SD5229 : Albert Edward Dock

taken 4 months ago, near to Higher Penwortham, Lancashire, Great Britain

This is 1 of 3 images, with title Albert Edward Dock in this square
Albert Edward Dock
Albert Edward Dock
Office buildings at the east end of the dock.
Preston Docks :: SD5129
Albert Edward Dock was opened by the Third Ribble Navigation Company on 25th June 1892 to serve the rapidly expanding cotton industry in the town. Construction of the dock took eight years, having started in 1884. Previous Ribble Navigation Companies (1806-1838 and 1838-1853) had straightened and trained the river and created quays along its banks, but the increasing size of ships and the growing demands of the cotton industry necessitated a larger dock.

The new dock was constructed on land that was freed-up by the re-routing of the River Ribble by a few hundred yards to the south. During construction of the dock, the New Diversion Quay was used as a temporary quay for the town.

When opened, the 1000 yards by 200 yards dock was the biggest in Europe. Dock facilities, such as warehouses and cranes were added in subsequent years. Trade was light in the early years, with only four ships calling in 1892, rising to 170 ships in 1900.

In addition to cotton; timber, fruit, China clay, wheat, cattle and coal were handled in the early years. Later came oil, with the installation of large storage tanks at the west end of the dock in 1914.

A claim to fame of the dock is that the first roll-on/roll-off ferry service operated from here, using surplus WWII landing craft to operate a service between Preston and Larne. A purpose built ship "Bardic Ferry" started operating in 1957. Built by William Denny of Dumbarton for use also on the Tilbury to Antwerp services, she was the World's first commercial ro-ro road haulage vehicle ferry and could carry 69 commercial vehicles and 13 cars.

The 1960s were the busiest period in the dock's history, but a combination of the effects of the 1969 and 1970 dockers' strikes and the high cost of dredging the Ribble to accommodate increasingly larger ships saw business decline until eventual closure of the dock on 22nd October 1981.

Redevelopment of the docklands area commenced in 1982 and this required a new road infrastructure to be built as well as re-routing of the dock railway from the north side of the dock to the south side. This re-routing of the line entailed the construction of a railway swing bridge over the dock entrance. The railway was in industrial use at the time and additional sidings were created during the re-routing. These road and rail base infrastructure works continued until 1992.

The infrastructure works took place in parallel with ground decontamination works. Completion of these projects enabled the commercial development of the docklands area to proceed, including an industrial area, marina, supermarket and other retail and leisure businesses and a large residential development.

Railway traffic ceased in 1995 when the businesses switched to using road transport instead. The line is now operated by the Ribble Steam Railway Company LinkExternal link .
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SD5229, 148 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Friday, 19 October, 2018   (more nearby)
Thursday, 1 November, 2018
Geographical Context
Business, Retail, Services  Suburb, Urban fringe  Docks, Harbours 
Primary Subject of Photo
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SD 5203 2960 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:45.6320N 2:43.7464W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SD 5196 2955
View Direction
Northeast (about 45 degrees)
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Image Type (about): cross grid 
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