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New Landing Stage, Liverpool
The following is from the Illustrated London News of June 12, 1847.
This stupendous work has just been completed at Liverpool, for the convenience of the public; it was launched on the 31st ult., from the dock in which it was built, and then took up its station for permanent use opposite the George's Pier head. The stage was towed to her moorings by seven steamers; and on its leaving the dock works there was long and loud cheering among the workmen; and the piers were also crowded with spectators, from the Clarence to the Albert Dock.
The figure of the upper surface of the Landing Stage is very nearly that of a ship's deck, with a bow at each end. The length of the Stage is 508 feet, and its width all over 82 feet. The flooring consists of 5-inch planks, of the best pitch pine, such as is used for the same purpose in a first-rate line-of-battle ship. The planks are secured with patent compressed tree-nails, and are made perfectly tight by caulking; and, to prevent the lodgment of water, the surface is made to slope gently towards the edges. From the edge inwards, for a breadth of 16 feet, the planks are laid longitudinally, or parallel with the sides of the stage; after that, for a breadth of 18 feet, they are laid diagonally, down the centre, they again run longitudinally, and in the same order between the centre and the opposite side. Thus, much additional strength is gained, by increasing the power of resisting the shock of a vessel or other body coming in contact with the sides of the Stage.
The edges are not protected by any bulwarks or chains, as they might interfere with the passage. Massive oaken stanchions, a foot square, and secured on the inside by strong iron knees, encircle the deck, at intervals of ten feet, with low mooring-posts in the intermediate spaces, well strapped to the deck. Near each bow are four longitudinal timbers, thirty-five feet in length, to serve as mooring-bits, and bearing evidence of a capacity for sustaining the utmost strain to which the mooring-chains may be subjected.
The flooring rests upon a double tier of balks firmly strapped together, making the entire depth of the wood-work 3½ feet. Underneath, running transversely with this substantial platform, are 39 iron pontoons, flat on the upper surface, on which the timbers rest, and cylindrical on the lower, so as to offer the smallest amount of obstruction to the flow of the tide beneath. The length of the pontoons corresponds, of course, with the breadth of the flooring; except when the latter tapers off towards the ends, they are 80 feet long, by 10 feet in width, and 6 in depth. These pontoons are connected with the wood-work by iron straps, and they can be entered by man-holes from the deck, for the purpose of being examined and repaired.
The connexion between the Landing Stage and the Pier will be by means of two iron bridges, which are now in course of construction by Mr. Cubitt, the engineer of the Stage. The length of these bridges will be 150 feet, and the width 17 feet; one for ascending, and the other for descending.
The pontoons will always be in deep water, so that steamers will be able to come alongside in any state of the tide. The area of the deck is 4467 square years, or nearly an acre. The tonnage, by carpenters' measurement, if 16,000 tons; upon the centre area of the deck, 40,000 persons could find standing room. There are 40,000 cubic feet of timber in the Stage. And, in the construction of the pontoons, from six to seven hundred tons of iron have been used. The draught of water is two feet ten inches, but it will be over three feet when at its proper bearings, a draught which will require a superincumbent weight of 2500 tons. The entire depth is eleven feet-namely, pontoons 6 feet, and deck 5 feet. The cost of the Stage will be upwards of £50,000, and the working of it £1500 per annum, irrespective of repairs. A lighthouse, with powerful reflectors, is erected at each end of the Stage.
We have, by aid of a Liverpool paper, been thus minute in detailing the construction of this stupendous Stage, from a persuasion of the great importance of the work. Some doubt has been expressed as to the possibility of the Stage sustaining a gale of wind, and a heavy sea; others doubt the holding power of the anchors. These are matters which, however, can only be tested by time. We believe this new structure to be unmatched for its colossal proportions-and the cheapness of the work-considering its strength and magnitude.
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