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1899 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Visits to Works

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Note: This is a sub-section of 1899 Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Visits to Works (Excursions) in the Plymouth Area

H. M. Dockyard, Devonport

Devonport Dockyard

There is nothing of importance in common between Devonport Dockyard to-day and the establishment which existed far into the seventeenth century. With the gradual increase of the Navy there has necessarily been a corresponding expansion of the government establishments, and at none of the home ports has this development been more marked than at Devonport, Plate 129.

The Dockyard was founded by William III. in 1688, on a spot known as Point Froward, northward of which was a little inlet, which became the first basin, and its upper end the first dock. The wisdom of William III. in recognising the geographical importance of Plymouth for the purposes of the Navy has been justified beyond measure, and the latest proof of it is to be found in the Keyham extension scheme, Plate 130, which, when completed, will form an almost continuous line of government works for a distance of three miles, commencing with the building sheds and terminating with the Ordnance Depot at Bull Point. The first section of " Plymouth Dockyard " (the name which it retained until 1824) was finished in 1693, and extended from the present jetty at North Corner to the existing camber, being enclosed by a wall on the north and east sides. The area then enclosed for the purpose of the yard was not more than thirty-five acres, which was soon found to be too small. Extensions were therefore made in 1727, and also the formation of a second dock at the north end of the yard, and a further extension in 1798. Now the area of the yard and of Keyham Factory, excluding the extension now in progress, is about 143 acres; and it is all closely covered with shops, rope-walks, smithies, stores, docks, and building slips.

The main entrance is in Fore Street, Devonport. The first building to attract attention is the chapel, and adjacent thereto is the head-quarters of the Dockyard Police, a building formerly used as the military guard-house. Near this is the surgery to which artisans injured while on duty are taken, preparatory to being removed to their homes or to the Royal Naval Hospital. Secluded by an avenue of trees are the residences of the officials. Two flights of stone steps lead to the docks and workshops, which can also be reached by the main road. Facing the central flight of steps is the (now enlarged) dock and basin constructed iu the reign of William III. The basin is oblong in shape and bounded river ward by jetty-heads, with platforms projecting over the water supported by wooden piles. Within the basin is the dock which is generally used for repairing vessels of moderate draught and dimensions. In a northerly direction from this are three more docks, the northernmost one of which, near the four flights of steps, was constructed in 1789, and opened in the presence of George III. The centre one has recently been enlarged to accommodate our largest battleships, and the adjoining dock southward has been similarly extended, so that it will now take all but the largest cruisers.

Two ranges of buildings, used as workshops and offices, stand in front of the docks; and running parallel with the southernmost dock are two long edifices, the eastern of which is known as the rigging- house, and contains some valuable specimens of figure-heads, while the other is used as a sail loft. Across the camber are the various workshops, smithy, ropery, &c. In the ropery practically half the hempen ropes used in the Navy are made; the only other. Government establishment of the kind is at Chatham. About 100 women are employed here at this work. Emerging from the workshops the building slips are next seen. Four of them are still covered with roofs, the larger one measuring over 6,000 square yards. One of the " sheds " was recently converted into an open slip, for the construction of Devonport's first battleship — the " Ocean "— in 1897.

The King's Hill is an eminence on which a pavilion is erected, and was preserved from being levelled with the ground around to commemorate the visit of George III. in 1780. It commands a magnificent prospect of the Dockyard and Hamoaze. The number of workmen engaged here is about 7,400.

A tunnel over half-a-mile in length connects the dockyard of Devonport with the modern steam-yard and factory at Keyham and the military Gun Wharf. The latter was built between 1718 and 1725, to the designs of Sir John Vanbrugh, and is the depot of the ordnance stores.

H. M. Dockyard, Keyham

Keyham Dockyard

This Factory and Dockyard, Plate 130, which were commenced in 1844 and opened in 1853, occupy over seventy-two acres of land. They comprise three spacious docks and two basins, most of which are constantly in use, either with vessels passing through the " completing stage," or others refitting for further service. Immediately inside the entrance, which has an imposing appearance, are the offices of the Dockyard Reserve. The most prominent feature of the factory consists of two immense chimneys, each 180 feet high, and into which the smoke from numerous furnaces is carried by means of underground or overhead flues. The factory is in the form of a quadrangle, the sides of which are made up by machinery shops, stores, an instructional shop for engineer students, smithy, erecting shop and turnery, iron and brass foundries, pattern and millwrights' shops, plate-flanging works, &c., Plate 120. The largest of the docks is "The Queen's Dock," which is 418 feet in length, and derived its name from the fact that "The Queen" was the first vessel to enter it.

