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Woolston Reinforced Concrete Jetty
River Itchen, Southampton
associated engineer
Louis Gustave Mouchel
date  1897 - 1898
UK era  Victorian  |  category  Jetty  |  reference  SU418105
ICE reference number  HEW 98
This is the UK's first reinforced concrete jetty, commissioned by Morley Larney and built to timber jetty design, with open braced pilings. The jetty is one of several "ferro-concrete" structures undertaken by Mouchel at Southampton Docks.
Mouchel was the UK agent for the Hennebique reinforced concrete system, just one of the systems that were to be developed. In 1897, he was asked by the London & South Western Railway to construct a training bank at Southampton — his first Hennebique commission. Woolston Jetty followed immediately, and he was to undertake a number of projects at the city's docks, all circa 1900, incuding a steam ferry slipway and Town Quay.
The design of the jetty took its from from traditional timber construction. Its concrete pilings were braced horizontally and diagonally with concrete members in the tidal zone. Indeed, it wasn't until the 1920s that the bracing of concrete jetties was superceded by the use of raking piles, and deck slabs were thickened to eliminate elaborate deck beam formwork. The thicker slabs also strengthened the pile heads.
As built, Woolston Jetty was 14m wide and 30.5m long. Its piles were 254mm square in section and spaced at 3m intervals. Primary and secondary beams supported the 178mm thick deck, also at 3m intervals. The design load was 1.95 tonnes per sq m.
Located on the east back of the River Itchen, the jetty didn't provide a very deep berth. In fact it was dry alongside at low tide. At high neap tide, there was only 1.2m of water alongside. The jetty was later incorporated into an extensive complex as part of a shipyard working for the Ministry of Defence. It's not clear how much of it survives.
Research: JJ / LG
reference sources   LEH South

Woolston Reinforced Concrete Jetty