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to greatness The Old Dock

How Liverpool grew

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In 2001, an evaluation by Oxford Archaeology North in Liverpool rediscovered a structure that had been the catalyst for the growth of a small sleepy town into what became the second largest port in Britain.

All photos: Oxford Archaeology North, unless otherwise noted


In 1207, when Liverpool received borough status, it was a small market town with a castle alongside a shallow tidal inlet called the Liver Pool. Yet, this Pool provided very poor access for ships, as it was prone to silting up and was made treacherous by strong currents.

Over the subsequent centuries the town hardly grew, reflecting its limited maritime prospects, and would likely have remained so had it not been for the entrepreneurial spirit of some local merchants who, in 1707, came up with the idea of constructing an enclosed wet dock within the Pool. It was paid for by archaeologycurrent


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