Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting PKNEWS to 80360
Dredging in Falmouth is nothing new: COMMENT
4:00pm Thursday 8th August 2013 in News
The scientific dredging trial, the results from which will help determine whether or not the capital dredging scheme for the port gets the go-ahead has been completed.
The Falmouth Harbour Commissioners will now await further advice from the Marine Management Organisation.
When the docks were in their embryonic state 150 years ago the port faced another dredging problem.
In order to attract deeper draught passenger ferries, dredging alongside of the Prince of Wales (Eastern) breakwater was undertaken. Mr Michell, of Cardiff, owner of the steam dredger Briton was contracted to remove 250,000 cubic yards of spoil from the docks basin.
The dredger Briton came to Falmouth from south Wales. Richard Michell had used the dredger on various dredging projects in Penarth Docks, Cattewater, Plymouth, Southampton and Swansea.
The Dock Company purchased the Briton from him in 1863 for the sum of £4,400, which in those days was a considerable sum. At this time, the docks were under the control of the Public Loan Commissioners.
Powered by a two-cylinder, 60hp steam engine, the 80-feet long Briton was fitted with two ladders 65-feet long with 31 buckets on each ladder. She could excavate to a depth of 41 feet and raised 1,800 tons of dredging spoil in 12 hours with four hoppers during the three years she worked for the Falmouth Harbour Commissioners. Working alongside the Briton in the port was the wooden hopper barge Pendennis. Both vessels were let out on hire by the Dock Company when not in use around the port.
Silley Cox purchased the next dredger also called Briton from the Tyne Improvement Commission in 1922. This workhorse of the port dredged millions of tons of spoil during her career in Falmouth. The channel into the docks from the West Narrows buoy, around the wharves, the inner harbour and the docks basin were dredged to accommodate larger ships.
The hopper barges, filled with spoil, were towed out to the Spoil Dumping Ground south east of St Anthony’s Lighthouse by the Falmouth Docks and Engineering tugs Portwey and John Hamilton.
It has been estimated that seven million tons of spoil were dredged between the 1920s and 1970s.