Port of Hull

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Port of Hull
P and O Terminal - geograph.org.uk - 555110.jpg
The P&O Ferries terminal at the Port of Hull
Country England
Location Kingston upon Hull
Coordinates 53°44′17″N 0°19′55″W / 53.738°N 0.332°W / 53.738; -0.332 (Port of Hull)Coordinates: 53°44′17″N 0°19′55″W / 53.738°N 0.332°W / 53.738; -0.332 (Port of Hull)
Operated by Associated British Ports

The Port of Hull is a trading port located at the confluence of the River Hull and the Humber Estuary in the city of Kingston upon Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. Seaborne trade can be traced to at least the 13th century.[1] As of 2010 the main port is operated by Associated British Ports and is estimated to handle one million passengers per year and is the main softwood timber importation port for the UK.[2] The Port of Hull is a constituent port of the Hull and Humber Ports City Region.



17th century map by Wenceslaus Hollar showing position of various staithes in the Haven and the fortifications of the City Wall

Hull lies at a naturally advantageous position for a port, on the north side of the Humber Estuary to the west of a bend southwards giving rise to (on average) deeper water; and the River Hull flows out into the Humber at the same point.[3][map 1]

An important event in the history of Hull as a port was its acquisition by king (Edward I). In 1297, it then became the only port from which goods could be exported overseas from the county of Yorkshire.[4] Thus in the 13th and 14th centuries Hull was a major English port for the export of wool,[note 1] much of it to Flanders, with wine being a major import.[5][note 2] During this period the River Hull was made navigable as far as the then important town of Beverley (1269), and roads built connecting Hull to Beverley and Holderness and to the via regia between Hessle and Beverley near to Anlaby (about 1302).[4]

By the 15th century trade with the Hanseatic league had become important and in the same period the growth of the English cloth industry meant that the export of cloth from Hull increased whilst wool exports decreased.[6] The 16th century brought a considerable reduction in the amount of cloth traded through the port, but the export of lead increased.[7] By the late 17th century Hull was the third port in the realm after London and Bristol, with export of lead and cloth, and imports of flax and hemp as well as iron and tar from the Baltic.[8]

Until 1773 trade was conducted via the Old Harbour, also known as The Haven, a series of wharves on the west bank of the River Hull,[note 3] with warehouses and the merchants' houses backing on to the wharves along the High Street.[note 4]

Hull Dock Company[edit]

The second Hull Dock Company offices (built 1820), close to the entrance to the former Queen's Dock
The third Hull Dock Company offices (built 1871), at the former junction between Queen's and Prince's Dock

By the 18th century it was becoming increasingly clear that the Haven was unfit for the increasing amount of trade: it was not only narrow, but tidal and prone to a buildup of mud from the estuary.[10][11] An additional stimulus to change was the demand for a 'legal quay' on which customs officials could easily examine and weigh goods for export without causing excessive delay to shipment.[12]

In 1773 the Hull Corporation, Hull Trinity House and Hull merchants formed the "Dock Company",[11] which was the first statutory dock company in Britain.[13] The Crown gave the land which contained Hull's city walls for construction of docks,[14] and an act of Parliament was passed in 1774 allowing the Dock Company to raise up to £100,000 by shares and loans; thus Hull's first dock (the Old Dock) ( a wet dock) began construction.[10][11] Three docks (known as the Town Docks) which followed the path of the town walls were constructed by the company between 1778 and 1829: The Old Dock (later Queen's Dock) (1778), Humber Dock (1809), and Junction Dock (later Prince's Dock) (1829).[15][16][17] An extension of the Town Docks (Railway Dock) was built in 1846 just north of the terminus of the then recently opened Hull and Selby Railway.[15] The first dock in Hull east of the River Hull (Victoria Dock) was constructed between 1845 and 1850; this became the main dock for timber trade, and was expanded in the next two decades including the construction of large timber ponds.[18]

In 1860 a rival company, the West Dock Company, was formed to promote and build new docks suitable for the increasing amounts of trade and the increasing size of steam ships; the scheme was supported by the Hull Corporation, Trinity House, the North Eastern Railway (NER) and various individuals in Hull. The site for the proposed dock was on the Humber foreshore to the west of the River Hull. The Dock Company then proposed a larger dock at the same position, which was sanctioned by an Act of Parliament in 1861[note 5][20] This dock was known as "the Western Dock" until its opening in 1869 when it was named "Albert Dock"; an extension "William Wright Dock" was opened 1880.[19] A third dock (St. Andrew's Dock) on the Humber foreshore west of the William Wright Dock was opened in 1883.[21] All three docks where ideally suited for trans-shipment by rail as they were directly south of and parallel with the Selby to Hull railway line that terminated in the centre of Hull.

In 1885 Alexandra Dock opened, which was owned and operated by the Hull Barnsley & West Riding Junction Railway and Dock Company. This ended the Dock Company's monopoly on dock facilities in Hull and led to price cutting competition between the two companies for dock charges; the Dock Company was operating at a loss and from 1886 sought to merge the company into a larger organisation – the obvious choice being the North Eastern Railway.[22] In 1891 the Dock Company approached the North Eastern for capital to improve its Albert Dock, leading to the North Eastern Railway acquiring the shares and debts of the Dock Company in exchange for its shares. Instead of improving the Albert Dock, the North Eastern decided to expend a much greater sum on a new dock, east of the Alexandra Dock; however the proposal was opposed by both the Hull and Barnsley, and the Hull Corporation. The Dock Company and NER were legally amalgamated in 1893; one of the clauses of the Act of Parliament allowing the merger stipulated that about £500,000 would be spent on dock improvements over the next seven years.[23]

Clauses in the 1893 amalgamation bill protecting the Hull and Barnsley company prevented the NER from creating a new deep water dock without consulting the H&BR. This led to a joint proposal for a dock east of Alexandra Dock being submitted, and passed in 1899, as the "Hull Joint Dock Act".[24] The new dock was opened in 1914 as the King George Dock.[25]

Dock ownership (1922–)[edit]

The Hull and Barnsley Railway became part of the North Eastern Railway in 1922,[26] making the docks in Hull the responsibility of a single company once again. The Railways Act 1921 led to the merger of the NER into the London and North Eastern Railway in 1923.[26] In 1948 much of Britain's transport operations were nationalised by the Transport Act 1947 into the British Transport Commission, including the port and railway operations of the LNER. In 1962 the British Transport Docks Board was formed by the Transport Act 1962. In 1981 the company was privatised by the Transport Act 1981, and Associated British Ports was formed.


Map showing the Hull docks, associated railways, stations, locks, bridges and sidings in the context of the river Hull and Humber estuary
Map of the Hull docks c.1912 (full rail network not shown)

The Town Docks[edit]

The Old Dock[edit]

Queen's Dock, Hull in 1922

By the mid 1700s the overcrowding of ships in the River Hull, or Old Harbour, had reached an extant that ships where being damaged, in addition to delays in handling and shipping – as a consequence some tentative investigations were begun into expanding the facilities at Hull. It was not until the later 1760s until the Hull Corporation acted and employed surveyors to search for a suitable site for a new harbor; at the same time the Customs sought an end to the need to inspect cargos handled at the private wharfs, and so wished to have the customs procedures incorporated into a new dock or wharf – a "legal quay".[27][28]

An initial survey by Robert Mylne and Joseph Robson recommended a new harbor on the east side of the river Hull. Though the established development on the east bank tended to preclude a new port there, the same interests were unwilling to see the focus of trade shift away from the west bank where they were already established. In the early 1770s John Grundy was contracted by agriculturalists owning land reliant on the drainage of the River Hull to assess the impact of the proposed new quay on the Hull. Grundy's report of 1772 suggested either widening the river; or using the channel behind the Hull Citadel, or the moat of the Hull town walls for a both harbourage and drainage – Grundy also proposed the use of gates in the channel to afford both wet and dry docks.[29] Reports were prepared on the cost (John Wooler) and effect on the river (John Smeaton) of Grundy's proposal for a quay on the site of the town's moat. The dock was costed at around £55 to 60 thousand pounds, and quay at £11 to 12 thousand; whilst Smeaton's report indicated no issues with arising in terms of the flow of the river. After both reports had be given in early 1773 the Corporation and Customs soon reached agreement to proceed with the plan. With limited opposition only on the grounds of effect on drainage an act for the construction was obtained in 1774.[30]

The Old Dock, the first dock in Hull, was built between 1775 and 1778 to a design by Henry Berry and John Grundy; Luke Holt acted as resident engineer, appointed on John Smeaton's recommendation.[31] As built the dock was 1,703 by 254 ft (519 by 77 m) long by wide,[32][map 2] the lock 200 by 36.5 feet (61.0 by 11.1 m) long by wide at its extremities, and 24.5 feet (7.5 m) deep,[33] the lock river basin was 212 by 80 feet (65 by 24 m) in dimension.[34]

The dock entrance was on the River Hull just south of North Bridge,[map 3] and the dock itself built west-south-west along the path of the North Wall as far as the Beverley Gate.[note 6] The dock walls were of local brick, with Bramley Fall stone coping piece.[32] Cement for the lock wall's front construction was rendered waterproof through the use of pozzolana imported from Italy.[10][33] Piling for the walls consisted of piles narrowing from 12 by 9 inches (300 by 230 mm) to 3 inches (76 mm) at the bottom supporting sleepers 12 by 6 inches (300 by 150 mm) wide by deep trenailed to the piles.[36] The alluvium excavated during the dock construction was deposited mostly on land to the north, raising the ground by 5 feet (1.5 m) - the land was later sold for building upon.[32]

