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George's Dock Ventilation

George's Dock Ventilation and Central Station of the Mersey Road Tunnel
Grade II

George Dock Ventilation

Located between Port of Liverpool Building and The Strand is another highly distinctive building in very different architectural style, the Art Deco Ventilation Station and Tunnel Offices, designed by Sir Basil Mott and J. A. Brodie with Herbert J. Rowse as architect. 

It is one of a number of buildings on both sides of the river constructed to serve the Mersey Road Tunnel. The central angular ventilation shaft dominates the building and takes the form of a stylised obelisk. 

Around the base of the shaft are offices, four and five storeys high with two basement levels. Rowse introduced sculpture as an essential part of the exterior. 

Archaeological discoveries in Egypt, notably that of the tomb of Tutankamun in 1921, generated a huge interest in the architecture and art of Ancient Egypt, and they became strong themes in the Art Deco movement of the 1920s and 1930s. 

This theme is strongly reflected in this building, its setting and the sculptural programme was carried out by Edmund C. Thompson, assisted by George C. Capstick. 

The windows to the north and south are in tall recesses, flanked by relief sculptures of Civil Engineering, Construction, Architecture and Decoration, whilst the west fašade has a seven foot high relief in Portland stone - Speed - the Modern Mercury. It is a futuristic stylised figure with minimal human characteristics and strong imagery of speed. 

Other statues in fluted niches are of Night and Day in black basalt, symbols of the never-closing Mersey Tunnel and on the east fašade is a black marble memorial to the workers who died in construction of the tunnel. 

There are raised paved areas to the north and south with retaining walls, rails and lamp standards. 

The one to the south is separated from the building by a sunken area and a small yard accessed through a fluted gate with flowing waves on top, and has a compass. A raised area to the north has a pair of blind rusticated pylons with banded caps, echoing the Egyptian temple influence.