Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,411 pages of information and 245,908 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Stanley Dock, Liverpool

From Graces Guide
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The dominant building here is the New Tobacco Warehouse. In front of that is the old South Stanley Warehouse. The white stone structures on Regent Road are typical Jesse Hartley granite gateposts/policeman's lodges
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Looking west. Titanic Hotel (former N. Stanley Warehouse) on right, rolling lift bridge in distance, and beyond that, Jesse Hartley's clock tower
Former entrance to N Warehouse from Regent Road, now the entrance to the Titanic Hotel. The granite tower housed the hydraulic accumulator and the boiler chimney for the pumphouse
Former policeman's lodge at entrance to N. Warehouse
Granite gatepost, slotted for sliding gate
Detail of hydraulic pumphouse, which provided delivered high pressure water to machinery, including.....
....this hydraulic crane
Cast iron columns and crane at former north warehouse (Titanic Hotel)
Rarely-seen detail of granite seating for cast iron column, at blitzed end of north warehouse
The 'New Tobacco Warehouse' at Stanley Dock, claimed to be the largest building in the world when opened in 1901
Detail of the New Tobacco Warehouse
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Detail of drawing of hydraulic tobacco press, displayed in the Titanic Hotel
Detail of drawing of hydraulic tobacco press, displayed in the Titanic Hotel
Entry to Leeds and Liverpool Canal from east side of dock

One of the Liverpool Docks


Designed by Jesse Hartley, the dock opened on 4 August 1848.

The dock is the only one in Liverpool which was built inland, all the others being built out from the foreshore. The original quay warehouses, north and south, are of a similar design to those at Albert Dock and are grade II* listed buildings.

On the north side of the dock the former tobacco and rum warehouse has been sympathetically converted into the Titanic Hotel, without spoiling the character of the area. The original warehouse was mirrored by another on the south side, which has survived, albeit somewhat rebuilt, out of use, and overshadowed by the massive 'New Tobacco Warehouse'.

Part of the south side of the dock was filled in to accommodate the new warehouse, cutting off the old one from quayside access. The New Tobacco Warehouse is undergoing extensive conversion for residential, office, and other uses.

The North and South Warehouses each had a small group of buildings housing steam-driven hydraulic pumping machinery, boilers, chimney and hydraulic accumulator tower. That for the N. Warehouse survives alongside the Titanic Hotel.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal descends via locks to join the dock on the east side. Canal boats passed under Regent Road to join Collingwood Dock.

Tobacco Storage

An excellent account of this massive warehouse may be found in the Conservation Statement For Tobacco Warehouse, Stanley Dock, Liverpool, here[1], from which much of the following information is condensed.

The warehouses at Stanley Dock came to be dominated by the storage of tobacco. Tobacco was stored in large wooden barrels - hogsheads - and needed to 'rest' for 2-3 years in secure bonded warehouses. Samples would be removed from each consignment for testing to establish when the tobacco was ready. The tobacco expanded upon opening, and various types of hydraulic press were required to push the lids back into place. Several presses survive in the South Warehouse, and these had apparently been transferred from Albert Dock Warehouse. An engineering drawing displayed in the Titanic Hotel - the former South Warehouse - and headed 'Hydraulic Press for Tobacco Warehouse Albert Dock' bears the handwritten inscription 'Transferred from Albert Dock'. Parts of this drawing are reproduced below.

Note: The drawings also show the curved cast iron beams supporting the floor in the Albert Dock watehouse. They are inverted Y-shaped in cross section. The drawing shows that the bottom part of the frame of the press, bolted to the floor beams incorporated a pair of rollers. It appears that the bottom platen of the press was supported by these rollers, answering the question of how the 1000 lb hogsheads were placed under the press.

North and South Stanley Warehouses

Press reports, of varying reliability:-

1854 'Dock Committee. — The sub-committee of works recommended that the tender of Messrs. George Forrester and Co., for supplying the iron work for the south stack of warehouses, at the Stanley dock, and executing the whole in every respect conformable to the Plans and specifications, for the sum of £32,485, be accepted. Agreed to.'[2]

1854 'Dock Committee. — The usual meeting was held on Thursday, Mr. C. Turner in the chair. .... The recommendation of the sub-committee, that Messrs. A. and G. Holmes’ offer to provide and fix twelve jiggers and frames, for discharging goods at the north quay of the Stanley Docks, for the sum of £289 10s., was confirmed.— Mr. Bigham drew attention to the subject of Messrs. Forrester and Co.'s contract for iron pillars at the Stanley Dock warehouses. Mr. M'Gregor had called upon him, feeling a little hurt at the imputations which had been cast against the firm. The latter was convinced that the iron supplied for the pillars was the best for that purpose — it was even of a better quality than the surveyor himself had recommended. The failure arose entirely from the peculiar mode of testing ; and if the iron which had been procured from other parties to supply the place of the faulty pillars stood the test which had been applied to theirs, Messrs. Forrester were quite willing to compensate the committee.— The surveyor said he had never recommended any iron to Messrs. Forrester, and that iron had frequently stood the test alluded to in the yard of the trust. Ultimately, however, the surveyor consented to afford Messrs. Forrester an opportunity or witnessing the testing of the pillars obtained as the substitutes for their contract, if it was the wish of the committee. ....'[3]