Some of the work proved inadequate, requiring reconstruction later:[10][37] Issues with weak ground led to displacement bulging of the walls of the dock in 1776, before the dock had been completed, both Holt and Berry had recommended extra piling at the softer ground areas, but had been overruled. Subsequently movement of the walls proved additional piling necessary. By 1778 some parts of the dock walls were displaced from their proper position by 3 feet (0.91 m), exacerbated by poor design of the wall and its buttresses. Further issues occurred on the lock to the river Hull, and the north wall of the lock basin collapsed before construction had been completed.[38] Despite these setbacks the dock was formally opened on 22 September 1778.[39] The lock required rebuilding in the 1780s to prevent total collapse,[40] and in 1814 the lock and basin were rebuilt under the guidance of John Rennie the Elder with George Miller as resident engineer.[41][42]

The lock was rebuilt of brick with pozzuolana mortar, faced with Bramley Fall stone – after rebuilding the lock was 120.75 by 38 feet (36.80 by 11.58 m) long by wide, with height24.5 feet (7.5 m) height above the sills;[43] the depth of water being between 15 and 20 ft (4.6 and 6.1 m) depending on the tide.[44] At the entrance to the dock a double drawbridge, counterbalanced for ease of use, of the Dutch type, allowed people to cross the lock.[10] The main part of the bridge was cast iron, built by Ayden and Etwell of the Shelf Iron Works (Bradford).[45] The lock basin was rebuilt at the same time, to a the same design as used in the new Humber dock – the new basin was 213 feet (65 m) long, narrowing from 80.5 to 71 feet (24.5 to 21.6 m) wide from top to bottom. Both lock and basin were re-opened on 13 November 1815.[46]

The dock was called The Dock until the construction of further docks,[47] whence it was called The Old Dock,[48] it was officially named the Queen's Dock in 1855.[note 7][note 8]

The dock closed in 1930 and was sold to the Corporation for £100,000, subsequently it was infilled and converted to an ornamental gardens known as Queen's Gardens.[50][51]

Humber Dock[edit]

Humber Dock in 1952

Since the entrance to the Old Dock was via the River Hull there were still problems with ships accessing the dock through the crowded river; in 1781 a canal was proposed to connect the Old Dock to the Humber, additionally sea-borne trade was still in general increasing.[52] In 1793 Customs commissioned three independent reports (Thomas Morris, William Jessop, and Joseph Huddart.) on the siting of a second dock. All three considered a dock in the southern end of the ditch of the City walls, and a dock on the site of the Citadel, also known as the Garrison. Two out of the three recommended the new dock be sited in the town ditch, and proposed a canal connecting the old and new dock. The Dock company then commissioned John Hudson and John Longbotham to examine and cost a dock in the town ditch, as well as other improvements.[41] There was some delay in making the new dock reality, partly due to lethargy of the Dock Company, but, by 1802 a bill had been passed in Parliament for the construction of a second dock; again following the path of the City walls, this time from Hessle gate roughly northwards.[52]

John Rennie and William Chapman were employed as engineers,[53][54] The engineers submitted an optimistic estimate for a dock in the town ditch with a basin onto the Humber of £84,000. Experience with the settlement and collapse of the old dock's walls led to more substantial construction of lock and dock walls, though some subsidence still occurred.[55] The dock walls now stood on angled piled foundations, with the mass of the wall at a shallow angle to the vertical opposing the weight of earth behind,[56] the lock base consisted of an inverted arch, a design also used on the rebuilt Old Dock lock of 1814.[57] During the construction of the lock pit a freshwater spring was found,[note 9] causing difficulties in construction.[58] The spring continued to cause problems in the lock pit, with some subsidence attributed to it (1812); James Walker directed further remedial work on the lock in 1830 as a result.[59]

John Harrap was the on site engineer.[60][61] Construction started in 1803 and was completed in 1809 at a cost of £220,000;[62] mud from the excavations was used to make new ground on the banks of the Humber, with the upper clay stratum also used to manufacture bricks for the works.[58][note 10]

The dock entrance was from the Humber via an outer basin with piers.[map 4] The dock itself was 914 ft (279 m) long and 342 ft (104 m) wide, the lock was 158 ft (48 m) long and 42 ft (13 m) wide. The depth of water varied from 21 to 26 ft (6.4 to 7.9 m) seasonally depending on the tides.[62][map 5] The lock was crossed by a two leaf swing bridge, 81 feet 9 inches (24.92 m) in total length, and 8 feet 3 inches (2.51 m) wide, made of cast iron, by Ayden and Etwell, with six main ribs supporting the roadway.[65]

The dock was first filled with water on 3 December 1808, and was formally opened on 30 June 1809. The cost of construction was split between the Dock company, and the Hull Corporation and Trinity House,[66] as set out in the text of the 1802 act.[67]

Humber Dock closed in 1968, it re-opened in 1983 as the Hull Marina.[61] The dock, lock and swing bridge over the lock (a replacement dated 1846.[68]), are now listed structures.[69] The swing bridge ("Wellington Street Bridge") was restored in 2007.[68][70]

Junction Dock[edit]

The Princes Quay shopping centre on the Junction Dock

One stipulation of the Act of 1802 for the construction of Humber Dock was that, when the average tonnage of goods unloaded at the docks reached a certain level, the Dock Company would build a third dock between the Old and Humber docks. This continuation was satisfied in 1825, the Act of Parliament required had already been passed in 1824, and construction of the third dock began in 1826.[71]

This dock, Junction Dock was constructed between, and connected the Old and Humber docks;[map 6] making the old town of Hull an island bounded by the three docks, river and estuary;[48] and built roughly along the lines of the old fortifications between Beverley and Myton gates,[72] as set out in the 1802 act.[73][74]

It was designed by James Walker with Thomas Thorton and later John Timperley as resident engineer,[75][76] The construction cost £186,000.[77][note 11] The dock walls were similar in design to those in the Humber dock, as were the locks, with inverted arched bottoms.[78] Whilst the cofferdam used on construction of the northern lock was being dismantled a leak caused the undermining and collapse of around 60 feet (18 m) the Old dock wall;[75][79] the removal of debris was done using a diving bell and the Old dock wall repaired with piling.[80]

The dock opened in 1829 and was 645 ft (197 m) long and 407 ft (124 m) wide, with a lock at each end 36 ft (11 m) wide with a bridge over each.[81] The bridges were of the balanced lifting type; both bridges and locks were from Hunter and English (Bow, London), with iron from Alfreton, Derbyshire.[82] In 1855 it was renamed Prince's Dock in honor of a visit of Queen Victoria and Albert, Prince Consort.[note 7]

The dock closed in 1968,[83] part of the dock still exists, but without a lock connection to Humber Dock; the Princes Quay shopping centre opened in 1991[83] was built over part of the dock on stilts, the dock now features a fountain.[84]

Railway Dock[edit]

The dock company applied to build a new branch dock in May 1844,[85] and obtained powers with the Kingston-upon-Hull Dock Act, 1844, which also enable the construction of an east dock (later Victoria Dock). In late 1844 the company applied to expand the branch dock,[86] which was enabled by the Kingston-upon-Hull Dock Act, 1845.

The Railway Dock was connected on the west side of Humber Dock to the north of Kingston Street, and was smaller than the other town docks. The dock of 13,130 sq ft (1,220 m2),[map 7] approximately 716 by 165 feet (218 by 50 m) was constructed at a cost of £106,000. The dock opened 3 December 1846.[87][88] The Dock company's engineer was J.B Hartley; also engineer on the east dock.[89]

Its primary purpose was for the transfer of goods to and from the newly built Hull and Selby Railway,[15] which had its passenger terminus just west of Humber Dock facing onto Railway Street, and its goods sheds north of this (see Manor House Street station). Railway lines also ran from the goods shed to the Humber Dock.[90]

Like Humber Dock the dock closed in 1968 and in 1984 became part of the Hull Marina.[91]

Victoria Dock[edit]

Plan of the town docks with proposed 'Queen's Dock' to the east (1839)

After the construction of the Junction Dock in 1825 the port and its trade continued to grow substantially leading to a requirement for a new dock.[92] In 1838 an independent company, the Queen's Dock Company, was formed to promote a new dock. The new dock, of around 12 acres (4.9 ha), to be called the Queen's Dock,[note 8] was designed by James Oldham for a site of around 30 acres (12 ha) in Drypool east of the River Hull and The Citadel and near to the river's confluence with the Humber. The proposed dock had entrances onto the Humber, and onto the Hull. Capital of £180,000 was proposed for the scheme.[87][93] Proceedings for a bill in parliament were begun in 1838.[94][note 12]

The Queen's Dock company abandoned the project, after the Dock Company took up a similar proposal.[95] In September 1839 the James Walker was requested to make plans for a dock,[96] and proceedings for a bill in parliament were begin in the end of that year.[97] The dock's main aim was to accommodate the increased timber trade, freeing up the town docks;[98] alternative plans were also considered including a west dock, and the conversion of the Old Harbour (River Hull) into a dock.[99] Walker's dock was broadly similar to the built dock,[note 13] with entrances onto both the Humber and river;[note 14] the design also admitted extension to the east with timber ponds at a later date.[100]