KEYHAM DOCKYARD EXTENSION WORKS. In 1895 the Admiralty finally decided to carry out a scheme of extension at Keyham, and before the close of the following year Sir John Jackson, the contractor for the Manchester Ship Canal, had commenced to carry out this most important extension, Plates 109 and 130. Hitherto the dockyard and factory have covered nearly 144 acres, and the extension includes the utilization of another 100 acres of land beyond the termination of Keyham Yard and the Royal Naval Engineering College. The contract, which amounts to £3,175,000, Provides for a large tidal basin, with an area of 351 acres - 1,550 feet long, 1,000 feet wide, and 55 feet deep—communicating with the Hamoaze by a caisson. The scheme also provides for three graving docks and a capacious entrance-lock. When this extension is completed—in about six or seven years' time — the port will be provided with the following dock and basin accommodation :-

  • Docks / Basins.
  • Devonport - 4 / 1
  • Keyham - 3 / 2
  • Keyham Extension - 3 / 2
  • Total - 10 / 5

The Admiral Superintendent of Devonport is Rear-Admiral Thomas S. Jackson, who succeeded Rear-Admiral Henry J. Carr early in the present month of July.

A description of the mechanical appliances used in the construction of these Extension Works is given in Mr. Whately Eliot's Paper (page 365).

Royal Naval Engineering College, Devonport


This College, situated just outside the north end of Keyham Dockyard, Plate 130, is the only educational establishment of the kind in the United Kingdom. It is a large and handsome edifice of Portland stone. The mess-hall is 69 feet long and 30 feet high by 29 feet in width, with a splendid wagon roof; and the building contains airy dormitories, class-rooms, and every other needful convenience. In 1896 a new wing was added at the south end of the College at a cost of £30,000.

Students enter by competitive examination between the ages of 14,4 and 16i years, and remain five years under training, about two- thirds of their time being devoted to practical engineering work and the remainder to mathematics and physics. The students number about 200, all residing at the College, under the charge of Commander Hugh Talbot, R.N. ( See also Mr. Robert Mayston's Paper, page 377.)

Electricity Works, Plymouth


These works stand upon land owned by the corporation, and are situated a few hundred yards below the Laira Bridge. The building faces the Cattewater, but is separated from it by the Cattewater branch of the London and South Western Railway. The total area of ground covered is 150 feet length by 130 feet width, and the chief dimensions of the building are:—engine-room 100 feet by 40 feet, boiler-house 100 feet by 56 feet, administration block 100 feet by 20 feet, coal and other stores 40 feet by 56 feet, yard 40 feet by 60 feet. The building is of limestone obtained on the site, with facings of red brick. The chimney is 180 feet high by 8 feet internal diameter.

The engine-room contains two 150-B.H.P. Belliss compound vertical condensing-engines, 375 revolutions, coupled through coil clutches to 100-kilowatt Ferranti alternators, and 100-kilowatt Westinghouse dynamos; two 300-B.H.P. Ferranti compound vertical condensing-engines, 250 revolutions, coupled direct to 200-kilowatt Ferranti alternators; three Ferranti rectifiers, each for fifty 10-ampere arc-lamps; three 6-inch Gwynne centrifugal-pumps, motor-driven, for lifting sea-water into tank for condensers; one overhead travelling-crane of 40 feet span, for 15 tons, worked by hand; three switchboards, one for lighting, of Ferranti standard type, another for tramways (Westinghouse Co.), and one for arc- lamps of the Ferranti type. Each engine has a Korting ejector-condenser, supplied with sea-water from a tank. The exhaust-steam can be taken either to the condenser or direct to the atmosphere through a common pipe. Space is provided in the engine-room for an additional set of 700 H.P.

The boiler-house contains three Lancashire boilers 30 feet by 7 feet 6 inches, made by Messrs. J. Musgrave and Sons, for 160 lbs. pressure; three Vicars' mechanical stokers; one Green's economiser, containing 256 tubes; two three-throw electrically- driven feed-pumps, made by Messrs. Hayward Tyler, for 4,000 gallons per hour; and one live-steam injector. Boilers can be fed either from the town mains direct or from a storage tank on the roof. Coal is supplied through shoots from stores overhead. The steam pipes are made of steel, with copper bends, and no pipe has a larger diameter than 7 inches. There is no steam-ring, nor are there duplicate mains; a pipe leads direct from each boiler to each engine with one cross connection.

