There are 3 hidden places in Liverpool. Well, they are in fact tourist attractions, but they are underground and not very well known, so I can classify them as hidden. I visited all of them, one of them is not mentioned on the blog and the others are “hidden” in the archives.
1. Mersey Tunnel. I’m going to start with the last place I’ve visited, the Mersey Tunnel. I thought it will be boring and kept postponing it. It’s a guided tour of the Queensway Tunnel, under Mersey, which links Liverpool and Wirral.
It was so interesting and exciting, I can’t recommend enough this tour. I’m sorry I didn’t blog about it then. The guide took us to the control centre and we were able to see all the cameras that are inside the tunnel. They told us about technical details regarding the ventilation, about the Mersey Tunnel race (10k, in June). We went down in the tunnel and saw the cars, the ventilation shaft, a tunnel underneath the Queensway tunnel. I don’t want to go into a lot of details as I don’t want to spoil the fun. If you are in Liverpool, book a tour, it will be much more exciting than it sounds.
2. Old docks. The second underground location I’ve visited in Liverpool is the Old Dock, in 2013. The old docks are underneath the very well known L1, lots of shops and restaurants. The docks can be visited only with a guided tour, it’s free but you need to book.
In the 1700s Liverpool was in competition with other coastal cities and the tide range is high, harder to unload the ships. In early 18th century the construction of the first commercial dry dock in the world began in Liverpool. To fund the project the council mortgaged land and investors joined in too. The dock was built with bricks and that made it very easy to break, but even so, it had a major impact on Liverpool’s economy.
3. Williamson Tunnels. This is the first place I’ve been to, in 2012. I will have to visit it again this year. Volunteers are still digging and they discover new artifacts and tunnels, but not all the tunnels can be opened to the public due to safety reasons.
The price includes a guided tour and the lady was very enthusiastic. Joseph Williamson was an amazing man. He was an orphan child who arrived at 11 years old in Liverpool and worked his way up to become a wealthy tobacco merchant. Nobody knows for sure why the tunnels were digged, in 1840, after his death the work stopped. There aren’t any records of the tunnels. I like the story that he gave jobs to unemployed men returning from the Napoleonic wars, this is only one possible explanation.
I don’t have a lot of pictures as everything was so engaging we completely forgot to take more pictures. The tunnels are at a 10-15 minutes walk from the city centre, so don’t miss them if you visit Liverpool.