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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. VI


Leith.] THE EDINBURGH DOCK. 287 This embankment was finished in February, 1877, and thereafter the excavation of the dock was proceeded with by a force of about five hundred men, who worked daily at it. Two " steam nawies," each of which filled a railway waggon in three minutes, were used. . Thus, in a'day of ten hours one of these excavated, on an average, 400 .cubic yards, representing 550 tons of material, equal to the work of forty able-bodied men ; and several other approved a p pliances were employed by the contractors to economise manual labour. In the progress of excavation no remarkable difficulties, in an engineering point of view, were encountered, the ground being what is technically termed " dry." Water, of course, gathered in the works, but was led to a tank on the north side, and pumped into a sewer-pipe running under the north embankment. The walls are constructed of stone from Craigmillar quarry, and the lime came froin the kilns at Lyme Regis, and was crushed by machinery erected on the Leith side of the dock. From the bottom of the latter the walls are thirty-five feet in height, and at high tide the depth of water is twenty-seven feet. The entire amount of masonry about the west dock is IOO,OOO cubic yards, and the quayage accommodation amounts to 6,775 feet. The total -length of the parallel walls on the north and south sides is 1,500 feet, and the extreme breadth of the dock 750. From the eastern end, a jetty, 250 feet in width by 1,000 in length, runs up the centre of the dock, which is thus formed into two basins. This, of course, greatly increases the quay accommodation. The western end forms an open basin, 500 feet in length by the entire breadth of the dock. In the centre of this noble jetty a graving dock has been constructed, 350 feet long, forty-eight feet wide at the bottom, and seventy at the top. Its gates are at the western end of the jetty, and have twenty feet of water on the sill, and are opened and closed by means of four crab hand-winches. The pumping machinery is placed in an edifice, built of fire-clay brick, near the gates. The entrance tothe Edinburgh Dock is through the Albert Dock, the channel being 270 feet long by 65 broad; and across it, for the accommodation of traffic, is an iron swing bridge, worked by hydraulic machinery. The space round the dock for the accommodation of shipping traffic extends to about thirty acres ; and in addition to this, the Caledonian and North British Railways have each acquired twenty-seven acres of the reclaimed ground from the Dock Commissioners, which at their own expense they filled up to the level of the quays. On the south side of this truly noble dock has been built a line of goods sheds, each 80 feet wide by 196 feet long. On the north side a powerful hydraulic coal-hoist has been erected specially for the coal traffic The designs included a promenade and drive along the sea-wall, thus giving a magnificent outlook on the Forth. The whole works, including the railway undertakings, cost about ~400,000. Mr. Clark, C.E, the engineer of Scott's Trustees, and Mr. J. R Allan, C.E., representing Messrs. Rendell and Robertson, the engineers of the Commission, carried them out. By the 15th of June, 1881, preparations were made for letting in the water of the ocean, and for that purpose gangs of workmen had been busy night and day for some time previous. A wooden platform 'was erected underneath a large pipe, which had been built into the sea-wall for the purpose of breaking the fall of the water in admitting it into the dock. That pipe, 3 feet 6 inches in diameter, was part of the old Edinburgh and Leith main outfall sewer, which had been diverted round the end of the dock. It extended from the north side Qf the reclamation wall to the inside of the quay, under the water-line, and a piling-ram of more than a ton weight had to be used in breaking it off flush with the face of the masonry. At four p.m. on the day mentioned, the valve in the pipe was partly lifted to admit the outer tide into the vast basin, the water being turned on by Mr. Torry, W.S., Clerk to the Leith Dock Commissioners. The water then rushed furiously and steadily in, but, owing to the extent of the dock, several days elapsed before it was filled. The wall between the Albert Dock and the new one had to be removed before vessels could be admitted, and to accomplish this a number of holes were bored in it and cRarged with dynamite to blow it up, and seven divers were brought from London to assist in clearing away the wreckage. As the reserve squadron of the ironclad fleet was expected in the Firth of Forth in July, 1881, under the command of H. R H. the Duke of Edinburgh, the latter was invited by the local authorities to open and to name the dock, alike after the city and himself-an event which passed of? with the greatest lclaf. The opening took place on the 26th of July. The reserve squadron was moored in the Roads in two lines, and could be seen from the shore looming large through a somewhat vapouxy atmosphere. The Hercules, with the duke's flag flying at her mizen, was the last of the line nearest to the Leith Shore. Ahead of her were the Wan-wp;
