Gladstone Dock

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Gladstone Dock in 2006
Overview Gladstone Dock June 2009
Gladstone Lock

Gladstone Dock is a dock on the River Mersey, England, and part of the Port of Liverpool. It is situated in the northern dock system in Bootle. The dock is connected to Seaforth Dock to the north and what remains of Hornby Dock to the south. Part of Liverpool Freeport, Gladstone Dock is operated by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company.


The dock is named after Robert Gladstone, a merchant from Liverpool and second cousin of Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone.[1] Designed in the first decade of the twentieth century, construction was eventually completed in 1927 and consisted of three miles (5 km) of quays and extensive warehouse space.[1]

The graving dock was completed in 1913, before the rest of the dock became operational. At 1,050 ft long and 120 ft (37 m) wide it was designed to take the largest trans-Atlantic steamers. The graving dock has since been converted into a wet dock (Gladstone Number Three Branch Dock).[2]

Gladstone Dock lock entrance is one of the two remaining operational river entrances in the northern dock system. Measuring 1,070 ft (330 m) long and 130 ft (40 m) wide, wider and longer than the Panama Canal locks, it provides maritime access to the container terminal of Royal Seaforth Dock, which opened in 1972.[1][3]

At the outbreak of the First World War, the liner RMS Aquitania was undergoing repairs in Gladstone Graving Dock. As a result, she was converted in situ for war service.[3] During the Second World War, ASW ships, Atlantic convoy escorts and minesweepers were based in the dock.[3] In 1942 the National Fire Service opened a fire station on Fort Road and had a berth for some of its fireboats adjoining the NW Wall of the Dock, this remained open until 1946

On 25 January 1953, the liner RMS Empress of Canada caught fire and capsized in Gladstone Number One Branch Dock. She was refloated the following year and towed to Gladstone Graving Dock to be made watertight, in preparation for being scrapped in Italy. Transatlantic passenger services continued to use the dock until all such services from Liverpool were discontinued in 1971.[3]

The main line Gladstone Dock railway station closed to passengers on 7 July 1924 while the Liverpool Overhead Railway station Gladstone Dock (LOR) closed in 1956.

Current use[edit]

As part of Liverpool Freeport, Gladstone Dock's principal uses are: importing coal for the adjacent Hornby Dock coal processing facility and exporting scrap metal to the Far East.[3] Gladstone Dock is also used by P&O Ferries for their regular passenger and freight services from Liverpool to Dublin.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Gladstone Dock, Liverpool History Online, retrieved 17 July 2008 
  2. ^ Trading Places: A History of Liverpool Docks, Liverpool Museums, retrieved 17 July 2008 
  3. ^ a b c d e Trading Places: Gladstone Dock history, Liverpool Museums, retrieved 17 July 2008 
  4. ^ "Liverpool port". P&O Ferries. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°27′18″N 3°01′08″W / 53.4549°N 3.0189°W / 53.4549; -3.0189