West Bank Dock Widnes England - Ships Nostalgia
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West Bank Dock Widnes England

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  #1  
Old 17th February 2013, 21:52
nickjaxe nickjaxe is offline  
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West Bank Dock Widnes England

Hi all,

I'm trying to find some info and pictures of the old West Bank Dock on the upper part of the River Mersey at Widnes in England...the remain of the lock entrance are still to be seen...from what I know the dock closed in 1970,

Love to see some pictures of the dock or and information anybody may have,

Just outside the dock with parts still visible at low water are the remains of a ship scrapped in the river...again love to see some pictures of this ship before it was scrapped.

Nick from Runcorn.
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  #2  
Old 17th February 2013, 23:12
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Pat Kennedy Pat Kennedy is offline  
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There are quite a few photos and some maps at this link.

http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/f...sh/index.shtml
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  #3  
Old 18th February 2013, 18:23
nickjaxe nickjaxe is offline  
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Hi Pat thank you for your information,

Unfortunately that is a different dock connected to the canal system but interesting though,

Not sure if you familiar with the area but its the old dock on the opposite side of the Runcorn road bridge around 1 mile downstream from Widnes Dock

Nick.
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  #4  
Old 18th February 2013, 18:36
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Pat Kennedy Pat Kennedy is offline  
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Nick,
Sorry, that is the only dock in Widnes that I knew about. I have been there once or twice, and walked through the park at Spike Island a while back..
Ive never explored Widnes downstream of the bridge, seems to be all industrial sites and chemical works, a bit like the Land of Mordor!
Cheers,
Pat
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  #5  
Old 18th February 2013, 18:47
nickjaxe nickjaxe is offline  
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Its an interesting walk over that side Pat....with the remains of what looks to be a fair sized coaster just above the low water mark and very near the area of the old dock and the remains of its lock gates...it was cut up there for scrap there....would be interested in seeing what it was and its size before they got the gas axe on it....only ever seen plesure craft on that part of the river,

The path that runs along side the river is part of trans Pennine way and leads up to Pickerings pasture if you are familiar,

There is a large monolith with a plaque just the other side of the newish footbridge that crosses Ditton Brook with information on it telling of the last commercial traffic the did come that far up river....would love to have seen those comings and goings.

Nick.

Last edited by nickjaxe; 18th February 2013 at 18:49..
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  #6  
Old 18th February 2013, 18:48
doncontrols doncontrols is offline  
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Try this PHOTO
Is this the place you mean?

Last edited by doncontrols; 18th February 2013 at 19:26..
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  #7  
Old 18th February 2013, 18:54
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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I made two or three trips to West Bank Dock, but always under the guidance of the redoubtable Captain Vivian Thomas, the up-river pilot; up-river being anywhere upstream of the line from Speke Perch to Eastham Locks.

Captain Thomas would board and leave by launch at a point approximately on the Birkenhead to Liverpool ferry track, or just to the south of it.

The passage upstream through the steep mudbanks was not to be trifled with.

Sorry I have no photographs. Good hunting!

BY
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  #8  
Old 18th February 2013, 19:02
nickjaxe nickjaxe is offline  
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Hi Barrie thats very interesting...what size of vessel would that have been then that you visited Widnes in...I wonder if you would have any photos of the vessels use,

And where from maybe or cargo's carried....was it a tricky dock to enter....I suppose it was a slack water entry....any small bits of info you can remember would be of much interest,

The river does flow like a train up there.

Nick.
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  #9  
Old 18th February 2013, 19:22
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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Hi, Nick,

Now you are asking! As to size, it was at a time when a great many coasters were of 499 tons gross, and anything visiting West Bank Dock was substantially smaller than that. Probably about two-thirds of that size.

As I recall (and I might be quite wrong) there was no lock - merely a gateway. The gateway would be open for a short while (say forty five minutes) before high water until high water; and then closed at high water. The dock was, I think, approximately square.

Cargoes? The general merchandise of any small coastal port. For sure, there was no regular liner service that I can recall!

Hope this helps.
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  #10  
Old 18th February 2013, 19:37
nickjaxe nickjaxe is offline  
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It does thanks Barrie...yes just a gateway makes sense,

And your correct it was more or less square....you could still see its out line after bring filled in for many years.

Nick.
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  #11  
Old 18th February 2013, 20:03
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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Phew! Thank you, Nick. It's a long time ago!

An occasion which I do remember vividly was a night when I did not go to West Bank Dock .

I had piloted a German coaster from Point Lynas to the Ship Canal at Eastham. At eight knots, it was a long haul and it had been a long day. We arrived at Eastham at about 2200 and I duly went home.

At 0900 there was a telephone call from the Pilot Office. "The Superintendent of Pilotage would like you to come to the office as soon as possible to explain your pilotage of the mv Humpledink (real name forgotten) yesterday."

Oo eck. What has gone wrong?

On arrival at the Pilot Office in Liverpool it became clear that the Superintendent had been known to be of a sunnier disposition than he was that morning.

"Why," he asked "is the Humpledink in the Manchester Ship Canal?"

"Because the Master asked me to take him there."

"The ship is bound for West Bank Dock! The agent is hopping mad!"

"The Master told me that he was bound for Eastham and, I think, Weston Point."

(This was long before VHF communications, when things became easy to confirm at a moment's notice; and many ships went to Weston Point.)

Quaking in my boots, it then dawned on me that my service-note from last night was still in my pocket. I drew it out.

The form of the note was (approximately) "Name of Ship - and then details"
"Where bound from? Where bound to?" and then "Piloted from? Piloted to?"

