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Report - Prince's Landing Stage - Liverpool - May 2010 -

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by georgie, May 22, 2010.

  1. georgie

    georgie He Never Even Got There
    Regular User

    May 2, 2009
    Likes Received:
    The Liverpool Landing Stages were constructed around 1850. The northern section was known as the Princes Landing Stage. Immediately behind the Princes stage stood the Riverside Station which opened in 1895. For the transatlantic travellers it meant that they only had a short walk to or from the liners berthed at the Princes Landing Stage.

    Princes Dock History

    Active Period - 1810 to 1981

    Building begins on the Princes Dock site. The project runs late because of:

    * the Napoleonic War (money and staff shortages)
    * mismanagement
    * fiddling


    Princes Dock opens. It is the first dock to be surrounded by walls to prevent theft. It has been built to take sailing vessels running to North America


    Already Princes Dock is losing the North American trade after only twenty years. It moves into the high value, low bulk East Asia and South American trades, e.g. coffee and spices.


    Georges and Princes landing stages are joined together and extended. The whole structure becomes known as Princes Stage. At the time it is the longest floating structure in the world. Princes Landing Stage inhabits the northern end of the stage (the Pier Head is at the south end). It is visited by Cunard, White Star and Canadian Pacific Lines.

    Most of the great passenger liners spend some time in the North Docks before collecting passengers at the stage. There they load and unload cargo as the liners are not profitable running only passengers.


    Riverside railway station opens. It brings passengers from the main railway line right to Princes Landing Stage.

    Following the dredging of the Pier Head area in the 1890s, and some extension and strengthening work, passengers no longer have to board ships anchored in the river via boats. Instead they can simply walk up a gangplank.


    Much of the South American and East Asian traffic has left Princes Dock and moved across the river. Transatlantic passenger traffic is based on the landing stage in the river. Princes Dock is the centre of the Irish trade


    The number of passengers and boats falls and much of the huge length of the Princes Stage is not needed.


    As trade with Ireland moves into containers, Princes Dock becomes a passenger terminal for Belfast. A ro-ro terminal is built at the south end of the dock.

    The Princes landing stage is very rusty. It is replaced by a smaller stage, serving only the Mersey Ferries and the Isle of Man boats. It sinks on its opening weekend (an inspection port had been left open) but is successfully raised and there are no further problems.


    The passenger service from Princes Dock ends. This is due to the fall in passenger services and a new terminal at Victoria Dock. Princes Dock closes and is partly filled.

    not a bad mooch to be honest and after a disappointing day of trying potential sites and all the usual bollocks of "no m8 its due to health and safety thats why" this made up for it...i think anyway

    so in full view of people walking along the front and some workies by the road side we just went for it ...it was funny people who was walking past would stop and point we had a bit of an audience at one point which i thought was funny

    but then it all changed ...after we had done the stage and id had a poke around the underneath balancing on various wooden beams i emerged and we had a look at the remaining section but then the coast guard turned up with his chums and shouted "do you know this is a dangerous structure"......erm yes "well please leave and get off now where your standing really isnt safe theres nothing supporting the underneath"

    so with that we done one it was right next to the new landing stage so it was no surprise they came over theyd' prob seen me underneath at some point i guess.....anyway enjoy

    explored with kevsy21





    ohh the state of that floor!!!



    now this looks interesting another level down (3 infact) only 1 was really do-able

    closer inspection needed (some sort of tunnel bricked up)



    looking back from the end

    what remains of the end




    looking down from where i jumped down originally


    another small little tunnel

    the view across to the remaining landing stage

    and on closer inspection you can see how bad the other half was

    an original wheeled gangplank

    then our friends turned up "please get off now for your own safety"

    not after one last shot

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  2. Emptor

    Emptor Guest

    Re the Princes Jetty:

    This substantial timber structure (presumably teak) was primarily a device for getting ships safely and expeditiously into/out of Princes Half Tide Dock. Vessels could be brought alongside and warped or fendered into/out of the entrance without danger of them taking charge and drifting down onto the adjacent Princes Landing Stage immediately upriver. I was a frequent visitor to the landing stage in the 1950s and 60s, initially as a shore staff member and later as a deep sea ships’ officer; but as you can imagine I had other things to do on embarkation/disembarkation day than to rubberneck around port installations. The extreme north end of the stage remained unknown to me. The berths there were appropriated to Irish cross channel passenger traffic (Ulster Prince/Monarch etc.)

