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1928 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Visits to Works

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1928. Visits to Works.
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Note: This is a sub-section of 1928 Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Visits to Works (Excursions) in the Southampton area

RMS Aquitania

RMS Aquitania

The R.M.S. "Aquitania," together with the "Berengaria" and "Mauretania," is engaged in the Cunard Company's express service between Southampton, Cherbourg, and New York. She has the distinction of being the largest liner built in Great Britain and was designed to the following general particulars: length b.p., 869 feet; length overall, 901 feet; and moulded breadth, 97 feet. Her gross and registered tonnages are 45,647 and 20,800 respectively, and she regularly maintains a sea speed of 23.5 knots. The main propelling machinery consists of four Parsons turbines each of which drives a propeller directly; the turbines are as follows one high-pressure, one intermediate-pressure and two low-pressure having an aggregate power of 60,000 h.p. at 165 r.p.m. Each of the four shafts is fitted also with an astern turbine. The supply of steam, which is at a pressure of 200 lb. per sq. in., is from 21 double-ended cylindrical boilers, each having eight furnaces. The boiler furnaces are fitted for oil-fuel burning on the White system in conjunction with Howden's system of forced draught. The condensers are of the "Uniflux" type, having over 9,300 tubes in each condenser, giving a total cooling surface of over 46,000 sq. ft. The condensate is discharged through four Weir air-pumps into the hotwell tanks whence the water is pumped and discharged through filters to the heaters. These are fitted with float control gear (for the feed-pumps) to the twelve vertical boiler feed-pumps. The auxiliary machinery in the engine-room comprises four d.c. generators each driven at 1,500 r.p.m. by a steam-turbine. The electrical distribution throughout the ship is on the three-wire system, giving 220 volts for power purposes and 110 volts for lighting. The refrigerating plant, which is only used for the preservation of provisions, comprises one horizontal compound Duplex refrigerating machine with an independent water-circulating pump and three independent brine circulating pumps. The insulated space consists of twelve compartments and over twenty cold cabinets.

Special attention has been paid in the passenger accommodation to secure the utmost comfort for the traveller, and an accurate historical knowledge and fidelity to details is displayed in the furnishing of all the period apartments. Ventilation and heating on certain decks are provided by the thermo-tank system, and in the first-class accommodation all rooms are fitted with separate electric radiators and fans.

Day, Summers and Co

Day, Summers and Co

The company were established at Millbrook in 1834 under the name of Summers, Day and Baldock. In 1837 they removed to Northam where new engineering workshops had been built; later the adjoining shipyard was acquired and the premises have been extended until they now occupy about seventeen acres. In 1864 the name of the firm was changed to C. A. Day and Company, but in 1871 its present style was adopted, under which it was incorporated as a limited liability company in July 1901. The firm build, engine, and repair all classes of light craft in their shipyard and engine works. In their early days vessels for the P. and O. Steam Navigation Company, the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company and the Hamburg-America Line were launched; but with the increasing size of ocean-going passenger steamers, work of this class has passed beyond the capacity of the yard. The last passenger liners built were the S.S. "Norseman" (1,004 tons) and the S.S. "Tyrian" (1,378 tons) for the Union Steamship Company in 1890, but in 1914 there cargo and passenger steamers (230 tons) were built for the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company for service in the West Indies. During the War, the slipways were in continuous use for the repair and overhaul of all types of small craft, such as torpedo-boats, "P" boats, trawlers, patrol yachts, etc., a total of 369 vessels being dealt with. A number of vessels were also built for war purposes, including sea-going tugs, rescue type tugs and shallow-draught tugs, refrigerating barges and troop carriers for service in Mesopotamia, aggregating a tonnage of 9,500 and horse-power of 11,500. In recent years many steam-yachts, for which the firm has a high reputation, have been built, but attention has been chiefly confined to the smaller class of passenger and cargo boats and to tug-boats, and notable constructions have been the twin-screw tugs "Hector," "Neptune," and "Sir Bevois." owned by the Southampton-Isle of Wight Company, and the paddle steamer "Princess Elizabeth" (1,000 i.h.p.) built in 1927. Amongst patents taken out by the firm, the traversing tripod sheers (in 1862) and the machinery for the hauling-up slipway (in 1863) have achieved international reputation.

The shipyard comprises three building slips capable of accommodating vessels up to 200 feet in length, and the engine works comprise an iron foundry, a brass foundry, a well-equipped smithy, and coppersmiths' and plumbers' shops. The firm has also an engineering repair shop near the dry-docks in Southampton Docks.