The full-way valves were made by Messrs. Hopkinson and Fletcher, and the boiler mountings by Messrs. Hopkinson. The stokers and economiser-scrapers are driven from a common shaft by an electric motor. Space is provided for three snore boilers and an economiser of equal size. The two water- tanks, one for fresh and the other for sea-water have a capacity of 28,000 gallons each, and form the roof over the coal stores; they are constructed of cast-iron plates with machined joints. The accumulators contain 260 " Tudor " cells of the L.B.11 size, for 600 ampere-hours, the maximum discharge rate being 200 amperes. The battery is in parallel with traction bus-bars, and is charged from them with a motor-driven booster in series.

The administration block includes offices for the staff, test rooms, and stores, &c. A siding from the London and South Western Railway runs into the yard and engine-room, so that the crane can be brought directly over the trucks. This is the first station in the country designed for combined lighting and traction load, though, owing to delay in completion, not the first in actual operation. It is however the only instance of station driving lighting and traction from the same engine at one time. The capital outlay amounts to £56,000, and the charges for current arc 41d. per unit for private consumer, 31d. for tramways, and £16 per arc-lamp per annum which includes trimming.

Tramways.—The gauge is 3 feet 6 inches, and rails weigh 02 lbs. per yard. The overhead system is installed on Prince Rock route, and there is 11 mile of double-track roadway. Side bracket arms and span wires are fixed, and the cars are double-deck with swivelling trolley on centre of roof. Each car carries two 25-H.P. Westinghouse motors. The brake is worked by hand or by a graded electric-brake, using motors. The trucks are of the " Peckham " type, with " Milnes " car-bodies. Three " Chicago " bonds are fixed to each joint, and cross bonds to every three-rail lengths. The rails form the return circuit without auxiliary conductors. Current is supplied to the overhead line by the electricity department. The capital cost of equipment amounts to about £7,500. The borough electrical engineer is Mr. John H. Rider.

Public Libray, Plymouth


This Library was opened in 1876, the Libraries' Act having been adopted in 1871. It occupies the old Guildhall (erected in 1800), to which additions have been made from time to time to meet the rapid growth of the Institution. The building stands in the very heart of Old Plymouth, surrounded by many relics of Elizabethan days. In addition to the Central Library in Whimple Street, there are Branch Reading Rooms with small libraries attached in outlying districts, and also a system of School Libraries, by which all the Board Schools and several voluntary schools are supplied with books from the Central Library. In this way all the elementary schools of the town are served. This system, which was initiated by the Plymouth Free Library, has recently been favourably reported upon by the Education Department.

The Central Library contains over 45,000 volumes, in addition to a large collection of patent specifications, which are accommodated in the basement. There is a reference library upon the upper floor, containing about 20,000 volumes, and a lending library with all modern appliances containing nearly 25,000 volumes. One special feature of the reference library is a room devoted to Devon and Cornwall literature; this department alone comprises over 10,000 separate works. The circulation of books averages over one thousand per day.

In the basement is the general news room, well supplied with current periodicals; ou the first floor (in the old Guildhall) is the magazine room and the ladies' reading room. The Library is managed by a committee, appointed by the Borough Council, half from their own body and the other half of outside members, the Mayor being chairman en officio.

The Librarian, Mr. W. H. K. Wright, Fellow of the Library Association and of the Royal Historical Society, was appointed early in 1876, and has therefore carried out the whole work of organization from the outset up to the present time. He has made, in addition to the local collection of books and pamphlets, large collection of prints, portraits, and sketches of Plymouth and district, and is the author of various works of local interest.

Science, Art and Technical Schools, Plymouth


These Schools are situated in Tavistock Road, the northern main approach to the town. They were erected by public subscription as a memorial of the Queen's Jubilee on land given by the corporation. On their completion they were handed over by the building committee to the town, and were opened for work in October 1892.

In the basement are the carpenters' shop, plumbers' shop, mechanical and electrical engineering shop with gas-engine,'dynamo and screw-cutting lathe, also rooms for cookery lessons, woodcarving and casting. The first floor comprises drawing-office for machine and building construction, physical;laboratory, lecture theatre with preparation room, mathematical and other class rooms, elementary art room, committee room and offices. On the second floor are chemical laboratory with balance room, lecture room for physiology, hygiene and chemistry, dressmaking room, large antique room, life room and modelling room.

The work of the Schools consists of:-

(1) Advanced Day classes, giving to persons above the ordinary school age the means of continuing their education in science, art and languages. The science work is of such a character as to fit students for the degree examination of the University of London, and to give the scientific training needed by those who intend to enter professional life, or to become science teachers, or who wish to compete for national and other scholarships. The Art training is for those who wish to follow art professionally, as well as for all who desire an art education as a means of self-culture.

