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A new wet dock and Warf 1878

Discussion in 'Wharf, Docks and Promenade' started by Halfhidden, Feb 29, 2016.

By Halfhidden on Feb 29, 2016 at 5:37 PM
  1. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    A special meeting the Council was held 6th November 1878, in the words of the precept, "to consider and determine on the report of the Quay Committee to the plan for floating dock recommended by them for the approval of the Council, and on any measures to be taken in reference thereto." To this the Town Clerk added :—" As the whole matter will have to be postponed for 12 months unless the preliminary steps are taken during the present month of November, and a very large amount of work involved in those preliminary steps, it will be desirable, if possible, to come to decision Wednesday next"
    The Mayor, Mr. C. C. Ross; Aldermen Boase, Coulson, York, James, Rodd, and Blackwell; and Councillors Victor, Chirgwin, Quance, Rossiter, Fox, Mathews, Preston, Rnnnalls, Jasper, Perkins, Tancock, Carne, Maxwell, Reynolds, and Richards, —22 out of the whole body, were present, the only absentees, from indisposition, being Messrs. Mitchell and N. Pentreath.

    The Mayor said they were called together on a very important work, one of the most important pieces of work this Council had ever been called upon to consider. To show how important is was they had only to glance at the special notice, a notice which must have fallen like a bombshell on some of the Council, but the reasons for sending it out could soon be explained. After the plans came in on the 25th of October, the Quay Committee went through them with considerable care, seriatim, plan after plan; so that these might have most thorough consideration. He need scarcely say that this took them several days. And when they had got through their labours, they were afraid that if they allowed the meeting to go over until next Wednesday, they would be running the time so short that they might not be able to carry through the work during the coming year. They, therefore, thought it better to call the meeting for that day, and, in the meantime, order that the members of the Council might come prepared with minds matured for a full consideration of the question, the whole of the plans were placed in the room. The subject was one of very considerable importance, and he felt assured that the Council would regard it from one point of view, and from one point of view alone, viz, the material prosperity of the town. Whatever differences of opinion there might be as to matters of detail or as to any particular plans or schemes, he was satisfied they were all agreed that a floating-dock somewhere in the harbour was of vital necessity to the town.

    The whole matter had been entrusted to Committee, who had gone most carefully and thoroughly into it. With the approval of the Council they had offered a premium of £50 for the best plans, and although there were some who gave it as their opinion that engineers would not compete, the plans which now surrounded the walls proved the contrary. Having examined all the plans, the Committee were perfectly unanimous in the selection which they had made, and now remained for the Council to endorse or reject the decision which they had arrived. Alderman Boase, Secretary of the Quay Committee, before reading their report, said the question of a floating-dock had been before the town for a period of twenty-five years, and during that time various plans and schemes had been under their consideration. He confessed that, at one time, he was one of those who favoured the construction of the dock at the northern pier, and his whole attention was fixed upon that spot, because of the- railway being at the end. But those who held that view had seen that the amount of money required would be far beyond the means of a small borough, especially as the excavation there was of hard a nature. There was always a minority, however, in favour of the southern pier; and at last they turned their attention to the south side as being more congenial and more likely to succeed. The question, however, had been so long discussed and considered without any satisfactory result being arrived at, that it seemed one time as if all were thoroughly sickened and that it was almost hopeless to attempt to revive it, but he hoped now that they were on the eve of making a decided step forward, and that all concerned would join heartily in promoting that which was essentially for the benefit of the town.

    This question was not only of interest to the Town Council but to every burgess and ratepayer. For every man in the town ought to look to the general good and not allow self-interest to sway him to either side. Now was the time to see whether they could not get such a dock as they could afford to pay for, and which would meet the requirements of the harbour. He could assure the Council that the Committee had not gone into this matter hastily, but they had given it their most serious consideration. Once more they looked through the plans of Mr. Haigh, Mr. Matthews, and Sir John Coode, and came to the conclusion that they must go to the south side. Having offered premium for the best plan for their requirements, no less than 22 had been submitted to them, most of them of an excellent character, and hoped the next step would be productive of the same amount of good. Before coming to their decision, there were two or three points which the Committee laid down for their guidance, and one of those was that the cost should not exceed £25,000. There were parties who said that it could not be done for such a sum, but, at the same time, there was general cry throughout the town for a floating-dock. He for one, however, desirous as he was of having the docks, should not have been prepared to vote for their construction if the price had been such to have kept the town under water for the next fifty years. Against that he should certainly vote. But now they had plans before them which place the matter quite within their reach, and, having gone so far forward, he thought it was the duty of every commercial man, well as every other person in the borough, to sink every feeling of self-interest to " veer and haul" a little, and to merge personal feelings in the general good. There must be a principle of give and take on both sides, otherwise great and important movement would ever be carried out, and there could no hope of success in this undertaking.

