Sunday, February 1, 2015

The History of Alderney Harbour, Alderney

the theme of water seems quite adequate for this period because after a few weeks of nice weather, we've been struck again by some thunderstorms and floods...and even woke up to some snow this morning, but by now it has all melted away...well, I don't mind the snow or the rain as much as I mind the constant weather changes which leave me so drowsy and unwilling to get out of my pajamas all day long...

well, we have some nice water quantities on this 2012 FDC from Alderney.

Alderney harbour has been the setting for some formidable feats of maritime engineering and chief amongst them is the 2,700 feet long Breakwater, which was built by the British Admiralty to defend against the threatened invasion of Napoleon.
The completed structure is the longest in the UK, cost £ 1.5 million and posed enormous challenges to contractors, Jackson & Bean.
Sea conditions in Alderney can be severe and Braye Bay is exposed to the full force of the Atlantic and a large tidal range. Added to this, the waters where the Breakwater was to be built reached depths of over 150 feet, greatly magnifying the scale of the task.
Stone and sand were provided locally but all other materials needed to be imported and so Little Crabby Harbour was built to accommodate the tipping (hopper) barges and steam boats that to'd and fro'd.
The Breakwater is formed from a rubble bank, topped by a masonry wall with a promenade and slipway on the harbour side. The foundation stone was laid in 1847 and by the late 1850's over half a million tonnes a year were being tipped.
The development created a booming quarrying industry and the Commercial Quay was opened in 1897 to help with export. It remains a lifeline for islanders, providing berthing for passenger ferries as well as food and freight deliveries. In 2011, a multimillion-pound refurbishment was completed, making it fit for the 21st century.
The Breakwater construction proved far more difficult than anticipated, went vastly over budget and was blighted by winter storms. Building stopped in 1864 but the task of maintaining it continues.
Today it remains a bustling working harbour that provides shelter for the quays and moorings but also for the shoreline around Braye Bay, where clusters of houses still dot the low-lying land.

Top row, from left to right: Douglas Quay, Braye Harbour c.1800; - Breakwater c1866; - SS Courier c.1926
Bottom row from left to right: Little Crabby Harbour c.1985; - RNLI Lifeboat - Roy Barker 1 c.1995; - Commercial Quay - built 2011

Wanna see more water beauties? Then just visit Violet's post for today's Sunday Stamps