Liverpool Town Council’s Committee was the original port authority. In 1709 it was authorised to construct Liverpool’s first enclosed ship basin, the Old Dock, which was claimed to be the world’s first commercial wet dock, although arguably the Howland Great Wet Dock at Rotherhithe was operating in part as such much earlier. By 1750 the old Dock Committee was replaced by the Liverpool Dock Trustees. In order to provide stone for the construction of the expanded dock system, from 1830 the Trustees (and later the MDHB) operated large quarries at Creetown, Scotland. The Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, a public corporation, took over running of Liverpool’s docks from the trustees in 1858. The need for Liverpool Corporation to divest its dock interests to a new public body was as a result of pressure from parliament, dock merchants and some rival port operators. The impressive MDHB offices, together with the Royal Liver building and the Cunard building, is one of the “Three Graces” dominating the Liverpool waterfront.
At one point the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board railway totalled 104 miles (166 km) of line, with connections to many other railways. A section of the line ran, unsegregated from other road traffic, along the dock road. I remember as a small boy being fascinated by the little green (as I discovered later, Peckett built) locomotives which suddenly darted out of a dock entrance, to run under the Overhead Railway, alongside our car, before bolting, like a rabbit down a hole, into another gateway.
In 1972 the Board was reconstituted as a company to allow it to raise money for new building initiatives and projects, including a new container dock at Seaforth.
On 22 September 2005 MDHC was acquired by Peel Ports, part of the property and transport groupPeel Holdings.
This is a very attractively produced book, and a fitting commemoration of 100 years of achievement through the era of the great liners and two world wars.
PREVIEW BELOW – MAY TAKE A WHILE TO LOAD.