(2) Preparatory Day classes, for pupils whose elementary education is completed, and who desire a course of training as will best fit them to become chemists, engineers, &c.

(3) The advanced section of a School of Science. The elementary portion of this work is done at the Higher Grade Board School, and the scheme is worked under a joint committee.

(4) Evening Classes in Science and Art at low fees are held to meet the wants of artizans, clerks, teachers, and others who are engaged during the day. Classes are carried on in connection with the City and Guilds of London Central Institution in mechanical and electrical engineering, plumbing, carpentry, typography, dressmaking and manual training (woodwork). Language and commercial classes are also held. The schools are recognised by the conjoint board of the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons as giving instruction in chemistry, physics, biology and pharmacy, which qualifies for the first examination of the board. Medical students can thus have one asses medicos at these schools, which saves them subsequently one year's residence from home.

A complete set of apparatus has been provided for work with the x rays, which has proved of great value to the local hospitals and members of the medical profession.

Numerous and important successes have been gained by students of the schools both in science and art, and in technological and commercial examinations, and the work of the schools has developed to such an extent that the Town Council have sanctioned the extension of the buildings at a cost of £9,000.

The Chairman of the Committee is Alderman J. Shelly, and the Secretary Mr. T. W. Byfield. Mr. J. Burns Brown, B.Sc., is Head Master of the School of Science and Technology, and Mr. Frederick Shelley, A.R.C.A., Head Master of the Art School. The number of students attending the schools is 800.

Science, Art and Technical Schools, Devonport


In 1892 the Devonport Borough Council nominated a Technical Instruction Committee to collect information respecting existing Science and Art classes in the Borough, and, acting on the advice of the Science and Art Department, the Committee sought for suitable premises in which to co-ordinate and extend these classes. A temporary building was rented in George Street until more convenient and commodious premises could be obtained. After much delay the Committee succeeded in negotiating with the War Office for the purchase of a plot of ground about acre in extent, in close proximity to the Devonport station of the London and South Western Railway. The building was commenced in 1897, and the memorial stone, to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty, was laid by the Mayor, W. J. Waycott, Esq., J.P., on 22nd June 1897.

The plan of the building is rectangular, being about 150 feet long and 70 feet wide, and is built of limestone with Ham Hill stone dressing. It has basement, ground and first floors. There are three entrances, the main one being in the centre of the south elevation. In the centre of the north elevation and immediately opposite the main entrance is a handsome memorial window, emblematical of the advance which has been made during the reign of Her Majesty in science and art, engineering and naval architecture. This window has been presented by the present Mayor, William Hornbrook, Esq.

In the basement are rooms for mechanical engineering, manual training in wood work, also boiler room, engine room, clay-modelling room, plumbers' workshop, and apartments for the caretaker. On the ground floor are five class-rooms, large lecture hall (used also for mechanical drawing), committee room, and secretary's office, while on the first floor are chemical and physical laboratories and lecture room at the west end, and three art rooms and a commercial room at the east end. Cloak rooms and lavatories are provided at both ends on each floor. A staircase is provided at each end, and a central one from the ground floor to the basement, the lower part being of stone, and the upper of wood, with handsome iron balusters and oak hand-rail. A spacious corridor divides each floor laterally, the dads being 4 feet high and of pitch-pine varnished.

The class-rooms on each side of the corridors are light and lofty, and will accommodate from forty to fifty students. Classes are conducted in connection with the Science and Art Department, the City and Guilds of London Institution, the Society of Arts, and the Worshipful Company of Plumbers.

Being a dockyard borough, as might be expected a large proportion of the students in science are or have been connected with the dockyard, about 80 per cent. being drawn from this source, and the largest and most popular classes are those in mechanical sciences. In spite of the unfavourable conditions under which their work has been carried on in the past, the Committee have much reason to be gratified at the success of their efforts to promote technical education in the borough, for since the schools have been opened there have been awarded five National Scholarships, nine Royal Exhibitions, thirteen Whitworth Exhibitions, seven Queen's Prizes and three Shipwright Company's prizes. Much of the credit of what has been achieved at these schools is due to the keen interest and untiring perseverance of Mr. Alderman Banister, J.P., who has been Chairman of the Technical Instruction Committee for the last five years. The Secretary is Mr. James Neal.

Plymouth Institution and Natural History Society


The Plymouth Institution was founded in 1812 "for the delivery of lectures, and for discussions on the different subjects of Science, Literature, and the Fine Arts, for the formation of a Library, Collection of Apparatus, and Museum," and in 1851 was amalgamated with the Devon and Cornwall Natural History Society. The Institution possesses a valuable Library and Museum, with Lecture Hall and other rooms.