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288 OLD AND NEW EDINBURGH. [Leith. Dgeme, and YaZiant; while in the POTt line were the Lord War&rt, the Hector, and the Pen&@ Great preparations had necessarily been made for the accommodation of spectators, and a display of flags, usual on such occasions, was made across Constitution Street on the public buildings, and everywhere else suitable, In the Roads, immediately off the pier-head, lay the Gad CastZe, of Currie?s line, a magnificent ship, 370 feet long, which cost~Ioo,ooo, was fitted up so as to be able at any time to act as a cruiser, and was capable of conveying 1,200 troops to the Cape or India. On board of her were Sir Donald Cume, M.P., and a select party, including many members of the House of Commons. A vast fleet of yachts and pleasureboats was grouped about the anchorage ground, which was smooth and still as a millpond. Provost Henderson, with the nlagistrates and Town Council of Leith, in their robes of office, proceeded by steamer to H.M.S. Hermles, and presented to the Duke of Edinburgh-to whom they were introduced by Captain Colville-an address, enclosed in a valuable casket, made 01 pierced silver-work. The document was written on vellum, and after stating how heartily the bearers welcomed him, added :-? A member of our beloved royal family we rejoice at all times to see among us, but when we combine your position with the remembrance of early days spent by you in this neighbourhood, and with the high rank you so worthily hold in the gallant service to which you have allied yourself, together with your many good qualities, which we recognise, but forbear to mention here, we feel, and are sure the inhabitants of the burgh feel, a peculiar pleasure in your present visit. We would also desire to welcome the fleet of which you have command, and which we are proud to think has also come to the Forth.? At noon, the duke, accompanied by Prince Hen9 of Prussia, General Macdonald, and the staff at head-quarters in Scotland, and a host of othei officers, including the Dock Commissioners, left the flagship in the BerZin steamer, which was covered with bunting, and amid loud cheering from the fleet and pleasure yachts, stood is shore under a salute from the Gartii CmtZe. The Berlin threaded her way up the harbour inta the Albert Dock, under the eyes of more than eighty thousand spectators. The quays were lined by the Leith Volunteers, but at the landing place stood a guard of honour, furnished by the Black Watch. The swing gate of the new dock had been opened at twelve o?clock, and a silk ribbon only stretched acxoss the aperture as a fanciful bar to the vas1 expanse of water which lay beyond, and which was now for the first time to bear a vessel on its bosom. Increasing her speed a little, the Berlin cut the ribbon with her bow, and as the ends fluttered away on either side, the dbke, standing on the deck amidships, exclaimed- ? I declare this dock to be open, and name it the Edinburgh Dock ! ? At the same time a salute of cannon was fired from the sea wall at the dock, and the most vociferous cheering came from the crowds on the quays, the grand stands, and the manned yards of the adjacent shipping. After being banqueted by the Dock Commissioners, the Duke drove to Edinburgh by the way of Leith Walk, and at the Council Chambers received an address of welcome, which was placed in his hands by Lord Provost Boyd, and which was contained in a magnificent silver casket. He returned to Leith by the way of Fettes College and Inverleith Row. At the latter place he alighted at the Botanical Gardens, where, at the request of the professor of botany, he planted in front of the botany classroom a Hungarian oak, about ten feet high. He reached the Victoria Dock at six in the evening, and was soon after on board the ZLermZes. The signal was then given to weigh anchor, and long before nightfall the whole squadron was steaming opt of the Firth. It may be mentioned that the swing bridge over the entrance ?of the Edinburgh Dock, and which weighs 400 tons, has hydraulic machinery of a nature so delicate that it was opened on the above occasion by a boy four years of age, a younger son of theresident engineer. In 1876 the constitution of the Leith Dock Commission was again altered by Act of Parliament. Now the board ,numbers fifteen members-three elected by the Town Council of Edinburgh, three by the Town Council of Leith, one by the Edinburgh Merchant Company, one by the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, one by the Leith Chamber of Commerce, two by the shipowners, and four by the ratepapers. Besides the ordinary police force of the town, there is a regular dock police, under a superintendent, consisting of watchmen entirely for dock service, paid and governed by the Dock Commissioners. The superintendent of the town police has no authority over them; but as the commission has no police office, they bring their prisoners to that of the town. Before quitting this subject, a glance at the trade of the port may not be uninteresting. It cost ;C;15,000.
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