“People may think we are hippies but we’re not. This is our home.”
This is the view of Elizabeth who lives on a narrowboat in Salthouse Dock. Like everyone else, she stays there for just a few months a year.
The mother of two is passionate about Liverpool and where she lives. The dock, in her view, is central to the city’s cultural heritage – it was once the beating heart of global trade – and should be respected by all generations.
Elizabeth, 43, told the ECHO: “Living on a boat is a lifestyle choice. And the canals are an English heritage site, where ships and boats carried cargo.
“I lived in London on a boat and now me and my family are here. People may think we are hippies but we are not. This is our home, our kids go to school.
“Liverpool is like any other European city on the sea. We look out for each other, it’s a community and we share common interests.”
Salthouse Dock, opened in 1753, played an important role in shipping salt which came from Northwich, Cheshire. Now the dock is home to families, pensioners and workers on a semi-permanent basis.
A few boats down from Elizabeth is Mark Hardman. The 76-year-old gave a passionate case for life on water, and the freedom it can give you.
He told the ECHO: “It’s a unique scenario. You have museums and plenty of pubs on your doorstep.
“We have good neighbours and we’re never short of something to do. When you are stuck in a flat in Kensington, what can you do?
“I’ve got my ironing and washing done and I can go out into town now.”
Salthouse Dock is often overlooked by the famous Royal Albert Dock, which is surrounded by cafes, restaurants and apartments.
But there isn’t a shortage of things to do at Salthouse Dock, either. Peter Kenny, for instance, runs Liverpool’s only floating restaurant from the moorings.
Heoffer insightful history tours with afternoon tea or an evening meal. His business, The Floating Grace, won best employer of the year in 2020 and won an award for employing veterans.
He’s especially passionate about the armed forces and gives former soldiers a 10% discount.
Peter told the ECHO: “We are chuffed to bits with having trained veterans up for 17 years and I was recognised for it in 2020.
“Last year (we were in the) top three of inland boats and tours operators. I’m very passionate about history and what our forefathers have built.”
His booking manager, Kim, lives next door to Peter’s Floating Grace when it is moored. She told the ECHO: “I’d never been on a boat before this, never done anything. My husband fitted the boat out and now I love it.”
Another resident is Bob Smith, who spends half of his time in Liverpool and the other half in Thailand.
The 75-year-old said: “I was only born ¾ of a mile away from here and I’ve worked in a load of different countries.
“But this is our city and I like it here.”
Receive newsletters with the latest news, sport and what’s on updates from the Liverpool ECHO by signing up here