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Part of Liverpool Docks
Designed by Thomas Steers and being built from 1734, it was completed after his death by Henry Berry, opening in 1753. The dock was originally known as South Dock, the name changing because it was nearby to John Blackburne's saltworks. As is indicative of its name, the dock was an important transit terminal for the salt industry. Liverpool was a base for the refining of rock salt from Cheshire and its onward transportation. The dock also handled agricultural produce from Ireland and the Mediterranean.
Around 1769, John Okill had a shipyard on the south side.
Structural improvements were made to the dock basin in 1842 and 1855. The opening of the Albert Dock in 1846 allowed vessels to be unloaded there, before moving on to the Salthouse Dock for loading. By the mid-19th century, the main trade from the dock was with China and the East Indies. The dock served square rigged sailing ships until about 1914.
Custom House railway station, on the Liverpool Overhead Railway, was opened at the north-east corner of the dock in 1893. The station, opened at the same time as the railway, was renamed Canning in 1947 and closed in 1956 along with the railway.
By 1920, the Wapping and Salthouse Goods Depot of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway was on the eastern side of the dock.