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Thread: Great Float Birkenhead Docks Area

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    Default Great Float Birkenhead Docks Area

    Had a wander around some of the docks on the other side of the river,in Birkenhead. I came across this sunken boat/ship, and also,this other strange looking craft, in the East float (I think that's it's name?)Can any nautical types offer any info' on how the sunken ship, sunk,(as it were), and what exactly is the unusual black ship's purpose?
    Thanks Steve


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    Santos santos's Avatar
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    Hi Steve,

    Lets start with the sunken ship. Its the SARSIA an ex Trawler/Research ship built in 1953 in Dartmouth and was owned by the U.K. Marine Biological Association. In 1986 she was bought privately and a conversion to a luxery yacht was begun. However it appears the owner had a cash flow problem and all work was stopped and nothing happened for years. She was at that time berthed on the Wallasey Dock Road side of the East Float. The MDHB issued a writ on her for mooring fees and she was impounded. The MDHB then moved her to her current position where she sank one winters night some years ago and she has lain there ever since slowly settling into mud at the bottom of the dock.

    The strange black boat that you refer to is a Caission which is used to close Dock / Lock entrances when the gates are off and being repaired. It is floated over the lock / dock entrance and then flooded down onto the gates threshold where it seals the entrance to the waters.

    Hope this explains everything.

    Chris
    Last edited by santos; 03-25-2009 at 10:01 AM.

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by santos View Post
    Hi Steve,
    The strange black boat that you refer to is a Cassion which is used to close Dock / Lock entrances when the gates are off and being repaired. It is floated over the lock / dock entrance and then flooded down onto the gates threshold where it seals the entrance to the waters.
    Chris
    Is this cassion only for Birkenhead, or all MDHC locks? MDHC should remove the wreck.They must have insurance to cover this sort if thing.

    Here she is:
    Last edited by Waterways; 03-24-2009 at 04:08 PM.
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    Santos santos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waterways View Post
    Is this cassion only for Birkenhead, or all MDHC locks? MDHC should remove the wreck.They must have insurance to cover this sort if thing.

    Here she is:
    The Caission is owned by MDHB as far as I know, so therefore could be used anywhere in the system where its size corresponds to the size of the Lock / Dock entrance.

    Sarsia is not in the way of anything so I suppose they will leave her there until they need the site, in view of the cost of moving her etc.

    Chris.
    Last edited by santos; 03-25-2009 at 10:02 AM.

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    Smurf Member scouse smurf's Avatar
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    Hiya Steve, I was walking past there this morning and couldn't help but wonder how u got in. I didn't look that hard, but it looked all fenced off.

    It was bloody windy there this morning, I'm almost glad I don't work near there anymore

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    Thanks lad's,Great stuff,
    I guessed I would get some good info' on here! It seems a pity the "Sarsia" has been left to deteriorate,it reminds me of houses left to go the same way,surely it could have been sold/used for something or somebody? As for the odd looking ship, it makes perfect sense....once you know As for easy access to the dock,S.S. I/we actually started walking along the prom' and got sidetracked somehow,and that's where we ended up! I was amazed at the size of it,much bigger than anything this side of the river, I think?
    Ta Steve.

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    Member Johnny Robbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by santos View Post
    Hi Steve,


    The strange black boat that you refer to is a Cassion
    Chris
    It is a "CAISSON" rather than a Cassion but I guess I'm just pedantic!

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    Smurf Member scouse smurf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsteve55 View Post
    Thanks lad's,Great stuff,
    I guessed I would get some good info' on here! It seems a pity the "Sarsia" has been left to deteriorate,it reminds me of houses left to go the same way,surely it could have been sold/used for something or somebody? As for the odd looking ship, it makes perfect sense....once you know As for easy access to the dock,S.S. I/we actually started walking along the prom' and got sidetracked somehow,and that's where we ended up! I was amazed at the size of it,much bigger than anything this side of the river, I think?
    Ta Steve.
    I really is nice over there on a good day. Walking over the other bridge and looking both ways. The other place I rememeber being really nice was the Manchester Ship Canal Locks in Eastham.

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsteve55 View Post
    I was amazed at the size of it,much bigger than anything this side of the river, I think?
    Ta Steve.
    I like Birkenhead docks. As a kid I could walk in them while Liverpool docks were walled off. I lived near Brunswick Dock but rarely went in, only seeing the funnels of the ships above the sheds. the sounds of horns and the smells of the Brunswick silo.

    Ships in Birkenhead always appeared biggest than Liverpool as the height from water to quay was about half that of Liverpool. The shape of them is superb - they follow the shape of the old Wallasey pool. They go inland unlike Liverpool which hugs the river. The attraction of Birkenhead was that they were deeper than the south end and central docks, and near to Liverpool centre as well. GWR rail terminated at Birkenhead. They owned Manchester Dock at the Pier Head and could easily transfer cargoes across to Liverpool. As a kid seeing tugs pulling a string of barges to and from Liverpool was a common sight.

