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Report - Central Hydraulic Tower, Birkenhead/Wallasey - October '11

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Xan_Asmodi, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. Xan_Asmodi

    Xan_Asmodi Cave Monster
    Regular User

    Feb 18, 2011
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    Visited with Flubbera87 and Mookster


    A quick refresh from my last report in July

    As you will havbe gathered that has changed in the last few months. That's all I'm going to say ont the matter.

    This was the second site that Mookster and Flubbera87 tried on their trip up north, the first being Vauxhall storm water drain. Despite the hydraulic tower being closer we decided to do the drain as it was blowing a gale in Birkenhead. All was well and the wind was low in Ellesmere Port, so we decided to head to Birkenhead. But not before Flubs picked up a KFC. It was comical hearing Flub's southern accent contrasted against the thick scouse accent of the KFC order monkey.

    Sufficiantly feed we drove on and ended up parked up 5 minutes walk from the tower. We headed in the direction, constantly aware that Ellesmere Port had lulled us in to a false sense of security. We decided that as we were here, it'd be rude to turn back. Heading round the back of the hydraulic tower we noticed one guy standing there on his own. A bit odd, but as there where three of us and one of him we pressed on. Making access to the building is now a well practiced routine, but as we where heading in I heard one of the guys mention we had company. Turns out the guy we saw outside was waiting for his mate on the cassion. When we were inside we made introductions, these two gents where from NWEX. Cool. Let's go up.

    Leading the way because of my prior experiance, we made our way up the beautiful spiral staircase. With me volunteering to lead the way we headed up torches off. I've never felt terrified pidgeons against my legs and it's not something that I wish to experiance again; daylight or not! Once we where safely at the top of the spiral staircase, I proposed that we head up top in groups, and as the two NWEX lad were from Wigan I took them up first. The spiral staircase actually feels quite solid, but as you step foot off this level, it rapidly becomes dodgy as hell with pidgeons and pidgeon shit everywhere. I have to be completely honest and say that in this case it's completely worth it.


    Originally pinched shamelessly pinched from Wikipedia's Great Float article, recycled and updated since my last report in July

    Jesse Hartley, who was responsible for many of Liverpool's maritime structures - including the Albert Dock, designed the Central Hydraulic Tower and Engine House, also known as an accumulator tower it predated electric power. Providing power for the movement of lock gates and bridges at Birkenhead Docks, it was completed in 1863. The design of the building was based on the Palazzo Vecchio in the Piazza Della Signoria, Florence, Italy.

    Photo by Georges Jansoone

    The building sustained considerable damage from bombing during the Second World War and more damage again in the 1950s from a malfunction of one of the acumulator pumps. This blew a significant portion of the building away and when the damage was repaired, it was done in a very in a functional manner, rather than in keeping with the architectural style of Jessie Hartley. The large lantern at the top of the tower was not replaced and the building is now disused and in a dilapidated condition.

    In March 2008, a planning application was submitted for a £12 million restoration and redevelopment of the building by Peel Holdings to be converted into a bar and restaurant. A ninety-two bed hotel complex is planned to be constructed immediately adjacent to it. After examining online plans, this appears to be a complimentary scheme to Peel Ports vast Wirral Waters scheme and not actually part of the main plan.


    I would have like to add some daytime shots of the tower for contrast, but my main hard drive is currently dying. I'll try and add them to the thread at a later date.

    The tower from the roof terrace

    Twelve Quays ferry terminal

    Liverpool's UNESCO world heritage waterfront

    A VERY windy dock

    Looking towards Seacombe Ferry

    Tower Road, looking towards Birkenhead

    Birkenhead and Cammell Lairds warship hall

    Looking down

    Looking up

    Church street school is a 1+ mile, half an hour walk. For first aid...

    Thanks for looking :thumb
    More images on my blog and check out my report on the main building
    #1 Xan_Asmodi, Oct 12, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011

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