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Albert Dock Warehouses
Albert Dock, Liverpool
associated engineer
Jesse Hartley
date  1841 - 1845
era  Victorian  |  category  Building  |  reference  SJ339897
ICE reference number  HEW 101
Hartley's first commission as surveyor for the port of Liverpool was the design of the five warehouse blocks that now form the largest single group of Grade I listed builings in the country.
The five-storey brickwork blocks enclose a seven acre area of water — Albert Dock — and provided 1.25 million sq ft of warehousing. Each range is set on an arcade, originally entirely open, where cargos of cloth, tobacco, wines and spirits from across the Atlantic and from Africa were unloaded for the first 50 years of the buldings' life.
The warehouses are a remarkable example of the use of cast iron in building. Their structure uses cleverly designed cross-sections and sculptured forms to great effect.
The ground floor elliptical arcading is supported by massive Doric cast iron columns, 4ft in diameter and 16ft high. On the upper floors, the grid of bays is delineated by slimmer columns that support inverted Y-shaped cast iron beams spanning 19ft. These in turn support brick jack arches that span 12ft and have wrought iron tie bars.
The brickwork facades are almost flush with the granite dock walls below. The arcading and taking-in doors set above provide a visual rhythm along the elevations.
The roofs are clad in wrought iron tiles, three-sixteenths of an inch thick. These are supported on a wrought iron truss-like structures, seemingly inadequate for the job of supporting the 50ft spans. Investigation in the 1980s, when the buildings were being converted for new uses, discovered that the tiles are acting like a stressed skin, working together with the trusses.
Originally equipped with 21 internal hoists, the dock remained open to shipping until 1946. In the latter years it was used as bonded storage, right up until 1970.
The Albert Dock complex now houses a diverse range of tourist attractions, shops and offices, plus the Merseyside Maritime Museum, television studios and the Tate Gallery.
reference sources   CEH NorthASEIndEng

Albert Dock Warehouses