as well as contemporary forms of slavery and enslavement. It is also an international hub for resources on human rights issues and campaigning. 

Old Dock

Liverpool's revolutionary Old Dock - the world's first commercial enclosed wet dock - has been carefully preserved under Liverpool ONE. For the first time in centuries the bed of the Pool - the creek that gave Liverpool its name - can be seen. The Old Dock was discovered during excavations in 2001 after being buried since 1826. Developers Grosvenor preserved the dock and made it publicly accessible as an important reminder of Liverpool's historic status.

Liverpool ONE

Liverpool ONE is one of Europe’s leading retail and leisure destinations, set in the heart of Liverpool city centre. Built around the existing streets of Liverpool, the 1.65million sq ft contemporary open-air complex is a stylish must-see destination for those who love to shop, eat, drink and relax.

Liverpool ONE includes over 160 stores, bars and restaurants, a fantastic 14 screen cinema, an indoor adventure golf course and a five-acre park. Stores include high street favourites such as Topshop, John Lewis and Debenhams.

Liverpool ONE has been awarded Green Flag Status for its popular Chavasse Park. The prestigious Green Flag Award Scheme is judged by Keep Britain Tidy. Surrounded by a bustling and varied leisure terrace, the park plays host to many events for all the family throughout the year. Liverpool ONE is the only new city centre commercial development in the country to include a park that has Green Flag status.

For more information on Liverpool ONE please visit: