Merseyside Development Corporation
Morpeth Dock, Birkenhead
Merseyside Development Corporation appointed Ainsley Gommon Architects to carry out a design for the refurbishment of the Morpeth Dock in Birkenhead. The project involved:
- The conversion of a landmark dock structure to replace hazardous surface finishes, remove redundant equipment, and to provide safe public access.
- Sympathetic design to the existing listed dock, retaining interesting features such as the mooring bollards.
- Using natural materials in the most environmentally sustainable way possible.
- Designing approved safety railings for fast-moving water to provide safe access to the dock edge, without compromising its character.
- Introducing robust planting in an exposed marine environment to screen and enhance the existing structures and new footpaths.
Originally, Morpeth Dock was a site where cattle were landed, and herded in to pens in the lairage, prior to being loaded onto trains. The crushes ran past the listed Mersey Tunnel vent shaft, which forms one of the edges to the new footpath. At the other end of the path was the derelict podium and enclosure of the One O’Clock Gun. The original dock had been derelict for many years, and there was no previous public access to the riverside.
The opened up access provides excellent views across to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Liverpool Waterfront providing a viewing platform for the many river events, such as the Tall Ships. The robust planting and detailing has survived well in the harsh marine environment.