Complex is is home to the largest collection of Grade I-listed buildings in the country and attracts more than 6m visitors a year and is now preparing for its 175th anniversary in 2021. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool’s Albert Dock will today be known as the Royal Albert Dock Liverpool – more than 170 years since it was officially opened by Albert, Prince Consort, in 1846.
The leisure and retail attraction, which welcomes more than 6m visitors a year, is home to the largest collection of Grade I-listed buildings in the country.
Albert Dock requested Royal status as part of its preparations for its 175th anniversary celebrations in 2021. The next three years aim to assert the Dock’s position as a world-class, leisure destination for the visitors of the future, and a heritage asset that needs to be preserved and protected for future generations.
Lord-lieutenant of Merseyside, the Queen’s representative, Mark Blundell, said: “We recognise the important role Albert Dock has played in the history of this magnificent maritime city, its significance as an exemplary of pioneering architectural design and waterfront regeneration, and its Royal links with sovereigns past and present.
“We also identify the key role it will play in the future prosperity of Liverpool and the Liverpool city region. Congratulations to Albert Dock and long may it reign.”
Sue Grindrod, chief executive, The Royal Albert Dock Liverpool, called the news a “game-changer” for both the Dock, the city and wider Liverpool city region.
She added: “I cannot tell you how happy we are that Her Majesty The Queen has bestowed this honour on Albert Dock. It marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the dock’s history, highlighting the important role heritage tourism can play within the city and city region context.
“It is also a tribute to the pioneering vision of the original dock designer, Jesse Hartley, to Leonard Eppel and Michael Heseltine who helped shape its rebirth in the 1980s, and to the significant role the dock has played in the history of this great city.”
Aberdeen Standard Investments took control of Albert Dock’s commercial interests in 2016, and a year later unveiled a long-term vision which aims to reinvent the dock with a progressive and evolving retail and food offer.
Simon Moscow, of Aberdeen Standard Investments, said: “The realisation of The Royal Albert Dock Liverpool is such an incredible moment for everyone involved. The future of the dock is looking very bright and we are proud to be part of it.”
The announcement is being greeted at a special event on Wednesday at Tate Liverpool, where The High Sheriff of Merseyside, Peter Woods, is to hand over official notice of Royal status.