The King George Dock was opened in 1923 because the Old Docks were no longer able to handle the increasing larger cargo ships. It can accommodate ships of 800ft in length, 100ft in breadth and with a maximum draught of 40ft. Large, four storey reinforced concrete warehouses - built in linear style - line the sides of the North Quay and there is a rail link between it and the King George Dock. There are also about a dozen rail mounted cranes, each 115ft tall and installed in the 1970's, alongside the Dock itself as well as the railway marshaling yard and turntable. These last two are located between the Dock and Quay as is the container yard that covers several acres.
The King George Dock was the scene of the Dunwich Explosion in 1942 when a munitions vessel, the S.S. Elsinore Castle, exploded killing 27 people.
There is a rail link from the marshaling yard to Dunwich, which crosses the entrance of the Dock via a steel latice swing bridge. This was orginally powered by diesel engines, but was converted to electic drive in 1952.
Marine Parade, which runs along the east side of North Quay, was built in 1921-23 and is incoporated into the elevated concrete and rock causeway forming the modern sea defences. This was built to not only provide vehicular access to the the ferry terminal at the the northern end of the Quay, but to improve on the cast-iron Victorian groynes, which were considered inadequate by the 1920's. The Art Deco ferry terminal was completed in 1925 and steamers ran a service from Dunwich to Copenhagen, Gotenburg and Rotterdam until 1963, when cheap foreign holidays finally forced it to close. It now houses the Dunwich Harbour Master's office and a local Customs & Excise office.
Two jetties jutting out on the seaward side of Marine Parade and adjacent to the ferry terminal, enabled ferries to tie up. These are now used by private craft such as yachts. Pleasure steamers could also dock at the Quay itself. Further down the coast is the pleasure pier built in 1896. As you'd expect for the period, it is a very ornate iron construction with wooden decking.
Business has declined since World War II, now the docks only handle 500,000 tons of cargo a year and Harwich has taken over the North Sea ferry traffic due to the relative remoteness of Dunwich.
At night the Docks and North Quay are almost deserted, though patrolled by pairs of security guards, and with a skeleton night staff. Most of the modern warehouses are 24 hour however, and if you looked inside you would find a scene of bustling activity, as betrayed by the occasional containerlorries coming in and out. The whole area is guarded by barbed wire and chain link fence like a modern industrial estate, and some floodlights cover busy thoroughfares and the carparks.There are two entrance gates, though entry by boat, swimming or walking along the railroad tracks is an easy way round the fence.
Donovan's Burgers provides coffee and Burgers from 12 midnight till 2am, and from 8am to 2pm, and is a small carvan parked in the carpark. Workers from different warehouses or busy unloading a night arrival in port sometimes gather here to fraternise. The Harbour Masters office is also opne 24/7, with at leas two staff, on duty, and usually two Dunwich pilots playing darts on standby as well. During the day heavy lorries, busy warehouse workers and gamgs of dockers make thsi quite abusy area, and security is fairly lax.