    East Float is "big" and as a kid I recall Blue Funnel ships turning completely in the dock. Wirral Waters will look superb around East Float



    Bigger than Liverpool? Go to Seaforth and Gladstone.
    Last edited by Waterways; 03-25-2009 at 07:05 AM.
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    Well, it was only an impression,but I live by,and have walked round Seaforth,and Gladstone, but dont think the expanse of water is as great! I could hardly see the other side of the East float, but then,I didn't have my spec's on Steve. (Great pic' there)

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    A friend was a Blue Funnel officer. He said the East Float was big, but the big King George V Dock in London, built in the 20s were bigger. I disagreed as I have been to both. The London docks were a white elephant as big ships could not sail up the Thames.

    The KGV don't look that big:


    The East Float is impressive and I always thought bigger than Gladstone. But Seaforth is bigger, as it was the largest docks in the country when opening in 1972, with the largest dock gates too.

    Gladstone may have more water space between the branches overall, and more quay length, but the East Float is one large impressive expanse of water at its widest.

    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    Waterways, did u take that last photo? I can just about see my old workplace on it

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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Nah! Birkenhead?
    The new Amsterdam at Liverpool?
    Save Liverpool Docks and Waterways - Click

    Deprived of its unique dockland waters Liverpool
    becomes a Venice without canals, just another city, no
    longer of special interest to anyone, least of all the
    tourist. Would we visit a modernised Venice of filled in
    canals to view its modern museum describing
    how it once was?


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    Just out of interest, that large area of open water in the East Float, where the caisson and the sunken ship are, is known for some reason, as Stavanger Bay.
    If you stand by the sunken ship and look left along the quay, that is the East Quay, where Anchor Line ships used to load. look to your right and the quay on the far side of the bridge on the Wallasey side, is Mortar Mill Quay, where the Japanese NYK Line loaded. Further along you had the Mills where grain ships discharged, then on towards Duke St Bridge were no3 and No1 East Float, loading berths for Jala boats (Indian) and Cosco, (Chinese)
    Across the dock belonged to Clan Line, then into Vittoria dock, Clan line on one side, Blue Funnel on the other.
    I worked there on the docks as a crane driver during the 1970/80s.
    Regards,
    Backsplice.

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    Default Central Hydraulic Tower Great Float Birkenhead 1863

    I'm sure I saw this posted by someone else recently. Taken today [15th April 09], should be redevloped as part of the Wirral Waters Scheme with hotel.

    [1863] Provided power for the movement of lock gates and bridges.

















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    Default Great Float Bridges Birkenhead Merseyside

    Three road bridges cross the Great Float at Birkenhead. I held on for dear life crossing these old fellas!















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    I crossed the 2 mains ones a fair few times over the last cpl of years. The Tower Rd one had one of the walkways closed for quite a while for some reason, was a nightmare crossing over the road at peak hours

    I took this rubbishy pic of the Duke St one last year sometimes



    Kev, any idea why attaching pics keeps failing for me ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by scouse smurf View Post

    Kev, any idea why attaching pics keeps failing for me ?
    No mate, sorry. Keep trying, are you reducuing their size, that might help.

    Cheers for the pic
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    Wreck of the Sarsia Birkenhead Docks - 16th April 09
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Corn Warehouse, East Float - Birkenhead





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    Greta pics Kev.
    Are these empty now ?
    If so, should be luxury apartments by now.
    Mart

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    They are apartments, 20% off original price too!
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    These are from last year, there isn`t the same security on these apartments
    as on the liverpool dockside apartments,I was able to wander at will
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    View of Liverpool from the Great Float:







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    Kev, u're bringing back lots of memories.

    Ok, it was only last year that I was working there, but happy times

    Make the most of it, before they starting building lots of new places there, which is bound to happen

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    Quote Originally Posted by scouse smurf View Post
    Kev, u're bringing back lots of memories.

    Ok, it was only last year that I was working there, but happy times

    Make the most of it, before they starting building lots of new places there, which is bound to happen
    Did u work close to a gararge that used to be A41 Minis by any chance?
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    Well, I worked at 2 different places over there, for the same company.

    First place was on the A41, just before the LJMU Lairdside Maritime Centre.

    Second base, was a Red building on the dock road, which is in the shadow of the Great Float apartments

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    Cheers for that, I was only asking because that is where my mini is being repaired at the mo.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev View Post
    Cheers for that, I was only asking because that is where my mini is being repaired at the mo.
    Well, I hope ur mini is better soon

    you should go have a look round birkenhead priory area while u're over there too

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