Ferry Engine Co

Ferry Engine Co

Specializing in the manufacture of petrol- and paraffin-engines, this company have already supplied the Admiralty with some 500 engines for the propulsion of ships' pinnaces, etc., and similar engines have been supplied to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The firm also manufactures internal-combustion engines for stationary lighting-sets and for general commercial purposes. At present the works are also occupied in building skimmers for outboard-motor racing and a fast boat for the Air Ministry. The other manufactures of the company, who are also general engineers, include a range of pumps, and bottle-washing machines.

Harland and Wolff

Harland and Wolff

The late Viscount Pirrie founded these works in 1907 primarily to meet the requirements of the mail and passenger steamers of the White Star Line which had inaugurated the Southampton-Cherbourg-New York service about that time. They are situated close to the largest of the dry-docks and to the large floating dock and are thus exceptionally well placed for the rapid execution of work on vessels occupying those docks for repair. To meet the demand caused by the War for repairs to shipping, extensions which increased the capacity by fifty per cent were necessitated. In 1920 the repair works of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company and the Union-Castle Mail Steamship Company were taken over, and this permitted a further necessary enlargement of several of the departments, so that their capacities were doubled and provision was made for accommodation for numerous spare parts of machinery.

The principal work of the establishment is the maintenance of the liners of the White Star Line, the Union-Castle Line, and the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, although a considerable amount of repair work on other vessels is undertaken. The maintenance of high efficiency at sea of the machinery of a large liner calls for the utmost skill in workmanship and the highest class of machine-tools, and it will be noticed that the fitting shop is particularly well equipped. Of equal importance are the boilers, which require constant attention for their satisfactory upkeep; the boiler shop is arranged to deal with the largest and heaviest plates met with in boiler work, as well as with the preparation of material for ships' structures.

Extensive joinery and cabinet-making shops are provided for carrying out repairs and alterations to the passenger accommodation of vessels, and special facilities exist, such as the sheet-metal shop, which contains electro-tinning plant, for dealing with ships' cooking apparatus. In addition to the fitting shop, foundries, forge, plumbers', electrical, paint and japanning shops, the following departments contribute to the upkeep of the vessels calling at the port: electroplating gold, silver and nickel for tableware; awnings, screens and sails in the sail loft; upholstery, carpet-cleaning and bedding in the upholsterers' shop; life-boat repairs and other shipwrights' work in the boat shop; with extensive stores for hardware goods of every description in common use. Everything required to keep a modern liner in efficient condition for service is to be found in the establishment.

International Cold Storage and Ice Co

International Cold Storage and Ice Co

The company was registered in 1903, in which year also the premises were completed. The buildings are of reinforced concrete on the "Hennebique" system. The main store is divided into 56 chambers having a total capacity of 1,476,000 cubic feet, the chambers ranging in size from 15,000 to 32,000 cubic feet, and is arranged in four stories (including the basement) served by four electric cargo lifts. There are also five chambers in a separate building, having an aggregate capacity of 200,000 cubic feet. Produce can be delivered direct from a ship, lying alongside, to the roof where it is sorted before being dispatched to the storage chambers. Goods can also be received from the quay at the ground floor, or by chutes, at the basement. At the ground floor there is a receiving and dispatching platform under cover, served by a railway siding capable of accommodating 22 refrigerated vans and another platform for dealing with goods arriving and leaving by road transport.

The system of refrigeration employed is that of the direct expansion of ammonia, except in the case of 16 chambers on the first floor, which have air circulation, each chamber being provided with a separate cooling battery and electric fan. The refrigerating plant consists of three 70-ton and one 45-ton vertical compressors, each driven by a compound steam-engine, and there are the usual circulating and air-pumps, etc. The ammonia condensers are on the roof of the engine-room which is a separate building. Steam is supplied by three Babcock and Wilcox boilers of 8,000 lb. per hour evaporative capacity, provided with chain-grate stokers, superheaters and economizers. Electricity for power and lighting is supplied by two 75 kw. sets.

Ordance Survey

Ordnance Survey

The Ordnance Survey is a Government Department working under the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. It is largely military in character, the superintending staff being mainly composed of Officers of the Royal Engineers, whilst the subordinate staff is partly military and partly civil. The Department is responsible for the mapping of the British Isles, but since 1922 Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State have had their own survey departments. As the survey and original mapping were completed some time ago, the main work now consists of systematic revision and publication of the maps. The following duties are also carried out: revision of levelling; compilation, drawing, and reproduction of colonial and other maps for the War Office, etc.; drawing and printing of maps for the Geological Survey; certain surveys, and the preparation of special maps of Great Britain for other departments or for the public; research work, including magnetic and gravity surveys; acquisition and record of archeological information; and the training in war duties of the military part of the staff. The Central Bureau of the International 1/M Map is at the Ordnance Survey Office.