The library consists for the most part of scientific works and sets of the leading scientific periodicals, besides many valuable portraits, paintings, drawings, and engravings. The Museum is rich in local and other collections, illustrating the various branches of science; it contains also some valuable collections relating to prehistoric man, which have been discovered in the immediate neighbourhood. The natural history collections are also good, that of British birds being very valuable and almost complete, particularly from a local point of view.

Marine laboratory, Plymouth


The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom owes its existence to a combination of scientific naturalists and of persons interested in the sea-fisheries of the United Kingdom. On the one hand, our knowledge of the habits and conditions of life of sea-fishes is small, and insufficient to enable either the practical fisherman or the government to take measures calculated to ensure to the country the greatest possible return from the "harvest of the sea." On the other hand, naturalists are anxious to obtain increased information about marine animals and plants.

The Laboratory of the Association, which was built at Plymouth at a cost of about £12,000, was opened in 1888, and since that time practical and scientific investigations have been constantly pursued. On the ground floor of the building is the aquarium, fitted with a number of large tanks, in which a variety of fishes and invertebrate animals are kept in a living state. A constant circulation of seawater is maintained through these tanks from two large storage reservoirs situated at the back of the building, each having a capacity of 50,000 gallons. The water is pumped from the reservoirs by a gas-engine driving a rotary pump of vulcanite, all the pipes and fittings being also of the same material. The reservoirs themselves are supplied with water from the sea by means of an ejector, worked also by a gas-engine.

On the ground floor, in addition to the aquarium, there is a collection of preserved specimens of fishes and other marine animals. The laboratory proper, or work-room, is over the aquarium, and is fitted with twelve compartments, which are occupied by naturalists carrying on investigations. The remainder of the building contains the library, museum, and various work-rooms. A small steamboat is maintained by the Association, and is kept in daily use. It is fitted with trawls, dredges and nets of different patterns for the capture of marine animals and plants.

The scientific staff consists of a resident director, who is also. secretary, a naturalist engaged in fishery investigations and an assistant naturalist. The other workers in the Laboratory come from Oxford and Cambridge, and from various teaching institutions. throughout the country. A " Journal" containing an account of the researches carried on by the Association is published twice yearly. A large number of memoirs containing valuable contributions to. science, the result of work done in the Laboratory, have also appeared in the Transactions of learned societies and in scientific periodicals during the last ten years.

The income of the Association is derived partly from a grant from H.M. Treasury (£1,000), from a grant from the Fishmongers' Company (£400), and from the annual contributions of members of the Association (£140).

Bickle and Co

Bickle and Co

These works are situated at the Great Western Docks, having been established in 1887 for carrying out general engineering work. The principal productions comprise pumping and winding machinery, Chilian mills, Cornish crushers, air-compressors, and general mining requisites. The " Bickle " rock drill, a speciality of this firm, has proved a very simple and most effective machine. They also manufacture marine and Lancashire boilers, the latter up to 7 feet 6 inches diameter by 30 feet long. A considerable business is done in marine-engine and ship repairs, the premises being at the waterside, and adjoining large graving docks. The works are at present engaged in the manufacture of a triple-expansion mill-engine of 250 I.H.P., using steam at 200 lbs. pressure; also large Cornish crushers, air-compressors and rock-drilling machinery. The number of men employed is about 170.

Bywater and Co

Bywater and Co

These works, founded in 1891, are situated in the Great Western Railway Docks, having a rail way and water frontage. They are engaged on Admiralty and War Department engine and boiler work, in addition to ordinary constructional, foundry, smithy, and general engineering work. The number of men employed is about 100.

Ice Works, Plymouth


These works, situated in St. Andrew Street, consist of an ice factory capable of turning out 20 tons of ice per day, partly on the can system and partly on the cell system. They have a cold-storage capacity of about 50,000 cubic feet. The refrigerators, made by Messrs. J. and E. Hall, of Dartford, are of the mechanical compression type, using carbonic-acid gas as the refrigerant. The whole factory is now in full operation under the charge of Mr. A. C. L. Back, A.M.I.Mech.E.

Ellacott and Sons

Ellacott and Sons

These old-established works are situated on the eastern side of the Great Western Docks, having both a railway-siding and water frontage. The work done is principally for local requirements of the various departments of the government, county and district councils, harbour, electrical, gas, water, and other works. The machines are driven by one of the latest "National" gas-engines, with shafting on each side of workshop. An overhead traveller runs the whole length of the works and through the front over the railway trucks to facilitate the unloading and despatch of goods. The works were formerly situated in the centre of the town.

