Located at Pier Head, The Port of Liverpool Building forms one of Liverpool’s Three Graces lining the waterfront. The other two buildings are the Royal Liver Building and Cunard Building.
From its completion in 1907, the Port of Liverpool Building became the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board headquarters. It was renamed the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company in 1972. The company was responsible for the Mersey lighthouses and aids to navigation.
In 1898 the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board discontinued George’s Dock and filled it to form the site of the Pier Head. The MDHB sold part of the land to the Liverpool Corporation and retained part of it.
Initially, the MDHB had several sites around the city, including the Old Customs House, but in 1900 they drew up plans for a new building. Sir Arnold Thornely and FB Hobbs designed the building, constructed from Portland Stone between 1904 and 1907.
During the Second World War, a bomb hit the building, and much of the eastern wing was damaged. However, it was fully restored following the end of hostilities.
When Great Orme’s Head Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1985, its optic was removed and for a while was on display at the entrance to the building. The optic was later repatriated to Llandudno, where it is now on display at the Great Orme Summit Museum.
The Port of Liverpool Building remained in use by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company until 1994. After that time they moved to the Maritime Centre near Seaforth Dock but remained the owners of the building until it was sold in 2001.