Liverpool was the last city Alan Bowness visited on his tour of potential locations for a 'Tate in the North'.
There he was shown various disused buildings that might possibly be converted into a gallery, including a church, municipal hall, a railway building and a hotel, but it was
the last site he visited, a warehouse in the disused Albert Dock, which caught his imagination:
|At the end of a stormy and blustery day we arrived at the Mersey, had a quick look at the Liver Building (not suitable), and then went into the
totally derelict Albert Dock.
It was immediately clear to me that this was the place.
Alan Bowness, History of Tate Liverpool early Days, 1988
Not only did the building and dockside location appeal to Bowness, there were other good reasons for choosing Liverpool as a site for Tate's first regional Museum.
Albert Dock lay at the heart of the run down city centre.
Once a bustling dock with seven acres of warehouses crammed with rich cargoes from Asia, tea, silk, tobacco and spirits, it now lay disused and rotting, its once busy waterways
silted and stinking.
It was a very visible reminder of the deprivation of the surrounding inner city, which suffered from high unemployment and racial tensions (these came to a head in the Toxteth
riots of 1981).
Letter outlining possible locations for Tate in the North in Liverpool
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