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Seaham Harbour
Seaham, County Durham, UK
Seaham Harbour
associated engineer
William Chapman
date  September 1828 - July 1831
era  Georgian  |  category  Harbour  |  reference  NZ431494
ICE reference number  HEW 758
photo  Jane Joyce
The original harbour facilities at Seaham were commissioned by the 3rd Marquess of Londonderry to enable the shipping of coal from his wife's family's collieries at Pittington and Rainily. A new town and railway were integral to plans for its construction, and an Act of Parliament obtained in order to begin work in 1828.
The harbour's designer was Whitby-born engineer William Chapman, sometime agent for Boulton & Watt. He first drew up plans for it in 1820 for the then owner of Daldon Ness (Seaham not yet being in existance), Sir Ralph Millbanke. This plan was also connected with coal shipping but not implemented. Londonderry bought the land and commissioned Chapman to design a larger scheme.
Thomas Telford and Sir John Rennie were consulted in the planning stages. Construction began in September 1828 and the first stage the 152m long North Pier and part of the South Pier was completed in July 1831.
The South Pier was completed in 1835 after Chapman's had died, along with the completion of the South Harbour and South Dock. New coal drops were added to the North Dock in 1845. They can be seen on the right hand side of the photograph above.
Further expansion was deferred in favour of extra railway services to transport increased colliery output to Sunderland's Hudson dock. A similar decision was made in 1854, following Londonderry's death. The harbour was finally expanded between 1899 and 1905, beginning a year after the port and coal interests separated.
Under the auspices of the Seaham Harbour Dock Company, the two outer concrete piers were constructed by S. Pearson & Son Ltd, enclosing a 4ha dock with a depth of 8.4m. The piers are 421m and 268m long respectively, and the gate between measures 19.8m in width.
Resident engineer: Thomas Nicholson
Research: LG/JJ
reference sources   CEH NorthBDCE1

Seaham Harbour