The wind blew and shook the very foundations of the museum as I looked out through the rain, hail, snow and sleet. Dan, my fellow visitor host, zipped up his coat and hugged himself tightly. “The chances of anyone coming today, are a million to one,” he said. But still, they came.
This shows you the ever increasing popularity of the Old Dock Experience: that people are willing to brave all kinds of extreme weather to come and stare at a pile of old bricks. Of course, it's not just a pile of old bricks. In the 300 years since it was first opened, it has seen Liverpool grow from a small provincial town to a booming centre of commerce. In many ways, it was the catalyst for Liverpool’s growth.
As a visitor host, I've had the privilege of meeting people from all over the world who have come to see this most amazing, world changing monument to Liverpool and British engineering. Even the great author Daniel Defoe wrote about the world’s first enclosed commercial wet dock in 1715. This shows you the massive impact it was to have on the city: it didn't just make Liverpool fashionable, it also guaranteed its future growth and has had a lasting impact on the landscape of the city. Even hidden beneath our streets, it can't be denied that it made Liverpool the city it is today.
The Old Dock today is not just good for tourism in the city; it also plays host to school children from across Merseyside, allowing the new generation to connect with their past. Myself and Dan have lost count of the children who we have regaled with tales of secret tunnels, pirates, chocolate and one unfortunate workhorse, and it never ceases to fascinate them. My favourite quote of this week is, when I opened the floor up to questions, one small child raised his hand and asked, “Do you like your hair like that?” Out of the mouth of babes.
I told you it was more than just a pile of bricks. It's an organised pile of bricks, with headers, stretchers, an English bond and a Flemish bond… Sorry, have I lost you? Well, if you want to know what I'm talking about, book on a tour, the museum's visitor hosts will be happy to explain, and more. We hope to see you soon.
Along with the Old Dock, Yazz's hair became one of the must-see sights of Liverpool