In which we continue our exploration of Liverpool
I finished up the previous post in the waterfront area and was heading into the Albert Dock Area. However, the view across the Mersey looks something like this… (images are 1500 wide) Liverpool Naval and Merchant Navy Memorials are at the bottom of the page
There was a lot to see around here, and I have to admit that a lot of it did not interest me, although some stuff made me scratch my head. For instance, take the Superlambanana….
(This is a different one from the one on the last page). What amuses me is that no matter how many signs are pasted on it prohibiting people from climbing on it, there will always be kids hell bent on getting into the saddle. The sculpture is really an ironic comment on the dangers of genetic engineering, but it also acknowledges the many bananas and lambs that passed through Liverpool’s bustling docks. Personally I thought it was quirky, and I like quirky.
The dock area where I was now is reasonably simple, although distances can be long. Each is connected to each other via large gates and that helped when ships were sailing into the river, bearing in mind that during low tide the docks were a self contained system that would carry on working even when there was no access to the outside. It has now become the preserve of yuppies and private boats, and ships are a distant memory.
Quite a number of items and buildings have survived the many changes wrought over the years, and of course the bombing campaign during The Blitz did not help either, although I am sure it sparked a bit of a redesign shortly after the war ended.
Most of the docks were closed in the 1970’s, while others were “repurposed”, but the days of cargo ships coming and going from this area had come to a close. The passenger liner business also collapsed as the jet aircraft became more popular and plummeting profits sent many well founded ships prematurely to the breakers. Southampton is probably the biggest cruise ship destination in the UK, but Liverpool is slowly picking up its own share of arrivals. There was only one arrival during my days in Liverpool and I will deal with her separately.
There were 2 drydocks in the Canning Dock area that interested me and both we occupied. The first by the MV Edmund Gardner, a former pilot cutter that was launched in 1953. I was hoping to look around her but she was fenced off and painted in dazzle camouflage.
The other dock was occupied by De Wadden, a three-masted auxiliary schooner built in the Netherlands in 1917.
One poignant item in this area is one of the propellers from the ill fated Lusitania.
On the right hand side of the image is the steam tug/tender Daniel Adamson, Built as the Ralph Brocklebank in 1903, she was renamed in 1936. and served with the Manchester Ship Canal Company. She was restored by the Daniel Adamson Preservation Society and entered passenger-carrying service under steam on 22 April 2017.
If you stood on board the Daniel Adamson and looked across the dock the view would be something like this..
The tall chimney belongs to the pump house and the buildings on the right house the Maritime Museum which was my next destination. There was also a very strange cat/rat combo that drew a lot of attention. I had no idea what the significance of it was, but apparently it was created from around 1,000 reclaimed milk containers, cut up by hand by the artist and then stitched on to chicken wire. There were supposedly similar rat statues but I never saw them. The artist was Faith Bebbington.After a quick bite I went to the Maritime Museum. It was on multiple levels and much to my dismay one level dealt with the Titanic! Fortunately they also dealt with the Merchant Navy so I didn’t have to read all that rehashed material. To be honest I really preferred the Museum here to the one in Southampton. This one had more ship models for starters! Lusitania is probably more relevant to Liverpool, Titanic may have been registered in Liverpool but never called there, whereas the Lusitania and Mauretania would have used this as their home port.
Suitably satiated it is time for some of my famous random images in and around the docks
There were a number of statues in the area too, and two of them caught my eye. The first I thought was Elvis, but it turns out that it was Billy Fury (17 April 1940 – 28 January 1983).
The other is called “The Crossing” and it is a very poignant one. It shows a young family migrating from Liverpool to the new world. The plaque reads:
“In commemoration of an estimated 85 000
Latter-Day Saints, who sailed from Eurpoe to
America, from 1851 to 1900
We thank this city for cradling our ancestors.
Donated by the 2001 Sea Trek Foundation
and James Moses Jex Family“
The sculptor is Mark DeGraffenried and it shows the one child stepping forward at the front, symbolising migration to the unknown world whilst the child at the back is playing with a crab and symbolises a deep association with the sea.
It was time for me to head back to the hotel to check in and have a shower and plan the balance of my day. So far it had been a very enjoyable day, I had almost done the ferry trip but it was only running at 4 pm and I did not really want to wait that long so decided that tomorrow was another day. I strolled back to my hotel, but detoured at James Street Station and caught the underground to Lime Street. It is a short hop, but it saved me a longish walk.
I can chalk one more up to my list of experiences as a result.
Liverpool Naval and Merchant Navy Memorials.
The Merchant Navy Memorials in Liverpool are situated on the waterfront facing the Mersey and the Birkenhead side of the river bank. The city played an important role in the Battle of the Atlantic as Western Approaches Command was based in the city, and many of the men and ships that sailed in the convoys came from this port.
A few metres further is a raised block with a number of relevant dedications. The two memorials are between Google Earth co-ordinates: 53.403829° -2.996822° . Of particular relevance was this plaque that does not really make up for the lack of recognition of men and women from so many other countries that lost their lives in the Merchant Navy during both wars.
There was also an Arandora Star Plaque which served as a reminder that all ships were in danger of being sunk, whether combatant or non-combatant.
Norwegians, Poles and Belgians are also commemorated on this block:
Unfortunately these plaques are mounted on what appears to be some sort of housing for some unidentified machinery/access chamber and really do not connect too well with the Merchant Navy Memorial close by. I would have thought that a unified MN memorial would have meant much more instead of having these two distinct groupings that appear as an afterthought. The Maritime Museum also had a very good Merchant Navy exhibition on while I was visiting.
Liverpool Naval Memorial may be found on the Mersey River Bank between the Ferry Terminal and the Museum of Liverpool. (GPS co-ordinates: 53.40349, -2.99659). There are 1408 identified casualties from the Second World War on the memorial.
The memorial was designed by C. Blythin and S.H. Smith and was unveiled by the Admiral of the Fleet, The Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope, K.T., G.C.B., O.M., D.S.O., on the 12th November 1952.
More than 13000 officers and men from the Merchant Navy served with the Royal Navy and they were subject to Naval discipline while generally retaining their Merchant Navy rates of pay and other conditions. Liverpool was manning port for many of the various types of auxiliary vessels, including armed merchant cruisers and boarding vessels, cable ships, rescue tugs, and others on special service.
Two of the more well known ships on the memorial are HMS Rawalpindi and HMS Jervis Bay which were both sunk protecting their convoys from German surface raiders. The memorial is a difficult one to photograph as it is a very popular spot with people, and I was never really able to get decent photographs of it from land side, and the closest I got from the ferry was:
It is also very close to the statue of Captain Frederic John Walker RN.
This was not one of my better memorial explorations, but if ever I return I will rectify the situation.
After the break…
DRW © 2018 – 2021. Created 02/05/2018, added Naval Memorial 14/01/2021