Royal Albert Dock | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Royal Albert Dock

Liverpool, England, United Kingdom

Luke Tomes

19 Feb 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Royal Albert Dock

Royal Albert Dock is the most iconic harbour on Liverpool’s Waterfront, boasting a rich history and multiple attractions for visitors.

Royal Albert Dock history

Liverpool’s docks dominated global trade by the late 18th and early 19th century. During much of the 18th century Liverpool was Britain’s main slaving port. Between 1700 and 1807, ships from Liverpool carried about 1.5 million Africans across the Atlantic in conditions of great cruelty.

The sugar, rum, tobacco that was produced in the Americas was transported and stored in the large warehouses located on Liverpool’s Waterfront such as those that can be seen all around Albert Dock to this day.

Royal Albert Dock itself, designed by Jesse Hartley and Philip Hardwick, was only oficially opened in 1846, by HRH Prince Albert himself. The Dock was extremely innovative at the time in that it changed the way the docks worked in Liverpool forever.

Its warehouses were fireproof and secure; traders could do deals before their import taxes were due and hydraulic cranes hauled heavy cargoes across the flagstones. With vast warehouses built directly on its quaysides to securely store goods arriving from across the globe, the speed with which ships unloaded and turned around was cut in half.

The coming of steamships meant that many vessels were simply too big to sail in and out of the Albert Dock. However, during the Second World War, the Dock again became a hive of activity on the Mersey. It teemed with hundreds of small warships, submarines, landing craft and merchant ships. At no time in its history had so many ships berthed at Albert Dock.

The bustling docks and their prized cargoes soon became a target for German bombers. Royal Albert Dock was battered with during the 1941 Blitz as the German Air Force looked to impede and demobilise Britain’s war effort.

Albert Dock today

To this day the Mersey continues to play a central role in the city of Liverpool’s cultural life, with the Dock an integral part of the city’s World Heritage waterfront.

Royal Albert Dock is a prime location to visit whilst in Liverpool, with so many attractions on offer. Visitors can take advantage of the impressive retail and leisure offering at the Dock, as well as multiple historical museums such as the International Slavery Museum, Beatles Museum and the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

Art lovers will also find much to be enamoured by with Tate Liverpool Art Gallery located quayside and multiple sculptures situated around the dock.

There are multiple restaurants and bars by the dock, with a variety of styles and cuisines on offer.

Getting to Royal Albert Dock

Royal Albert Dock and cannot be missed when arriving at Liverpool’s Waterfront. The site is roughly a 15-minute walk from Liverpool Central Station. There is also a very conveniently placed car park, on the Britannia side of the Dock.

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