Edward James and Sons

Edward James and Sons

These works are situated at the eastern end of the town, close to the Sutton Harbour Branch of the Great Western Railway, and most conveniently placed for waterside transit. Established in 1840 by the late senior partner, Mr. Edward James, then a member of the firm of Messrs. Bryant, James, and May, merchants, Plymouth, it has steadily grown in size and importance until its productions have obtained a world-wide celebrity.

A portion of the ground on which the premises now stand was originally in the occupation of a Roman Catholic Sisterhood, known as the "Poor Clares," who subsequently returned to their native place in France, early in the nineteenth century.

About the year 1840 the premises were purchased for the purpose of a starch manufactory, and have been so continued ever since, although the present appearance of the site, with the high buildings and tall chimneys, is very different from that when deserted by the nuns. The firm is well known throughout the world, and the addition many years since of the manufacture of ultramarine blue for laundry purposes, and of blacklead, has immensely added to its importance. They are the inventors and sole manufacturers of the "Dome" brand of blacklead.

Starch is not strictly speaking a manufactured article. It exists more or less in all grain and in many roots. The starch manufacturer has to extract the starch and produce it in a form suitable for the laundry. Rice is used as the most productive grain for starch making. After it has been cleaned and steeped in a prepared liquor, the soft grain passes through mill-stones, of which the mill-room 'contains many sets. The result is a substance something like raw cream. This is sent by means of pumps to the top floor of the building, where in deep wooden vessels it is treated chemically, and is then passed into other deep vessels called vats, in which it is agitated by machinery.

The starch portion of this liquid mass is next drawn off and conveyed by shutes to the "flats" for settling, the fibre of the grain remaining in the vats to be dealt with for other purposes. From the flats the starch is collected, and after further treatment is run into long narrow boxes to solidify. It is then turned out and cut into cubes about six inches square. In this form it passes into "crusting stoves," and is subjected to very high temperature, which produces an outer crust.

When this has been removed the cubes are wrapped in paper and placed in the "drying stoves" at a lower temperature. The process of drying forms the familiar long white crystals. The fancy-box department is a distinct branch of the work, in which women and girls are mostly employed; to provide for this, the firm has a large fancy-box making factory, and also a complete_establishment for printing labels and other matter.

Blue.—When the firm commenced making this article, Ball Blue was a novelty and an immense trade was done in it, but this has gradually been superseded by the modern Square Blue, although quite a fair quantity of Ball Blue is still sold. A large export trade is done in this article.

Blacklead.—Very large quantities of blacklead are turned out daily, special machinery being employed for the purpose. The- process of manufacture is not of a very clean nature, but the result. is the production of a most brilliant form of blackhead for household purposes. The firm have obtained the highest awards at many international exhibitions. They have a branch business establishment in London, and employ a large number of hands.

Willoughby Brothers

Willoughby Brothers

These works, established by Mr. William Willoughby in 1844, have gradually been extended, so that they occupy three distinct sites, namely the main foundry and engine works at Rendle Street, a branch foundry in Phoenix Street, Stonehouse, and the shipbuilding yard which adjoins and extends nearly the whole length of the graving dock in the Great Western Docks.

Vessels have been built at these works for the Royal Mail Steamship Co., the Suez Canal Co., War Department, Customs authorities, and for the Corporation of the City of London, also ten vessels now running on the Thames and five on the Mersey. Chain ferries for Torpoint, Devonport, Saltash, Dartmouth, Littlehampton, and Felixstowe, and the ferry at Hythe in Southampton Water, were constructed and engined by this firm.

Many of the pleasure steamers running in the locality were also built here. One of the firm's finest productions is the " Belle," a paddle-steamer built expressly for the Blackpool excursion traffic. The Admiralty have just placed an order with this firm for a steam water-tank vessel for service with the Channel Squadron.

Plymouth Pier


This pier was opened in 1884. It is 480 feet in length, and commands a fine view of the harbour. The pavilion is circular 'in shape, and has extensive interior and exterior balconies 'surrounding and enclosing its central dome. It is the largest erection of its kind in the kingdom, having accommodation for five thousand people. The concert season extends over the summer and 'autumn, two performances being given daily at three o'clock and at eight, and in winter the pavilion is given up to roller-skating, carnivals, confetti fetes, &c. Sunday concerts are given all the year round.

