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Liverpool Docks: Old Photos & Film

Liverpool History through vintage film and old photos of Liverpool

Liverpool has a fascinating maritime history, and the Liverpool Docks was at the heart of its maritime industry.

The first ever commercial wet dock was completed in Liverpool on the River Mersey in 1715, and was originally known as Thomas Steer’s Dock. Over the next 200 years, more than 50 docks stretched across the seven miles from Seaforth in the north to Dingle oil terminal in the south.

In the 20th Century demand fell drastically, and most of the docks closed. By the 1980s, the area was known for its abandoned warehouses, poor quality housing and high levels of unemployment.

But the Liverpool Docks never disappeared altogether, and still retain a cargo industry together. Technology and the use of containers means only a tiny workforce is needed compared to a hundred years ago.

And regeneration did not eradicate the physical presence of all the historic docks. In fact, since 2004 the Pier Head, Royal Albert Dock and Stanley Dock conservation area have been part of the designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The West, 1940’s – Film 1246

Press the arrow in the centre of the screen to watch this short YouTube film


This footage from the Huntley Film Archives shows a wide range of settings and activities.

It starts with general views of the Liverpool Docks, before we see trains, the Langton Docks engineering works, and the elevated railway known as ‘the docker’s umbrella’.

Next, we see people walking along streets, and the Mersey Tunnel, followed by the industrial estate of Aintree and Speke and scenes from Kirby.

Later scenes show the move from slum dwellings to new estates.


Which page would you like to see next?

Page 1 The West, 1940’s – Film 1246

Page 2 Liverpool Docks Mid 1950’s. Archive film 99332

Page 3 Sixties Liverpool

Page 4 Liverpool Docks, 1960’s — Film 17045

Page 5 Everton area of Liverpool – 1960’s old footage, Part 1 of 2

Page 6 1960s Ferry on the Mersey, Liverpool from 35mm

Page 7 1960s, 1970s Liverpool, Mersey Ferry | Kinolibrary

Page 8 Liverpool Docks (1972)

Page 9 Albert Dock, Liverpool – Early 1980s

Page 10 Liverpool Docks Part One, 1980s – Film 38620

Page 11 Liverpool Docks Part Two, 1980s – Film 38621

Page 12 Liverpool Regeneration 1980’s. Archive film 93692

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