In October 2011 the Daniel Adamson Preservation Society made
history when the society's fund raising Liverpool Dock and Mersey River
Cruise operated by the Mersey Ferry
ROYAL IRIS OF THE MERSEY became the
last passenger vessel to sail into Wellington Dock, Liverpool, prior to its
infilling to provide additional space for the adjoining United Utilities
water treatment works.
Following the success of the
2011 it was decided to attempt another first - operating a Mersey Ferry into
Associated British Port's Garston Docks, a location not usually associated
with passenger shipping though once a significant port for the coal and
banana trades, and now one which now handles bulk cargos such as imported
metals and minerals.
Garston Docks were established by the St. Helens Canal &
Railway Company in 1853. During the years ownership passed through that of
the London and North Western Railway (L&NWR), London Midland and Scottish
Railway, British Railways associated British Transport Docks Board and
finally to Associated British Ports plc - the company which acquired the
assets of the railway ports on privatisation. The close association of the
docks with the railway network came to an end in 1987 when the railway link
There are three docks at Garston - North Dock, Old Dock
and Stalbridge Dock.
The first to be constructed was Old Dock opened on June
01, 1853 by the St. Helens Canal & Railway Company - built as an alternative
to the very tidal Widnes Docks. The London and North Western Railway Company
acquired the port in 1864 and constructed the North Dock which opened in
1876. Further expansion took place in the early 20th Century when the
largest of the three docks Stalbridge Dock was opened on February 24, 1909.
It was named Stalbridge Dock by Lord Stalbridge, Chairman of the London and
North Western Railway. For the opening the White Star Line's MAGNETIC was
chartered for invited guests and sailed from Prince's Landing Stage to
Garston for the opening ceremony.
Lord Stalbridge was also associated with the Shropshire
Union Canal & Railway Company, which eventually became part of the L&NWR.
The Shropshire Union Canal and Railway Company named their 1909 Dublin
Dockyard built tug LORD STALBRIDGE after Lord Stalbridge. LORD STALBRIDGE
was, along with W.E. DORRINGTON, of similar design to the DANIEL ADAMSON
though a more powerful vessel.
This series of photographs shows the progression of the
Mersey Ferries vessel SNOWDROP up and down Garston channel and within the
docks. The dockside views were taken by Paul Frost.
SNOWDROP departed Seacombe just after 10:00 and called at
Liverpool (Pier Head) and Birkenhead (Woodside) terminals to pick up
passengers. During this period the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's
BEN-MY-CHREE was noted moving astern out of
Cammell Laird looking splendid in her new paintwork following a three week