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Wallasey Embankment
Wallassey foreshore, The Wirral, Merseyside
Wallasey Embankment
associated engineer
Not known
date  1829
era  Georgian  |  category  Coast Protection  |  reference  SJ241911
ICE reference number  HEW 271
photo  Paul Dunkerley
This coastal defence structure was built to protect part of the low-lying north coast of The Wirral from sea erosion and flooding. Here, the Irish Sea has a tidal range of over 10m and the coast is exposed to gales from the north.
Wallasey Embankment was built not only to protect the coast but also to prevent the River Mersey from forming a second exit channel, which would have a devastating effect on shipping in and out of Liverpool Docks. There is also evidence that this part of The Wirral is sinking at a rate of about 1m every 100 years.
The concrete surface we can see today dates from work completed in 1981 but the site has quite a long history of intervention. In 1794, a “slope wall or pavement” was built of local materials such as sand, clay and peat in order to reinforce the sand dunes. However, it was only partially successful as a protective measure.
In 1829, a 2.65km long structure known as the "old embankment" was constructed. It had a seaward slope that varied between 1 in 4 and 1 in 8, and it was faced with a 600mm thick layer of local clay. This was later armoured with square sandstone blocks the sides of which ranged in length from 200mm to 460mm. They were laid dry in bonded courses. Continuous maintenance was necessary.
Extensions to this structure were made in 1894 at both ends. This new work was known as the "new embankment". The total length was now some 3.6km. A toe wall to prevent undermining by the sea was added later.
In 1941, the structure was faced with a 152mm deep layer of concrete laid in a cellular pattern, 4m square. Major rebuilding commenced in 1973 and was completed in 1981. The curved concrete upstands, or ‘Enervators’, that can be seen in the picture were added to part of the sloping surface in the 1980s to try to break up storm waves.
Research: PD
bibliography
"The Wallasey Embankment" by M.N. Bell et al
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, 1975, 58, 569-590
reference sources   CEH North
Location

Wallasey Embankment