    What follows is conjecture and I invite correction accordingly.

    The jetty seems to have had other functions than as a warping wall. There used to be a covered ramp leading from the upper deck of the jetty onto the maindeck of the stage, the only ramp aspected longitudinally. I surmise this was to get foot passengers between the maindeck of the stage and the adjacent customs hall which was built out from Princes Parade on pilings and which touched upon the jetty. Like the Manx vessels at the other end of the stage the Irish vessels would have been boarded from the maindeck of the stage whereas the much larger transatlantic liners were boarded from the upper deck of the stage via movable flying bridges.

    From the most excellent photographs posted above it seems the structure was doubled decked. What therefore the purpose of the white tiled masonry tunnel leading away from the lower deck of the jetty and into the dock wall? Where did this fetch up? I don’t recall seeing any tunnel emerging on subsequent visits to the area. I seem to recall reading somewhere that the north end of the landing stage or the jetty itself was initially configured for the Irish cattle trade. Was this tunnel a cattle run therefore? If so, I can only presume the beasts were landed via shell doors onto the lower deck of the jetty. I find it hard to believe that cattle – or indeed any cargo – would be worked on such an exposed berth. It would interfere with other ship movements and would be heavily tide- and weather-dependent.

    The jetty seems to have been served by a double track railway via a spur leading off the tracks into Riverside Station (L.N.W.R AND THE M.D. & H.B. – THE HISTORY OF THE DOCK LINES OF RAILWAY FROM THE RECORDS by J.C.James, undated, ref. 3602). From another photograph (ref. 3599) two small luffing cranes can be discerned on the inner end of the jetty. Why the cranes and the rail connection? Was this arrangement for working dredging spoil? And what of the surviving (just!) kiosk at the outer end of the jetty? Was this a base from which ship movements were co-ordinated and signalled? Or was it just a shelter for the fendermen between ship movements?

    There are several unanswered questions here. Are there any retired pilots or dock board employees or indeed researchers who can provide answers? It would certainly contribute to the sum total of knowledge about the workings of the port, knowledge which is now increasingly jeopardised by the passage of time and the obliteration of the port landscape by decay and recent development.
  3. ISS

    ISS 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Aug 20, 2007
    Likes Received:
    First of all despit it having a timber appearance and tiumber decking in places this structure is concrete.

    The Jetty was the subject of a lecture by Ken Smith and Adrian Jarvis presented on 13th February 1993 entitled "Prince's Jetty, Liverpool: a case study in 19th Century Concrete Maritime Structure"

    The lecture document was (may still be) available from the Merseyside Maritime Museum shop entitled "Dock Engineers and Dock Engineering".

    There is a detailed history of Liverpool's oldest ferro-concrete structure.

    A brief synopsis:

    As more and more of the floating stage was given over to passenger services more on river berthing space was needed for the less glamous vessels - cargo.

    The jetty was used to land Irish and UK cattle (other cattle from outside British Isles had to be landed at the foreign animals facility on the Birkenhead side.

    However a lot of trade politics followed between English and Irish interests - don't forget the whole of Ireland was still part of the UK. The jetty didn't see as much use as hoped.

    Following a devastating Foot & Mouth outbreak in Ireland in 1912 and later independence all Irish Free State cattle was transferred to the foreign animals berth at Birkenhead, thus the only traffic then using Princes' Jetty was high quality Scottish Beef.

    The cattle pen area of the Jetty, I think this is the concrete platform just south of the main jetty structure were converted in 1926 into passenger waiting facilities for coastal trade passenger services - IOM, Wales etc.

    Hope this info helps.

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