Brave New World
The Princes Landing Stage holds a special place in the affections of Liverpudlians of a certain vintage. Although the city’s docks had countless berths for shipping lines from Cunard to Canadian Pacific, the Princes Landing Stage was the port’s shop window where the great ocean liners held sway, such as the Aquitania, launched in 1914 at the height of Britain’s imperial power and on the eve of World War I.
This is an artist’s impression of the ship in the River Mersey, while this next shot shows the vessel at Princes Landing Stage itself.
Generations of family members have sailed from here to New York and Montreal. It’s even reputed that an aunt of my grandmother’s enjoyed a protracted affair with a Cunard director while sailing back and forth to New York in the height of luxury in the 1920’s. My grandmother herself sailed on the Empress of France among other ships. Here it is in the same spot.
The old Princes Landing Stage is all but gone, although a purpose-built cruise terminal has recently commenced operations and welcomed the new Queen Elizabeth among other great ships.
But walk to the end along the shore at the edge of the new landing stage and some poignant echoes of a bygone age remain. Images that have more in common with the stark realism of Andrew Wyeth’s paintings than 21st century cruise ships. Evocative images such as this abandoned gangway.
The rotting timbers and rusted metalwork are all that’s left now and nature is taking hold to soften the blow.
And we can only imagine what official function this derelict cabin used to serve on the busy quayside.