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Historic Facts 1824 – 1854

Innovation, ingenuity and engineering-feats: the Albert Dock has seen a string of world firsts and historic facts.

  • 1824 Jesse Hartley is appointed dock surveyor (chief engineer) of the Port of Liverpool, at the age of 44. It was a post he would hold for nearly forty years until he died, still in post, aged 80.
  • 1841 A bill to authorise the construction of the Albert Dock is submitted to Parliament, and the Dock Act passed. Hartley is authorised to give all occupiers of the proposed site of Albert Dock notice to quit.
  • 1841 Work begins on the construction of Albert Dock in November. The Canning and Salthouse docks are drained so new passages can be constructed for the Albert Dock.
  • 1842 The Canning Dock is re-opened to shipping in May. Progress continues apace, with site clearance and the creation of new dock entrances.
  • 1843 John Waring is awarded the contract for excavating the new dock in January. Apart from a few hours’ break at the beginning of each week, work was carried out ‘around the clock’.
  • 1845 The first shipping – for lying-up only – is allowed into the dock in February.
  • 1846 The dock is formally opened by Prince Albert (husband of Queen Victoria) on July 30.The east stacks (now the Edward and Atlantic pavilions) and south east stack (part of the Britannia Pavilion) are opened, and the dock is opened for general shipping.
Credit Kevin Cummins

Credit Kevin Cummins

  • 1847 The remaining warehouse stacks are completed, along with the Dock Traffic Office.
  • 1848 Hydraulic warehouse hoists are installed – a world first – and a clock tower, designed by Phillip Hardwick, is added to roof of north east stack (Edward Pavilion).
  • 1852 The dock master’s, assistant dock master’s and warehouse superintendent’s houses are completed.
  • 1853 – 1854 The west and east ends of the south stack of warehouses (now Britannia Pavilion) are built, to meet demand for more accommodation.

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