    The Committee had come to the conclusion that the plan which they recommended for acceptance was, in all respects, the best. In the first place the old Pier very much needed doctoring, but the Committee were of the opinion that the best thing to was to build a wall inside it, and to have a tram road brought around from the railway, so that fish coming from St. Ives might be brought right down to the Extension pier-head, and shipped at once. An improvement would be made in the locality of the Trinity House and Bonded-stores, where the thoroughfare was very narrow; and another point on which the Committee laid great stress was that there should be a guarantee to the cost of the entire scheme. In all these respects, it was considered that the plan with the motto " Let every herring hang by its own tail," would best carry out the objects which they had view; but, although the Committee were quite unanimous on that point, there was no thought whatever of dictating to the Council what course they should pursue. It might be that the Council might totally differ with the Committee in what they had done; and, if so, he hoped they would not hesitate to express their views to the fullest extent. At the same time, he should confess to considerable disappointment if a decided step forward was not made that day in the direction of proceeding with a work of so much importance. They had a grand collection of plans before them; and, so far as he could see, there ought to be little or no difficulty in making a choice. It had struck the Committee that, in the “Herring” plan, some alteration might be made in the entrance-gates to the docks, and that it might be placed nearer the Extension, so that might be easier for vessels to go in and out; but on this, and one or two other little points, they could consult the engineer hereafter. As to the financial question, the cost, as they knew, was estimated at about £25,000. They could borrow the money from the Public Loan Commissioners for fifty years at percentage of 3 1/4 and he estimated that the principal and interest would cost them yearly £1018 15s. The working expenses he put down at about £250 more, making a total of £1268 15s. On the other side of the account he estimated that the receipts from 50,000 quarters of imported wheat would be £833 6s, that was an extra penny on 20,000 quarters imported at Penzance would £86 6s.; keelage on vessels now going to Falmouth £125, and ballast £100 more, so that the total from wheat vessels alone would £1141 12s. They did not reckon anything for Norwegian and other vessels that came to Penzance, nor anything on account by the increase in the maize trade, which was now becoming very general. Maize was being used largely for feeding purposes, but their commercial men found that the profits upon it were very small, mainly owing to the carriage which they had to pay upon it from the Truro river, and which prevented them from competing with other merchants elsewhere. Given more favourable conditions, the greater facilities for carrying on their trade, and the merchants of Penzance would very fairly be able to compete with others. For the increase in the maize trade and every other item, they had put down £370, thus making the total credit £1,511 12s. Deducting from this the £1,268 of annual expenditure, it left them with a profit of £243 12s. In a private speculation, they could not expect to very much better than that, and he did not see why they, as a town, should be so very much behind. There were some who thought that he might be a little more moderate in dealing with his figures, and that he was somewhat sanguine in his anticipations of the probable receipts. It was considered that he ought not to put the quantity of imported wheat at more than 40,000 quarters, and even accepting those figures it left them with a surplus of £52. But he believed himself that it would exceed 50,000 quarters. He had a strong opinion that they ought to do everything in their power to encourage the grain-trade. He did not mean to say that they should take hold of traders in grain and make pet children of them, but they have made such improvement in the production of flour that they certainly deserved every possible encouragement.

    Then, again, there was the question of guano, the importation of which they hoped would be largely increased, and this would prove still another source of revenue. Nor must they forget that a very large amount of labour would be employed in the town all tending to the one result, the benefit of the town. Nor was this wholly and solely a question for the labourer or the poor man. Every labourer, every tailor and shoemaker and certainly the lawyers were concerned in an increase of trade. There were some people who were incline I to think that they we’re going too fast, but when this was said, it must not be forgotten that it had been a subject for discussion for just quarter of a century, and he certainly did not think it could be said that they were going too fast.

    If they had erred at all, it had rather been in the opposite direction. This dock question had been most prolific of letters in the newspapers, but none of them would influence him giving a vote. Some opposition they had met with, but nothing to debar them from coming to a conclusion on this question. We lay this before you (concluded Mr. Boase ) and we are satisfied that you will deal with it uprightly, liberally, and with proper views of the whole question.

    The report of the Quay Committee was then read as follows:— "4th November, 1878. —A meeting of the Quay Committee was held this day, present the Mayor and Messrs. Victor, Chirgwin, Quance, Coulson, Maxwell, and the Secretary.

