THE BURNING OF THE 'VOLTURNO' - PAGE 53
THE PORT OF LIVERPOOL

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Liverpool & its port is mentioned frequently in these pages, certainly re Carmania & re Devonian. Here I present, today at least, just a few items about Liverpool itself.

THE LANDING STAGE

The following composite image was previously considered to 'belong' with the Devonian material. Absent a page re Liverpool. It could also have been on the Carmania pages, perhaps. Since Liverpool was home port to both of those vessels. But on this page I place parts of two rather pretty postcard images to show what the Liverpool Landing Stage looked like early in the 20th century. The vessel at left is the Celtic, but I have no name for the vessel at right. Both cards were mailed in 1919. It would be good to have both of these images of better quality! And more images of the Landing Stage.

And next is a fine stereo card of the Keystone View Company - card No. 25413. Entitled, as you can see, 'The Landing Stage, Liverpool, England'. The card was sold in late Oct. 2005 via e-Bay for U.S. $2.95. I did try to straighten the image to make it more perfectly horizontal, but I lost too much image detail when I attempted it. A beautiful card indeed! Does anybody know its date? It is probably dated on the rear of the card, below the descriptive text.


I am so glad to have located, via e-Bay, an image of the Landing Stage at Liverpool, as that image was published both as a glass slide & as a stereo image. At left is a high quality magic lantern glass slide, #347 by Keystone, which sold on e-Bay in early Apr. 2006 for U.S. 10.50.

And next below is a stereo image of the identical scene, which despite the dating on the front (1897) states on its rear - Copyright 1909, by Keystone View Company. The stereo image also originated on e-Bay. It sold in late Apr. 2006 for U.S. $8.01. The vendor provided 4 large images of the card, of most interesting content. I am puzzled, however, at that date of 1909. The vessels are side-paddle steamers as you can clearly see below. I suspect the photograph may well date from 1897 despite that 1909 reference.

I read that the rise and fall of the tide in the Mersey is very large. And that the Landing Stage accordingly floated on pontoons, 200 of them, no less, & rose & fell in accordance with the tides. It was connected to shore by eight bridges.

I did reduce the color temperature of the next two images below, to lessen the yellowing due to age. And I have tidied up the images a little as I always do for better presentation on the page. The e-Bay vendor was john-spinner of Northern Kentucky, U.S.A., whom I thank. He took a lot of trouble to list this stereo card, & seems to do the same with all of his other listings, from what I have seen.

The stereo image must have been quite superb. Here is most of an enlargement image, provided by the e-Bay vendor. The three steamers are all side-paddlers, I think.

ST. GEORGES HALL, LIME STREET, LIVERPOOL

I have strayed a long way from the purpose of this site in showing the above images. But having done so, here is another 'off topic' image! A wonderful early albumen image of Liverpool. I do have in the depths of my files the name of the public square in Liverpool that is represented in the following image ~ which was an e-Bay item of long ago now. I darkened it for better presentation on the page & have cropped the image somewhat also for the same purpose. I do hope that you enjoy it!

My memory says that I was advised at the time by an English friend that the image is of St. Georges Hall, Lime Street, in Liverpool. And that while horse-drawn buses are not exactly currently 'in style', the scene is substantially unchanged today. But I really am not sure of that data.

THE ROYAL LIVER BUILDING, LIVERPOOL

Before I leave, for today, the subject of Liverpool, it would be good also to be able to present on this page some fine quality images images of the 'The Royal Liver Building' in Liverpool. It appears in so many images of River Mersey shipping & is, surely, the landmark image of Liverpool itself.

