The Pierhead (A World Heritage
The Pier Head is the World Heritage site in
Liverpool, that features three striking
as the Three Graces:
The Royal Liver Building;
The Cunard Building; and
The Port of Liverpool Building.
The buildings form a row along the north bank
of the River Mersey, flanked by several miles
In July 2004, plans to build a Fourth Grace
designed by architect Will Alsop were abandoned
owing to escallating costs. The construction
of a fouth grace has been discussed many times
over the last few years, but no firm plans or
funding has yet been established.
On the river is a floating landing stage that
serves the Mersey Ferries. In the past, the much
larger Prince's Landing Stage was situated at
the Pier Head to serve the trans-Atlantic liner
The Pier Head also served as a major tram and
then bus interchange.
There are several memorials at the Pier Head
including those to Captain J. F. Walker and to
the engineers who heroically remained at their
posts during the sinking of the RMS Titanic.
The Pierhead stands between the North and South
docks (Albert Dock) and is an important Liverpool
landmark, being the home to the most recognizable
Liverpool buildings in the World,, known locally
as the "Three Graces", the Royal Liver
building, Cunard building and the Port of Liverpool
building. The river wall, fronting the Pierhead,
was first built to enclose the George's Dock (opened
1771, closed 1900) this consequently being filled
in to enable the construction of the Royal Liver
Building. Right up to present day the Pierhead
is constantly changing with a proposal currently
being considered to link the Leeds & Liverpool
canal to the Albert Dock. This would see the construction
of the access canal directly spanning the front
of the "Three Graces"
The Liver Building was built completed in 1911.
The Cunard Building in 1916 and The Port of Liverpool
building in 1907.
Royal Liver Building - 1908-11.
The Royal Liver Building, overlooking the River
Mersey, is probably the most famous building in
Liverpool. It can be found on Water Street. The
this impressive building is best viewed from the
Built as the head offices of the Royal Liver
Friendly Society, which had its origins as a mid-19th
century burial club was designed by Aubrey Thomas.
It is notable as one of Britain's first multi-story
reinforced concrete framed buildings. The two
winged creatures, which were made by George Cowper
and the Bromsgrove Guild, are visible above the
cupolas are known as "liver" birds for
which Local legend says that if they fly away,
Liverpool will cease to exist.
This impressive architectural masterpiece features
a pair of clock towers from which shipping could
tell the time as they passed en route along the
river. The clock faces are actually larger than
the clock face of Big Ben in London and are each
twenty five feet in diameter, the largest clock
dials in Britain. In 1953 electronic chimes were
installed to serve as a memorial to the members
of the Royal Liver Friendly Society who died during
the two World Wars.
A statue of a Liver Bird spreading its wings
from the top of each clock tower enhances the
glory of the building and its impressive features.
The Liver Bird, the official mascot of Liverpool
is a cormorant (seaweed bird) which in bygone
times could often be seen flying alongside the
Mersey River with seaweed in their beaks.
The Royal Liver Building is still the Head Office
for the Royal Liver Friendly Society.
Cunard Building - 1913 - 1916.
Liverpool was the centre of Britain’s cruise
ship industry for many years and The Cunard Building
owned by American Samuel Cunard of the Cunard
Shipping Line who later merged with White Star
owners of the Titanic. Some of the company’s
famous ships included the Mauretania, Queen Elizabeth
and Queen Mary.
The building was designed by Willink and Thicknesse,
its proportions and architectural design give
it the form of an Italian palazzo and reflects
the Greek neo-classical revival. But in fact many
of it's feature are derived from American beaux-arts
buildings such as those of McKim Mead and White
in New York.
The Cunard Building has six storeys plus a basement,
nine bays to the two principal elevations and
seventeen bays to the marginally secondary elevations.
Inside, the building is extremely ornately decorated
with a principal corridor linking Brunswick Street
and Water Street
During World War I more than 13,000 Liverpudlians
died, and 1921 a memorial was erected outside
the Cunard building to all the Cunard employees
who died in the war.
Port of Liverpool Building - 1904 - 1907
The third of the three great buildings at the
Pier Head is the Port of Liverpool building built
for Mersey Docks and Harbour Company. Designed
by Briggs, Wolstenholme and Thorneley, it is a
monumental structure in the Edwardian Baroque
style with pediments and tall lantern towers.
It has five storeys plus a basement and the principal
elevation has thirteen bays with canted corners
in the form of full height octagonal towers. The
central entrance facing the Pier Head is flanked
by free-standing three metre high statues on plinths
by Charles John Allen.
On either side of the door of this building you
can see a steam ship and a sailing ship representing
the ocean. There is also a figure of King Neptune
riding on waves and dolphins holding globes. This
building is where all Liverpool ships had to register.
The Pier Head is one of the few public open spaces
in the city centre and serves as a communal focal
point for the people of Liverpool, providing a
link between the river and the city. It provides
a venue for major public gatherings, such as the
commemoration of The Battle of the Atlantic and
the Mormon celebration of emigration from Europe.
The cultural significance of the Pier Head partly
explains why it is such a popular location for
the erection of a diverse collection of monuments