    " Floating Dock and Connection North and South Piers. "

    The Committee report to the Council that, answer to the advertisement issued by them, designs for the above works, with detail drawings and estimates, more or less complete, "have been received; the Committee submit the same herewith, together with synopsis thereof, prepared under their direction. " The Committee have held several meetings for the purpose of examining the various schemes and successively retaining for consideration those which seemed to them most suitable, and they have eventually come the unanimous conclusion that No. 2 in the synopsis is the one which will most thoroughly meet the requirements of the case. They, therefore, recommend that plan for the approval of the Council, and that the premium of £50, offered for the best design, be awarded to it. "Should this recommendation be adopted the Committee further recommend that the sealed envelopes accompanying the design, showing the name of the party sending same, be opened at the Council meeting, and such party immediately communicated with for the purpose of getting the necessary documents prepared for deposit during the present month of November. "

    They further recommend that it be referred back to this Committee to open the sealed envelopes which accompanied the other designs, and return those designs, with the accompanying documents, to the parties who sent saying with the best thanks of the Council for the trouble they have taken in the matter. " They also recommend that be referred to the Finance Committee, in association with this Committee, to prepare and present to the Council estimate the financial resources for carrying-out the work. The Committee may now say, generally, on this point that on an approximate calculation as to the recovery of the trade winch is now diverted from the harbour for want of floating accommodation and the payment of 2d. a ton extra dues (making in all 4d. per ton ) by vessels using the dock, and 1d. extra per quarter (making 4d. per quarter) on wheat and 25 per cent, extra on other cargoes shipped or discharged in the dock, together with the additional trade which may reasonably be anticipated, there will be ample pecuniary means for carrying out the work.

    We may add at once here that the competing engineers sent the following paper to explain the engineering objects they had view :—
    Memoranda, explaining the engineering objects had in view in the design for a floating dock, at Penzance, as sent in under the motto of "Let every Herring hang by its own tail! "

    The dock will have a floating area of 3 1/3 acres. Its entrance will be 50 feet in width, and its position has been fixed, as shewn, for the following reasons: —
    It can be constructed more cheaply than elsewhere and will not be in the way of vessels entering the harbour in gale of wind.
    If constructed at the Railway Station end of the harbour a long channel would have to be excavated thereto, which would be dangerous to vessels entering at half tide, and this excavation would add to the expense of the work.
    If constructed outside the Albert Pier would be in an inconvenient position with regard to the town, and be so exposed to the sea as to require a strong and very expensive sea-wall.
    Moreover, a dock constructed outside the Albert Pier would not be efficient in providing the scour to keep the mouth of the harbour free from silt.
    If the dock be constructed, as shewn, all the tidal water the harbour will be directed during the ebb tide to the locality where silt is now deposited; and, by opening the sluice, provided in the eastern wall, a quick stream can be brought to bear in assisting the removal of any deposit.

    Our experience in such matters leads to the conclusion that a deposit naturally takes place under the shelter of the southern pier. The finer particles of such deposit will brought by the currents, and the coarser by the wind-waves, and the only way to get rid of such deposits is by dredging a scour.
    The dock walls will afford total length of quayage inside the dock of about 1400 feet, 40 feet in width. Also on the outside face of the northern wall vessels will be able to lie along the extension of new wharves and bridge connection, timber cope waling having been provided for the purpose.

    It will be noticed that the line of entrance to the dock is not parallel with the extension of southern pier, which position might have looked better on the plan, but the object has been fixing in its present position, to prevent waves dashing against the gates. As designed they will be sheltered by the entrance buttresses and also by the southern pier; the stairs on which, as now existing, will not be interfered with. The sill of the entrance-gates will be 2ft. 6inches below low water ordinary spring tides.

    The western wall dock has been shewn at an average distance of about 50 feet in front of the present face of the wharves, for the purpose of facilitating the continuation of new road connecting wharves to its junction with the Parade. The level of such road will be the same as that the existing wharves, near the railway station, and will be 30 feet in width throughout, including 4-feet footpath. At a point marked "I" on the plan a retaining wall is to be built, so as to admit of the reclamation, or filling of a valuable area of land, now of little use. This filling is not entirely included in our specification, or estimate. It may a useful place for shooting rubbish.

