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Report - Victoria Clock Tower, Liverpool Docks - October '11

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Xan_Asmodi, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. Xan_Asmodi

    Xan_Asmodi Cave Monster
    Regular User

    Feb 18, 2011
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    Visited with MaybeNot1330 and The Kwan


    Hanging after a long, busy shift dealing with pre and post operative patients without a proper break or anything to eat, I went into the changing rooms at work. Donning my Infamous Pantsâ„¢ and assorted other gear I headed off to meet MaybeNot1330. I arrived at our rendezvous point 10 minutes early and settled into a cold, windy, hungry wait. The allotted time came and went, and at a snails pace another 10 minutes crawled past. At this point I was seriously contemplating fucking off home and get fed, watered and warm. Instead I decided to text MaybeNot;

    Me: Where are you, dude?

    MaybeNot: Lost, looking at [a] map

    Me: Okay! (:banghead)

    Right, so I'll have to wait another indeterimnate period of time before I can get warm and fed. Great. I'm starting to get cranky at this point, wanting the McDonald's I'd promised myself but also not wanting to miss this opportunity to see such a beautiful building that I'd been gazing at from a far since the first time I journeyed on the Mersey Ferry When I was just a kid. Decisions, decisions! Six long minutes later and the phone rings; MaybeNot had taken the decision out of my hands.

    Me: Where are you, dude?

    MaybeNot1330: Erm, at X-Brand supermarket. How quickly can you get here?

    Me: Five minutes. I just need to go and get something from the shop; I haven't had anything since around midday.

    MaybeNot: Oh, where's the shop? I was gonna get a maccies, but we've gotta meet the Kwan.

    My patience waning and my hunger increasing I think to myself, *Oh for fucks sake*

    Me: Right! Let's get on with it!

    2 minutes later I'm climbing into MaybeNot's car, he turns to me and asks "how do we get to the docks from here? I don't know this part of town"! Next thing we're flying down one of the main drags, rushing to meet the Kwan. Maccies a distant memory of a long forgotten thought. Pulling up at the rendezvous point, greetings where made, hand where shook and we were off venturing across the dock.

    The dock ain't exactly a great, well kept expanse of land. With the recent daily downpours the mud was thick, the puddles were deep and I was still in my trainers after work. Great! Yomping on the tower slowly crept into view on the horizon we eventually made it to the tower.


    Victoria clock tower was designed by Jesse Hartley, Civil Engineer and Superintendent of the Concerns of the Dock Estate in Liverpool, England between 1824 and 1860. Hartley was responsible for buildings such as, Albert Dock Warehouses, Stanley Dock Warehouses, Stanley and Wapping Docks’ Accumulator towers, Canada Dock Accumulator tower (demolished), Salthouse Dock Transit shed (rebuilt granite gable end survives), Wapping Policeman’s Lodge, Canning Half-tide Dock Watchmen’s Huts and our prize for this evening the Victoria Tower.

    The clock tower was constructed between 1847 and 1848, to commemorate the opening of Salisbury Dock. Its design was based upon an earlier drawing by Philip Hardwick in 1846. Victoria Tower, which was often referred to as the 'docker's clock', was built as an aid to ships in the port, as it allowed them to set the correct time as they sailed out into the Irish Sea, while its bell warned of impending meteorological changes such as high tide and fog. Upon its completion is also served as a flat for the Pier Master.

    In 1975, the building was added to the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest with Grade II status.


    With the wind blowing a gale, we commenced our accent.

    East facing clock face

    Pigeon shit covered mechanism transmission

    The Kwan

    Stanley Dock through chain link and anti pigeon netting

    Liverpool from the North

    Watching the skies

    Stanley Dock, Leeds-Liverpool canal and the bascule bridge

    East face

    Looking North

    On the lowest floor of the tower there is some interesting graffiti.

    Marilyn Monroe?



    Both ascending and descending we were battered by the wind blowing in from Liverpool Bay/the Irish Sea, making the journey to and from the top a cold and uncomfortable one. But once you reach the top the 'castellated parapet' seems to protect you from most of the wind. The height of the parapet itself presents a challenge to night time photography as they are at least 5 foot tall. My crippled tripod, Stumpy, simply doesn't reach that high, so all the pictures from the top are taken whilst holding Stumpy against the wall and hoping for the best. The internals of the tower are rusted as you may well expect from a building of it's age, but seems safe enough.

    There are more pics on my website
    Thanks for looking :thumb

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