Peel Ports’ want your pictures of the Old Dock

The people of Liverpool, and the North-west, are being invited to help mark a major milestone in the city’s history by sharing their images and memories of the port. Owner Peel Ports is to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the ‘old dock’ with the creation of a crowd-sourced photobook and online exhibition, using contributions from the thousands of people who have been part of Liverpool’s rich maritime history over the decades.

On 31 August 1715, the world’s first enclosed commercial wet dock opened to trade, helping the city to become one of the most significant ports in the international shipping community. For the first time in history, the design of the dock allowed ships to load and unload whatever the state of the tide. Ships were able to turn around in under two days, rather than the two weeks needed previously. Thanks to the ‘old dock’, by the end of the 19th century 9% of the world’s trade went through Liverpool.

Able to accommodate up to 100 ships at a time within its 3.5 acres, the dock took five years to construct at a cost of £12,000 at a time when the average labourer would have earned £20 per year. The undertaking was a high risk commission for Liverpool as it would have led to bankruptcy for the city if unsuccessful.

Mark Whitworth, Chief Executive of Peel Ports, said:

“It’s impossible to overstate the importance of the Port of Liverpool in the history and development of the city. In fact, it has had a profound effect on the wider region and the whole of the UK, playing a crucial role in connecting these islands with the rest of the world for three centuries. So many people in Liverpool and surrounding communities have a connection with the port and maritime industries, and we’re hoping for their help in marking the occasion.

“This major anniversary comes at a critical time in the resurgence of the port as we progress with the construction of our new gateway between the UK and the international business community through the Liverpool2 container terminal. This will help to create new jobs, investments and other opportunities, underlining the vital role that the shipping industry will have in Liverpool and the North-west’s economic future.”

Over the next five months, Peel Ports will be running a series of social media campaigns appealing for people with personal or professional ties to Liverpool to share images and anecdotes relating to the people, businesses and impact of the port. Photos from the Peel Ports archive, some of which have never been published before, will also be included in the book and online exhibition.

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