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Historic Facts 1860 – 1970

More historic facts about Albert Dock a timeline…

  • 1860 Jesse Hartley dies on 24 August at the age of 80, after 36 years as dock surveyor.
  • 1878 The Pump House is built as part of Albert Dock’s extended hydraulic system
  • 1882 The majority of the quayside cranes are converted to hydraulic use
  • 1895 The first, small-scale, installation of electric lighting commences
  • 1899 Part of the north stack (now the Merseyside Maritime Museum) is converted for use as a cold store and ice-making plant, by the Riverside Cold Storage and Ice Company. It remains in use until the early 1950s.
  • 1904 A hydraulic tobacco press, formerly in use at the nearby Kings Dock tobacco warehouse, is installed.
  • 1915 – 1916 Electric lighting is installed throughout the dock
  • 1920 From this year onwards there is virtually no further commercial shipping activity in the Albert Dock. The vast size of the warehouses meant they remained highly profitable well into the 1960s though, storing goods transported by road, rail and barge.
  • 1939 – 1945 The Albert Dock – along with some warehouse space – are ‘requisitioned’ by the Admiralty as a base for hundreds of its ships, including small warships, submarines, landing craft and merchant ships. At no time in its history have so many ships berthed at Albert Dock, numerically, although almost all of them were small, under 300 tons.
  • 1940 A German bomber drops a parachute mine, causing damage to shipping in the dock. Later that year the Luftwaffe drops an incendiary bomb on the roof of Atlantic Pavilion.
  • 1941 Extensive damage is caused to warehouses – particularly the Atlantic Pavilion – by Luftwaffe bombing raids during the ‘May blitz’. The Albert Dock ‘lost’ over 14% of its floor space.


  • 1948 – 1950 Electric lifts are installed
  • 1952 The Albert Dock is given Grade I listed building status
  • 1960 The Mersey Docks and Harbour Board considers the demolition of Albert Dock
  • 1966 Negotiations begin with Oldham Estates (Harry Hyams) for the sale of the Albert, Canning and Salthouse docks, to create a 53-acre ‘mini city’, with the intention of demolishing the Albert Dock.
  • 1970 Oldham Estates’ revised Aquarius City scheme – which incorporates a 44-storey office block – is announced. By the end of the year however the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board is in financial crisis, the scheme collapses and, in 1971, so did the board.

Image above dated 26 August 1921.

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