Sunday, 30 May 2010

Crick 2010

The Crick Inland Waterways Show is held every Whitsun Bank Holiday at Crick Marina

It's not only boats that are sold at Crick..

The entertainment was also pretty good..

and not all Gardner engines were on boats !!

More photographs about the boats and equipment on display can be seen at:

Friday, 28 May 2010

Memories of Liverpool Left Behind

This is the lock gate between the Salthouse and Albert Docks - I love the way the wood is distressed - note the depth - 21 feet !!

The Mersey Ferry - Royal Iris going back to Birkenhead

The Memorial to the Engine Room Heroes of the Titanic - The doomed ship was registered in Liverpool. 244 engineers went down with her.

The statue of Captain F.J "Johnny" Walker who commanded the most successful anti-submarine fleet from Gladstone Dock.

The pilot boat "Kittiwake" with the Merseyside Fire and Rescue boat in the background

Wacker Quacker 2

A Breitling "Wing Walker" doing a 180 mph walk along a warehouse roof at Albert Dock

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The Leaving of Liverpool

The new Liverpool Link now means that canal boats arriving in Liverpool on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal can enter the dock system and for the first time, sail past the "three graces", which consists of the Liver Building, the Cunard Building and the Port Of Liverpool Building.

The Leaving of Liverpool is a photo sequence starting from the BW Visitors Mooring in Salthouse Dock and passing through the new Liverpool Link, heading towards the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Visiting Boats can spend up to ten days on the mooring, which is plenty of time to enjoy the delights of the City.

Salthouse Dock is used for a multitude of purposes including powerboat racing, tourist trips and open water swimming. There is certainly plenty of "entertainment" just outside your porthole.

The slipway (far left - above) is used for Yellow Duck Tours and "splashdowns" occur at regular intervals.

This is the bridge between the Salthouse and Albert Dock - note the capstan by the lock gate - this would have been used to warp sailing ships between the docks.

The Albert Dock is pictured below.

This is the bridge between Albert Dock and the Canning Half Tide DockThe Tidal Lock into the Mersey and Lock-masters office (Canning Half-Tide Lock)

Looking across to Mann Island

The Pumphouse Pub in the Canning Half Tide Dock

The old Mersey Bar Lightvessel in Canning Dock - now a cafe bar

The first "new" BW lock at Mann Island - currently surrounded by new development

The sequence of five photo's below shows the new link, which alternates between open canalised sub-terranean sections connected by short tunnels. The new Museum of Liverpool facility is due to open next year. The link passes the three great iconic waterfront buildings which epitomises Liverpool. The central building of the three is the former headquarters of the White Star Line, which operated RMS Titanic. Its appearance has changed little since 1912.

Below is the Princes Dock Lock in Princes Dock. The channel for canal craft is buoyed - I'm not quite sure why as the water is over 20 feet deep. There are also "bubblers" releasing air into the static dock to keep the water oxygentated.

Note how the lock chamber is at the level of the tunnel to the pierhead area and different from the Princes Dock water level surrounding it.

Below is the imaginatively designed, but unimaginatively named, Bridge EE in Princes Dock.

The more ordinary Bridge DD which connects Princes Dock to the Central Docks

COMING: Memories of Liverpool.....

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Gunpowder Alley

A lot is said about canal restorations, but did you know that there is a canal, still partly in water, which was exclusively used for carrying gunpowder and munitions ??

As I'm about to go overseas again for work, we had to leave the boat in the wildlands and travel back to Essex for the weekend.

To pass the time, I visited the Royal Gunpowder Mills at Waltham Abbey.

A stone's throw from the River Lee Navigation, the museum, a shadow of its former self, still covers around 170 acres.

The Mills closed in 1945 after 300 years use and were then used as a secret research establishment. The area was finally opened to the public in 2001.

This closely guarded secret garden was a world leader in nitro-based explosives. It developed guncotton in 1865 and patented cordite in 1889.

Although in essence a gunpowder, explosive and propellant factory, the nature of the product and its inherrent instability meant that each stage of the process needed to be kept far apart from the next, often with blast shields in place.

The result is a decaying, industrial wildlife park, covering an area half the size of Hyde Park and full of otters, badgers, deer, etc.

Due to the physical spread of the site, they found it safest to move goods around using their own private canal network.

Both raw and finished products were transported on wooden barges like this, which were propelled by punting or hauling.

Some barges have been scuttled in the remaining, watered canals and can be seen like ghosts from the past, shimmering beneath the surface.

The waterways are at different levels and there are locks to move between the levels and out on to the River Lee, where the finished product could be transported by larger barges like the "Lady of the Lea" to the Royal Small Arms factory at Enfield or the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich.

This lock was built in 1878 (9 years after the Cutty Sark was built).

Note the unusual paddle gear using horizontal wheels.

As part of the decontamination process, about 2 feet of topsoil was removed, so the canal bed is shown lower than it actually was. You can see the real depth, indicated by the white mark on the lock walls.

The canal ran between the towpath on the left and the various outbuildings on the right - note the loading docks, which were waterside when the canal was in water.

This canal bridge (which now has a visitors walkway through the arch where the water originally ran) bears the emblem V.R - RGPF - 1878 (Victoria Regina - Royal Gunpowder factory)

This cast iron aqueduct (1878) took the canal across a stream, of which there are many on the site.
This is one of three aqueducts at the RGPF - there are only 26 in total on the whole English canal network.
One of the aqueducts had its bottom fractured and blown away by the force of two nearby nitro-glycerine explosions in 1940 - I believe 7 men were killed.

A model of a powder barge made by an apprentice.

Another outhouse served by the old canal. Note the covered loading area so they kept their powder dry.

At one point in time and if laid end to end, the waterways of the canal system at the RGPF were ten miles long.

This is a rather ornate fire alarm stand from the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield dating from 1904.

Gallery photos from the RSAF, Enfield (including some of the navigation) can be seen here:
The RSAF was privatised and sold to British Aerospace in the late 1980's.
It is now a housing development.
This link shows how the powder mill area looked in its heyday: