WORK has begun to reveal one of the hidden jewels of the historic Leeds & Liverpool Canal for the first time in 170 years.
The Stanley Flight, built in 1848 by the celebrated Victorian engineer Jesse Hartley, was a pivotal moment in the Industrial Revolution as it connected the canal to the city’s thriving dock system – transforming the speed at which cotton and coal flowed to and from the Lancashire mill towns to the British Empire.
The series of four locks, each of which dropped the canal by 11ft to Hartley’s new Stanley Dock, further cemented the port of Liverpool’s pre-eminent role in global trade in the 19th century, however, a 2m-high, 10m-long wall on Great Howard Street has always obscured it from view.
But thanks to a £20 million highways improvement scheme passers-by will be able to enjoy this marvel of Victorian innovation which now stands within Liverpool’s World Heritage Site.
Heritage experts have begun a scheme to reduce the wall in height which Liverpool City Council hope will become a tourism feature in the new and emerging Ten Streets creativity district – a site covering 125 acres of former docklands which has a 15 year masterplan to create 2500 new jobs.
The work to remodel the wall has been designed by Liverpool based landscape architects BCA Landscape, who are also creating new artwork for the new Great Howard St bridge, and is expected to be completed in March.
Bill Froggatt, heritage adviser at the Canal & River Trust said: “The simple act of opening up the view on to the Stanley Flight is an effective way to ensure the heritage of the Industrial Revolution remains an important part of Liverpool’s story.
“Our staff and volunteers have been working hard to clear and tidy the area, and over the next few weeks they will be planting shrubs, herbs and bulbs, so that come spring this will be a really attractive space that everyone can enjoy whether walking to work or just out for a stroll in the fresh air.”
A widened pavement will also be created as part of the creation of a new dual carriageway on Great Howard Street (A565), which last September also saw the completion of the new £10 million bridge to ensure heavier cargo can be transported to and from Peel’s Liverpool 2 Superport.
Expected to finish by Summer 2019, the £22 million upgrade to North Liverpool’s Atlantic Corridors are a major part of Liverpool City Council’s wider £300 million Better Roads programme to improve the city’s road infrastructure.
The scheme will be complemented by the creation of a further two new waterfront link roads, at the cost of £20 million, at the city centre end of the A565, which are being built to support a proposed new £50 million cruise passenger facility and new £30 million Isle Of Man Cruise terminal.
The historic Regent Road (AKA The Dock Road) which runs parallel to Great Howard Street, alongside the £5 billion Liverpool Waters scheme, is also being upgraded including the creation of a new cycle lane creating a 13-mile riverside route from Formby to the city centre.