While rooting around amongst my pics I remembered that I had some interesting ones that I took in Gloucester in August 2015. I was hoping to get back to the city at some point, but then other things intervened and I never did (since rectified
This post is about dry docks and ships, and it is really a series of images that I took way back in the 1980’s when we were in Durban and got the chance to go down into the Prince Edward Graving Dock. There were two vessels in the dock on that day and it was quite a thrill to walk underneath those tons of steel. The ships were Mobil Refiner (top image) and Regina D (lower image)
For those that are interested in these things, the principal dimensions of the dock are:
|Overall docking length
||Length on keel blocks
|Length on bottom
||Width at entrance top
|Width at coping
||Depth on Entrance MHWS
|Depth on inner sill MHWS
You really get a sense of scale when you get to see how big ships actually are, and these two were relatively small vessels compared to what is floating around nowadays.
Unfortunately my images are not great, The problem with taking pics down there is that there are patches of deep shadow and patches of bright daylight which really messed with the camera (and operator). Then the conversion process from slide to jpg further degraded the images. But, it is a great memory.
Cape Town has the Sturrock and Robinson Dry Dock, and Clinton Hattingh was kind enough to send me these images of the latter showing the keel blocks
The Robinson Dry Dock is the oldest operating dry dock of its kind in the world and dates back to 1882. The foundation stone for the dock was laid by Prince Alfred, second son of Queen Victoria.
Now wind forward to August 2015 and to Gloucester where there were two dry docks, and one was occupied by a sailing ship.
I don’t think that caisson has been opened in many years, although in 2017 I revisited Gloucester Harbour and that dock was occupied.
The vessel is the Den Store Bjorn, built n 1902.
Of course there are a number of these drydocks around in the the UK, The most famous one in Southampton is the King George V, and it was the place where the really big liners were overhauled. Many images exist of the dock with one of the Queens in it but sadly the caissons have been demolished and the dock is now used as a wet dock. What a waste!
Southampton also used to have the Trafalgar dry dock which is close to the Ocean Terminal, it too was used by many of the famous liners, including a number of Union-Castle ships. It has been cut in half and the one half has been filled in while the other is a rectangular pool of water.
These facilities were built for the ship repair industry that the city once had, but that trade has moved offshore to Europe and today these spaces are only really known to those who have an interest in ships of the past.
There are two other dry docks of interest in Portsmouth, both inhabited by famous ships.
The first is the dock where the Monitor M33 is on display.
and the drydock where HMS Victory has been for so many years.
Liverpool also had two docks in the Canning Dock area that interested me and both we occupied. The first by the MV Edmund Gardner, a former pilot cutter that was launched in 1953. I was hoping to look around her but she was fenced off and painted in dazzle camouflage.
The other dock was occupied by De Wadden, a three-masted auxiliary schooner built in the Netherlands in 1917.
And finally, there are two more dry docks that I would like to mention, both with preserved vessels in them. The first houses the Cutty Sark in Greenwich.
and the other houses the SS Great Britain in Bristol.
Both of these provide an interesting glimpse at the underside of ships, as well as the opportunity to marvel at their construction and how large they really are.
When this post started out originally it was only really about the Durban trip, but it has grown into much more as I have experienced other similar docks, and what a fascinating journey it turned out to be.
DRW © 2015-2019. Images migrated 02/05/2016, more images added 04/06/2017, more images added 24/06/2019