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Liverpool’s Dock Road and its Role in Bombed Out!

Liverpool’s Dock Road and its Role in Bombed Out!

Above Photo: Stanley Dock, Liverpool, at Night (© Alan Dow). The photo of a barge being loaded in the 1800s, featured at the end of this article, takes place at the warehouse on the right hand side of this photo.

As readers of Bombed Out! will know, the book is in part a band memoir of my time in two of Liverpool’s popular New Wave bands of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

But the book is about much more than that. It also deals with growing up in a city and a country being economically decimated by the policies of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government in the early 1980s and having no foreseeable future. It also documents what extremely unlikely aspirations in the face of sheer adversity can sometimes bring about.

A much-changed dock front in the centre of Liverpool.

A much-changed dockfront in the centre of Liverpool. © Alan Dow

And of course the book’s action takes place in a specific time and place in the history of the city of Liverpool (and another British city). It takes place on streets, in clubs, pubs, warehouses and shops which are mostly still with us, even when they have been renamed.

Also much-changed: A view of the Pier Head, Liverpool, at night. © Alan Dow.

Also much-changed: A view of the Albert Dock (derelict in the time of Bombed Out!) and the Pier Head, Liverpool, at night. © Alan Dow.

One of the most memorable locations in the book, especially for me, is along Liverpool’s Dock Road, which features many times in different contexts in the book.

Walking home along a totally deserted Dock Road in the early hours of the morning back then, after punk club Eric’s had closed, or after gigs I’d played at, are some of my strongest memories of the period. It felt like a privilege, and I vividly remember the feeling of timelessness – and tiredness – as I trudged along it after many nights out.

bombed out punk memoir peter alan lloyd punk and new wave 1980s liverpool bands 1980s recession liverpool dock road photos alan dow 1980s economic recession victoria tower salisbury dock liverpool port of liverpool boom and bust

The Victoria Tower, which lies on the river side of Salisbury Dock. Built by Jesse Hartley in 1848 to assist shipping on the River Mersey, it was a landmark on my nocturnal walks home and is still an impressive sight. © Alan Dow.

And the Dock Road was also where I got a job as a night watchman – even when I was in one of the bands, and from where I could observe first-hand the economic decay of the docks and its hinterland during those difficult years.

I recently discovered some superb photographs of the Dock Road area at night, by a local photographer, Alan Dow, who has kindly allowed me to use some of them to illustrate this article. Most of them, especially the headline photo of Stanley Dock, which holds special memories and is specifically mentioned in Bombed Out!, remind me of those atmospheric, nocturnal walks home all those years ago, wondering what I’d do next…and of the people who’d gone before me, working on Liverpool Docks in a busier time in a bustling city.

Sign of the Times: Now instead of sailing into the Port of Liverpool to trade, many ships come to be broken up for scrap. © Alan Dow.

Sign of the Times: Now instead of sailing into the Port of Liverpool to trade, many ships come to be broken up for scrap. © Alan Dow.

You can see more of Alan’s superb Liverpool photos at his Twitter account: @alandow74

A barge being unloaded at Stanley Dock in the 1800s after having transporting goods up the Leeds and Liverpool canal. (Inacityliving, Facebook)

A barge being unloaded at Stanley Dock in the 1900s after having transporting goods up the Leeds and Liverpool canal. (Inacityliving, Facebook)

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or signed paperback copies from:
News From Nowhere, Bold Street Liverpool; Waterstones, Liverpool 1 or Pritchards, Moor Lane, Crosby.

 www.bombedoutpunk.com © Peter Alan Lloyd

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3 Comments

  1. Dan

    You have some nice images on this site. I found it after looking at some historical images of Stanley Dock. You have an image that shows barges being unloaded, which you state is from the 1800s. Whilst Stanley Dock is from 1848, the building in the image is the Tabacco Warehouse, and it was only built in 1900, and was finished in 1901. So the image cannot be from the 1800s. It’s a good photo though.

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  2. Dan

    I have just stayed in The Titanic Hotel, which is the North Warehouse (the building on the left hand side of your first image, at the top of the page. They have kept a lot of the original features, and it is well worth a look at if you are passing. They have a nice bar, and you can sit on the side of Stanley Dock, and view the Tabacco Warehouse.

    In the first photo, you can see the hotel building finish, and joined up to a smaller building in the distance. The North Warehouse was originally the same length as the Tabacco Warehouse, but the far side was bombed in WW2. That part of the building was rebuilt to a different specification, and is now part of a function room facility to the hotel.

    I believe that plans are now underway to renovate the Tabacco Warehouse into flats, offices, etc. I saw a large crane in the building, so it appears that work has now started. I hope that they will maintain the historical features in the same way that the developers of the North Warehouse did.

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