Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 136,062 pages of information and 218,544 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Newport Docks

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Map from 'The Engineer', 17 July 1914

1835 July. The Newport Dock Act was given Royal Assent and the Newport Dock Company began construction work.

1842 The Town Dock on the east bank of the River Usk opened and continued in use until it was closed and filled in 1930. It was the first floating dock facility in Newport.

After its opening it was apparent the Town Dock was not sufficient to deal with the increasing trade. In July 1854 a second act was passed giving the Newport Dock Company permission to extend the Town Dock to the north. Work commenced in June 1856 and was completed in less than two years. The official opening was on 2 March 1858

1865 An act was passed to allow the construction of a second dock and in 1868 work began on the Alexandra Docks, which opened in 1875.

1892 The Alexandra Dock was extended with the addition of the South Dock with the original Alexandra Dock becoming known as the North Dock.

By 1900 the Town Dock was used primarily for the general import trade, particularly in timber. Its relatively small size and position further up the river estuary than the Alexandra Dock made the Town Dock particularly vulnerable.

1907 An extension to the Alexandra South Dock was opened.

1914 The Alexandra Dock was further expanded and a new South Lock (the Great Sea Lock) opened with direct access to the Severn Estuary. The 1914 map above shows how the sinuous River Ebbw was diverted away from the South Dock extension.

The book The Newport Docks & Railway Company, published in 1996, is an excellent source of information.[1]

Rolling Bridge

A large retractable (rolling) bridge carrying double rail tracks was built in 1908-9 to cross the original South Lock. It had a travel of 107 ft.[2]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 'The Newport Docks & Railway Company' by John Hutton, Silver Link Publishing, 1996
  2. 'The Newport Docks & Railway Company' by John Hutton, Silver Link Publishing, 1996, pages 27 & 29