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NML reveals Liverpool waterfront development plans


Ambitious plans to change the face of part of Liverpool’s historic waterfront have been revealed by National Museums Liverpool.

The organisation has a 10-year masterplan to develop the area between the Royal Albert Dock and Mann Island including a new pedestrian link to the Canning Dock and the redevelopment of the imposing former Granada Studios building to create a new entrance for the International Slavery Museum.

Currently, there is little access to a large section of the waterfront which stands between the Strand and the Mersey and is bookended by the Museum of Liverpool and Mann Island at one side and the Mersey Maritime Museum at the other.

A ‘placemaking competition’ will be launched in March to find designers to be part of the area’s development.

NML director Laura Pye said today: “We’re thrilled to start the new year with news of our ambitions for our Waterfront Transformation Project.

“The public realm between the Royal Albert Dock and Mann Island represents a huge opportunity for development, and this project will be a big step towards enabling the public and our communities to share, enjoy and engage with its incredibly rich heritage.”

Above: NML's waterfront plans. Credit Feiden Clegg Bradley Studios

Top: The Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building will become the new entrance to the International Slavery Museum. Photo: Dave Jones


The placemaking competition will be supported by £120,000 from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority as part of the Race Equality Programme launched by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram last year.

The International Slavery Museum is due to receive £55,000 to progress the first stage of its pre-development. The museum is currently housed on the third floor of the Merseyside Maritime Museum and is accessed from inside the maritime site.

NML’s Waterfront Transformation Project will see the porticoed former Granada building, which was originally the Dock Traffic Office and is now known as the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building, turned into a new entrance facing the Strand.

The transformation will also encompass the Maritime Museum whose gallery spaces will be developed to support and complement the slavery museum, along with a new special exhibition space, community spaces and shared facilities that NML hopes will create a seamless visitor experience between both venues.

Dr Richard Benjamin, head of the International Slavery Museum, said: “Liverpool became the epicentre of the international slave trade, hence the importance of the stories we tell and the work we do.

“This exciting and timely transformation project will allow the museum to grow, develop and be central to national and global discourses.”


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