‘This is a great opportunity to revitalise a superb corner of the Liverpool waterfront’

A collection of historically significant buildings at Royal Albert Dock Liverpool will be redeveloped to the tune of £1m providing a new food and beverage outlet.

We are keen to retain the unusual industrial character of the historic architecture while bringing this prominent site to life.

National Museums Liverpool has announced lead architects, Harrison Stringfellow with Citizens Design Bureau, and Gerrard BSE and engineersHRW, will work on the project to refurbish and develop Mermaid House, the Cooperage and the Piermaster’s Office.

Mermaid House Piermasters Office Albert Dock Nml © Pete Carr
The project includes Mermaid House, the Cooperage and the Piermaster’s Office Image: Pete Carr

The buildings are situated in a prime location, overlooking Mermaid Square, adjacent to the Royal Albert Dock. 

The Piermaster’s Office was an administration centre, documenting the arrival of ships into the dock, while in the workshop next door, the coopers made and repaired barrels for a range of goods such as tobacco and rum. Such buildings were an integral part of operating Liverpool’s pioneering docklands. 

Mermaid House, added to the dockscape in the 20th century, offers spectacular views across the River Mersey and towards the Pier Head.

Nml Albert Dock Mermaid House Aerial River Mersey © Ant Clausen
Spectacular views over the river Image: Ant Clausen

NML says that the buildings will be developed into a unique food and beverage outlet which will complement the geographical surroundings and heritage, offering a new relaxing space within one of the city’s most popular destinations, overlooking the River Mersey. 

The redevelopment is funded by the Levelling Up Fund and forms part of NML’s Waterfront Transformation Project. This long-term vision aims to link storytelling, heritage, community and hospitality to create a rich visitor experience on Liverpool’s renowned waterfront. 

Nml Mermaid House Piermasters Office Albert Dock Aerial 03 © Ant Clausen
An aerial view of the dock site Image: Ant Clausen

Janet Dugdale, National Museums Liverpool’s executive director of museums & participation said, “This is a great opportunity to revitalise a superb corner of the Liverpool waterfront, which has been underused for too long. 

"We’re excited to be working with Harrison Stringfellow and Citizens Design Bureau to refurbish the suite of buildings and create a new destination for everyone to enjoy this fascinating historic environment.” 

Earlier this year, Harrison Stringfellow were also announced as the preferred bidders for the refurbishment and design of National Museums Liverpool’s Grade II-listed building, Hartley Hut, and have been part of the shortlisted teams for both the Canning Dock Project and the major refurbishment of both the International Slavery Museum and Maritime Museum.

Mermaid House Piermasters Office Albert Dock Nml 2 © Pete Carr
The former cooperage at Albert Dock Image: Pete Carr

Citizens Design Bureau are architects who have developed a portfolio of complex conservation projects for arts, community and civic buildings. Director Katy Marks was a project architect on the award-winning Liverpool Everyman Theatre. More recently she led the refurbishment and extension of the recently completed Grade II-listed Manchester Jewish Museum

Katy says, “Liverpool is my home city, so it is a great privilege to bring our conservation focus to National Museums Liverpool’s beautiful dock buildings. We are keen to retain the unusual industrial character of the historic architecture while bringing this prominent site to life with new uses that will re-engage the local community.”

Mermaid House Piermasters Office Albert Dock Nml Tate Liverpool Vma
Window of change - the view from Tate Liverpool Image: VMA

Spanning the area between the Royal Albert Dock and Mann Island, the Waterfront Transformation Project will take in the key landmarks, International Slavery Museum, Maritime Museum and Museum of Liverpool, along with multiple smaller buildings. This includes the Cooperage, Mermaid House and the Piermaster’s Office. 

Central to the transformation will be National Museums Liverpool’s long-held ambition to redevelop the Dr Martin Luther King Jr Building, expanding the International Slavery Museum into the space.  

For more info on National Museums Liverpool visit Liverpool Museums.

Cover photo: Ant Clausen

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