The dockyard in Gibraltar was built at the end of the 19th century; three large graving docks to be known as docks Number 1, 2 and 3 were built. Number three dock was the first to open in 1904 and was named King Edward VII, Queen Alexandra named number two dock after herself, and number one dock was called the Prince and Princess of Wales dock, having been named by their Royal Highnesses, subsequently King George V and Queen Mary.
The dockyard was used extensively by the Royal Navy docking many of the Royal Navy’s most prestigious ships. In the early 1980s a decision by the Ministry of Defence to cut back the Royal Navy’s surface fleet meant that the dockyard was no longer financially viable.
In 1982 the dockyard passed into the hands of UK Ship Repair Company A & P. A government grant and a promise of lucrative Royal Fleet Auxiliary contracts did not help A & P and they passed the yard into the hands of the Gibraltar Government.