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Ramsden Dock, Barrow
Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, UK
associated engineer
Frank Stileman
date  1872 - 1879
UK era  Victorian  |  category  Docks/Slipway  |  reference  SD206679
ICE reference number  HEW 2016
The third of the main docks to be built at Barrow-in-Furness is Ramsden Dock, named after Sir James Ramsden, the man responsible for founding the town. Ramsden Dock's construction commenced soon after the completion of the two earlier docks — Devonshire and Buccleuch — joining onto the the eastern end of the latter.
Sir James Ramsden had been the locomotive engineer for the Furness Railway, the instigator of the series of early docks at Barrow. The docks were constructed in the channel between Barrow Island and the mainland for the export of iron ore, their construction hastened by discovery of the Park ore deposit in 1850 by H.W. Schneider. Construction began in 1863. Barrow's docks can now accommodate vessels up to 200m long, 35m wide and 10m draught.
Ramsden Dock is situated immediately to the south east of Buccleuch Dock, to which it is joined. It is L-shaped in plan, some 150m wide and originally had wrought iron segmental gates. It occupies an area of 16.2 hectares. The engineer was Frank Stileman, who had also worked on the two earlier docks.
The first vessel to be built at Ramsden Dock was the Aries, Sir James Ramsden’s steam yacht. She was launched on 12th May 1873.
At the south west end of the dock, the lock gates were eventually replaced with a sliding steel caisson, also designed by Stileman. This structure was built by Vickers & Co. Ltd, with contractor John Aird & Co. The dock was divided into two at this time — the Anchor Basin and the Dock Basin.
To accommodate the Japanese battleship Mikasa, built at Vickers works in 1904, the dock’s entrance sill level was lowered by 1.83m and a deeper channel dredged.
Ramsden Dock is now the venue for national power boat grand prix races.
To the northeast of Ramsden Dock is Cavendish Dock, which covers 59.1 hectares and was used as a timber pond. It is now a reservoir and habitat for wildfowl and migratory birds.
Hydraulic equipment: Sir W.G. Armstrong, Mitchell & Co
Contractor (later caisson): John Aird & Co
Steelwork (later caisson): Vickers & Co. Ltd
Research: PD
reference sources   CEH North

Ramsden Dock, Barrow