It was Liverpool’s role in the early development of railway technology which resulted in the parallel setting up of docks at Garston, established as an unloading point for coal. Garston Dock mushroomed from a very small dock enterprise which had originally been built in south Liverpool for Blackburne’s saltworks. It was when the St Helens Canal and Railway Company extended its track system and needed extra provision of coal that the Garston Dock proper, covering six square acres of land, was built. The idea behind the dock was to offer loading and unloading facilities which would enable the St Helens coalfields to compete with rivals in the Wigan area - and a target of loading 250 tons of coal in 2.5 hours was set. However, larger ships struggled to reach the dock and more money had to be pumped into the project to facilitate their passage.




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