I read that the 'Liver' in the building name, is not pronounced as it is in the city name. Rather it is pronounced with a long 'i' - like the word 'eye'. The building is 90 metres or about 295 ft. high, was constructed over the period of 1908 to 1911 (foundation stone laid on May 11, 1908 - opened by Lord Sheffield on Jul. 19, 1911) & has thirteen floors. One of the earliest examples of multi-storey reinforced concrete construction. Faced in granite, I have read. It originally had 19 lifts (elevators), so I presume that that number has since changed. Built for the 'Royal Liver Friendly Society' (established in 1850 as 'Liverpool Liver Burial Society'), at the cost of 621,000, & to this very day still their headquarters (now 'Royal Liver Assurance' perhaps).

Most visible from the river are the pair of clock towers, with clock faces so large that they could be read by distant ships in the river Mersey. Could it still be true, as I have read, that they are still the largest clock dials in Britain? Most of the images that one sees of the building show clock faces in just one of the two towers. There are in fact three clock faces on the tower closest to the river. But the 'other' tower does have a clock face also, but just a single one. The clock faces are 25 feet in diameter (2 ft. larger than Big Ben, so I read), electrically driven, most accurate & illuminated at night. Each minute hand is 14 feet long. This page tells me that before the clock (presumably that means clocks since there must have been two of them), made by Gents of Leicester, was delivered to its final resting place, the 25 ft. dial was used as a table at a special dinner. How very interesting! An image of that scene is on this page.

The building was designed by Walter Aubrey Thomas. Walter Aubrey Thomas? Lots of web pages but absolutely zero data! Except for the fact that he was British. An e-Bay item in May 2006 referred to L. G. Mouchel & Partners as being the engineering firm involved.

Atop each of the two clock towers are the famous 'liver' birds, (long 'i' also), both 18 feet tall with a total wing span of 24 feet & made of copper. Held tightly in place by very strong cables! What exactly are 'liver' birds? Having now read many pages on that subject, I think that I might best direct you to Wikipedia & invite you to read what is said there about the matter. A mythical bird, perhaps closest to a cormorant? The birds, each with spreading wings, face away from one another incidentally, the one facing the river & the other the city. I read that in accordance with popular legend, the one facing the river is a female. The other bird, a male, faces the city, & is waiting for the pubs to open! Each has a sprig of seaweed in their beaks. But like all things maybe not. Maybe it is 'broom', which is, I think, similar to heather. You would think that such a matter could be most easily resolved.

The 'liver' birds were the work of Carl Bernard Bartels (1866/1955), a wood carver/sculptor from Stuttgart, Germany, who came to the U.K. in 1887 & later won a competition to design the birds to be placed atop The Royal Liver Building. The giant birds were physically made at the foundry of George Cowper and the Bromsgrove Guild, I read. Bartels had the unfortunate experience of being arrested when WW1 broke out & imprisoned in the Knockaloe Prisoner of War camp on the Isle of Man. The City of Liverpool, apparently, removed all reference to his achievements & at the end of WW1, despite having a wife in London, he was sent back to Germany. Most regrettable viewed from today's perspective. But at times of war such things do happen in every country - including mine & probably yours. Bartels did later return to the U.K. & died there in 1955. Do read more about him on this page - where you can see an image of him also! Or this page where you can also see that image & other data also! Those two pages exist due to the appreciated efforts of Gerry Jones & Keith Bates, whom we thank. 

It would be good to be able to show a quality image of The Royal Liver Building taken in the 1910s. But so far I have seen no images from that period. Can anybody help? Current images of the building? There are lots of them available but very few of them would be suitable for use on this page & site which prefers to present only large & most detailed images. Three exceptions to that statement. Do drop by to enjoy the following three images, the first by Christopher Wilkinson, the second by John Davies & the third by hddod. The liver birds? It seems to me that they look better from a distance than they do in a close up! Here is, however, a close up by Simon Kirwan. We thank all of those photographers.

This page will, hopefully, track data about Liverpool as it comes to hand, hopefully as in some way relates to Volturno. But who knows what it will contain in the future? The webmaster does not know himself!

If any visitor can clarify (or correct) or provide more information about any of these matters, I would truly welcome their help.

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