Birkenhead Docks

Introduction

This page is arranged in alphabetical order of the names of the docks rather than geographical location. The docks in Birkenhead were built around a tidal inlet that was called the Wallesey Pool.

The map below shows the relationship between the various docks for which there are postcards in the collection apart from Grayston Rollo and Clover Docks which was situated to the south of Woodside Landing Stage and north of the former Cammell Laird shipyard.

Birkenhead Docks Map
Extract from a 1925 map showing the Birkenhead Docks.

Bidston Dock

Bidston Dock was built at the far West end of the Great Float and was opened in 1933 to handle mainly iron ore. The dock was closed in the late 1990s and used for landfill.

Bidston Dock
A view of Bidston Dock with cargo ships Ripon and Clytoneus. The date is not known.

The Great Float

A group of docks were built close to the river and the main body of water became known as The Great Float. It is split into two large docks - East Float and West Float that run approximately 2 miles from the Mersey with over 4 miles of quays. The docks were an important flour milling centre with huge buildings most of which have now been demolished. The remaining warehouses have been converted to apartments.

The Great Float is crossed by three road bridges; the Duke Street swing bridge divided East Float and West Float. At some time in the 1930s, the swing bridge shown below was replaced by a bascule bridge.

Duke Street Swing Bridge
A steam train crossing the Duke Street swing bridge. The date is not known.
East Float Alfred Dock
An aerial view showing East Float and Alfred Dock and locks. The date is not known.
East Float
Steam ships in East Float - believed to date from about 1929.
Tower Quay
Tower Quay in East Float and Alfred Dock - believed to date from about 1905. The Tower was built as a hydraulic accumulator for hydraulic power used to operate the lock gates and bridges in the Birkenhead docks.
Tower Quay
An artwork that appears to have the same basis as the previous image. It show in particular the Alfred Bridgeway.
Tower Quay
Tower Quay in East Float - believed to date from about 1908.
Tower Quay
Tower Quay in East Float - believed to date from about 1910.
West Float
View of West Float. The date is unknown.
Flour Mills
View of Ranks and Spillers flour mills on West Float. The date is unknown.
Flour Mills
View of Ranks and Spillers flour mills on West Float and is believed to date from about 1930.
SAShipper.jpg
East Float with the cargo ship S.A. Shipper and ICI Barnton in the background. The date is unknown.

Grayson Rollo and Clover Docks

Grayson Rollo and Clover was a ship repair facility on the River Mersey. It closed in the 1980s after which the workshops were demolished and the graving docks filled in. The area has been redeveloped with apartments, offices and small business units.

Grayson Rollo
View of Grayson Rollo and Clover dry docks Birkenhead. The date is unknown.

Morpeth Dock

Morpeth Dock was connected to the River Mersey via locks and also to the Great Float via Egerton Dock. The dock was completed in 1847 but has been disused for some years. Neither former access is available now so the dock is landlocked. Part of the site was filled in and is the site of a water treatment plant.

Morpeth Dock.jpg
View of Morpeth Dock with laid up ships. The date is unknown.

New Tranmere Docks

The postcard is captioned 'New Tranmere Docks' but I have consulted various friends and we are not sure exactly where this is. The best guess is that it is what is now the Cammell Laird Fitting Out Basin. That company took over the Tranmere Bay Development Company.

Tranmere New Docks Birkenhead
New docks at Tranmere Bay. Two warships alongside - one is probably a River Class destroyer. They were in service from 1903/4 to 1920.

Vittoria Dock

Vittoria Dock - sometimes incorrectly referred to as Victoria Dock - was completed in 1909. Between the 1920s and 1970s the dock was used by Clan Line Steamers Ltd. and Blue Funnel Line Ltd. It fell into disuse with the advent of container ships and the area is due to be redeveloped.

Vittoria Dock Birkenhead
An unidentified Blue Funnel Line steamer and barges at Vittoria Dock. The date is not known.
Vittoria Dock Birkenhead
An aerial view of West and East Floats and Vittoria Dock. The date is not known.