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Docks 1 to 6 (Consecutive) Quay Walls and Bollards (Including North and South Camber Mast Pond and Tunnel to Same)

A Grade I Listed Building in Portsmouth, City of Portsmouth

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Latitude: 50.8027 / 50°48'9"N

Longitude: -1.1096 / 1°6'34"W

OS Eastings: 462843

OS Northings: 100724

OS Grid: SU628007

Mapcode National: GBR VN2.XT

Mapcode Global: FRA 86KZ.3KJ

Plus Code: 9C2WRV3R+35

Entry Name: Docks 1 to 6 (Consecutive) Quay Walls and Bollards (Including North and South Camber Mast Pond and Tunnel to Same)

Listing Date: 13 August 1999

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1272267

English Heritage Legacy ID: 476637

Location: Charles Dickens, Portsmouth, PO1

County: City of Portsmouth

Electoral Ward/Division: Charles Dickens

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Portsmouth

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: St Thomas of Canterbury, Portsmouth

Church of England Diocese: Portsmouth

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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HM Naval Base
774-1/17/178 Docks 1-6 (consec), Quay walls and
bollards (incl. N & S Camber, Mast
Pond and tunnel to same)


Basin and docks with bollards and fairleads; quay retaining wall; mast pond now boat pond and tunnel to the latter. Mostly mid C18- early C 19, from 1796 under the direction of General Samuel Bentham (Inspector General of Naval Works); mast-pond 1665; bollards and fairleads mid C19.
C19 and C20 repairs and alterations. Large blocks of tooled coursed, squared, stone with Roman numerals indicating water levels and round- cornered granite kerb-stones with iron mooring rings inset. Other mooring rings fixed to walls at lower levels. Tunnel has vault of red bricks. Iron mooring rings, bollards and fairleads.
EXTERIOR: a complete complex of late C18 and early C19 ship building and repairing docks with associated quay walls and mooring fixtures. Docks have stepped sides with flights of steps and haulage slides; some retain later metal gates. Dock No.4 has floor with central strip of granite setts flanked by brick paving. Quay and basin walls have narrow flights of steps and on north side of entry to North Camber is Kings Stairs, a flight of steps with wide, shallow, treads (resurfaced). On north side of Kings Stair Jetty is slipway of granite setts, with three cannon barrels reused as bollards. Basin entry on south side is inscribed "BRITANNIA ?th June 1801" (year of completion of basin extension, see below). Bollards are mostly square on plan with curved tops and embossed lettering, "VR" (they are similar to those associated with the 1840s-60s No.2 Basin and docks, not included). Mast pond, of rectangular plan, has granite corbels to carry boathouses above (qqv Boathouse Nos 5 and 7). The tunnel entries are segmental-arched with giant voussoirs aligned to the stonework courses, and at west end are recesses for former lock gates (added 1797, Riley p7). The west entry ( off South Camber) appears to have the quay wall built up against it (indicating possibly earlier date of tunnel).
HISTORY: the mast pond was dug in 1665 (Naval Heritage at Portsmouth Visitors' Guide), and is constructed of diagonally-tooled stone (the stonework of the other walling, and also of the 1690s Basin which survives under the Block Mills (qv) is vertically tooled). The Basin and docks are on the site of the late C15 dockyard. This was replaced by a large basin and 2 dry docks constructed 1689-98 under the direction of Edward Dummer, Surveyor to the Navy Board. One of the dry docks, replaced by the present No.5 Dock, was important in being, along with Dummer's contemporary dry dock at Plymouth, the first in England to have stepped stone sides instead of timbering (Coad, 1981, p11). The existing basin incorporates parts of the 1690s basin which was reduced in size in the C18 and subsequently enlarged under the direction of Bentham incorporating 2 important features: 1) Bentham's inverted masonry arch tying together the entrance walls was probably the first use of the inverted arch principle in dock building; 2) Bentham also made use of John smeaton's waterproof cement (Riley p12). Dock No.1 was constructed 1790-1801; Dock No.2, 1799-1802, designed by Bentham, contractors Parlby and Rankin; Dock No.3, 1799-1803, designed by Bentham; Dock No.4, 1772 replacing 2 building slips of early-mid C18; Dock No.5, 1769 incorporating 1690s work; Dock No.6 (on site of Dummer's smaller dry dock of 1690s), 1737-43, modified 1760s and 1777, and rebuilt 1810; North Camber, 1773-85, contractors Templar and Parlby, designed to give .more wharfage capacity for loading and unloading. Docks were built with wooden floors until Bentham introduced the principle of using masonry floors. The quayside capstans were originally steam-powered being converted to compressed air early C20. Noted by Coad (1989, p97) as "the finest surviving group of such eighteenth century structures in Europe".
(Sources: Coad J: Historic Architecture of HM Naval Base Portsmouth 1700- 1850: Portsmouth: 1981: 11 ; Coad J: The Royal Dockyards 1690-1850: Aldershot: 1989: 97 ; The Portsmouth Papers: Riley RC: The Evolution of the Docks and Industrial Buildings in Portsmouth: Portsmouth: 1985: 3-12 ; Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust: Naval Heritage at Portsmouth -Visitor's Guide: Portsmouth: 1988; Winton J: The Naval Heritage of Portsmouth: 1985: 46, 104).

Listing NGR: SU6299200361

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