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Devonshire and Buccleuch Docks, Barrow
Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, UK
associated engineer
McClean & Stileman
date  1863 - 1872, 1980s
era  Victorian  |  category  Docks/Slipway  |  reference  SD198686
ICE reference number  HEW 2016
Devonshire Dock, which is the earliest of the main docks at Barrow-in-Furness, opened on 19th September 1867. Buccleuch Dock is a duplicate and is sited immediately to the east, visually separated from Devonshire Dock by a road with an opening bridge. Together, the docks are more than 1.6km long.
The docks at Barrow are located in the channel between Barrow Island and the mainland and were designed for the export of iron ore, hastened by discovery of the Park ore deposit in 1850 by H.W. Schneider. Construction began in 1863 and was vested in the Furness Railway (built 1846). The docks can now accommodate vessels up to 200m long, 35m wide and 10m draught.
Devonshire Dock was 152.4m wide and 7.3m deep and covered an area of 12.5 hectares originally. It had an entrance basin 152.m wide and 45.7m long, with double-skinned wrought iron gates 18.3m wide, now gone. Its construction was supervised by Frank Stileman and its opening attended by some 1,100 invited guests.
The more easterly Buccleuch Dock had the same dimensions, area and entrance basin details. Its construction too was supervised by Frank Stileman and it opened in 1872. A graving dock capable of taking ships up to 5,500 tons was also built.
Soon after the completion of the two docks, a third was commenced that joins onto the south east end of Buccleuch Dock, removing its entrance gates in the process. This new dock is L-shaped in plan and named after Sir James Ramsden, erstwhile locomotive engineer for Furness Railway and founder of Barrow, as well as its first mayor.
In the 1980s, the western end of Devonshire Dock was infilled using some 2.7 million tonnes of sand pumped from Morecambe Bay. Here Devonshire Dock Hall, the largest covered shipbuilding facility in Europe, was built atop concrete foundations 2m thick.
The hall was built for Vickers Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd (now BAE Systems Submarine Solutions) for the construction of submarines. Five classes of submarine have so far been launched by shiplift from the hall, including those carrying Trident ballistic missiles. The newest nuclear fleet submarine (2009), the Astute class, has more weapons than any other Royal Navy submarine.
Supervising engineer: Frank Stileman
Main contractor: Brassey & Field
Research: PD
reference sources   CEH North

Devonshire and Buccleuch Docks, Barrow