Active Period - 1709 to 1826
Work begins to develop the existing pool and inlet into a commercial dock (this will become Old Dock). This is a new idea as at this time docks are usually built by digging out land. The dock walls are formed by fixing bricks upon wooden pilings, and finishing the surface with sandstone. The stone may have come from Liverpool's disused castle.
The (Old) Dock is officially opened. It is the first commercial, enclosed wet dock in the world. It can harbour up to 100 ships of the day. The wet dock has gates that are open for an hour or two around high tide to let ships in and out. It is entered from a tidal basin with a wide river entrance. This gives ships an easy approach to the narrower entrance of the wet dock. A timber pier or landing stage is added later.
A second graving dock is built at the (old) Dock.
The (old) dock is still the only wet dock at Liverpool and is booming. It deals with coastal, African and American trades. All of the trades are mixed in the ships and at the dock so there is often confusion. Naval ships also visit [image, new window].
A third graving dock is built at the (old) Dock.
Less than 100 years after it is opened Old Dock is old-fashioned. It is too small for both large ships and several small ships. Also the quays are too narrow, the walls are worn and the water is polluted with sewage from the city. The dock is also set back from the line of new docks and is being cut off from the sea.
One of the main problems is the narrow wooden drawbridge. This causes traffic jams and is upsetting communications across the growing city. Many people want the dock closed.
Local feeling saves Old Dock for 20-years but it is eventually closed and filling begins. The dry dock will not be filled and will later become Canning Basin.