Bidston Dock

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Bidston Dock
Iron ore unloaders, Birkenhead 1964.jpg
Location Birkenhead, United Kingdom
Coordinates 53°24′39″N 3°03′26″W / 53.4107°N 3.0573°W / 53.4107; -3.0573
Opened March 1933[1]
Owner Peel Holdings (site)

Bidston Dock was a dock at Birkenhead, in England. It was situated to the west of the Great Float, between Bidston and Poulton.


The three cranes in 1967

A proposal for the construction of the dock on most of what remained of the tidal inlet of Wallasey Pool was outlined in the 1920s. Consisting of the main basin and four additional branches, only part of the main dock was eventually built.[2]

Opened in March 1933 and originally known as the West Float extension,[1] the dock had a trio of large moveable cranes to unload iron ore,[3] which were dismantled in the late 1990s. Bidston Dock was subsequently closed and was landfilled by 2003.[4]

The northern quayside of Bidston Dock was the iron ore berth, which was operated by Rea Ltd. The southern quayside was unallocated.[5]

The dock was served by the Birkenhead Dock Branch railway line and an iron ore train ran regularly to the John Summers Steelworks in Shotton, Flintshire. Monthly shipments of iron ore arrived at Bidston Dock from 1956.[6] Due to the nature of the train, a high degree of motive power was required. Class 40s and pairs of Class 25 locomotives[7] are known to have operated on this track, during its latter days. In the steam era, the iron ore train was known to have been hauled by Class 9F locomotives.[8] The Class 9F locomotive 92203, later named as Black Prince, worked the final steam-hauled iron ore train in November 1967.[9][10][11]

Though the dock itself was filled, the northern quayside, on which the cranes were situated, and the railway sidings are still intact, although disused.


The infilled site, 2007.

Peel Holdings have expressed an interest to develop the site of the former dock, as part of the Wirral Waters regeneration project. This part of the project would encompass 571,000 square feet (53,000 m2) of leisure facilities and a retail park.[12]


  1. ^ a b Booth, Adrian (September 2000). "Rea's of Birkenhead". Railway Bylines. Vol. 5 no. 10 (Irwell Press). p. 477. ISSN 1360-2098. 
  2. ^ Birkenhead Docks: Bidston Dock plan (1920s), Merseyside Views 
  3. ^ Booth, Adrian (September 2000). "Rea's of Birkenhead". Railway Bylines. Vol. 5 no. 10 (Irwell Press). p. 479. ISSN 1360-2098. 
  4. ^ Birkenhead Docks (photo18), Merseyside Views, retrieved 12 October 2007 
  5. ^ Collard 2001, p. 111
  6. ^ Booth, Adrian (September 2000). "Rea's of Birkenhead". Railway Bylines. Vol. 5 no. 10 (Irwell Press). p. 480. ISSN 1360-2098. 
  7. ^ Mitchell & Smith 2013, fig. 101
  8. ^ Mitchell & Smith 2013, fig. 103
  9. ^ "The Famous Black Prince". Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  10. ^ "Memories of Bank Hall, Birkenhead & Beyond, Part Two, as recalled by Mal Pratt, Birkenhead 1966 - 1968". Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  11. ^ "Black Prince Steam Locomotive". The Olden Days - A Trip Down Memory Lane. Retrieved 8 June 2015. 
  12. ^ Peel unveil plans for £4.5 billion 'Wirral Waters' scheme (pdf), Peel Waters, 5 September 2006, retrieved 3 July 2009 


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