Flat Camera Batteries Spoil Mersey Visit

I was in Liverpool yesterday to meet up for a coffee with some friends, followed by a spot of shopping (groan).

Before I headed for home on the Wirral Line, I walked down James Street to the Pier Head with the planned intention of taking some photos of the Mersey and the Pier Head. Unfortunately for me, the batteries on my camera were flat and I was unable to take a single photo!

There’s a lot of construction work still going on of course, including:

  • the Mann Island development
  • the new ferry terminal
  • the new Museum of Liverpool 
The new canal paving work looked pretty much completed where I was standing. There’s quite a few good photos starting on this page.
Oh well, I’ll just have to visit again soon …with my batteries recharged of course!

Wine By Canal

In October 2007, Tesco became the first major retailer to start transporting wine by canal – the Manchester Ship Canal to be exact.

Barges are used to ferry bulk containers (holding 24,000 litres) of wine between Liverpool and Manchester along the Ship Canal that starts at Eastham, Wirral, where locks are used to seal off the tidal estuary of the River Mersey. Using the canal enables Tesco to take 50 lorries off the road every week, saving almost 700,000 road miles each year and cuts carbon emissions by 80%.

In Victorian times, wine from Europe would arrive at Liverpool in wooden barrels and be transported along Britain’s canal network. Today, the wine arriving by sea at Liverpool comes from Australia, California, Chile and Argentina.

The wine is transported along the 40 mile canal three times a week from Eastham to a bottling plant near Manchester.

Liverpool Waterfront: World Heritage Site

You may not realise that the Liverpool waterfront is in fact a World Heritage site?

Such is the historical importance of the port of Liverpool that it is listed here on the UNESCO site.

The reasons cited for the inclusion of Liverpool the Mercantile City include:

  • one of the world’s major trading centres in the 18th and 19th centuries
  • Liverpool played an important role in the growth of the British Empire
  • major port for the mass movement of people, e.g. slaves and emigrants from northern Europe to America
  • a pioneer in the development of modern dock technology, transport systems and port management
Much has been spoken about the Port of Liverpools central involvement in the slave trade – and this is rightly referenced in the listing. The UNESCO listing goes on to say:
Liverpool is an outstanding example of a world mercantile port city, which represents the early development of global trading and cultural connections throughout the British Empire

Note that the magnificent St George’s Plateau is part of Liverpool’s World Heritage sites entry. You’ll find some photos of the Liverpool sites here.

QE2 Now In Dubai

The Telegraph reports that the QE2 arrived at her new home in Dubai the other night, exactly 40 years to the day after she first set sail.

Recently seen in the River Mersey (photo credit), the famous liner is to be converted into a luxury hotel after being purchased for $100million by the Dubai state-run Nakheel company.

Doesn’t she look huge in this photo berthing next to the Liver Building?

Cruise Lines Unhappy With Berthing

The LDP Newsletter reports that a second cruise line is set to ditch Liverpool due to poor berthing facilities.

Apparently, the cruise line firm Fred Olsen is ready to pull out because it is unable to base a ship at the Cruise Liner Terminal, at the Pier Head, and is currently forced to use the less than glamorous Langton Dock at Bootle. Not surprisingly, the company says it can no longer expect passengers to start a dream holiday in a dismal industrial area.

I know something about this too as earlier this year my wife Sarah helped out a friend on a meet and greet team for a SAGA cruise. Sarah wasn’t particularly impressed with the surrounding dockland area and wondered if the paying passengers would be disappointed embarking on their holidays from somewhere other than the Pier Head.

The LDP Newsletter goes on to report…

that only a few weeks ago, Thomson Cruise pulled the plug on a 30- voyage programme after trialling the unsightly berth at Langton Dock. Both lines claim they thought the terminal at the city’s waterfront would be available to use, but it has neither the necessary Customs or baggage handling facilities. At the moment, it can only be used as a port of call.

Fred Olsen marketing director Nigel Lingard said they decided to operate a ship out of Liverpool a couple of years ago on the clear understanding that new facilities would be made available.

“We made it clear to everyone that long-term success would require improved passenger and ship operating facilities.

“Our success in building up a local market is not something we wish to sacrifice lightly, but it’s not satisfactory to start anyone’s dream holiday with a scrapyard for scenery and abysmal passenger facilities.

“We find it virtually impossible to explain to potential customers why Liverpool has a much-heralded new cruise berth while we are berthed in a dismal industrial area.”

Following the Thomson decision, talks were held involving Peel Holdings, owners of the Port of Liverpool, and the city council ,with the Northwest Development Agency backing an upgrade of the facilities at the Cruise Terminal to provide Customs facilities.

A Peel Holdings (Port of Liverpool owners) spokesman yesterday declined to comment on the situation.

Cammell Laird To Relaunch

One of the most famous names in world ship building – Cammell Laird – is to be relaunched. 

John  Syvret, a former apprentice at the yard, is the managing director of Northwestern Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders (website) and he is restoring the Cammell Laird name.

The Birkenhead based ship yard has seen many a ship launched in to the River Mersey since it’s humble beginnings as an iron works way back in 1824. Highlights include the launching of the Mauritania transatlantic liner in 1938. For a more complete history of the yard visit this page.

One of the first new ships the yard is to undertake is the construction of two supply tankers for the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Obviously the company is hoping to win additional contracts to ensure the longterm futures of the yard and it’s skilled workforce.

We wish them every success!