A photographic exhibition recalling the last great days of Liverpool’s docklands is opening at The Hardmans’ House in Liverpool this month.

“Where Great Ships were Built” is a collection of 17 images by Liverpool photographer Edward Chambré Hardman who took them in the years between 1940 and 1960.

Sarah-Jane Langley is the Custodian of The Hardman’s House at 59 Rodney St: “When Hardman wasn’t busy in his studio, he would often wander down to the docks and capture images of its working life” she says.

“More or less everything captured in the photographs has long since disappeared, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to see a frozen ‘moment’ in what was a busy, thriving industry in Liverpool employing thousands of men.

The exhibition includes Hardman’s most famous image, ‘Birth of the Ark Royal’, construction of the last ship ever to be built using wooden scaffolding; working barges – and a lorry, which had fallen into the dock, being hauled out by crane.”

The exhibition’s maritime theme also pays homage to the sinking of the Titanic in April 1912. “The Titanic was originally going to depart from Liverpool, as she was built and registered by the White Star Oceanic Steamship Company which had its offices in James Street,” said Sarah-Jane.

“ However,in the end she sailed from Southampton on her fateful voyage. Whilst we don’t have an image of The Titanic, one of Hardman’s photographs on display shows the White Star building with White Star cranes at work.

We’d love to hear from anyone who has memories of Liverpool docks from the 1940s through to the 1960s – perhaps a member of your family worked there, or they have their own photographs of the docks at this time. If so, please get in touch either by e-mail sarahjane.langley@nationaltrust.org.uk or call 0151 709 6107 during office hours.

‘Where Great Ships were Built’ opens on March 14 at The Hardmans’ House and from then Weds – Sun, 11am – 3.30pm.

Entry is by timed ticket only – to book call 0151 709 6261 or e-mail thehardmanshouse@nationaltrust.org.uk