Devon Great Consols Mine

Devon Great Consols Mine

These mines are situated on the Devonshire banks of the River Tamar, about five miles from Tavistock, which is one of the most picturesque inland towns of England. In 1844 a company was formed to develop further some old workings which had been abandoned for a very long period. A discovery of copper ore was quickly made, from which during the first twelve months' working over £70,000 profit was obtained; and by the end of the second year copper ore had been raised realising about £120,000. For many years afterwards the output steadily increased, and up to the 30th April last the following important results have been obtained from the minerals sold, namely copper ore realising £3,468,122 and arsenic £590,178. The dividends paid have amounted to £1,223,878, and the landlord has received in dues £279,679. The rich deposit of copper ore continued for nearly two miles in length, and to mine it profitably the sinking of eighteen shafts has been required, with about 45 miles of drivages at the various levels on the course of the mineral vein or lode. The cost of mining has been over two million pounds, and of plant over half a million pounds, on a capital of £20,000.

During the whole of the working of the mines a considerable quantity of arsenical mundic was found along with the copper ore. Up to about thirty years ago this was of little value, and as a consequence thousands of tons of it were thrown on the waste heaps. From these heaps and what has since been raised, over half-a-million pounds have been realised for arsenic, which is now the chief product of the mines. For the extraction of the arsenic from the mundic there are works covering about eight acres.

The motive power is chiefly water. There are five large waterwheels representing together about 700 horse-power; this power is used for draining the mines and for pumping water to the top of the hill, whence it is used on the various works until it finds its way back again to the River Tamar, but not before it has traversed about eight miles of leats. There are also several steam-engines at work on the property; and a large portion of the machinery has been manufactured in the foundry and fitting shops on the mines.

Copper ore is not smelted on the mines of Cornwall or Devon, but, after being picked over and undergoing only a slight treatment, it is forwarded to the smelting works in South Wales. The preparation of arsenic is different, involving a long process. The arsenical mundic is reduced to the size of ordinary gravel at surface, and is placed in one end of a large iron-tube — about 30 feet long by 5 feet diameter—lined with fire-brick, about 7 to 18 inches from the horizontal. The tube is kept revolving by water-power. At the lower end of it there is a fire, and as the tube works around, a certain quantity of the arsenical mundic comes down to the fiery mass. When raised to a temperature of 356° Fahr. arsenic rises in vapour without undergoing fusion. The fumes that contain the arsenic are carried by draughts through a series of long flues that stretch up the side of the slope and end in a tall stack. At frequent intervals along the flue, walls are built half-way or more across, each alternate wall abutting from the opposite side.

As the vapour cools it drops its burden of arsenic, and the plan is to place as many obstacles as possible in the way, in order that the whole of the arsenic may be caught before the stack is reached. Every chamber of the flue has a large door, and after the burning of the arsenical mundic has been going on for about a month, the fire is let out and the doors of the flue opened.

There is then an incrustation of a greyish, crystalline substance about two or three inches thick on all the walls, and a thick body of soot on the bottom of the flue. This is scraped off, and, when the flues are closed up, burnt again. The arsenic again goes off in vapour, and is once more deposited in the flues. When the doors are opened again, the walls are covered with a substance like driven snow, that sparkles like myriads of diamonds. This is pure arsenic, a most deadly poison. When scraped off, it is ground into fine powder, and placed in barrels for exportation. On the mines is a railway system, extending 5 miles, and two locomotives for taking the produce to the wharf at Morwellham.

Above the wharf is a steep incline, and a stationary engine at the top is employed in regulating the descent of the trucks loaded with copper or arsenic, and in bringing up others containing coal, &c., for use on the mines. Adjoining the wharf are ore-floors of several acres in extent, with a dock in the centre capable of accommodating six vessels of about 300 tons burden.

The resident manager, Captain William Clemo, has worked on the mines since they were started in 1844, and several of the officials have been there over fifty years. The number of workpeople is about 450.

Cotehole House, Calstock


This house, which belongs to the Right Hon. the Earl of Mount-Edgcumbe, is a perfect example of the Tudor fortified mansion. It stands on a hill, and is surrounded by oak, ash, and chestnut trees. It is built around the quadrangle, one side of which is occupied by the ball, 44 feet long by 23 feet wide. There is an old chapel, with a leper's window, of simple architecture, which was erected at about the end of the fifteenth century by Sir Richard Edgcumbe, one of the ancestors of the present Earl. Having joined the Duke of Buckingham in 1468, during the Wars of the Roses, against Richard the Third, he was defeated and pursued by Sir Henry Trenoweth, but escaped by an artifice to the Continent. He then returned with Henry of Richmond, afterwards Henry the Seventh, and received from him the estates of Sir Henry Trenoweth. The chapel is his thank-offering for his escape.

