The Ocean Tide and the Port of Liverpool

Date11 May 2019
Time10:00 - 16:00
VenueMerseyside Maritime Museum, Royal Albert Dock

The event celebrates the centenary of the world-famous Liverpool Tidal Institute, founded at Liverpool University in 1919, before moving to Bidston Observatory on the Wirral. 

This event is organised by the National Oceanography Centre and the University of Liverpool, in association with the Centre for Port and Maritime History (University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and Merseyside Maritime Museum) and the Liverpool Institute for Sustainable Coasts and Oceans (National Oceanography Centre, University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University).


The Liverpool Tidal Institute (LTI) was founded at Liverpool University in March 1919 with funds from Sir Alfred Booth and his brother, Mr Charles Booth, to "prosecute continuously scientific research into all aspects of knowledge of the tides".

This marked the start of Oceanography as an area of research and teaching at Liverpool University, and the first university oceanography department in the UK.

Professor Joseph Proudman became its Director and Dr Arthur Doodson its Secretary. It was located initially in the Holt Physics Building and moved to Bidston Observatory, on the Wirral, in stages during the next decade.

The LTI became the world centre for knowledge of tides, with Proudman taking the lead in dynamical theories, and Doodson in the analysis of tidal information from around the world, and in tidal prediction. The latter included the construction of analogue computers called Tidal Prediction Machines.

Proudman and Doodson were both Fellows of the Royal Society, a distinction that was later awarded also to Dr David Cartwright, Director at Bidston, for his work on the global ocean tides.

The LTI was renamed the 'Liverpool University Tidal Institute' in 1961 and went through other name changes including 'Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory' before it became a component of the present 'National Oceanography Centre' in 2010.

Seminar Programme

Most of the speakers come from the National Oceanography Centre and Liverpool University and world-leading experts on these topics. 

10.00 Introduction, Welcome and Brief History of the Liverpool Tidal Institute by Philip Woodworth 

10.30 The science behind the ocean tide by David Pugh 

11.00 Opportunities for the UK in tidal energy by Judith Wolf

11.30 Coffee break

11.45 The tides and the oceanography of our neighbouring seas by Jonathan Sharples

12.15 The large Mersey tides and the Port of Liverpool by Simon Holgate

12.45 Tides and the Earth's climate by Chris Hughes

13.15 The tides and the banks of the Mersey by Andy Plater

This event is a free to attend but prior registration would be appreciated. 


From 1300 to 1630 there will be an open day at the National Oceanography Centre (Brownlow Street, Liverpool) enabling visitor to view the two historical Tide Prediction Machines on display there.

These machines were used by Arthur Doodson, Director of the Liverpool Tidal Institute. One was used to make tidal computations for the D-Day landings in World War II. 

For further information see:  and

Registration is not required for the exhibition - just come along.

Other activities are also expected to take place at Bidston on that day.

For further updates on all of these activities visit   





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