The 1840 bill was withdrawn due to local opposition. In 1844/4 the company returned to parliament again with a bill for a dock in the same location, as well as other works including the Railway Dock.[92][103] Permission to build the new east dock, and railway dock was granted in 1844; construction of this new dock began in 1845 and was completed in 1850 at a cost of £300,000.[104] The Dock company's engineer for the dock was J.B Hartley; the plan was similar in overall form to that of James Walker's design.[89] The formal laying of the foundation stone took place 5 November 1845, and the formal opening on 3 July 1850, with the dock given the name Victoria Dock, in honour of the then Queen, Victoria I.[87]

The dock had an area of about 12.83 acres (51,900 m2), with the Half-tide basin 3 acres (12,000 m2), the outer basin onto the Humber 2.75 acres (11,100 m2), and the Drypool basin 1.125 acres (0.455 ha).[note 15] In some respects the dock was of a slightly larger design that Walker's 1840 proposal: water depth was 27.5 to 22 feet (8.4 to 6.7 m) (spring to neap tide), and the entrances onto the Humber and River were 60 and 45 feet (18 and 14 m) wide respectively.[105] There were two entrances: the larger entrance was onto the Humber; from an outer basin it led via two parallel locks to the Half Tide Basin,[note 16][map 8] and then to the dock itself.[map 9] The second entrance was onto the River Hull south of the entrance to the Old Dock and of Drypool Bridge; it had an outer lock which opened directly to a second locked area known as Drypool Basin.[map 10][note 17] The first timber pond was added soon after the construction of the dock.[107]

In 1845 the York, Hull and East and West Yorkshire Junction Railway had proposed a railway line from York to Hull which was to terminate at the East Dock; as a consequence the York and North Midland Railway (Y&NMR) was forced to bring forward its own scheme to connect the east dock to the railway network.[108][109] The Y&NMR's Victoria Dock Branch Line was opened in 1853.

In 1863 the dock itself was expanded eastwards by 8 acres (3.2 ha), plus another timber pond (No.2) of 12 acres (4.9 ha) east of the dock, whilst the original timber pond (No.1) east of the half-tide basin was extended through land reclaimed from the Humber.[104] In 1875 the extent of the two ponds was 14 and 8 acres (57,000 and 32,000 m2) respectively.[105]

The western boundary of the dock was defined by the Hull Citadel, which was sold to the Dock company and demolished in 1864, the site was then used for timber storage,[18] Part of the former Citadel land was used by Martin Samuelson and Company (later Humber Iron Works) for shipbuilding,[110] later by Cook, Welton & Gemmell (from 1883 to 1902).[111][112] C. & W. Earle also had shipbuilding facilities (established 1851) on the banks of the Humber adjacent to and south of Victoria Dock.[113]

Part of the northwest corner of the eastern timber pond (No.2) was filled in c. 1900 due to changes to the railway layout north of the dock.[114] In the late 1930s the LNER closed the entrance to No.2 pond and partially filled in its south side, and expanded timber storage and sidings for the dock to the east over the site of the former shipyard of Earle's Shipbuilding, as part of wider improvements to rail connected timber handling facilities at the dock.[115] [116]

By the second half of the 20th century both ponds had been filled in creating timber yards and sidings;[114] this pattern of use was retained until closure.[117] One major use of the dock was for the trade in timber, there were also facilities for cattle import including abattoirs and cold stores, coal was also exported through the dock.[118]

The Dock closed in the 1970s and was infilled; the land being used for the construction of a housing estate in the late 1980s.[119] Of the dock the entrance basin on the Humber part remains though permanently sealed.[18]

The West Dock[edit]

Albert Dock[edit]

The modern Albert Dock (2007)

A dock along the banks of the Humber in west Hull had been promoted as early as the 1830s by Alderman Thomas Thompson. In 1860 a "West Dock Company" was formed to promote a dock in like position, backed by the Hull Corporation, North Eastern Railway, the Hull Trinity House and leading Hull figures. The company proposed a dock of around 1,000 yards (910 m) long and of 14 acres (5.7 ha) area. In response the Hull Dock Company promoted a rival scheme; both were put to parliament and the Dock Company obtained and act in 1861.[120][note 18]

The Hull Dock Act of 1861 sanctioned the building of a new dock on the Humber foreshore. Whilst the dock was under construction two further acts were enacted: the 1866 act allowed the extension of the dock westwards, and the 1867 act allowed further expansion to the west and south.[123][note 19] The dock sanctioned in 1861 was to be 2,500 feet (760 m) long, the 1866 act increased the length to 3,350 feet (1,020 m) and the enclosed area to 22.8 acres (9.2 ha), and water depth of 29 to 24.5 feet (8.8 to 7.5 m) from high spring to neap tides. The total land area including locks, basins and reclaimed land to the west was 76 acres (31 ha).[124] The engineer was John Hawkshaw and the site engineer J.C. Hawkshaw.[125]

Construction began in October 1862,[126] with the foundation stone of the north dock wall laid by William Wright in May 1864.[125] The southern dock walls and quays were on reclaimed land, and cofferdams were built which enclosed and split the works into three parts. Quay walls were built of sand and lime mortar with stone from Horsforth onto concrete foundations of on average 10 feet (3.0 m) thick laid on a clay strata reached by excavating down through clay and sand. During construction, on 17 September 1866 on of the south dock walls burst allowing the Humber to flood in. The breach was repaired by 13 October.[126] During the construction of the lockpit the excavation work were troubled by "boils",[note 9] which undermined the work. Boils caused a breach in the river bank on 17 September 1866, letting water in the works. In November construction began of a dam of around 380 feet (120 m) total from the south wall to the bank near the Humber Dock to protect the works. Boils appeared in the lockpit on 3 March 1867, and required extensive specialised remedial work to finish the foundations, taking till 20 November for the flow from the boils to be dealt with.[129] Due to the difficulties encountered during construction the length of the lock, originally intended to be 400 feet (120 m), was reduced to 320 feet (98 m). The width was 80 feet (24 m).[130]

Machinery on the dock, including capstans and the lock gates were worked by hydraulic power. The dock incorporated its own power supply, consisting three 20 by 6 feet (6.1 by 1.8 m) (long by diameter) boilers supplying a 40 horsepower (30 kW) steam engine which powered both the hydraulic system via a hydraulic accumulator at 700 pounds per square inch (4,800 kPa), as well as being able to pump mains water around the dock.[131] The works also required the resiting (1864) of the goods line and sidings of the North Eastern Railway's (NER) Hull and Selby Line;[132] when complete the dock included a connection to the NER, and had doubled track or wider rail sidings on both quays, with the rails crossing the lock entrance by a hydraulically operated swing girder bridge. The dock's sidings were connected to the NER's system west of the dock.[124][131]

A small wharf was built outside the main dock for shipping activities of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR); both the wharf and main dock led into an entrance basin of 5 acres (2.0 ha); this was partially filled in c. 1875 to create more space for the MS&LR.[133] (See also Railway Creek.)

The cost of the dock was £559,479 of which £113,582 was for the excavations, a similar amount for the dock walls, and £88,655 for the entire lock constructions excluding the lock gates and machinery.[134] The dock was opened in the presence of the Prince and Princess of Wales (Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, and Alexandra, Princess of Wales) in 1869, and was named Albert Dock.[19][135][map 11]

Both the Albert and William Wright docks were closed to commercial vessels in 1972, and converted for use as fish docks, the Hull fish fleet moved to the docks in 1975.[135] As of 2010 both docks remain in use for general cargo traffic,[136] as well as being the landing point for the much reduced Hull fishing industry.[137]

In December 2013 a North Sea storm surge and high tide (Cyclone Xaver) caused overtopping of the Albert Dock from the Riverside Quay waterfront and through the lockgates, resulting in flooding in Hull city centre.[138][139] As a result, a flood defence improvement scheme was brought forward by 2 years;[140] work on the £6.3 million flood defence improvement including a 950 metres (3,120 ft) long wall 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) high began November 2014, and is expected to be complete by mid 2015.[141]

William Wright Dock[edit]

Whilst the Albert Dock was still under construction the Dock Company obtained another act in 1866 allowed the extension of the dock westwards, and an 1867 act allowed further expansion to the west and south.[123][note 20]

Construction began in 1873,[142] with R.A. Marillier as engineer and John Hawkshaw as consulting engineer.[133] The dock was planned as an 8 acres (3.2 ha) extension of the Albert Dock accessed via a 60 feet (18 m) channel. The foundation stone was formally laid by William Wright in 1876.[143]

The dock opened in 1880 and was named William Wright Dock after the name of the Chairman of the Dock Company.[19] The dock was 5.75 acres (2.33 ha) in size.[144][map 12]

The 2013 storm surge (Cyclone Xaver) caused damage to the northwestern wall of the dock – as a result ABP sought to infill approximately 2,000 square metres (22,000 sq ft) of the dock as a repair.[145]

Riverside Quay[edit]

Riverside Quay in 1922

In 1904 the North Eastern Railway (NER), then the main owner of the Hull docks, applied to parliament for powers to built a quay along the bank of the River Humber, adjacent to its Albert Dock, and related works.[146] Permission was obtained in 1905 to construct a quay of up to 5,580 feet (1,700 m), and to dredge to a depth of 16 feet (4.9 m) below low water of ordinary spring tides.[147]

