Mersey Docks and Harbour Board (MDHB) Legal Papers



From the Guide to the Records of the Merseyside Maritime Museum, volume 1: This large section of the Archives contains papers generated in the course of acquiring and managing property, in applications and representations to Parliament and in litigation. It covers a huge variety of topics, many of them in minute detail. One of its peculiar benefits is that there are often different drafts of the same document, with pencil comments on the earlier draft suggesting why it should be changed. Similarly, we find evidence prepared which was not, in the event, presented and which therefore expands on "the public record" of an application to Parliament or a court case. The legal papers can fill in important gaps elsewhere in the collection. There is, for example, nothing from the Engineer's Department to reveal how the eighteenth-century river wall was constructed, but when a piece fell down and became the subject of litigation, the legal department had to find out, and the fruits of their labours are in E11, E12 and E13. The only good plan of the Stanley Tobacco Warehouse in the collection was prepared in the course of a dispute over its rating valuation. But details of routine procedures are not usually permanently recorded. For instance, the mechanism for calculating and paying the wages of manual workers was only revealed when a timekeeper defrauded the Board in a rather big way with no less than fifty-two written statements from people involved (Legal E6 and E7). Sub section A covers the papers relating to those Bills in Parliament promoted by MDHB or its antecedents. The Board and its antecedents seem to have been almost continually in Parliament seeking fresh powers for further expansion. The value of this material is largely in the mass of evidence, verbal and statistical, presented by the various parties. Please note the material is poorly catalogued and we are not always able to locate items listed in the Guide.