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Chelson Meadow
near Saltram House, Plymouth, Devon
associated engineer
Sir John Rennie
date  1806 - 1807
era  Georgian  |  category  Land Reclamation  |  reference  SX509550
ICE reference number  HEW 1040
The area of reclaimed land known as Chelson Meadow is some 900m south of Saltram House, and was once part of the estate. Between 1806 and 1807, 72 hectares was reclaimed from the River Plym estuary. The Royal Society of Arts awarded the estate's owner, Lord Boringdon, a gold medal for this achievement.
In 1806, following consultation with Sir John Rennie, James Green of Birmingham was contracted to construct an embankment to reclaim the land. He had worked for Sir John Rennie since 1800.
The embankment is 887m long, with an average crest height of 4.9m above the estuary. The base width is 27.7m and the crest width is just 0.9m. It was intended originally to make the outer slope of the embankment 1 in 4 and the inner slope 2 in 3, but James Greenís careful enquiries regarding flood levels led him to raise the crest level and increase the slopes.
The work cost £9,000 and the reclaimed land was said to then be worth £20,000, even though impregnated with salt. A further —5,000 was spent on maintenance between 1808 and 1842.
From 1828 to 1926, the land was used for horse racing over a 2.4km course. Before and during World War I it was used as an airfield.
More recently, Chelson Meadow has been used as a landfill site for refuse, with amenity tipping and recycling facilities, and the level of the land has been raised as a result. However, the landfill is due to close in 2008.
Contractor: James Green
Research: ECPK
reference sources   CEH South

Chelson Meadow