Liverpool Castle


Heavy construction, earth moving and the machinery of war were the work of the Military Engineer. As work of a non-military nature began to dominate heavy construction, e.g. canal and railway construction, the term Civil Engineer came into use to distinguish this type of non-military work as that of a separate profession.

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Site of Liverpool Castle            c1235-1721                                          A civil war scene of siege. Modified by a German engineer on the Parliamentary side, and then redesigned by another engineer with German royalist Prince Rupert of the Rhine!

The German's have evidently interfered  with Liverpool in a military way from 1643 to 1943!

The Crown Court overlooks the site of Liverpool Castle.

Engineered by Sir Frederick Snow and Partners in the late 1970's the architectural form is intended to echo the castle gatehouse facing Castle Street.

Walk across James Street towards Castle Street.

Below your feet at this point:

The under river railway  1886     (Possibly joint first electric railway with The Overhead Railway.)

Envisaged as a pneumatic railway in 1866, built for steam by Fox in 1886, converted to electric railway 1889-1903. Extended to city centre loop in early 1970's using Dosco Roadheaders. 18 to 38m deep. (Railway about 30m deep here).

Victoria Monument: site of Liverpool Castle

The original castle was built pre 1235 on a raised plateau. It was 33m square surrounded by 18m wide rock-cut dry ditch. In  the English Civil War it was taken by the Royalists at the start, then the Parliamentarians in 1643. The Parliamentarians used German Engineer Col. Rosworm to modify it and build a mud wall and ditch reaching from The Pool to the bottom of Dale Street and back to the river. The  Royalists re-took it in 1644. Their engineer, B De Gomme, redesigned it again with a further ditch and wall, but these were not implemented due to  the troops being called to the siege of York. The castle was demolished in 1721. A secret castle passageway to the river beneath James Street was rediscovered by Borough Engineer James Newlands’ men in the 1860's when digging a drain for the basements of buildings on the corner of Castle Street and James Street. The passageway survives to this day and now contains a public sewer.

The above plan is a reconstruction by Edward Cox and detailed in the Transactions of the Historical Society of Lancashire and Cheshire 1892.

The cross-section below is the result of a site investigation by the engineering consultancy Arup and shows the relative positions of the tunnel, the castle’s dry moat or ditch, and the later engineering features of James Street Station, underground railway and its associated ventilation heading. This cross-section shows Liverpool engineering over a period of 800 years!