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Gladstone Dock

Planning for the future

Cunard-White Star Line ship 'Britannic' in Gladstone dry dock, Liverpool
View full size image'Britannic' in Gladstone Dock

Gladstone Dock at Liverpool is a good example of how the Mersey Docks & Harbour Board (MDHB) had to plan for the future. The land on which Gladstone Dock was built was originally bought by MDHB in 1864. The land was then used for storing material excavated during the building of Canada, Brocklebank, Langton & Alexandra Docks in the 1870s.

Mersey Docks & Harbour Board got the go ahead from Parliament to build Gladstone Dock in 1906 using plans prepared by Dock engineer Anthony George Lyster. These new docks were needed to cope with the larger ships that were being built such as the Aquitania. But a complete set of new docks could not be built in time so it was decided to start with a graving (dry) dock which could be used as a wet or dry dock. This was opened by King George V on 11 July 1913.

The royal yacht 'Galatea' at Gladstone dock, Bootle
View full size imageThe royal yacht 'Galatea' at the Gladstone docks opening ceremony

The complete Gladstone Dock system was finished in 1927 and the graving dock was then used just as a dry dock. The new complete dock was the largest yet in Liverpool when it was officially opened by George V on 19 July 1927.

Some rebuilding work was needed after the Second World War and in 1959 the first radar system in a British port was started.

A container berth was opened at Gladstone Dock in 1968 and in 1974 the radar system was moved to the new Seaforth Dock further north.

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