The quay was designed as deep water quay for foodstuffs and other goods requiring rapid handling, avoiding delays in entering locks, or waiting for a low tide to turn;[147][148] Additional works included construction of a two storey warehouse for the fruit trade on the adjacent side of the Albert Dock, and replacement of the single line railway swing bridge over the Albert Dock entrance with a double track bridge.[149]

A quay of 2,500 feet (760 m) was constructed along the timber wharfed outward of Albert Dock, extending around 90 feet (27 m) further into the estuary. The construction consisted of a bank of Middlesbrough slag around 40 ft deposited abutting to the former quay wall, with about a 45° facing slope supported at the base by sheet piling. The remaining depth of the quay was formed on Blue Gum and Pitch pine timber pilings, spaced around 10 feet (3.0 m), with the long Blue Gum piles extending above the ground level to form the supports for the structure's roof. As built the quay was equipped with hydraulically powered capstans for shunting, and electric cranes; a water supply for ship supply and fire fighting was fitted, and gas lighting used.[150] The electric equipment was supplied by Craven Brothers. Hydraulic power was supplied via an accumulator tower which also functioned as a clock tower.[151] (Demolished after the Second World War.[152])

The pier also incorporated a passenger station for continental boat trains.[148][153] 600 feet (180 m) of the quay was equipped for passenger traffic, with the quay decking raised 3 ft to provide a platform.[154] The station was used as a terminus for boat trains.[155][156]

The quay came into use in 1907.[157] Initial operations were by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (L&YR) and NER's joint ferry to Zeebrugge, followed by ships to Norway operated by Wilson Line, and to Rotterdam by the Hull and Netherlands Steamship Company.[151] The quay was fully completed by 1911.[158]

During the Second World War Hull Blitz the quay was destroyed by fires started by enemy bombing during the nights of early May 1941.[157][159] During the 1950s a new 1,065-foot (325 m) long concrete quay was constructed and officially opened in 1959.[157] The south side of Albert Dock modernised to a similar design as the new Riverside Quay in 1964.[157][160][map 13]

St. Andrew's Dock[edit]

The silted dock in 2005

St. Andrews's Dock was constructed at the same time as the extension of Albert Dock. The initial scheme was for a 10 acres (4.0 ha) dock, 1,802 feet (549 m) in length, entered from the Humber by a 250 by 50 feet (76 by 15 m) long by wide dock. As with the Albert Dock extension the engineers were Marillier and Hawkshaw.[133]

The docks was opened in 1883, directly to the west of William Wright Dock, and with an area of over 10.5 acres (4.2 ha).[21] It was originally to be used for coal handling but was used entirely for the fishing industry.[161][note 21]

The dock was extended by about 10 acres (4.0 ha) after the Hull Dock Company was taken over by the North Eastern Railway, with work beginning in 1894. The work also included the construction of slipways for boat repair.[21] The new dock, St. Andrew's Dock Extension, was connected at the west end via a channel; the slipways were at the far west end.[162] Whilst under construction a cofferdam at the west end burst, resulting in £20,000 of damage including the destruction of three steamers, and three other vessels, with practically every vessel in the dock damaged.[163] The cause was though to be underground springs released during the pile driving and excavations.[164][note 9]

In the late 1930s plans were made for improvements and expansion at the dock.[165][166] By 1938 the major part of the plans had been postponed, with no expansion of the dock.[167] In 1947 discussions about improvements to the dock's slipways were resumed but no work was done.[168]

The dock was in use until 1975 when the fishing industry was moved to Albert Dock at which point the dock closed.[169] Partial filling in of the dock began in the 1980s. The western part has been redeveloped into the St Andrews Quay retail park[170][171] whilst the eastern part of the dock around the entrance was declared a conservation area in 1990 due to its social historic interest.[161] The dock entrance, and some shipping company buildings remain in situ, but the remains of the dock are completely silted up.[161][map 14]

In 2013, the charity 'St Andrew's Dock Heritage Park Action Group' (STAND) selected a design for a memorial to the 6,000 Hull trawlermen who lost their lives in the fishing industry, to be sited next to the Humber at the dock.[172][173][174][175]

Alexandra Dock[edit]

Map of 1914 showing the Alexandra Dock, extended Victoria Dock, Town and West docks, and the rail systems of the H&BR and the NER
Alexandra Dock, Hull in 1922

The Alexandra Dock was built between 1881 and 1885 on land reclaimed from the Humber as part developments made by the Hull Barnsley & West Riding Junction Railway and Dock Company, a railway and dock company. The dock design was by James Abernethy, and carried out by a partnership of engineers James Oldham and George Bohn, with A.C. Hurtzig as resident engineer. The contractors were Lucas and Aird. The dock machinery, including lock gates and unloading equipment was hydraulically powered and supplied by Armstrong, Mitchell & Company.[176][177] Pumping machines for the dry docks, and to regulate the level of the main dock were supplied by Gwynne and Company (London) – two 400 horsepower (300 kW) high pressure condensing engines drove centrifugal pumps, the engines powered by six Lancashire boilers.[178]

The dock was built to the east of Victoria Dock with an outlet to the Humber. Water to fill the dock came from the Holderness Drain, which was intended to minimise the silting up of the dock that would be caused by ingress of water from the Humber; the dock had an area of 46.5 acres (18.8 ha), on a site of 192 acres (78 ha) of which 152 acres (62 ha) was on land within the tidal range of the Humber, requiring the construction of a 6,000 feet (1,800 m) embankment to reclaim the land. Steam and hydraulically powered equipment was used to aid the construction of the dock.[179][176][180] Blows (or "Boils"[note 9]) were encountered in the construction of the lock foundations, and at a point in the dock wall, which threatened to undermine the foundations and required remedial work.[181] The dock walls were planned to be built of chalk rubble faced with ashlar. A masons strike led to part of the lower part of the walls being built in portland cement. The tops of the dock walls were faced with granite.[182] Dredged material from the creation of a channel from the entrance to the deep water channel in the Humber was used to infill parts of the made walls in the dock and to embank the foreshore to the east of the dock.[183]

The dock was opened 16 July 1885, named after Alexandra, Princess of Wales. The cost of the works was £1,355,392.[176]

The entrance lock was 550 ft (170 m) long and 85 ft (26 m) wide. Two graving docks, one 500 ft (150 m) long and 60 ft (18 m) wide, the other a little bigger were built at the north-east corner of the dock. Its primary purpose was the export of coal.[180][map 15]

In 1899 the dock was expanded by 7 acres (2.8 ha),[180][184] officially opened on 25 September 1899.[185] the extended area added approximately 0.5 miles (0.80 km) of quayside, and was built to the same depth as the earlier dock, with the dock walls now constructed of concrete. The contractor was Whitaker and Sons of Horsforth, Leeds, under R. Pawley of the H&BR. The extension was originally fitted for the handling of coal and pit props, with four coal hoists.[186]

A pier onto the Humber Estuary (West Wharf) was added in 1911,[187] the pier was 1,350 ft (410 m) with a 18 ft (5.5 m) minimum depth of water at spring tides, and was equipped with electric conveyors for the transportation of coal.[153][map 16]

Alexandra Dock closed in 1982[188] at which time the connection to the rail network was removed,[189] in 1991 the dock re-opened[188] but without a rail connection.[190]

In the early 1990s part of the port land was developed as a dredged aggregate marine terminal and plant, operated as Humber Sand and Gravel Co. (est.1993), a joint venture between Hanson (formerly ARC) and CEMEX.[191][192][193] a concrete batching plant was built on the dock land in the late 1990s for Ready Mix Concrete Ltd. (later CEMEX UK Materials.[194]).[195]

In the 1990s development of a riverside container terminal, Quay 2000, was proposed;[196] the scheme, later named Quay 2005,[197] was located at the site of the West Wharf.[198] A public enquiry was required, due to objections from residents of the Victoria Dock Village,[199] the inspector recommended refusal of the scheme, but the decision was over-ruled by the Department of Transport,[200] and the project gained approved in December 2005.[201] The "Associated British Ports (Hull) Harbour Revision Order 2006" allowing the work came into effect in 2006.[202] Construction of the facility, renamed Hull Riverside Container Terminal, was initially planned to be complete by 2008; [203][204] construction of the terminal was delayed,[205] and the scheme was later adapted to attract an offshore wind power business to the port.[206] (See § Green Port Hull.)

