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Here's a blog from Julie Corbett. 

This is not a blog about a hot wash to get your whites bright or those hard, painful lumps filled with pus. It is about the building of the long, connected, narrow docks of Albert and William Wright to the west of Hull’s town docks.

Entrance from Neptune Street and public footpath

One good thing about these two docks is that you can walk the perimeter quite easily. There are several public footpaths around the outside of the docks. If the lock gates are closed, you can cross over them and enjoy a circular route that is incredibly varied. You can walk beside the Humber and then back alongside the A63. This area is busy hub of Hull’s light industry.

Back to ‘boils.’

These are gushes of fresh water escaping from underground aquifers. During the building of Albert Dock (originally West Dock) work was delayed several months during the excavations when the water table was breached. The Hull Valley, that the river Hull flows through is made up of layers of soil and rubbish, sand, clay, sand again and then to chalk. This chalk is a continuation of the Wolds chalk hills. Chalk acts like a sponge. It soaks up and holds rainwater. Dig deep enough and in the right spot anywhere in Hull and at the right spot and you might hit freshwater bursting up from the chalk.

Remains of the Riverside Quay (and southern quay edge of Albert dock) looking west towards the Humber Bridge

This deep-water quay was opened in 1907. Ships could unload here without waiting for a high tide to go through to Albert Dock. This facilitated the import of perishable goods, such as fruit, to the local markets and on to rail freight services. There was also a passenger train station, and you could disembark from your ferry or liner with your ‘boat train ticket’ and travel directly to Hull’s Paragon Station or Liverpool if you wished. The quay was destroyed in 1941 during a World War II bombing raid.

Looking east from Albert Dock entrance.

As you can see in Figure 3, it is a tight space between the bullnose and the exit to the open water of the Humber. As ships became larger and required deeper water this increasingly became a limiting factor in the life of the dock.

Part of the south quay of Albert Dock

All the quays to the south of both Albert and William Wright docks are built upon reclaimed land and concrete. Large cofferdams were constructed in the Humber to allow work to be completed. During the work, the cofferdams did breach, and work was delayed for months repairing and pumping out the dams again. The works on Albert Dock began in 1862 and opened in July 1869 when it was named for the Prince of Wales, Albert Edward, who attended the ceremony.

Looking west from Albert dock lock gate towards William Wright Dock

William Wright Dock is an extension of Albert dock and work began in 1873 and was completed in 1880. William Wright was the chairman of The Dock Company. The docks managed general cargo, fresh foods, and passenger ferries. Both docks were used by fishing industry trawlers before St Andrew Fish Dock was opened in 1883 and for a brief period from 1972.

Arctic Corsair at Dunston’s Ship Repairers, William Wright dock

For followers of the Maritime Project, it is the very end of William Wright Dock, where the dry dock is situated that perhaps holds the most interest. It is here that major restoration of the Spurn Lightship (details here) took place. In Figure 6 you can see the Arctic Corsair which is still being worked on.

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