The work of the Survey is organized in divisions, each in charge of an Officer, all under the Director General of the Ordnance Survey. The divisions at headquarters are mainly concerned with publication, control and reproduction, and include the First, or Levelling, Division which is engaged on field work. There are in addition four divisions engaged on field revision work, which are stationed at Bristol, York, Norwich and Edinburgh respectively.

The equipment for the reproduction of maps and letterpress at headquarters includes the following departments: photographic, containing cameras for 45 x 30-inch negatives, also smaller cameras for process work; lithographic printing, containing various types of flat-bed and rotary printing machines; letterpress printing, containing power printing presses, type-casting machine, and map-mounting machine. The regular series of maps published range from a scale of 25 inches to the mile down to the 1/M, which is to the scale of 16 miles to the inch (the latter, however, is not part of the International 1/M series which is also published). Town plans exist, but these are not revised by the Survey unless paid for by the local authority.

Parsons Oil Engine Co

Parsons Oil Engine Co

Some twenty-five years ago this firm was established under the name of The Parsons Motor Company by its present Managing Director, Mr. Harry Parsons, as a comparatively small works on the Town Quay, the original object being the application of the Parsons paraffin-engine, in those days fitted with concentric valves, to commercial vehicles of about 5 cwt. capacity. But, as has so frequently occurred in the development of mechanically propelled vehicles the paraffin-engine was for that purpose many years before its time. However, encouraged by the successful running of the engine on fuels heavier than petrol, the company turned their attention to marine propulsion, and were immediately successful, winning the first award for paraffin-engines in the motor-boat trials held in 1905. Since that year the company's marine business has steadily developed and engines are now supplied for all varieties of small craft, from the small passenger boat to the luxurious motor-cruiser; for Admiralty purposes; for ships' life-boats, and for many commercial vessels. The development of the engines for stationary purposes was commenced some years ago and the company specialize in the manufacture of oil- and petrol-engines ranging in size from 14 to 170 b.h.p., and their auxiliary apparatus. They have been the originators of many features in the design of the present-day petrol-paraffin engine, which is so suitable for direct coupling to industrial machines, over a wide range of speeds. At present, engines are built in two series, of 4.5 and 6.5 inches bore respectively, and the original feature of multiple-unit construction is still continued. This system offers many advantages, for example in the stock of interchangeable replace parts, which is appreciated by users overseas. A given full-power output is obtained merely by varying the number of cylinders of an engine, so that, whether an engine has two or eight cylinders, the pistons, connecting-rods, valves, bearings, etc., are interchangeable throughout a whole series. The component parts of marine and stationary engines are also interchangeable.

The present site of the works is rather restricted for space as there is only accommodation for about 200 workmen, but it is admirably situated for business, being in a central position and having a waterside frontage.

About one-half of the company's products are for export, and although, many engines being supplied to the trade or to boat-yards, it is not always possible to ascertain their final destination, their employment has been traced into forty-four different countries.

Pirelli-General Cable Works

Pirelli-General Cable Works

The company was formed by Messrs. Pirelli of Milan and the General Electric Company to manufacture on a large scale all kinds of cable and wire for electrical purposes. One factory, for the manufacture of rubber cable and silk- and cotton-covered wire, is situated on the Western Shore; it is a modern building of brick and reinforced concrete and has a frontage on the Southampton Water. It is equipped with modern machinery for the production of all classes of rubber cable and wire, and for the purpose of carrying out the various tests and research work entailed, there is an electrical and chemical laboratory.

Another factory is in course of completion at Leigh Road, Eastleigh, in which paper-insulated cable for transmission of power at working pressures up to 132,000 volts is manufactured. This factory also contains plant for the production of telephone trunk main cable and distribution cable, and has a chemical and an electrical laboratory, the latter capable of dealing with the highest voltages. In a separate building adjacent to the main factory at Eastleigh is a modern copper-wire drawing plant, where all the wire used by the two factories, and conductors for overhead transmission of power and speech are manufactured.

