Maritime Park Gets Go Ahead

Liverpool’s historic docks receive funding from DCMS/Wolfson

National Museums has been awarded £220,000 by DCMS/Wolfson to improve and interpret some of Liverpool’s most important historic docks and quaysides.

Due to open in July 2009, the project will use new technology to bring to life the heart of Liverpool’s World Heritage Site. A visitor attraction in its own right, it will link the Merseyside Maritime Museum and the new International Slavery Museum with the forthcoming Museum of Liverpool, opening 2010.

This part of Liverpool’s dock system has seen over 200 years of working use and includes the graving docks – the oldest surviving part of Liverpool’s dock complex, the Canning Half Tide Basin quayside and Canning Dock, formerly the dry basin of the original Old Dock – the world’s first commercial wet dock and the foundation of Liverpool’s maritime pre-eminence.

Tony Tibbles, Director of the Merseyside Maritime Museum said: ‘This is great news. It will allow us to provide state-of-the-art interpretation to the historic quaysides when they re-open to the public in 2009.’

The quaysides are already home to a range of objects from National Museums Liverpool’s collections, this project will bring them to life for the visitor. Objects include one of the propellers from the Lusitania – the liner sunk by a U-boat during the First World War, and two navigation buoys from the River Mersey.


Dockside machinery and equipment includes winches, pistons, boilers, capstans and keel blocks and will be used to show their role in the working life of the docks: cargo handling, ship repair, and storage.

Marine objects such as anchors, propellers, buoys will bring to life aspects of the life of the river including navigation, pilotage and tugs.

Essential conservation work will be carried out as part of the development of the quaysides, with any appropriate treatment applied to the objects before they are redisplayed.

Visitors will be able to investigate the docks through freestanding Interactive Information Points, each with a weatherproof touchscreen and audio speakers. The information points will incorporate wireless base stations, using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so that visitors can download audio guides about the site onto their own mobile phones or MP3 players.

Maritime Park is part of the Waterfront Connections project. Plans to improve linkages between the Maritime Park and adjoining attractions on the Waterfront at the Pier Head, Mann Island and Albert Dock are currently being considered as part of the ‘Waterfront Connections’ project.