Hull owes its existence to water transport. Located at the mouth of the River Hull, where the deep-water channel of the Humber sweeps along its north bank, it is a natural transhipment point, and although the town (as it is properly called until 1897, when Hull gained its city status) did become an industrial centre during the nineteenth century it was always first and foremost a port. Between 1778 and 1914 its scale and operations were revolutionised. At the beginning of the period it was simply a river port, exploiting the natural harbour of the River Hull, but thereafter the port was transformed, and with it the town. The growth of trade and the industries it fostered drove Hull’s economic development, and with it the expansion of its population and thus its urban sprawl. Meanwhile, the location of the various docks shaped the centre of the town, led its expansion east and west along the Humber and north along the Hull, and determined the location of its key industries. Through their influence the medieval town became a modern city.
Wilcox, M. (2017). Dock Development, 1778-1914. In D. J. Starkey, D. Atkinson, B. McDonagh, S. McKeon, & E. Salter (Eds.), Hull: Culture, History, Place (117-144). Liverpool University Press