North John Street


See Mersey Queensway Tunnel at later section (11 on map) The Queensway tunnel departs from its Dale Street alignment just to the north of this point and swings over to Brunswick Street, picking up the Dock Road exit/entrance branch.

The Royal Insurance Building is the earliest steel framed commercial building in Britain. 1895-90. (Officially opened 1903 after three years of partial occupation.) The use of a frame with columns produced an open plan office layout allowing the omission of internal walls.

The architects were J.F. Doyle and Richard Norman Shaw.

The engineer has not been identified to date.

Another Engineer, W Basil Scott, made claims that his warehouse in West Hartlepool was the first steel framed building. According to Alastair Jackson (The Development of Steel Framed Buildings in Britain 1880-1905) Scott’s claim did not stand-up to scrutiny, his claimed buildings and dates changing in his later writings.

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Tunnel Ventilator Building             (see 11 & 20)

Royal Insurance Building 1895 Earliest british steel framed building. The start of the dreaded open-plan office.

Tunnel Ventilation and the first Steel

Framed Office Building

On reaching Royal Insurance, turn left into Dale Street.