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Saturday 5 April 2014

Fact 13. The Dock was the largest dock in Britain.

The trading centre of Hull was the Old Harbour, or the mouth of the River Hull. As trade got greater and the vessels got larger it became seriously congested. There was also no place where a legal quay could be made as the the ships discharged directly into private warehouses and so tax couldn't be collected properly. It was decided an enclosed dock was needed. In 1773 the Hull Corporation, Hull Trinity House and several Hull merchants got together to found a 'Dock Company' and it was the first statutory dock company in Britain. The Crown gave them the land which included the area of the northern walls and a Bill was passed in 1774 which allowed them to raise £100,000.

The dock entrance from the River Hull. After the dock was closed it was used as a dry dock.

The dock was designed by Henry Berry from Liverpool and later amended by John Grundy. It was to be 518 long x 75 m wide. The construction began on 19th October 1775 with the first stone being laid by Joseph Outram the Mayor at the time. The Dock was opened in September 1778 and was the largest enclosed dock in Britain. It was just called 'The Dock' as it was the only one. It actually cost £65,000 to build.

A WW1 torpedo boat drawing crowds in Queens Dock.

Queens Dock with the new Dock Offices in the distance and many barges and keels for the movement of cargoes around the docks and up the rivers.

The dock was in use for 150 years. It was finally called Queens Dock following the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1854. That was the first since 1642 and Monarchs don't seem to visit Hull very often. Much the same as other people I suspect! 

Queens Dock, Hull showing Alfred Gelder Street with the statues at the top of the Guild Hall in the middle at the rear.

The Dock was for exporting manufactured goods from Yorkshire, the Midlands and Lancashire that came via the rivers and railways of the regions. Raw materials were brought in from Europe. It also became the centre of the whaling ships between the seasons. Hull was a big whaling port with sailing vessels travelling to Greenland to hunt them.
Aerial view of Queens Dock. with the Guild Hall in the middle of the photograph.

An aerial photograph with the new Dock Offices at the end and the Town Hall at the bottom. It also shows Monument Bridge which connected to Prince's Dock that was built later. The Monument between the two is the Wilberforce Monument that was later moved to the east end of the Queens Gardens.

In 1930 the dock became redundant due to the size of vessels becoming too large and other much larger docks being built around Hull. Hull Corporation bought the dock for £100,000 and started to fill it in. This took four years and then it was laid out as a park area, and is now used as the location for concerts etc.

1 comment:

  1. The recent news of Queen's Dock walls being opened up prompted the question as to whether the dead from aerial bombing were buried in the dock and limed down. It is a very old story and now difficult to verify. There were the dead from WW1 Zeppelin raids but they ended in 1918.The dock was not filled in until 1930 and WW2 did not start until 1939 when official air raid shelters were built on the north side. Were bodies in fact ever buried in Queen's Dock or what eventually became Queens's Gardens. The question is a sombre one but relevant to the history of Hull.