    In carrying out these works (should the design be approved of) the contractor should be compelled to first construct the northern and eastern walls of the dock, so as to erect a dam in the entrance stop-grooves, mentioned in the specification. By this means the excavation of the dock, construction of western and southern walls, and the erection of the gates and their fittings may be executed, without being subject to the tide.
    Also it would afford an opportunity ascertaining whether the present walls of the southern pier are watertight; for, if so, it might be allowed to form one side of the dock, without being widened, unless it be absolutely necessary to form a wider quay than it affords at present. This will be a question for the Town Council to determine hereafter.
    Assuming that the piers, at present, can made available for one side of the dock, there would a reduction in our estimate of about £1000.
    Random rubble-work has been adopted, for the reason that it not only much cheaper than squared blocks (as the Albert Pier) but it is also much stronger. The weakness of large dressed stonework may be seen in the facility with which the wall near the railway station is now being pulled down, as the Town Council may have observed for themselves; whereas random rubble-work, as specified, could only be removed blasting or wedging. Lastly, we would direct attention to the device shewn draining Number 4, for the self-acting method lowering and raising the hand-rail of swing-bridge at the entrance, which at the same time covers all openings on the surface the pier-head. This has been specially designed for this work.

    And in further elucidation of their scheme, designs. & co., we may as well give some extracts from their private letter, when the Quay Committee's report had been adopted, and the envelope was broken which disclosed the real name concealed under the pseudonym "Let every herring hang by its own tail "
    30, Great George Street,
    October, 1878. "
    Dear Sir, It may be convenient that we should describe, in as few words possible, the main features of our scheme, that the Town Council, upon having this letter read to them, may understand at a glance the drawings of the works propose. A dock to be constructed of 3 1/3 acres in extent, having fifty feet entrance with one pair of gates, and swing bridge in two leaves over same. The depth of water dock-sill to be 2ft. 6in. at low water in ordinary spring tides.
    "The northern and eastern walls of such dock of new construction, giving quayage 40ft. in width. The entrance to dock will Be in the eastern wall. The southern be utilized for the southern wall of dock, by pulling down the inside wall, widening such portion of pier 10 feet, and constructing new inside of wall. The western wall of dock to be erected front present wharves, slip, and filling to be tipped behind same. The existing masonry on the western side harbour to be removed; all the materials from the pulling down of wall of southern pier and western wharfing to be used in the new works, as the engineers may direct.

    It also proposed that the whole area of the dock should be deepened to a uniform depth of 2ft. 6in. below low water ordinary spring tides. " The remaining portion of the work will consist of about 600 feet of quay wall, with filling behind same, so as to give a roadway 30 feet in width to connect wharves. This connection being completed by bridges of iron girders with brick arching upon masonry piers having 14 openings. There will also be two swing bridges of 36 feet span each.
    "This briefly describes the whole of the works we propose: doubtless some modifications may be made to some of the details, but such modifications will be better made from time to time as the works proceed; and it has been with this view that we have attached a blank schedule of prices, in great detail, to the form of tender to be filled in by any contractor for the work.
    "We would also state that we have visited the town of Penzance and minutely examined the harbour for the purpose of ascertaining from an engineering point of view what would best fulfil the requirements of the Town Council.

    We are, dear sir, Yours faithfully Beardmore and Barnes is, and R. H. Twigg.
    "P.S.—We enclose with this a schedule of prices filled in Mr. Bateman, of Marazion, with a letter from him undertaking to construct the works at prices given. The Ironworks Co. referred in our estimate is the Thames Ironworks Co."

    The Mayor said they had now heard mass of figures and facts and he would tell them how the Committee proceeded to select No. 2 plan.
    For two days several hours were spent in a general survey of the plans; then those which had not complied with the terms of the advertisement were picked out (some them excellent designs ;) then the ones which were too costly or which put the dock where they were not asked to put the dock ; and 13 were eliminated out of 22. The sub-committee dealt with these 13. (Shewing a thorough mastery of the whole, the Mayor explained how one after the other was placed on one side, and they came at last to No 2.)
    Alderman Boase moved the reception and adaption of the Report.
    Alderman Coulson seconded. It was admitted on all sides that a floating-dock is essential; the Quay Committee had gone through facts and figures for them; No 2. best met their estimates and wants; and he had little doubt it would pay its expenses and leave a small surplus.
    Mr. Rossiter, having congratulated the Mayor on the fact that he would retain the chair for another year, said only 54 grain-laden vessels that might have come to Penzance discharged cargoes at Falmouth from 1868 to 1878.
    Mr. Victor What size ?
    Mr. Chirgwin : There is some mistake.
    Mr. Rossiter : And the quarters of wheat were 14,391 year. He could only make £390 revenue out of this and, as the cost of interest, would be £875 he made a loss of £485 a year. But many things might be expected to aid their revenue, and he gave his support very cordially the motion.
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
    Hedge Slammer and sparky like this.


Discussion in 'Wharf, Docks and Promenade' started by Halfhidden, Feb 29, 2016.

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