Friday, 11 May 2012

Pierhead, Liverpool

The Pier Head is a riverside location in the city centre of Liverpool, England. It is part of the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was inscribed in 2004.

The site encompasses a trio of landmarks, built on the site of the former George's Dock and referred to since at least 2000 as "The Three Graces":

Royal Liver Building, built between 1908 and 1911 and designed by Walter Aubrey Thomas. It is a grade I listed building consisting of two clock towers, both crowned by mythical Liver Birds. The building is the headquarters of the Royal Liver Friendly Society.

Cunard Building, constructed between 1914 and 1916 and a grade II listed building. It is the former headquarters of the Cunard Line shipping company.

Port of Liverpool Building, built from 1903 to 1907 and also grade II listed. It is the former home of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board.

Originally, the Prince's Landing Stage was situated at the Pier Head to serve the trans-Atlantic liner service. There were a number of these stages built during Liverpool's history, the most recent opened in the 1890s and was joined to the neighbouring George's Landing Stage, situated to the south. After further lengthening took place in the early twentieth century, the combined structure originally measured 2,478 feet, almost half a mile. Both were scrapped in 1973, following the termination of trans-Atlantic services from Liverpool. A new terminal has now opened to facilitate liners.

The Mersey Ferries operate from George's Landing Stage. The Ferries travelled to Woodside in Birkenhead, Seacombe, New Brighton, Egremont, Rock Ferry and Eastham during the time when Lowry was living in New Brighton and later Caldy.

Lowry refers to the landing stage in his short story 'Goya The Obscure'; "and the Overhead Railway and a number of sloping bridges leading to the landing stage spread round in bleak and bare confusion." (Pg.277) and the sames lines in his novel Ultramarine (Pg. 69) and 
"The ferryboat was now warping in to the Liverpool Pier head." ('Goya The Obscure' Pg. 275); "Or On Pier Head my heels I'd cool/Gazing at freighters far away/For I was born in Liverpool" 'Villaknell' (Collected Poetry Poem 138.5).

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