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How to do your own research

Here are some tips in case you would like to begin investigating the history of major infrastructure projects such as docks in your area.

Once you have identified a subject that you would like to investigate further, you can search Portcullis, the Parliamentary Archives catalogue, to see whether any relevant material is held.  Large projects such as docks required Acts of Parliament in order to be constructed, and therefore plans and books of reference, which had to be deposited as part of the legislative process, are usually held.

These bills were often opposed, and therefore were considered in detail by an Opposed Bill Committee.  Opposed Bill Committees also considered bills that were ultimately unsuccessful, and therefore did not become Acts of Parliament.  These committees heard evidence from local people, the promoters of the project, and engineers.  They are a rich source for the history of the locality, as well as for the project itself. 

You are also likely to find much archive material of interest at the local archive covering the area of the railway. You can find contact details, opening hours and catalogue information at the ARCHON Directory, held by the National Archives.