Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Albert Dock

The Albert Dock is a complex of dock buildings and warehouses in Liverpool, England. Designed by Jesse Hartley and Philip Hardwick, it was opened in 1846, and was the first structure in Britain to be built from cast iron, brick and stone, with no structural wood. As a result, it was the first non-combustible warehouse system in the world.

One of the most notable features of the Albert Dock are the huge cast iron columns that line the quayside At 15 feet (4.6 m) high and almost 13 feet (4.0 m) feet in circumference, the columns are based upon the Greek Doric style of architecture.

At the time of its construction the Albert Dock was considered a revolutionary docking system because ships were loaded and unloaded directly from the warehouses. Two years after it opened it was modified to feature the world's first hydraulic cranes.  Due to its open yet secure design, the Albert Dock became a popular store for valuable cargoes such as brandy, cotton, tea, silk, tobacco, ivory and sugar.
However, despite the Albert Dock's advanced design, the rapid development of shipping technology meant that within 50 years, larger, more open docks were required, although it remained a valuable store for cargo.

Today the Albert Dock is one of Liverpool's most important tourist attractions and a vital component of the city's UNESCO world heritage Maritime Mercantile City. As well as being the number one tourist attraction in Liverpool, the Albert Dock is also the most visited multi-use attraction in the United Kingdom outside of London, with in excess of four million visitors per year. Amongst the many attractions at the Albert Dock are the Merseyside Maritime Museum, the Beatles Story and the Tate Liverpool.
I enjoyed the Albert Dock.   Of course, I went to the Beatles Story.  There was some interesting memorabilia and I learned a few things about their beginnings.  Aus Verkauft means "Sold Out". 

The adjacent Starbucks has to be one of the coolest in the world. 
Being located in the original Albert Dock building created a neat atmosphere, including the vaulted ceilings, the iron columns and the original Beatle related artwork on the walls.  The fact that these spaces have been made viable after so many years of dereliction is truly a testament to the creativity and persistence of the investors and designers who made it possible.  

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