As of 2010 the dock handled cargoes including aggregates, bulk agricultural products, bulk chemicals and wood, and also had a Ro-Ro terminal.[137]

Green Port Hull[edit]

In January 2011 Siemens and Associated British Ports signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) concerning the construction of wind energy machine manufacturing plant at Alexander Dock.[207][208][209] Infrastructure for the proposed development would also make use of the planned Quay 2005 riverside facilities, which had already gained planning consent; and had an extant environmental mitigation at Chowder Ness.[210][211] The site was favoured due to its relative proximity to planned large scale wind farms in the North Sea (Dogger Bank, Hornsea, and East Anglia Array wind farms), and the presence of existing port infrastructure.[212]

The Quay 2005 scheme included reclamation of 19 acres (7.5 ha) of land west of the dock entrance, on the banks of the Humber estuary; in the original scheme the reclaimed area was roughly a right trapezoid which projected well over 100 metres (330 ft) into the Humber, with a south facing front of over 400 metres (1,300 ft);[213][note 22] the instrument also allowed dredging of the quay and approaches of up to 11.5 metres (38 ft) below chart datum.[214]

The development, Green Port Hull, included the Quay 2005 estuary wharf, repurposed as a facility for wind turbine logistics; and also required the infilling of the dock west of the lock gates with about 28,000,000 cu ft (780,000 m3) of material to create additional land for operations. The initial plan included a nacelle factory of up to 380,000 square feet (35,000 m2), plus office, warehousing, and external storage areas, as well as a helipad and a wind turbine of up to 6 MW. The works were to take up most of the dock area, with the exception of land around and including dry dock facilities in the northeast corner. Businesses located in the dock were to be relocated, primarily to other sites within the Port of Hull.[215][note 23]

Initial expectations were for construction to begin in 2012 and the facility be operational by 2014.[216] The conclusion of the agreement was delayed due to planning issues and uncertainties over the UK's renewable energy policy.[217] Relocation of existing businesses had taken place by 2012.[218]

The Siemens and ABP 2011 MOU agreement was finalised in March 2014.[219][note 24] ABP investment in the port facilities was estimated at £150 million, and Siemens investment at £160 million across the two sites. The facility was expected to become operational between 2016 and 2017.[219] Plans for the turbine factory were submitted and approved in 2014.[221][note 25] The contract (about £100 million) for dock civil engineering work was awarded to a joint venture of GRAHAM and Lagan Construction Group, with CH2M Hill as consulting engineers.[222] Official groundbreaking for took place in January 2015.[223] Revised plans for the site submitted April 2015 included only a blade manufacturing factory at the site, together with storage and other logistics facilities for wind farm installation work, with no nacelle production.[224] Volker Fitzpatrick was awarded the contract to construct the blade factory in July 2015,[225] Clugston Group was contracted to construct an associated service and logistics building in September 2015.[226]

The wind turbine factory scheme has an expected lifespan of around 30 years after which the site would be returned to general port use.[227]

Hull Joint Dock[edit]

Aerial view of King George and Queen Elizabeth docks (1995)

The North Eastern Railway (NER) began planning for a rival dock east of Alexandra dock began in the 1890s, eventually leading to a joint agreement between the NER and Hull and Barnsley Railway (HBR), and an act of parliament in 1899, the Joint Dock Act. Construction of the dock was delayed, beginning 1906 for completion in 1914, at which point the new dock became officially known as the King George Dock. An extension arm of the dock to the southeast, sharing the same lock was opened as the Queen Elizabeth Dock in 1969. In 1993 the dock gained a terminal outside the lock gates, on the banks of the Humber, known as River Termainal 1, now known as Rotterdam Terminal, used by North Sea Ferries.

King George Dock (1914-)[edit]

By the early 1890s further expansion of the port facilities at Hull were required, in particular dock and handling facilities for large coal carrying vessels, as well as facilities for the new steam trawlers; the North Eastern Railway (NER) had been in discussion with the Hull Dock Company regarding investment and working arrangements, leading to a takeover of the Dock company by the NER.[228]

In 1892 the board of the NER had decided that a greater investment of around £1,000,000 in a new dock east of Alexandra dock would be better spent than expending a smaller sum (~£22,000) on expanding the entrance to the Dock company's Albert dock, and put bills before parliament for the amalgamation of the Dock company, and for a new dock.[note 26] Both these bills were rejected; the amalgamation bill was resubmitted in 1893, with clauses protecting the interests of the Hull and Barnsley Railway (HBR), who feared the possibility of a rival dock adjacent to their own Alexandra Dock – as such the bill contained clauses requiring the NER to inform the HBR of any planned dock to the east, and allow them the option to join as partners in any such development – the North Eastern Railway (Hull Docks) Act was passed and the amalgamation took place in 1893.[23] The NER submitted bills for extensive dock improvements in Hull in 1897,[note 27] and again in 1898 with an expanded improvement scheme,[note 28] both of which were abandoned over responsibilities regarding dredging the river. The following year the NER submitted a bill for a new dock east of Alexandra, jointly with the HBR, including new connecting rail lines.[note 29] – this was passed as the Hull Joint Dock Act, 1899.[229]

The two companies estimated (1899) the cost of the development at £1,419,555, of which the dock and lock were estimated at £1,194,160; the scheme was expected to take seven years to complete.[230] The act had specified a dock of 60 acres (24 ha) which was expected to have been completed by 1906. The initial construction was reduced to 32 acres (13 ha) due to the high value of the tenders received for the original design.[231] The Hull Joint Dock Act, 1906 made minor modifications to the original scheme, and extended the time for the construction of the dock.[note 30][231]

Construction of the dock was contracted to S. Pearson & Son in 1906.[232] with an estimated value of £850,000;[233] contemporary with the construction of the dock was the Great Central Railway's rival Immingham Dock, being built on the south bank of the Humber.[234] Most of the dock site was beyond the bank of the Humber as then existed, requiring reclamation of ground from the Humber foreshore. Two temporary banks were constructed, enclosing 30 and 50 acres (12 and 20 ha), plus a timber dam beyond the southernmost bank closing off the to-be-constructed lock. The underlying glacial geology of the Humber due to underground water pressure,[note 9] and weak and quicksand strata.[235] By early 1911 the embankments enclosing the new dock area were nearly complete; as was most of the excavations for the dock itself, and the dock's walls; the dock's lock required insertion of steel sheet piles as far as 47 feet (14 m) below the bottom of the lock to create a watertight surround for the construction, as a result of water containing gravel in the underlying geology.[236] The dock walls were of concrete, faced and coped with Staffordshire blue bricks and granite. Some dock walls were built as sloped constructions, with blue gum timber wharfing, due to poor ground conditions preventing satisfactory foundations.[235]

1914 single storey ferroconcrete storage shed, northwestern arm, north quay.[note 31] (2007)

As built in 1914 the dock had a water area of 53 acres (21 ha) and consisted of a central area of around 1,000 by 1,050 feet (300 by 320 m) connected to the river by a lock running northeast-southwest. Two main arms to the northeast and northwest were initially constructed, both around 1,350 feet (410 m) long. The western arm had warehousing facilities,[note 31] whilst the central and eastern part of the northernmost quay had six coaling berths, designed to allow ships to dock diagonally at the dockside. The main lock was itself 750 by 85 feet (229 by 26 m) long by wide divided into two sections of 500 and 250 feet (152 and 76 m) by another set of gates.[map 17] Water depth in the lock would be between 19.75 and 42.25 feet (6.02 and 12.88 m) between low water and high spring tides, whilst the dock itself was to be maintained at at least 32 feet 8 inches (9.96 m) depth of water. The design allowed for expansion through two further arms to the southeast and southwest, giving a potential ultimate area of around 85 acres (34 ha).[238] Two graving docks were sited at the eastern end of the northeastern arm of 550 by 66 feet (168 by 20 m) and 450 by 72 feet (137 by 22 m), each with a water depth of up to 22 feet (6.7 m).[239][240]

Much of the dock equipment was operated by electricity, supplied at 440V from the Hull Corporation, including electric coal conveyors, cranes, and dock lighting, as well as powering pumps use to supply hydraulic power.[238][237] Hydraulic equipment (from Hathorn Davey of Leeds) was used for lock and dry dock gates, and for the coal tippers.[241][237] Cranes were supplied by Royce Limited (Manchester), Craven Brothers, and a floating crane by Werfo Gusto (A.F. Smulders), coal handling equipment was from Head Wrightson.[237] The machinery and mechanism for the lock gates was manufactured by the Hydraulic Engineering Company (Chester); the centrifugal pumps and electric motors for draining the dry docks were made by W.H. Allen (Bedford).[242]

On 26 June 1914 King George V visited Hull, and formally opened the Hull Joint Dock The dock was subsequently named King George Dock in his honour.[232][243] [244] The design of the dock was undertaken by Sir Benjamin Baker and Sir John Wolfe-Barry,[244][245] and the construction supervised by T.M. Newell and R. Pawley, with W. Ebdon as resident engineer, and T.L. Norfolk superintendent of equipment construction.[237] Architectural design of the dock's offices was by the NER's architect William Bell.[237]

1919 Grain Silo (2007)

A 40,000 ton ferroconcrete grain silo was under construction in 1914.[237] The grain silo was complete by 1919;[244] located at the end of the northwestern quay, the main building consisted of two blocks 96 by 241 feet (29 by 73 m) wide by long, each holding 144 12 feet (3.7 m) square storage bins, convert 50 feet (15 m) deep. Each building block was connected to either the north or south quays of the northwest quay via receiving house with weighing equipment, and by subways under the quayside, extending for 900 feet (270 m). The foundations for the building, and the quay subways were constructed by the dock contractors (S. Pearson), the main building was built by the British Reinforced Concrete Engineering Company, and the grain handling equipment supplied by Henry Simon Limited (Manchester).[246]

In 1959 the British Transport Commission authorized a £4,750,000 improvement scheme for the dock. The largest part of the scheme (£2,000,000) was the extension of the north quay by the total removal of coal loading equipment, and conversion of the echelon (diagonal) berthing arrangement on the far north and northeast dock walls into standard straight dockside. Other improvements included replacement of timber quay structures with concrete ones (specifically southwest arm), over 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2) of storage in single storey sheds, new electric cranes, and additional grain handling equipment, as well as investment in mobile mechanical handling equipment including fork lift trucks and mobile cranes Also included in the works were expansion of the grain silo capacity, and an impounding station designed to maintain the dock water at a high level.[247][248]