1854 'Messrs. Joseph Walker Parker and Co.'s offer to supply sheet lead, was also accepted; together with the tender of Messrs. Thomas Benson and Co., for 12 feet turning tables, at £65 per table, for the level railway at the north side of the Stanley Dock warehouses.'[4]. Another source[5] gives different contractors' names: Joseph Walker (lead); Thomas Parsons and Co. (turntables). That will be Thomas Pearson and Co and Thomas Pearson and Co, then.

1854 'It was agreed to accept the tender of Mr P. Weaver, for 20 pairs of iron doors for the internal communication in the Stanley dock warehouses, and that of Messrs. Armstrong and Co., for hydraulic machines for the warehouses on the south quay of these warehouses.' [6]

1854 'The Sub-committee of Works recommended the acceptance of the contract of Messrs. A. and G. Holme to erect twelve jiggers and frames for the warehouses at the Stanley Dock for £289 10s., the whole to be completed within five weeks.'[7]

1854, September: 'OPENING OF THE STANLEY DOCK WAREHOUSES.- Yesterday, one stack of these new warehouses, was opened for public business. The first deposit of goods made in the stores, was handed in by Mr. Rankin, a member of the dock committee, and consisted of bales of cotton.'[8]

1855 'The subcommittee of works recommended that the tender of Messrs. Jones and Jump, offering to provide jiggers for the south stack of the Stanley Dock warehouses at £24 each, be accepted. The surveyor reported that the system in operation for the transfer of carriages from one line of railway to the other, at Birkenhead, would not answer at the Stanley Dock warehouses. The tender of the Vauxhall Foundry [presumably George Forrester and Co ] to supply turn tables at £24 each was, therefore, accepted.'[9]

1855 'NORTH DOCKS RAILWAY STATION. The New Station of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, adjoining the Stanley Dock, in Regent-road and Great Howard-street, called the NORTH DOCKS STATION, is NOW OPEN for the receipt of GOODS intended for Manchester, Wigan Rochdale, Ashton, Staleybridge, Oldham, Heywood, Leeds, Halifax, Bradford, Wakefield, Goole, Hull, York, Newcastle, West Hartlepool, all parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire, and the East and North of England and Scotland, &c. The NORTH STATION being immediately contiguous to the Stanley, Collingwood, Salisbury, Nelson, Bramley-Moore, Wellington, Sandon, and Huskisson Docks, with the whole of which Lines of Rails are now in course of formation; as also, with the new Warehouses recently erected on the Stanley Dock Quay, the Company will be enabled to receive Goods direct from Vessels discharging cargoes there, with a great saving in expense; and also, to forward them with much greater dispatch than has hithertofore been possible.
.All information as to Rates, &c., may be obtained at the Company's Offices, Exchange Station; also, from Mr. Collier, at the North Docks Station; and from W. CAWKWELL, Goods Manager.
Hunt's Bank, Manchester, April 12, 1855.'[10]

New Tobacco Warehouse

Further information from the Conservation Statement For Tobacco Warehouse, Stanley Dock:-

Construction, by Morrison and Sons of Wavertree, started in January 1898 and was completed in March 1901.

The structure used iron and steel columns and beams, concrete floors, and approximately 27 million bricks. There were 30,000 panes of glass.

In 1969 it stated that the warehouse contained tobacco worth £340,000,000.

1915 'TOBACCO WAREHOUSE GUTTED. A fire which broke out on Friday night at the Stanley Dock warehouse, Liverpool, the Empire's largest tobacco store, was still smouldering on Saturday evening, and was likely to do so for some time. It is estimated that the warehouse contained tobacco worth £3,000,000 in bond, and that the damage will amount to £250,000 at the least. It is said that the quantity of tobacco destroyed may seriously affect the result of any extra duty which the Chancellor of the Exchequer may decide to place upon tobacco.'[11]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Conservation Statement For Tobacco Warehouse, Stanley Dock, Liverpool, by Hinchliffe Heritage for Abercorn Construction
  2. Northern Daily Times - Friday 10 March 1854
  3. Liverpool Mail, 8 July 1854
  4. Liverpool Mail - Saturday 22 July 1854
  5. Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 25 July 1854
  6. Northern Daily Times, 3 November 1854
  7. Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Tuesday 11 July 1854
  8. Northern Daily Times - Friday 15 September 1854
  9. Liverpool Mercury - Friday 15 June 1855
  10. Liverpool Albion - Monday 16 April 1855
  11. Oxfordshire Weekly News - Wednesday 14 April 1915