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Down By The Docks !

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''I was born in Liverpool down by the docks, my religion was Catholic, occupation - hard knocks, at stealing from lorries, I was adept, and under old overcoats each night I slept.....'' 

As a youngester, Mike Murphy made a ritualistic, yet enjoyable journey most weekends from the suburbs of Crosby to visit his Grandparents, Charlie and Agnes Kearns and his Uncles and Great Uncle in the municipal tenement blocks of Highfield Gardens. This great adventure on the train took him via the industrial area of Vauxhall, the elevated view accentuating the grimness, yet grandness and nearness of these buildings to the city centre. Thousands of locals and many generations of families clocked on a shift at places like Tillotsons, The British American Tobacco factory, Tate & Lyle, Clarence Dock power station and Bibbys. Some of these buildings made a lasting impression on Mike and we have him to thank for capturing them from the 1980s on. Other contributions are from Mike's nan's bro-in-law Jimmy Hodges (a truck driver for Tates) and Joe Devine, a local man who must have done a lot for the local shoe shops, such was the mileage he clocked up when snapping the city. Tates from Whitby St, 1981 and from Vauxhall Rd in the same year. The next shot is from Pall Mall in 1992 and then viewed from Chadwick St. Tates club seen in 81 and the main works entrance in Love Lane also in 81. The last three pics show the plant from Burlington Street and Love Lane. For a more in depth history of the site, please see the 'Building for the past' page on the home page. 

Bibbys seen here in various stages of demolition in 1987 and 1988 including shots from Galton Street and Bath Street looking towards Neptune Street. The final pic is of the remains on Gt Howard street in 1993 prior to the site being cleared to make way for Costco and Toys R Us. 

The Clarence Dock power station dates from 1937 and its landmark chimneys gave them the nickname the three sisters, or to some, the three ugly sisters. The third chimney wasn't actually added until the early 1950s, here they can be seen just before and during demolition in 1993 and 94 respectively. 

I think it's fair to say that Mike was chuffed when he discovered that Ormskirk born Harry Ainscough would make regular treks from his then adopted hometown of Sheffield to take photographs around Liverpool during the 1960s and 70s. Thankfully, Harry also saw fit to record the industry of this area which also captured images of long lost streets and vehicles of the era. 

The Love Lane sugar refinery from Pall Mall in 1967 and also showing Chisenhale street. 

Clarence Dock power station in 1972. Bibbys from the dock road in 1968 and its car park in Barton Street. 

Bibbys from Barton Street and their Galton street warehouse and canopy in 1968. A later shot of the Chicagoesque building from Gt Howard Street in 1977. 

Galton St, Formby St and Vauxhall Road respectively in 1968. 

Bibbys and Sprague Bros, Paisley St 1968 and Henry Diaper storage as Littlewoods is under construction behind. 

Loading in Chisenhale Street in 1967. Oil Street clearance in 1969 and Fairries sugar plant on Vauxhall Road from Burlington Street in 1982. 

Neptune Street activity 1968. These little side streets were laden with gantrys spanning from building to building with tanker type lorries loading animals feeds, oils and sugar molasses, there was a mixture of everpresent smells in the air. The next pic is looking South down King Edward Street towards the Liver Building. The last scene is looking in the opposite direction past Bibbys on the left and the Northern Hospital on the right which was on the Leeds street/Gt Howard street junction. 

Near to the Vauxhall Road/Leeds Street junction in 1950. This building is still in situ whilst Highfield Gardens tenements dating from the early 1930s were demolished in 1994. King Edward Street looking South beyond Leeds Street in 1972. Fairries, part of Tate & Lyle as seen in 82 together with its main chimney from Burlington Street. 

Trafalgar Dock with Clarence Dock power station in the background (1972). Gt Howard Street in 1967 with part of the Northern hospital in view. Waterloo Dock a year later. 

With Scottish placenames, these shots are of Glasgow Street, Greenock Street and Paisley Street in 1968. 

Great Howard Street warehouses in 1950. King Edward Street looking North and part of the 1847 grade listed Fairries factory which was still demolished nevertheless.  


Two great pics of a busy dock road scene as a crane unloads The Flying Scotsman after its tour of America at Brocklebank Dock, Bootle. 'No arms to Nigeria' states the political graffiti as a Ford Corsair, Vauxhall Viva and Triumph 2000 are the 'in' cars. Notice the police jeep and Mini panda cars. Photographs with thanks to Emma from NZ. 

East Alexandra branch dock No.2 in 1991 undergoing partial demolition. With thanks again to Mike Murphy. 

Clarence dock in the 1940s and again in 1950 with the additional new chimney. 

Busy clarence dock scenes in 1972. 


Six photographs of Brunswick Dock silo in 1972. 

Brunswick Dock silo demolition in 1989. 

A couple more of Mike Murphy's. Firstly from the Anglican Cathedral and then during demolition in 1989. 

8 previously unseen/unpublished photos of Liverpool docks supplied by regular contributor Keith Rose. do you know anyone?