The Floating Landing Stage was a marvel of engineering. Originally constructed in 1874, it was consumed by fire before opening. Two years later, it had been rebuilt and, with additions, became the largest floating structure in the world, stretching for nearly half a mile. Sadly, in 1974, the structure was dismantled and replaced by a concrete pontoon – which sank, rather inevitably in January 1976 only to be rebuilt. I suppose neither the old or new structures are of any great aesthetic appeal – purely functional – but the top photograph shows the original in use in the late 1880s.
Back in the early 1990s, I met a young American, Zane Branson, who was trying to raise funding to bring a Mississippi paddle steamer over to Liverpool as a tourist attraction. The timing was completely wrong and the idea went back across the Atlantic with him but, as the photo shows, paddle steamers are not a new phenomenon to the Mersey. The nineteenth century ferries were nearly all driven by paddles. What a great shame none have survived.