The Old harbour (the mouth of the River Hull) was generally believed to extend from the River Humber to North Bridge. This was a natural Harbour with an average width of 50 mtrs.(53 yds) and extended for about 554 mtrs.(600 yds) cargoes were landed and loaded on the wharves on the west side of the river. At the time Hull was unique as it had no legal Quay and therefore it was difficult for the customs officers to assess the duty to be paid, this led to the loss of revenue to the Government, This reason and also the increase in trade and the congestion in the Old harbour led to the Government passing the first Dock Act in 1774. The Hull Corporation and Hull Trinity House refused to build the dock, but due to the Docks Act The Hull Dock Company was able to be formed to raise the finance and oversee its construction.
Hull's commerce was growing and the existing waterways were becoming congested. It was well placed to take
advantage of the growth of the inland waterway network and the growing industrialisation of Yorkshire.
The construction of the new dock began on the 19th October 1775 with the first stone being laid by Joseph Outram Esq., the Mayor at this time and opened officially on Tuesday 22nd September 1778, and at this time was the largest dock in the Kingdom. It was simply named 'The Dock' and the original entrance was from the River Hull. When the next dock was built it was then called 'The Old Dock' until 1854 it was finally named 'Queens Dock' in honour of the Royal visit (the first since 1642) by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who sailed along the length of all the existing docks of the time.
This dock was in use for over 150 years and when it finally closed in 1930 it was purchased by the Hull Corporation for £100,000. Over the next 4 years it was filled in and landscaped to become a Pleasure Garden now called Queens Gardens.
The next dock to be built, a junction dock between the two older docks, was started on the 10th December 1827
even though permission for it had been obtained about 20 years before, and The Chamber Of Commerce and Shipping of the time had to applied a lot of pressure to get the construction going. The cost
was paid by the Hull Dock Company and it opened to shipping on the 1st June 1829 and completed a line of docks connecting the River Hull to the River Humber along the site of the old wall and
military fortifications formerly protecting the ancient town.
The 'Junction Dock' was renamed 'Princes Dock' in the honour of Prince Albert, Victoria's husband at the same time the 'Old Dock' was named 'Queens Dock' for the Royal visit in 1854.
The dock was open for 139 years and closed for shipping in 1968. It was later redeveloped and opened as Princes Quay Shopping area which opened in 1991.