In 1965 the creation of berths for use by roll-on roll-off ferries began the increasing use of Ro-Ro ferries at the dock for unit freight transport.[244]

Queen Elizabeth Dock extension (1969-)[edit]

In 1968 work on a 28 acres (11 ha) extension to King George Dock built on reclaimed land to the south-east of the dock was begun, the extension was officially opened in August 1969 by Queen Elizabeth II and named Queen Elizabeth Dock.[157][map 18]

Recent history (1970-)[edit]

A container terminal was opened in 1971 at Queen Elizabeth dock; two Ro-Ro terminals were opened in 1973; by 1975 there were six Ro-Ro terminals in the two docks.[157][249]

In 1984 Anglia Oils (now AarhusKarlshamn) opened an automated vegetable oil refinery on the King George Dock estate.[250]

In 1990 PD Ports (originally Humberside Sea and Land Services) began operating the Hull Container Terminal. By the mid 2000s throughput was over 100,000 TEU per annum, with Samskip as the primary customer.[251]

"Hull All Weather Terminal".[note 32] (2007)

In 1993 River Terminal 1 a terminal for large Ro-Ro vessels was opened on the banks of the Humber Estuary south of the King George Dock, constructed at a cost of £12 million.[252][map 19] A covered terminal was opened in 1997, initially built for steel handling for British Steel;[253][note 32] the terminal was renamed as Hull All-Weather Terminal in 2009, and the facilities expanded to allow the handling of other weather sensitive goods, including dry bulks, paper, and agribulks (fertiliser).[254][255] A covered shed for paper products (Finland terminal) was opened in 2000, by 2006 expanded to 70,000 sq ft (6,500 m2).[256]

In 2001 new facilities were inaugurated on the banks of the Humber. The Rotterdam terminal (on the site of the 1993 River Terminal 1), was built at a cost of £14.3 million to serve the P&O North Sea Ferries' new ships, the Pride of Rotterdam and Pride of Hull, used on the Hull-Rotterdam route.[257]

The 1919 grain silo was demolished in 2010/11.[258][259]

As of 2010 other facilities at the two docks included a 850,000 cu ft (24,000 m3) cold store, and passenger services to Zeebrugge. The company AarhusKarlshamn operates a large vegetable based oil products processing plant at the dock, and the Kingston Terminal located at the south-east of Queen Elizabeth Dock is used for import of coal products. In 2010 there were ten Ro-Ro berths in total within the two docks.[137]

In 2013, a 1 million tonne per year capacity sea to rail biomass facility, with a 164 ft (50 m) silo was constructed to supply Drax power station.[260][261] The facility was officially opened by Councillor Mary Glew Lord Mayor of Hull in December 2014.[262][263]

Other facilities[edit]

Dry docks[edit]

In addition to the dry docks in King George, Alexandra, and William Wright docks there were dry docks on the sides of the River Hull.[264] Hull Central Dry Dock (also known as "South End Dock") on the west bank of the River Hull near to its outfall onto the Humber Estuary[map 21] was the largest, being 345 ft (105 m) long with an entrance of 51 ft (16 m),[264] the dock having been extended several times.[265] Built in 1843 and later extended the dock has been disused since 1992 and is now a Grade II listed structure.[265][266][267] In September 2013 the City Council approved plans by Watergate Developments Ltd to turn the dock into an open-air entertainment venue;[268][269] as part of an adjacent office space development, known as the "Centre for Digital Innovation" (C4Di),[270] developed by Wykeland as "@TheDock".[271] Construction work on the C4Di building began late 2014.[272] In December 2014 construction began of a concrete dam wall permanently sealing the dock.[273]

On the east bank of the River Hull were Crown Dry Dock,[map 22] 104 by 21 ft (31.7 by 6.4 m)[264] half way between the river outfall and entrance to Victoria Dock's Drypool Basin. Further upstream was Union Dock, 214 by 48.5 ft (65.2 by 14.8 m),[264] opposite the entrance to Queen's Dock,[map 23] dating to the first half of the 1800s.[274] and a third dock further upstream.[map 24]

On the west bank of the River Hull there were ship repair facilities just within the city walls at North Gate on the river dating back as far as the 15th century, with slipways by the 18th century; the entrance to Queen's Dock was later built in this area, and two dry docks remain North Bridge Dry Dock and No.1 Dry Dock to the north and south of Queen's Dock basin respectively. North Bridge Dry Dock[map 25] and No.1 Dry Dock[map 26] were smaller dry docks of around 150 ft (46 m) long and with entrances less than 40 ft (12 m).[264] Both were extended in the latter part of the 19th century.[275][276] The northernmost of the two docks is a Grade II listed structure.[277] Additionally the former Queen's Dock basin was converted to an enclosed dock after the main dock was infilled.[278][279][map 3]

Quays, wharfs and piers[edit]

Victoria Pier, Minerva Pier behind, Albert Dock entrance lock and Riverside Quay in distance

In addition to the Riverside Quay at Albert Dock, the former pier at Alexandra Dock, and the Ro-Ro river terminal at King George Dock there are other water side berths at the port, both on the Humber and on the River Hull.

The Corporation Jetty (or Old Corporation Pier, also known as Brownlow's Jetty) was located between Limekiln creek and the Humber dock west pier.[map 27] The construction of the West dock necessitated the demolition of the old pier.[280][281] The Hull and Selby Railway (1840) had a wharf at Limekiln Creek, a small north-south running harbour; also used by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway who operated a lighter service from it.[282][283][map 28] the Creek was stopped up as a result of the building of the West dock in the 1860s.[284] As a provision of the 1861 act replacement facilities were provided for the railway companies, at a place called Railway Creek.[285][286] The Railway Creek was constructed as part of the works for the new West Dock (Albert Dock); beginning 1863, a new harbour was formed east of Limekiln Creek; the Limekiln Creek was kept open until the alternative provision for the NER and MS&LR companies had been made.[287] After completion of the works the small east-west running Railway Creek harbour connected at its east end to the Albert Dock basin.[288][map 29] In 1873 the NER had a warehouse built at the site, designed by Thomas Prosser and modified by Benjamin Burley, both NER architects.[289][note 33]

Corporation Pier, first constructed in 1810 was parallel to the mainland but not directly connected to it,[290] it was converted to a "T" shaped pier in 1847.[290] It was used as the terminus of the Hull to New Holland ferry, initially run by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (MS&LR), later by the LNER and British Rail, until the service ended in 1981 due to the opening of the Humber Bridge.[291] It was renamed Victoria Pier in 1854.[63][note 34][map 30] A railway booking office latterly named Hull Victoria Pier was established here c. 1849 by the MS&LR, and closed on 25 June 1981 with the cessation of the ferry service.[292] The pier has been altered several times during its existence, a floating pontoon was added in 1877, removed in 1980;[290] an upper Promenade was added in 1882,[293] and removed in the mid 20th century; as of 2005 the primary wooden structure is "L" shaped.[290]

To the west of Victoria Pier were the "L" shaped piers enclosing the Humber Dock basin,[294][295] The Humber Dock piers were modified from a diagonal arrangement (NE/SW) to a pier square to the dock (N/S) in around 1840.[296][297][note 35] The West Pier became defunct c. 1875 when the entrance basin of the Albert Dock was partially filled to provide more accommodation for the MS&LR, creating Island Wharf. Island Wharf was separated from the mainland by a channel known as Albert Channel; the channel was filled-in in the 1960s.[133][298][299] In 2004 the construction began on an office development known as Humber Quays began on the site. The first building was completed in 2006, a second office building was completed in 2007.[300]

The eastern pier was a wooden structure, from 1920s known as the Minerva Pier;[301] it was replaced by a steel walled pier in the latter part of the 20th century.[302][303]

As of 2010 the remaining piers are still used to harbour vessels, but are not used for cargo handling.

The River Hull had extensive staithes, wharfs and warehouses along its length; the Old Harbour could accommodate vessels up to 200 ft (61 m), the river being navigable for vessels up to 180 ft (55 m) for two miles.[304] As of 2010 cargo handling has mostly ceased in the Old Harbour, barges are still used for transportation of vegetable and mineral oils further upstream within the boundaries of Hull: including to Rix petroleum,[305] the Croda chemicals vegetable oil chemical processing plant[306] and to the Cargil vegetable oil plant in Stoneferry.

Salt End jetties[edit]

At Salt End a jetty (No.1 Oil Jetty) for the importation of bulk mineral oil was constructed in 1914 by the North Eastern and Hull and Barnsley railway companies, connected to a tank farm at Salt End. The jetty was constructed extending 1,500 feet (460 m) into the Humber, giving a water depth of 30 ft (9.1 m) at low spring tides.[153][307] Chemical industrial development fed by the oil imports would develop into the chemical site at Salt End now known as BP Saltend.