Southampton Electricity Works

Southampton Electricity Works

The power station is built on piled foundations on reclaimed land belonging to the Corporation at West Bay, on the estuary of the River Test, adjoining the Western Esplanade. The area of the site is now over six acres and can be increased when necessary. The present generating capacity, including plant in course of erection, is 27,760 kw. and plant to generate a further 15,000 kw. is to be installed next year. The portion of the boiler-house so far erected, which has a common firing floor between the two rows of boilers, is 148 feet long by 114 feet wide and is parallel to the engine-room, which is 280 feet long by 50 feet wide. Coal is delivered to the station by rail, the wagons being hauled from the sidings by an electric locomotive, and is unloaded by means of a wagon tippler capable of dealing with 15 wagons per hour. The contents of the wagons pass down a chute to the automatic filler of an endless-chain gravity-bucket conveyer on the way to the bunkers which have a capacity of 500 tons. The ashes from the furnaces are discharged through hoppers into small wagons mechanically hauled along a narrow-gauge track in the ash tunnel, whence they pass to the tip on the mudland at the back of the station. The coal and ash handling gear was supplied by Messrs. Babcock and Wilcox.

The present boiler equipment consists of ten Babcock and Wilcox water-tube boilers generating steam at 200 lb. per sq. in. gauge and having an aggregate equivalent steaming capacity of 368,000 lb. per hour. Each boiler is fitted with a superheater giving a total temperature to the steam of 538° F., which is later to be increased to 750° F. The automatic travelling chain-grate stokers are by Babcock and Wilcox and the Underfeed Stoker Company.

The six largest boilers, which are fitted with Green's vertical economizers, each have an equivalent effective heating surface of 9,270 sq. ft., a superheater surface of 2,200 sq. ft., a total grate area (two grates) of 210 sq. ft. and an evaporative capacity of 47,000 lb. per hour. The flue gases from two of these boilers pass into a Prat steel chimney 100 feet high and 7 feet 10 inches maximum internal diameter, which operates on the ejector principle, an induced-draught fan withdrawing some of the hot gases from the main flue and projecting them through a jet into a contraction in the chimney stack. The effective draught at the boiler dampers is 0.75 inch of water. The power consumption under this system is very low, a 25 h.p. motor only being fitted to a fan. A duplicate fan is provided for this chimney in case of breakdown, overhaul and occasions of overload. A Davidson dust collector has been fitted to the last steel chimney to be erected. The remaining boilers, which are older, discharge into the brickwork chimney. When completed, the boiler-house will be capable of accommodating eighteen large boilers having a total equivalent evaporative capacity of 1,200,000 lb. per hour, that is to say sufficient to supply 100,000 kw. of generating plant.

There are six boiler-feed pumps, three reciprocating and three of the rotary type, having a total delivery of 63,500 gallons per hour, to which the hot water flows by gravity from three elevated and hermetically sealed tanks containing the condensate and make-up water. The condensate from the turbines circulates in a closed system and cannot become aerated. There is also a water-softening and filtering plant for dealing with the town supply for make-up water. The generating machinery installed in the engine-room at present comprises; a Willans and Robinson reaction turbine driving at 1,800 r.p.m. two 600 kw. Brown-Boveri d.c. generators; a Cole, Marchant and Morley vertical triple-expansion engine with Corliss valves, driving at 110 r.p.m. a Dick-Kerr 1,000 kw. d.c. generator; two B.T.H. impulse turbines (Curtis type) driving at 3,000 r.p.m. a 1,500 kw. and a 3,000 kw. alternator respectively; a Metropolitan-Vickers impulse turbine driving at 3,000 r.p.m. a 5,000 kw. alternator, and a Parsons reaction turbine driving a 6,000 kw. alternator. The alternating-current is generated on the three-phase system, 6,600 volts between phases, at 50 cycles. A Fraser and Chalmers-Hick, Hargreaves turbo-alternator set of 10,000 kw. capacity is in process of erection. The whole of the plant has an overload capacity of 25 per cent for two hours, and the alternators will give their full output at 80 per cent power factor. The Metropolitan-Vickers and the Parsons turbines are equipped with automatic surface feed-water heaters (extraction feed-heating), and the machine now being installed is similarly arranged.

The condensing system comprises a pond of about 2 million gallons capacity which is replenished at every high tide The phenomenon of a second high tide gives the advantage that high water is virtually sustained for four hours. Culverts 7 feet in diameter are now under construction so that a full supply of circulating water will be available at all states of the tide.

The switch and control rooms are adjacent to the engine-room. An electrical telegraph signalling apparatus is installed in the control room for communication with the engine-room and boiler-house. The switch-room contains B.T.H. extra high-pressure three-phase switch-gear, consisting of moulded stone cell structures containing two sets of bus-bars, bus-bar selector switches, isolating switches, oil switches, instrument and protective transformers, etc., the switch-gear being of the remote-controlled solenoid-operated type.

