Report - - Bankhall Street Canal Warehouse (Liverpool, May, 2019) | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Bankhall Street Canal Warehouse (Liverpool, May, 2019)


28DL Regular User
Regular User
According to the listing https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1268289

“This is a now rare example of a canal transhipment warehouse, built to serve the Leeds and Liverpool canal in the last part of the C19.
Its architectural detailing reflects that of contemporary dock warehousing in Liverpool, but additionally, the building was designed with an integral canal dock, indicating the continued significance of canal transportation at this date”(1874).

An unusual feature is that barges could sail right inside, with goods hauled internally to the floors above.

As well as going through the arch, now blocked up, goods could also be offloaded to the quay under the overhanging canopy which extends down the canal on the left.
This site, formed by the corner of the road and the canal, is shown as an ‘artificial tile works’ on a 1950 map.
As far as I can find out the firm operating here, Robert Abrahams, was bought out by Forticrete in 1981, another cement-based business.
There are still signs for both businesses on the front of the building and some tile samples in one of the rooms.
Since about 2008 the site has been occupied by Barry’s Skips, which are a familiar sight around Liverpool, but the warehouse part doesn’t seem to be used.

I was interested in this particular building because a branch of the hydraulic main is shown running up Bankhall Street in a Liverpool Hydraulic Power Company prospectus of ca. 1900.
There was therefore a chance that that the hoists for lifting goods may have been hydraulically powered.
For those unfamiliar with water-powered machines there is some background here, https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/hunting-jiggers-stanley-dock-tobacco-warehouses-revisited-liverpool-aug-dec-2018.115834/.
But briefly, for lifting purposes these devices, called ‘jiggers’, consisted of a ram with sets of pulleys at either end to amplify the stroke.
The warehouse has three external loading bays, two on the road side and one over the canal so there could be up to three jiggers.

I’ve actually been checking this one occasionally since 2017, but it was only last week that access finally arrived, probably courtesy of local kids judging by the empty drinks bottles and a hanging effigy.
Pictures are ordered from the basement up.

The inlet for the barges has been covered over or filled in - at any rate I couldn’t find a way down to the water.

Empty space on the ground floor.

Some decayed rooms at the rear.

More empty spaces on the first floor.


Entrance to the top floor - this warehouse is only partly fireproof - metal doors but wooden stairs and beams.

There turned out to be jiggers mounted above each roadside loading bay - this is one of them.

Made by The Hydraulic Engineering Company of Chester, who also provided some hydraulic devices down on the docks, https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/central-docks-liverpool-2018.116392/, these are plumbed in with lagged iron pipes joined by characteristic oval flanges.

The loading bay over the canal has a hoist, but no power source that I could see - I didn’t bother climbing up to check.

There was also a third hoist and jigger in the rafters which lifted goods from barges up through the centre of the building - the locations of the openings in the floors can still be seen when looking from below.

Finally an early morning view towards the docks through a broken window. The chimney in front was originally part of a soap factory, although the place now makes pallets.
The curved building on the far left is the Tate and Lyle sugar silo, which currently acts as storage for Cargill, whose rapeseed plant can be seen steaming away on the far right.



28DL Regular User
Regular User
That is an impressive fireplace for a canal warehouse!

Good work as ever...
This one is slightly unusual in the number of office, almost residential, type rooms at the back.

My experience so far is that most Liverpool warehouses of this size were built as empty containers, with maybe a cubbyhole office and a few loos.

Davey E

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Really interesting report and pictures. I know the area quite well en route to the fab Plaza cinema in Waterloo.
This area has some brilliant old warehouses that are disused. Fascinating to see how the canal worked with the building. Would be great to see the building preserved as a working canal museum scenario.


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Damn, that's in much better shape internally than I'd ever have expected! Nice work as ever. I was canoeing there the other week and hoped there might be access from the canal side, but no dice. Will have another nose and see if your entry route is still viable though, seems worth a look!

I wonder if there's still water behind the arch or if they added a floor? Judging by the windows in the breezeblock I'd guess it's floored, interesting you couldn't find a way down there!

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