Building the Dock 1864-1867 / Hamilton Dock

Building the Dock 1864-1867 / Hamilton Dock (HM2HUT)

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N 54° 36.383', W 5° 54.697'

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Inscription
[Front]
Building the Dock 1864-1867

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.
[Back]
Hamilton Dock
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.
Its position on the Co. Down side of the Lagan was divisive. The shipwrights, who mostly lived on the Co. Antrim side of the river, were unhappy with their longer commute to work; even James Hamilton was



not in favour of its position at first. The threat of Edward Harland to move his firm to Liverpool if the dock was not built in Co. Down, however, decided matters and bound Belfast's fate and success with that of Harland and Wolff.
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 the Lagan in 1846-1847, before the Victoria Channel was created.
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.
Details
HM NumberHM2HUT
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Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, June 16th, 2019 at 2:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)30U E 311955 N 6054887
Decimal Degrees54.60638333, -5.91161667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 54° 36.383', W 5° 54.697'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds54° 36' 22.98" N, 5° 54' 41.82" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
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