No.2 Jetty was constructed in 1928 westward of No.1, and a reinforced concrete structure No.3 Jetty was built 1958, the original No.1 jetty was demolished and replaced with a new structure in 1959.[157] No.2 jetty was demolished in 1977.[308] As of 2010 both No.1 and 3 jetties remain in use.[map 31]

Disasters, accidents and war damage[edit]

Explosion of the PS Union[edit]

In 1837 the packet steamer Union exploded in the Humber Dock basin,[309] resulting in the death of over twenty people including bystanders on the dock side, and a large number of injuries, the vessel itself being sunk by the explosion.[310][311]

R38 airship disaster[edit]

Main article: R38-class airship

In 1921 a R38-class airship broke apart whilst performing a sharp turn near to Victoria Pier, the air-vessel then exploded, and the flaming wreckage crashed into the Humber near to the Victoria Pier killing 45 of the 49 on board.[312]

Second World War[edit]

See also: Hull Blitz

During the Second World War the Hull docks were actively targeted; in addition to mines in the Humber,[313] the docks in Hull were bombed; all docks were damaged during the period, and the wooden Riverside Quay at Albert Dock was totally destroyed in 1941.[314]


Major fires destroyed the fish market at St. Andrews Dock in 1929, and a general cargo shed at Humber Dock in 1951.[315] In 1970 a vehicle carrying liquefied gas struck the top of a road subway leading to the William Wright and St. Andrew's docks, resulting in a gas explosion and fire. The incident caused two deaths and 17 serious injuries.[316][317]

See also[edit]

Museums in Hull with exhibits relevant to the port


  1. ^ Much from the North Yorkshire Moors then called Blackhower Moor, additionally wheat, corn, lead, leather were exported, later in the 14th century also cloth.
  2. ^ Also dyestuffs – Madder, Woad as well as Alum for mordant, as well as wood, iron and iron ore and a wide variety of foreign goods.
  3. ^ The east of the river not being developed until later
  4. ^ The High Street still contains merchant buildings, most from a later date, Wilberforce House dates to 1660, and was once used for this purpose.[9]
  5. ^ One clause of the Hull Docks Act of 1861 was that the Dock Company could be converted to a municipally owned dock trust by the Hull Corporation, additionally the dividends paid by the company were restricted: the Dock Company had been created as a private 'for profit' company, and was subject to widespread prejudice in the town of Hull that it better served the interests of the shareholders rather than the port itself; the shareholders were characterised as being uninterested in the development of the port.[19]
  6. ^ The walls were demolished, but not all the gate, which was rediscovered in the 20th century – the part occupying the gap between the constructions of Queen's and Prince's Dock.[35]
  7. ^ a b The docks were renamed in honour of Queen Victoria's and the Prince Consort's (Prince Albert) visit to Hull in 1854, during which the Royal Party made a tour of the docks on the steam-yacht "Fairy".[49]
  8. ^ a b The "Queen's Dock" proposal of 1838, forerunner of the Victoria Dock, should not be confused with the original Hull Dock of 1778, named "Queen's Dock" in 1854.
  9. ^ a b c d e Underground 'streams' forcing up through sand, with an origin in the aquifers of the Yorkshire Wolds.[127][128] (See also Artesian aquifer.)
  10. ^ The land made was in the area of the Victoria Pier, south-east of the dock,[63] creating Nelson Street, and to the south and west of the dock, creating Wellington Street.[64]
  11. ^ £165,000 in Baldwin 1973, p. 9
  12. ^ See footnote in Bethell (1841, p. 27) quote "The London Gazette of the 16th of November, containing the notice for a bill to make the Queen's Dock, was put in."
  13. ^ Walker's 1840 dock was 14 acres (5.7 ha) in area with a quay area of around 21 acres (8.5 ha), with water depths of 23 to 17 feet (7.0 to 5.2 m) (high to low tides) in 9 acres (3.6 ha) of the dock nearer to the Humber lock, with the remainder of the dock shallower with depths of 20 to 14 feet (6.1 to 4.3 m); his cost estimate was £300,000. The dock was to have a 5 acres (2.0 ha) entrance basin on the Humber; and a lock suitable for the largest paddle steamers of the day, 210 by 60 feet (64 by 18 m), and a 36 feet (11 m) wide passage onto the Old harbour.[100]
  14. ^ Wright (1875, p. 87) states that "it was originally intended to construct this dock [] with an entrance from the Humber only..", however the original London Gazette notice of 1839 describes a link to the Old harbour,[97] as do the Minutes of the June 1840 parliamentary committee examining the bill.[101] The link to the River Hull for the built dock was not constructed till the early 1850s.[102]
  15. ^ Dock: 12 acres 3 rods 13 perch; Half-tide basin: 3 acres; Victoria Dock basin: 2acres 3rods; and the Drypool basin 1 acre 20 perch. Sheahan (1864, p. 293)
  16. ^ One lock was narrower and intended for barges.[106]
  17. ^ The Drypool basin and connection to the River Hull was completed in the early 1850s; the entrance on the River Hull had not been sanctioned at the time of the formal opening (1850), it was completed soon after, being under construction by 1852.[102]
  18. ^ See: the 1860 West Dock Company London Gazette notice,[121] and the 1860 Hull Dock Company London Gazette notice.[122]
  19. ^ The 1865 and 1866 London Gazette notices:
  20. ^ Allison (1969) gives an incorrect date of 1865 for the authority to build the William Wright Dock.
  21. ^ Wright (1875, p. 90) says the dock was intended for general trade.
  22. ^ Roughly approximating to the outline of the 1911 "West Wharf".
  23. ^ Hull City Council planning applications:
  24. ^ An additional site near Paull, East Riding of Yorkshire, east of King George Dock, Hull was added to the plans, intended to manufacture rotor blades for turbines.[219] In late 2014 modified plans combined the two production facilities at Alexandra Dock.[220]
  25. ^ Hull City Council planning application:
  26. ^ The dock proposals were submitted as part of a wider number of schemes. See "North Eastern Railway. Additional Powers with reference to new and existing Railways, Dock, Roads, Footpaths, and other Works and Lands in Northumberland, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Durham, York (North East and West Ridings), and Kingston-upon-Hull; [..]", The London Gazette (26226), 23 November 1891, pp.6270–6271, § 8–12 
  27. ^ Submitted as part of a wider number of schemes, see North-Eastern Railway. Power to make Dock Works at Kingston-upon-Hull and Middlesbrough; Additional Powers with reference to new and existing Railways, Roads, Footpaths and other Works [...] (26797), 24 November 1896, p.6724, § 1–10; p.6725, §A-C 
  28. ^ Submitted as part of a wider number of schemes, see "North Eastern Railway. Power to make Dock Works at Kingston-upon-Hull; Additional Powers with reference to new and existing Railways, Roads, Footpaths, and other Works, [...]", The London Gazette (26913), 23 November 1897, pp.6704–5, §1–14 
  29. ^ See "North Eastern and Hull and Barnsley Railways (Joint Dock). Power to the North Eastern Railway Company and the Hull, Barnsley and West Riding Junction Railway and Dock Company, Jointly and Separately, to Make a New Dock Railways and Works at Kingston-upon-Hull; Constitution of Joint Committee; Running Powers to North Eastern Railway Company over part of Hull and Barnsley Railway; Agreements between the said Companies; Additional Capital Powers for the said Companies; Application of Funds and Amendment of Acts.", The London Gazette (27025), 22 November 1898: 7252–7255  , also "Harbours and Waterways" (PDF), The Engineer 85, 15 April 1898: 348 
  30. ^ See "HULL JOINT DOCK. Power to the Hull Joint Dock Committee to make an Alteration of the authorized River Wall and Dock Works at Kingston-upon-Hull; Extension of Time for completion of authorized Dock Works and Railways; Power to North Eastern Railway Company to make new Railways and Works at Kingston-Upon-Hull and to abandon part of Victoria Dock Branch.; Agreements with Corporation of Kingston-upon-Hull ; Acquisition of Lands; Application of Funds; and Amendment of Acts.", The London Gazette (27855), 17 November 1905: 7717–8 
  31. ^ a b Three 375 by 90 feet (114 by 27 m) single-storey on the north side, and three 375 by 70 feet (114 by 21 m) two-storey ferro concrete warehouses on the south side, each with flat roof areas also usuable for storage.[237]
  32. ^ a b The terminal was built over the unlocked former dry dock.[map 20]
  33. ^ The Railway Creek was filled in c. 1906s. (Ordnance Survey 1:10000 1970) See also Albert Channel
  34. ^ Both names were commonly used
  35. ^ See also Ordnance Survey Town Plans 1:1056 c. 1850.

Acts and legislation[edit]

