Building the Dock 1864-1867 / Hamilton Dock
The construction of Hamilton Dock began in February 1864 and was finished within three years.
[Top blue inset caption reads]
This is the office of the Deputy Harbour Master, whose duties included overseeing Abercorn Basin and Hamilton Dock.
[Lower blue inset caption reads]
A team of 450 men worked to build Hamilton Dock and Abercorn Basin.
[Illustration captions read]
Above, right The dock was constructed at a location convenient to Harland and Wolff's shipyard
Right Hamilton Graving Dock plan, c. mid-20th Century.
Below A paddle steamer being repaired in Hamilton Dock. The Pump House is visible in the background.
Concept and Controversy
Hamilton Graving Dock was built by the Belfast Harbour Commissioners and named after their Chairman James Hamilton, a prosperous local merchant.
Used for the cleaning, repairing and fitting-out of ships, the dock served both the shipbuilding industry and the business of the port.
The dock was opened by the Marquis of Abercorn, after whom the Abercorn Basin is named, in a ceremony attended by thousands of people and which included 'a brilliant fireworks display'.
'Could any propose that respectable mechanics would go to live in Ballymacarrett?... It would be absurd to force them across the river to Ballymacarrett.'
James Hamilton (below), Harbour Commissioner,
Belfast News Letter, 26 November 1862
Construction started on Hamilton Dock in 1864, following some controversy over its location.
[Blue inset caption reads]
Queen's Island and Hamilton Dock would eventually be constructed in this location.
[Illustration captions read]
Above SS Majestic moored in Abercorn Basin next to the entrance to Hamilton Dock, which is closed off by its caisson.
Right Hamilton Graving Dock was the first dock to be located on the Co. Down side of the Lagan. This map shows
Below James Hamilton, the Harbour Commissioner after whom Hamilton Dry [Graving] Dock was eventually named, was not in favour of building the dock on the County Down side of the Lagan when it was first proposed. Here he is depicted holding the plans for Hamilton Dock in his hands.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1864.
Location. 54° 36.383′ N, 5° 54.697′ W. Marker is in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Marker is on Queens Road, on the left when traveling north. Part of the Titanic Belfast complex. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Hamilton Dock, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT3 9DT, United Kingdom. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Queen's Island Shipyard / Hamilton Dock (here, next to this marker); Building the Dock 1864-1867 / Belfast's Industrial Growth (here, next to this marker); Queen's Island Shipyard / Belfast's Industrial Growth (here, next to this marker); Hamilton Dock Stone Construction (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Hamilton Dock Stone Construction (here, next to this marker); Nomadic in Hamilton Dock (a few steps from this marker);
Also see . . .
1. The Hamilton Graving Dock. Titanic Belfast website entry (Submitted on June 16, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Shipbuilding in Belfast. Culture Northern Ireland website entry (Submitted on June 16, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Harland and Wolff. Wikipedia entry (Submitted on June 16, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 11, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 16, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 82 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 16, 2019, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.