Work on Bramley-Moore hydraulic tower almost complete

Work on restoring the Grade-II listed Victorian hydraulic tower on the site of the new Everton stadium is close to completion. Tony McDonough reports

Everton stadium
Work on the Victorian hydraulic tower and engine room at Bramley-Moore Dock is almost complete


Laing O’Rourke is close to completing restoration work on the Grade II-listed Victorian hydraulic tower close to Everton FC’s new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock.

Dating back to 1883, the hydraulic towers in the docklands were an integral part of daily operations. However, in recent years the tower at Bramley-Moore had fallen into “serious disrepair”.

That all changed in 2021 when Everton started work on its new £750m 52,888-capacity stadium on the waterfront. While work on the arena is proceeding on schedule the project to restore the tower and engine house also got under way.

Supported by a £15m grant from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority the tower and building is now close to being restored to its former splendour.

Part of the fan plaza, one of the suggested plans for the structure was as a heritage centre and cafe. However, Everton has yet to confirm whether a definite decision on what it will be used for has been made.

Work has seen new roofing in place, internal spaces stabilised, steel pillars and beams cleaned and protected and the crumbling brickwork undertaking a sensitive makeover.

Shortly aluminium windows will be installed that will finally seal the building from the corrosive elements and make it watertight ahead of the internal fit-out.

“We spent a lot of time understanding the challenges and how we can make improvements and we are very pleased with how the work has progressed”, said Chris Spragg, project leader for Laing O’Rourke.

“The tower and engine douse are a key part of the wider site, and have always been a focal point for visitors and people who come to site.

“They’re interested in the history of the building and how it has been brought back to life, so we are really pleased and looking forward to handing it back to Everton for the internal fit-out in the early part of 2024

““I think it’s a fantastic facility to be retained, supported by the council and heritage stakeholders, and it is always going to stand out as its own landmark.”

The tower originally contained the steam engine to operate the locks at Bramley-Moore, and also pumped water from one part of the dock to another.

Preserving the building has therefore always been a priority, given its huge importance to the site and eye-catching inclusion in the fan plaza that will eventually provide a “jaw-dropping” entrance to the stadium site for fans.

A cloak of protective scaffolding was thrown around the structure in the early weeks of the stadium build, to protect it from ground vibrations and provide a frame for external remediation works.

Much of the original brickwork was retained, supplemented by colour-matched bricks sourced from salvage yards, in conjunction with the heritage consultant and Liverpool City Council, to maintain and enhance the final design.

A new gable end has been completed on the western elevation, further strengthening the structure. Internally, work has involved preserving the existing steelwork by grit blasting and painting, to offer protection and long-term stability to the roof.

Now work is under way to complete knock-throughs between the boiler house and the tower, which will give access to two, new internal rooms, with new concrete ground slabs laid to level up the floor.


Victorian hydraulic tower at Bramley Moore Dock had fallen into ‘serious disrepair’
Mersey Ferry Snowdrop with Everton’s new stadium in the background. Picture by Tony McDonough


The existing roof of the boiler house was cleared of detritus from and screeded, in preparation for waterproofing and a new shingle roof covering.

New roof structures which are sympathetic to the original design were also constructed on the tower and the office block, with a new zinc roof a feature of the former.

Decorative coping stones, which wrap around the perimeter of the flat roof, tie into the new roof construction.

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“The rest of the work now is in the detailed design for the windows and doors, which will be installed in October and November,” added Chris.

“They are new aluminium glazed windows, to current standard. However the look and feel is to match the original design and there are some timber windows which are being retained and repaired.

“We’re progressively completing the external works around the building with the ground being graded, ready for tarmacking and paving towards the end of this year.”

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