To my enormous relief, there on the service-note, which Captain Humpledink himself had completed in his own distinctly Germanic handwriting, in answer to the question "Where bound to?" he had written WESTON POINT.

End of story. Superintendent reasonably mollified (although I had the distinct feeling that he was gunning for me) and much relief for me!
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  #12  
Old 18th February 2013, 21:19
doncontrols doncontrols is offline  
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Since you gents haven't mentioned it, I assume the photo in my last post is not the place you are discussing. In which case, would you recognise where it is so that I can name it correctly? Many thanks.
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  #13  
Old 18th February 2013, 21:51
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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#12

My apologies, Don. When last I looked at#6 I did not see the word PHOTO.

Now that I see it, I've no reason at all to suppose that it is not West Bank Dock; although there seems to be a large construction (a coal-tip?) in the middle of the dock which I don't recall in the 1960s, when I was there.

PS On looking again, perhaps it is not a coal-tip but it certainly looks like a timber construction of some kind. My own recollection is that the dock was square, with no obstruction.

Last edited by Barrie Youde; 18th February 2013 at 21:55..
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  #14  
Old 18th February 2013, 23:09
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Robert Hilton Robert Hilton is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrie Youde View Post
I made two or three trips to West Bank Dock, but always under the guidance of the redoubtable Captain Vivian Thomas.
BY
Woule he be the Vivian who later piloted small coasters up the Weaver canal to Anderton?
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Getting worse and enjoying every minute.
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  #15  
Old 18th February 2013, 23:56
doncontrols doncontrols is offline  
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No problem, Barrie, it was always a link, but I edited it to say 'photo' to make it more obvious. It's just with it saying West Dock on the slide, that is what I always assumed it must be. But, of course, photographers of old were not always correct with their description ...
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  #16  
Old 19th February 2013, 11:23
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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#14

The very same, Robert.

Best

BY
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  #17  
Old 19th February 2013, 19:40
sidsal sidsal is offline  
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Very interesting. Barrie will have some great memories I'm sure.
On a lighter note I remember when I was at sea (ww2 and after) a Liverpool song about a young lad going to sea with his mother being very concerned about him. It was a poem about storm and tempest but the voyage was from Liverpool to Manchester. I only remember snippets - as follows
"When we got up to Runcorn Bridge
The rain began to snow
The wind blew out the candle light
And the engine would't go"

Another snippet - "And we set sail

For Walton jail
Along the Ship Canal"

There were many verses and mentioned all the places on the canal - Latchford locks etc.
I wish I had made a record because these pearls get lost and should be preserved for posterity .
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  #18  
Old 19th February 2013, 21:34
Barrie Youde Barrie Youde is offline  
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Hi, Sid,

You are stirring memories of a particularly fine vessel named Britannia (no, not that one).

The Britannia of which I speak was a steam-powered river-craft of great vintage engaged, as far as I can recall, in carrying just about anything between any two points between Manchester and Gladstone Dock. I remember her only from my apprenticeship days. So old was she that the tale was recounted of her being in a near-collision with a coaster one night and Britannia's master was heard to hail from his open wheel-house window, "Can't you see us?? We've got electric effing lights and you still can't see us!!

On another occasion Britannia shared Alfred Lock with the pilot cutter, both inward bound. It was our docking night one winter, after three weeks at sea and spirits were naturally high. When the inner gates opened, Britannia steamed out first, bound for the West Float. As she was getting under way, one of our lot called out, "Give my regards to the Queen Mother!"
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  #19  
Old 19th February 2013, 21:49
nickjaxe nickjaxe is offline  
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doncontrols....I'm sorry but I missed your post altogether....glad you mentioned it as that indeed is the place....the first picture I have ever seen of it...many thanks indeed....where an earth did you find it,

Dont suppose you have any more or for that matter any more info about the operation of West Bank Dock.

Nick.
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  #20  
Old 20th February 2013, 05:44
doncontrols doncontrols is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickjaxe View Post
doncontrols....I'm sorry but I missed your post altogether....glad you mentioned it as that indeed is the place....the first picture I have ever seen of it...many thanks indeed....where an earth did you find it,

Dont suppose you have any more or for that matter any more info about the operation of West Bank Dock.

Nick.
Sorry, Nick, I don't have anything else. The picture is from a glass negative I bought some time ago - purely for the picture, not the location!
As you can see from Eddyw's comment, the Assurance was around for a good while, so there is not much help there in dating the picture.
Sorry, I'm not of much help to you, but at least you can see the picture
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  #21  
Old 20th February 2013, 07:08
doncontrols doncontrols is offline  
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Okay, Nick, this stirred my interest a little - have you seen this?
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  #22  
Old 20th February 2013, 07:50
bob2bob bob2bob is offline  
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Frank77 has a photo in Ports and Harbours titled "Marsh Lock " which is West Bank dock.
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  #23  
Old 20th February 2013, 19:17
nickjaxe nickjaxe is offline  
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bob2bob can you point me in the right direction to the marsh lock picture...I cant find ports and harbours.

Don that link was very interesting....getting a much better understanding what went on there now.

Nick.

Nick.
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  #24  
Old 20th February 2013, 19:27
nickjaxe nickjaxe is offline  
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Its ok Bob I have found it...unfortunately its not West Bank Dock.

Nick.
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  #25  
Old 20th February 2013, 22:12
bob nightingale bob nightingale is offline  
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Was at Eddarbridge today but could not get all the way to river.
Site is now a massive tesco warehouse,area towards river is a large tesco recycling plant.
Bob.
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