Thousands of people gathered at Liverpool’s Pier Head for a spectacular Three Queens fireworks display.

The show was being held as part of the three days of celebrations to mark the 175th anniversary of the Cunard shipping line and its long association with the city.

The displays are among the highlights of celebrations being held to coincide with the arrival of the Three Queens of the Cunard line.

The Queen Mary 2 provided a backdrop to the display berthed near the Three Graces, with the the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria due to arrive on the river on Bank Holiday Monday.

An estimated 50,000-strong crowd turned out as the document confirming the Cunard Line was being given the Freedom of the city was signed on board the Queen Mary 2.

The ship had been the first of the Three Queens to arrive at Liverpool and by lunchtime some 20,000 had been at waterfront to watch its arrival – despite the gloomy weather and some rain.

Lord Mayor of Liverpool Erica Kemp signed the Freedom Roll on the ship. It says: “The Cunard Line be admitted to Liverpool City Council’s Freedom Roll of Associations and Institutions.”

The special award was made in recognition of Cunard’s “proud association with Liverpool dating back to its inception, generations of Liverpool citizens or their families have either worked or travelled on one of the Cunard liners”.

Throughout the day overwhelming numbers headed to Liverpool’s Pier Head, with thousands more having lined the Mersey as it approached,

The Queen Mary 2 arrived first for a three-day celebration of the 175th anniversary of Cunard, with the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria due on Monday.

According to official figures around 50,000 people had been at the Pier Head by 6.30pm, although the final number is likely to be higher when other viewers are included.

Wendy Simon, assistant mayor and cabinet member for culture, tourism and events at Liverpool city council, was delighted with the turnout.

She said: “We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the size of the crowds here, especially given the fact that only one of the ships is here and the weather is not as nice as it was yesterday. We have had lots of people enjoying themselves and taking photographs and there have been plenty of other events at the Cunard building.”

At 9am the QM2 had docked along at the Pier Head and the captain officially announced the arrival at 9.20am.

The first passengers disembarked at 9.45am and the Lord Mayor of Liverpool Erica Kemp CBE stepped off at 10.25am where crowds were eagerly waiting to get the best views of the beautiful ship.

The Love activists, who occupied the Bank of England building on Castle Street last month, were also camped at the Pier Head.

Three Queens Liverpool 2015 - How to catch a glimpse of Cunard’s Three Queens plus travel advice