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Inner And Outer Dock
On 16 August 1836, the first meeting of the Southampton Dock
Company agreed to buy mudland next to Town Quay to build the town's
first dock. This location was chosen because the water was deeper
than at Town Quay so larger ships could berth. The foundation stone
of the Open (or Tidal) dock was laid on 12 October 1838 in a
ceremony watched by over 20,000 people.
The first ships to use the dock were the P&O
ships Liverpool and Tagus, ten months
before the official opening. The London-Southampton railway had
recently opened and it was possible for these ships to offload
their cargo into rail wagons alongside the quay before being
transported to London.
Princess Alexandra Dock: Ferry Terminal
The Outer Dock, as it was known, opened on 1 July 1843. Many ships
were now using the dock, so three dry-docks were built nearby
between 1846 and 1854. They could hold the largest steamers of the
day. The first vessel to use the dry dock was the Royal Mail Steam
Packet's Forth on 27 July 1846. Shipping from the
dock increased quickly because of the nearby railway line so a new
Inner Dock was built in 1851.
Princess Alexandra Dock: Normandy Ferries Reception
The Crimean War broke out in 1854, and most of Britain's troops
passed through the Inner and Outer Docks on their way to and from
Sebastopol. Many of the big steamships using the port were
requisitioned - P&O ships carried over 100,000 men to the
Crimea. Troops also departed from here in the South African and
First World Wars. As the size of ships continued to increase, their
berths moved to the Itchen Quays and the new Empress Dock.
Cross-channel steamers were the only vessels using the dock for
Princess Alexandra Dock: Ferry Terminal Waiting Hall
In 1963 the entrance to the Outer Dock was widened and the Inner
Dock filled in. New cross-Channel car services were introduced and
large areas set aside for handing vehicles. A distinctive new
timber-arched passenger reception hall was built at Berth 2 for the
new service. The dock was opened by Princess Alexandra on 3 July
1967 and named after her. The ferry services were withdrawn in 1984
and the dock is now a marina in the Ocean Village complex.