City’s lost ‘Fourth Grace’ where Liverpool ONE now stands

City's lost 'Fourth Grace' where Liverpool ONE now stands

The Custom House is one of the city's most famous lost landmarks

Castle Street in 1919, with trams and the old Custom House building in the background

Long before Liverpool ONE was built one of the city's most famous landmarks stood in its place.

The Custom House, otherwise known as Liverpool's Fourth Grace, was designed by architect John Foster and opened in 1839.

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The giant dome structure took eleven years to build on what had been the site of Liverpool’s Old Dock.

It was built in a giant H shape, with columned facades facing Canning Dock and the streets around, and housed dock and customs offices.

The main function of the Custom House was to collect tolls and excise duties, very important elements in the running of the port.

During WWII Liverpool was the most heavily bombed city outside of London due to the strategic importance of its docks and river.

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The Custom House was one of many historic buildings to be badly damaged during the Blitz of May 1941, when fire bombs sent the building up in flames.

Despite the damage, its shell survived for another seven years, until it was controversially pulled down in 1948.

The site lay empty for years and nothing was built on the foundations until 1963.

Today the site is part of the Liverpool ONE complex where the Hilton Hotel now stands.

Photos taken from the ECHO archives show what the famous building once looked like and its eventual demolition.

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  1. The Customs House in an aerial Liverpool panorama 1907 oil painting

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  2. The impressive dome of the Custom House once dominated views of the area

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  3. Liverpool’s Custom House with a sailing vessel in the nearby Salthouse Dock.

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  4. A group of old seafarers outside the Liverpool Custom House in 1890. Ken Rogers

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  5. Lord Street, Liverpool, during the clean up of the fire damage area resulting from the May 1941 Blitz. Picture shows the old Custom House on the right hand side. Picture taken 31st July 1941,

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  6. Liverpool's Custom House. Circa 1941.

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  7. The remarkable pattern of cellars at the old Customs House, Liverpool, now fast disappearing in demolition work. April 7 1948.

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  8. The remains of the old Customs House in Canning Place, Liverpool. Circa 1960.

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  9. The old Custom's House site, Liverpool. Circa 1967.

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  10. The old Custom's House site, Liverpool. Circa 1968.

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