Welcome again to Then and Now, where each week we compare images of Merseyside landmarks, buildings, streets and events from bygone days with how they look today.

Our striking main image this week shows the soot-blackened pillars of the former Custom House with the Liver Building and George’s Dock ventilation tower in the distance. The date is March 1935.

The Custom House was an impressive Neo-classical building, complete with its own dome, built on the site of the historic old dock in 1839.

It housed the dock office, customs and excise departments and a post office making it a pivotal part of the Port of Liverpool.

The Custom House, the fifth on the site, was designed by Liverpool’s surveyor John Foster whose later work would include the Oratory to the north of the Anglican cathedral and St James’s Cemetery.

Custom House, Liverpool, 1935
Liverpool One shopping queues.
The first stone of the Custom House was laid by the Mayor of Liverpool, Thomas Colley Porter, in 1828. Construction work, including the distinctive pillared portico, took 11 years.

The building was severely damaged by a direct hit from a wartime bomb in 1941 and lay partly derelict until its demolition in 1948.

There were demands to restore the Custom House, but its owners – the Government – decided the historic building was beyond repair.

Today the site is occupied by the Liverpool One residential, leisure and shopping complex. It is the largest open-air shopping centre in the UK.

Businesses started moving into the new development in 2006. The traditional topping out ceremony was held on the top floor of Lewis’s in August 2006.