  • 14 Geo. III, Cap.56 (1774), The Kingston-upon-Hull Dock Act : Creation of the Hull dock company; creation of a dock (later Queen's dock); establishment of a legal quay; other rights and responsibilities. [318]
  • 41 Geo. III, Cap.65 (1801), An Act for enlarging and improving the Market-Place of the town of Kingston-Upon-Hull, and for making a commodious Street from thence to the river Humber, with a Dock and Wharf or Landing Place for the Ferry and Market Boats belonging and resorting to the said town. : Containing clauses relating to the establishment of a 'ferry boat dock' on land near Humber Street.[319]
  • 42 Geo. III, Cap.91 (1802), Kingston-upon-Hull Dock Act : Further docks and basin to be named Humber dock; a third dock between Myton and Beverley gates (later junction dock); transfer of the Garrison Ground excluding the Citadel from the Crown to town.[320]
    • 5 Geo. IV, Cap.52 (1824), Kingston-Upon-Hull Dock Act : Amendment of Hull Dock act of 1802; transfer of part of Garrison Ground from the town of Hull to the Royal Ordnance .[321]
  • 45 Geo. III, Cap.42 (1805), Kingston-upon-Hull Dock Act : Raising of additional funds for the construction of the docks mentioned in Hull Dock Act, 1802.[322]
  • 7 & 8 Vic., Cap.103 (1844), Kingston-upon-Hull Dock Act : A fourth dock with timber pond (later Victoria dock); and a fifth dock (Railway dock); plus additional setting out of authorities in the port
  • 8 & 9 Vic., Cap.5 (1845), Kingston-upon-Hull Dock Act : Enlargement of the Railway dock
  • 10 & 11 Vic., Cap.283 (1847), Kingston-upon-Hull Dock Act ; 12 & 13 Vic., Cap.69 (1849), Kingston-upon-Hull Dock Act ; 17 & 18 Vic., Cap.13 (1854), Kingston-upon-Hull Dock Amendment Act : Clarity as to land purchases; raising of funds; further financial arrangements
  • 15 & 16 Vic., Cap.136 (1852), Hull Dues Act : Relating to the Hull Dock Company; 15 & 16 Vic., Cap.130 (1852), Humber Conservancy Act ; 17 & 18 Vic., Cap.101 (1854), Kingston-upon-Hull Improvement Act 
  • 24 & 25 Vic., Cap.79 (1861), The Hull Docks Act : Construction of a sixth dock (later Albert Dock), and alterations and connections to the Hull and Selby Railway line.
  • 27 & 28 Vic., Cap.2 (1864), Hull Docks Act : Raising of capital for expansion of Victoria dock
  • 29 & 30 Vic., Cap.77 (1866), Hull Dock Company Act : Enlargement of the western dock; 30 & 31 Vic., Cap. 25 (31 May 1867), Hull Docks Act : further extension of the western dock
  • 43 & 44 Vic., Cap.199 (1880), Hull, Barnsley, and West Riding Junction Railway and Dock Act : Construction of a railway and dock (Alexandra Dock)
  • 55 & 56 Vic., Cap.198 (1893), North Eastern Railway (Hull Docks) Act : Acquisition of the Hull Dock company by the NER
  • 62 & 63 Vic., Cap 242 (1899), Hull Joint Dock Act ; 6 Edw. VII, Cap. 46 (1906), Hull Joint Dock Act : Construction of a joint dock (later King George Dock) by the NER and H&BR
  • British Transport Docks (Hull Docks) 1973 (c.xxviii)
  • Associated British Ports (Hull) 1989 (c.x)
  • "The Associated British Ports (Hull) Harbour Revision Order 2006". www.legislation.gov.uk. The National Archives. 2006. 


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  228. ^ Tomlinson 1914, pp. 707–711.
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Maps and landmark coordinates[edit]

  1. ^ 53°44′17″N 0°19′55″W / 53.738°N 0.332°W / 53.738; -0.332 (Confluence of River Hull and Humber Estuary) Confluence of River Hull and Humber Estuary
  2. ^ 53°44′43″N 0°20′07″W / 53.74520°N 0.33534°W / 53.74520; -0.33534 (Queen's Dock (Old Dock, or The Dock), now Queen's Gardens) Queen's Dock (Old Dock, or The Dock), now Queen's Gardens
  3. ^ a b 53°44′48″N 0°19′47″W / 53.746607°N 0.32973°W / 53.746607; -0.32973 (Queen's Dock entrance basin, later dry dock) Queen's Dock entrance basin, later dry dock
  4. ^ 53°44′16″N 0°20′09″W / 53.73779°N 0.335927°W / 53.73779; -0.335927 (Humber Dock entrance basin) Humber Dock entrance basin
  5. ^ 53°44′23″N 0°20′15″W / 53.739636°N 0.337549°W / 53.739636; -0.337549 (Humber Dock (now part of Hull Marina)) Humber Dock (now part of Hull Marina)
  6. ^ 53°44′32″N 0°20′19″W / 53.742176°N 0.338550°W / 53.742176; -0.338550 (Junction Dock, later Prince's Dock, now site of Princes Quay shopping centre) Junction Dock, later Prince's Dock, now site of Princes Quay shopping centre
  7. ^ 53°44′23″N 0°20′27″W / 53.739712°N 0.340856°W / 53.739712; -0.340856 (Railway Dock, now part of Hull Marina) Railway Dock now part of Hull Marina
  8. ^ 53°44′31″N 0°19′09″W / 53.741926°N 0.319263°W / 53.741926; -0.319263 (Half Tide basin, Victoria Dock) Half Tide basin, Victoria Dock
  9. ^ 53°44′37″N 0°19′12″W / 53.743732°N 0.320027°W / 53.743732; -0.320027 (Victoria Dock (defunct)) Victoria Dock, defunct
  10. ^ 53°44′39″N 0°19′31″W / 53.744117°N 0.325200°W / 53.744117; -0.325200 (Drypool basin, Victoria Dock (defunct)) Drypool basin, Victoria Dock (defunct)
  11. ^ 53°44′06″N 0°20′49″W / 53.734888°N 0.346980°W / 53.734888; -0.346980 (Albert Dock) Albert Dock
  12. ^ 53°43′53″N 0°21′32″W / 53.7313815°N 0.358812°W / 53.7313815; -0.358812 (William Wright Dock) William Wright Dock
  13. ^ 53°44′07″N 0°20′30″W / 53.735362°N 0.341550°W / 53.735362; -0.341550 (Riverside quay (1950s replacement), original quay extended twice as far west) Riverside quay (1950s replacement), original quay extended twice as far west
  14. ^ 53°43′46″N 0°22′03″W / 53.729312°N 0.367407°W / 53.729312; -0.367407 (St. Andrew's Dock (location close to eastern entrance)) St. Andrew's Dock (location close to eastern entrance)
  15. ^ 53°44′41″N 0°17′47″W / 53.744753°N 0.296448°W / 53.744753; -0.296448 (Alexandra Dock) Alexandra Dock
  16. ^ 53°44′29″N 0°18′08″W / 53.741333°N 0.302336°W / 53.741333; -0.302336 (Alexandra Dock west pier (West Wharf), built 1911, planned site of 'Quay 2005' expansion, and site of expansion of 'Green Port Hull' (planned 2013)) Alexandra Dock west pier (West Wharf), built 1911, planned site of 'Quay 2005' expansion, and site of expansion of 'Green Port Hull' (planned 2013)
  17. ^ 53°44′28″N 0°16′18″W / 53.741214°N 0.271790°W / 53.741214; -0.271790 (King George Dock (entrance lock)) King George Dock (entrance lock)
  18. ^ 53°44′23″N 0°15′40″W / 53.739606°N 0.261192°W / 53.739606; -0.261192 (Queen Elizabeth Dock (extension to King George Dock)) Queen Elizabeth Dock (extension to King George Dock)
  19. ^ 53°44′28″N 0°16′55″W / 53.741081°N 0.282001°W / 53.741081; -0.282001 (River Terminal 1, ro-ro terminal) River Terminal 1, ro-ro terminal
  20. ^ 53°44′30″N 0°15′27″W / 53.74163°N 0.25743°W / 53.74163; -0.25743 ("Hull All Weather terminal", built over former souther dry dock, northeastern dock arm, King George Dock) , "Hull All Weather terminal", built over former southern dry dock, northeastern dock arm, King George Dock
  21. ^ 53°44′20″N 0°19′58″W / 53.738960°N 0.332687°W / 53.738960; -0.332687 (Hull Central Dry Dock) Hull Central Dry Dock (disused)
  22. ^ 53°44′34″N 0°19′44″W / 53.742867°N 0.328809°W / 53.742867; -0.328809 (Crown Dry Dock) Crown Dry Dock, no longer extant, but lock gates remain as frontage onto the River Hull as of 2010
  23. ^ 53°44′48″N 0°19′42″W / 53.746528°N 0.328345°W / 53.746528; -0.328345 (Union Dry Dock) Union Dry Dock, as of 2010 still extant but completely silted, the entrance to the dock is crossed by steel footbridge along the River Hull east bank footpath
  24. ^ 53°44′57″N 0°19′51″W / 53.749218°N 0.330899°W / 53.749218; -0.330899 (Dry Dock (defunct)) Dry Dock, (defunct)
  25. ^ 53°44′49″N 0°19′48″W / 53.746981°N 0.330007°W / 53.746981; -0.330007 (North Bridge Dry Dock) North Bridge Dry Dock
  26. ^ 53°44′47″N 0°19′46″W / 53.746252°N 0.329402°W / 53.746252; -0.329402 (No.1 Dry Dock) No.1 Dry Dock
  27. ^ 53°44′12″N 0°20′24″W / 53.73662°N 0.34006°W / 53.73662; -0.34006 (Corporation Jetty (or Pier) also known as Brownlow's Jetty. Demolished c. 1860s) Corporation Jetty (or Pier) also known as Brownlow's Jetty. Demolished c. 1860s
  28. ^ 53°44′12″N 0°20′33″W / 53.7368°N 0.3424°W / 53.7368; -0.3424 (Hull and Selby railway, Limekiln Creek warehouse) Hull and Selby railway, Limekiln Creek warehouse
  29. ^ 53°44′14″N 0°20′27″W / 53.73718°N 0.34075°W / 53.73718; -0.34075 (Railway Creek) Railway Creek
  30. ^ 53°44′16″N 0°20′02″W / 53.737703°N 0.333852°W / 53.737703; -0.333852 (Corporation (or Victoria) Pier) Corporation or Victoria Pier
  31. ^ 53°43′38″N 0°14′52″W / 53.72727°N 0.24766°W / 53.72727; -0.24766 (Salt End jetties (approximate location 2012)) Salt End jetties (approximate location 2012)

External links[edit]