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Holyhead Breakwater

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Bob Abell29/04/2014 07:25:19
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I've always wondered and tried to imagine......

How was the Breakwater built?

Where can I find a drawing of the cross section, showing how they created the foundations etc?

How could they see what they were doing on the sea bed?

Why didn't they simply make a pile of rocks and create a long Island?......As the Dutch have done with their sea barrier

It took 26 years to build, they even found time to build a castle for the Chief Engineer!

Where did all the workers live?

What a colossal undertaking?

Every facet of the build is of immense interest and curiosity

A few constructive replies are welcome

Bob forever curious

Bob Abell29/04/2014 08:00:57
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Holyhead breakwater under construction

Holyhead

Paul T01/05/2014 15:24:13
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The purpose of the project was to enclose more than 400 acres (160 ha) of deep water to create a sheltered roads, in addition to Holyhead's pre-existing 276 acres (112 ha) harbour. In 1848 the Chester and Holyhead Railway opened dramatically increasing the amount of sailings between Ireland and Great Britain.

Remains of the breakwater railway.

Work began in 1845 under the auspices of superintendent enginee, J.M. Rendell. Following his death in 1856, the project was completed by John Hawkshaw

Up to 1,300 men were employed during the project; although more than forty men lost their lives. Shaped blocks of 10-tonne limestone were used to create an outer facing wall that encased a rubble mound that was raised from the sea by dumping from ships and landward tipping. Divers in submarine bells were used to create level foundations on which the tiers of facing stones were placed. Men worked underwater using picks and hammers. Blasting was even undertaken using gunpowder sealed in watertight tin pipes.

A broad gaug railway was used to carry more than seven million tonnes of stone from the quarries on Holyhead Mountain to the working areas. The line eventually reached 1.48 mi (2.38 km) in length. In 1913 it was converted to standard gauge because a new engine was required after the original one had worn out. The line was used to maintain the breakwater until the 1980s when it finally ceased operations.

The breakwater, which took 28 years to complete, was officially opened on 19 August 1873 by Albert Edward, Prince of Wales

breakwater-park-holyhead-breakwater-schematic-400px.jpg

Edited By Paul T on 01/05/2014 15:31:46

Bob Abell01/05/2014 15:34:00
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Thank you, Paul

I'm surprised there's not a cross section available

Can't imagine laying blocks on a pile of rubble 50 feet under water? A bit like building a lighthouse?

They worked wonders building it

Bob

Paul T01/05/2014 16:04:57
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Bob

The lower part of the bottom image is a large scale cross section taken through the breakwater and it foundations, as you say its a truly herculean project for its time.

Paul

Bob Abell01/05/2014 16:51:10
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Thank you, Paul

I've only just noticed that cross section....It's rather faint

Could you Email it to me and I'll try and tickle it up?

I think a rock island construction would have been ok....There's plenty of mountains to chuck on it!

Bob

Paul T01/05/2014 18:23:00
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Hi Bob

That image has been tickled up it was really dark when I lifted it of the interweb.

Paul

Bob Abell01/05/2014 18:33:16
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Speaking to the Holyhead museum curate, he says the breakwater is in urgent need of repair and as a temp measure, they keep tipping boulders on the seaward side

I suppose, the sea is so deep, they just role away?

Last year I called in with the intention of offering them my Great Eastern, but having seen Les Jones emaculate models, GE looked very shabby...So I didn't pursue the matter.....That was it's Swan Song!

Bob

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