Mount-Edgcumbe Park


This Park is situated in Cornwall, two miles south-west from Devonport, on the opposite shore of Plymouth Sound. A steam-ferry leaves the Admiral's Hard, Stonehouse, at frequent intervals for Cremyll, which is within a hundred yards of the main entrance to the Park.

The gardens, near the Cremyll entrance, are adorned, like those at Chatsworth, with busts, fountains, &c., and are laid out in the Italian, French and English styles. They contain the ivy-clad ruin of an old castle, dating from the sixteenth century, at which time it played its part in the defence of the port. The cliff walks and drives are unequalled in beauty, and the mildness and equability of the climate are plainly demonstrated by the growth of tropical sod sub-tropical shrubs and trees in wild profusion upon the south steep slopes of cliff. The views from the higher ground of the Park are very extensive and beautiful, extending as far as the peaks of Dartmoor. The Park is several miles in extent, and occupies nearly the whole of the peninsula to which the house gives its name.

Among the objects of interest to be seen are the Amphitheatre, with its sloping sides covered by luxuriant firs, cedars, poplars, and other forest trees, and Milton's Temple containing a bust of the poet. From the Gothic ruin, perched on the brow of a commanding hill, a magnificent view of the Three Towns and their surroundings is obtained. Lady Emma's Cottage, the Great Terrace, Thompson's Seat, the Pavilion, the Zigzag Walks, and many other charming spots attract attention.

The House was built in 1553. It had originally a circular tower at each corner, but these have been made octagonal, and altered from time to time, so that but little of its original shape remains. The House, which is one of the residences of the Right Hon. the Earl of Mount-Edgcumbe, is not open to the public.

Electric Lighting Works, Torquay


These works were formally opened on 17th March 1898, by the Ex-Mayor, Councillor T. Harrison. The supply for the first six months was given for evening lighting only, and the plant stopped at 1 a.m.; from September to December two shifts were arranged; from December 1898 the supply has been continuous, and with the exception of one transformer burn-out on 22nd December 1898, no hitch whatever has occurred.

The Provisional Order was obtained in 1891 by the late local board, but was not put into force until 1896 when Mr. W. H. Trentham, of London, was instructed to report on the subject. Several schemes were submitted and considered, including a combination for electric lighting and refuse destruction, but owing to the large capitol outlay required for buildings it was eventually decided to utilize some disused existing coal cellars under the Baths Saloons.

Tenders were invited for the required plant, and the following firms accepted to carry out the work— Messrs. Easton, Anderson, and Goolden, for engines, alternators and rectifiers, arc switchboard, steam and other piping, and condensing arrangements; Messrs. Babcock and Wilcox for boilers, feed- pumps, and economisers; Messrs. Ferranti for high-tension switchboard and rheostats; Messrs. Nalder and Hilton for transformers; the British Insulated Wire Co. for cables, arc-lamps and posts; and Messrs. Isles for overhead travelling-crane.

The system employed is high-tension alternate current at 2,000 volts, conveyed to transformers placed in pits under the pavements, whence it feeds the low-tension network at 200 volts. The periodicity of the alternators is 50 per second. The are lighting is on the series system, supplied with rectified currents. A total of 52 Crompton-Pochin 12-ampere lamps is installed in the principal streets and round the sea front; three Ferranti 30-light rectifiers are employed, one being a spare as the lamps are arranged on two circuits. The arc posts are fitted with two 32 candle-power incandescent lamps which are lighted after the arc lamps are switched off, and are actuated by Edmund's automatic switch.

The boiler-house contains three Babcock and Wilcox water-tube boilers with a total heating surface of 4,857 square feet, fitted with superheaters and Granger's blowers for forced draught; the working pressure is 150 lbs. per square inch; a Green's economiser fitted with 192 4-inch pipes is also installed. The boiler feed-pumps, two in number, were made by the Worthington Co. The main steam-ring and pipes are of lap-welded steel, with heavy wrought-iron flanges screwed on and brazed.

The alternators, three in number, of 150 kilowatts each are of the inductor type with revolving fields, and all windings stationary, connected direct to Willans three-crank compound engines, which, at 375 revolutions per minute with a steam-chest pressure of 135 lbs. per square inch and a vacuum of 26 inches, deliver at the alternate shaft 250 I.H.P.

The main switchboard is of Messrs. Ferranti's usual type, consisting of twelve panels fitted with circuit fuse pots, ammeters, and synchronizer. The condensing plant consists of two Ledward ejector-condensers, supplied with Sea-water by two compound steam-pumps, each capable of delivering 30,000 gallons of water per hour, a steady vacuum of 26 inches being obtained on all three engines. The borough electrical engineer is Mr. Percival Storey.

See Also


Sources of Information