Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North East Lincolnshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TA 27844 11348



TA2711SE ROYAL DOCK, The Docks 699-1/5/129 The Dock Tower 28/04/72


Hydraulic tower. 1851-2 by JW Wild for The Grimsby Dock Company. Red brick with limestone ashlar plinth and ashlar cap with iron lantern. Modelled on the Palazzo Publico at Sienna, with an oriental-style minaret. EXTERIOR: square section, approx 94m tall. 3 stages. Tall main stage has rock-faced rusticated plinth, recessed board door to east side beneath rubbed-brick arch, 6 tiers of 3 tall slit lights to each side. Brass memorial plaque to west side inscribed "1939 A TRIBUTE TO THOSE WHO SWEPT THE SEAS 1949". Stepped brick and ashlar string course. Splayed-out top section above with deep imitation machicolations and tall parapet with brick-coped pointed arched crenellations. Next stage is a smaller version of the lower stage with a single tier of 2 slit-lights to each side and a similar crenellated head. Above this, a short octagonal stage with a round-headed door to the balcony. Moulded cap with tall octagonal iron lantern crowned by an openwork spire and finial. Contains hydraulic gear which originally operated the gates to the adjacent east and west locks (qv), and dockside cranes. INTERIOR: not inspected. HISTORY: this is the largest and architecturally most distinguished hydraulic tower in the UK. The tower is one of William Armstrong's earliest applications of hydraulic power, and is believed to be the only hydraulics system of its type to be built. It is important as a representative of the first stage of hydraulic-power technology which operated on low pressure, with the pressure being gained through height, from an elevated water tank. It was superseded in 1892 by the high-pressure hydraulic accumulator tower which stands nearby to the west (qv). Together the 2 towers form a unique and important survival of early hydraulic systems. The tower is also a major landmark and seamark. (The Buildings of England: Pevsner N, Harris J, Antram N: Lincolnshire: 1989: p343: London; Institute of Civil Engineers: Civil Engineering Heritage: Labrum EA: Eastern and Central England: London: 1994-: 52-4; A guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Lincolnshire & S.Humbs: Wright NR: Lincoln: 1983-: 16-18; University of Hull Publications: Gillett E: A History of Grimsby: London: 1970-: 214-5; Ambler RW: Great Grimsby Fishing Heritage: a brief for a trail:

Grimsby Borough Council: 1990-: 17-18, 20-22; Grimsby Borough Planning Department: Action for Conservation: 1972-: NO.100).

Listing NGR: TA2784411348

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Register. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 23 January 2017.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Gillett, E, A History of Grimsby, (1970), 214-215
Pevsner, N, John, H, The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire, (1964), 343
Wright, N R, A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Lincolnshire16-18
War Memorials Register, accessed 23 January 2017 from


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 06 May 2005
Reference: IOE01/14399/23
Rights: Copyright IoE Dr Eric Ritchie. Source Historic England Archive
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