Central Hydraulic Tower - Birkenhead – September 2011




History

This place has been covered at lot recently; so as with all good histories it has been plagiarised from Wikipedia

Jesse Hartley, who was responsible for many of Liverpool's maritime structures - including the Albert Dock, designed the Central Hydraulic Tower and Engine House. 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.

The building sustained considerable damage from bombing during the Second World War and was repaired in a functional, rather than architectural style. The large lantern at the top of the tower was not replaced.

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.

My visit

I first saw this place in mid-April this year while working localy; I managed to pop my head over the parapet briefly, but never returned due to lack of time and the access I found being pretty dodgy.

I know this place has been done more than a cheap Liverpool hooker on a Saturday night recently; but you still have to brag about it with your mates afterwards; especially if it was good

The best bit about my rummage was I was being paid to do it, again I working locally but couldn’t start work due to some health and safety issues which not directly concerning where we were working but meant we couldn’t start in our area. Day work book comes out (we are now being paid for doing nothing) and mobile number given to engineer just in case we could start work at some point that day!

I was soon in and enjoying the lower floor when my mobile rang; the problem at work had been resolved and we could have access in 30 to 45 minutes; bugger! I then had a very quick tour around the building and have just put some of the images of places I liked. Having looked at some of the previous reports there is nothing new, but as any old dog does; I’m happy to piss on a lamp post just to say I’ve been there

There’s a blatant bit of photoshop (cloning) on one image if anyone can spot it?

Report

Looking down on the ground floor



Remains of an old boat



Doorway on the ground floor



Eastern side of the open ground floor



Old machinery



Overview of the ground floor from some small offices



Last view of the ground floor at the front of the building; and the phone call from our engineer saying we had to be back on site in 30 minutes



Doors on the middle floors of the building



The fabulous floating floor, most of the floor and timber support beams are rotten on this level



Onwards and upwards; I love spiral stairs



Looking back down from the end of the spiral stairs, a couple of short ladders now take you to the summit.



Well that’s it, the upper section was rushed as I had just got a second phone call from the engineer wondering where we were; the cafe honest! So glad I have managed a proper look around here; know I missed a few places but feel contented I managed a short rummaged inside the Hydraulic Tower.

Thanks for looking

TLR