The control-room is equipped with four main switchboards, for the direct-current three-wire power and lighting system, for the direct-current traction system, for the two- and single-phase alternating-current system (the switch-gear being mechanically operated from the control panels in front), and for the three-phase alternating-current system, these being control panels only, and having mounted above them an automatic indicating gear comprising a one-line diagram of the switch-gear connexions with relays, to indicate the position of the switches, and showing at any moment the operating conditions on the system.

Southampton Gaslight and Coke Co

Southampton Gas Works

Gas was first supplied to Southampton in the year 1819 by Messrs. Barlow Brothers who transferred their works to a private company in 1823. In 1848, the present company was inaugurated by Act of Parliament, and the area supplied, which has been extended by several later enactments, now comprises the County Borough of Southampton, Eastleigh, Bishopstoke, and outlying districts, having a population of about 200,000. The works are situated on the River Itchen at Northam. Coal is brought by sea to the company's own wharf and is delivered directly into the coal stores by means of a belt-conveying plant capable of unloading coal at the rate of 160 ton., per hour. Carbonizing is carried out in horizontal retorts, charged and discharged by Fiddes-Aldridge machines; there is also a carburetted water-gas plant by Humphreys and Glasgow. The annual output of gas is 1,300 million cubic feet, the number of consumers being upwards of 45,000. Electricity required for use within the works is supplied from gas-engine driven generators. There are about 275 miles of mains laid and there are also high-pressure mains to augment the supply to outlying districts. The meter and stove repair shops are adjacent to the works. Besides the principal offices and showrooms in Southampton, there are also showrooms in the most important outlying districts.

Southampton Docks

Southampton Docks

Southampton has been prominently associated with the maritime trade of Britain from earliest times, and historical records reveal its great importance in this respect ever since the advent of the Greeks and Phoenicians to these shores in the pre-Christian era.

A favourable and central situation on the South Coast, at the head of a well-sheltered waterway, has naturally attracted a considerable share of the country's sea trade. To-day its magnificent approach channel, about 600 feet wide and 6 miles long, has been dredged to a depth of 35 feet L.W.O.S.T. and leads direct to a fine system of open docks. Southampton alone amongst great British ports possesses the advantage of double tides daily, as the Isle of Wight, which lies off the entrance to Southampton Water, acts as a breakwater and allows an extended period of high water. The natural facilities have been exploited commercially by the present owners so that the Docks may be said to be modern and convenient in every respect.

As with other ports, Southampton has experienced many vicissitudes, but since the first dock was opened in 1843 a chapter of commercial enterprise and progress has been recorded. The Southampton Dock Company, which was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1836, financed and carried on the undertaking until 1892, when, being unable to raise further capital for extensions made necessary by the demands of the ever-increasing traffic, it was decided to dispose of the property to the London and South Western Railway Company. During their connexion with the estate the dock company opened three wet-docks and provided a considerable length of quay-side accommodation, equipped with modern facilities, along the River Itchen. In addition the company constructed four graving docks capable of accommodating the largest vessels of the period. Evidence of the great development in the amount of shipping using the docks during the period of the dock company's control is afforded by the following figures, which show that in 1845 the total tonnage entering was 158,680 tons, whereas in 1885 the total had increased to 2,032,736 tons.

The railway company proved worthy successors to the late owners and, realizing the possibilities of the port, speedily embarked upon schemes of improvement and extension. Successive additions to the accommodation were made, and in 1911 the Ocean Dock was opened, which, with its depth alongside of 40 feet L.W.O.S.T., is now a base for the world's finest shipping. That the policy of development was fully justified is evident from a comparison of the shipping traffic in 1892 and 1913. During the former year 2,369,698 tons of shipping entered the docks, whilst twenty-one years later the total had advanced to 8,784,032 tons.

Throughout the War the docks were under Government control and 7,689,510 troops, as well as a vast quantity of impedimenta, passed over its quays during those fateful years. Upon the release of the docks in 1919, commercial activities were resumed and after a period of continuous progress Southampton is to-day Britain's premier passenger port, claiming 33 per cent of the total traffic between the United Kingdom and places outside Europe. It is also one of the leading cargo ports and attracts a substantially increased share of the country's merchandise traffic every year. From the docks regular services are maintained to all parts of the world, many of the most famous shipping companies contributing to the total of 15,367,825 tons of shipping which entered in 1927.

Southampton has always been closely associated with trade between this country and the Continent, and its advantageous position in relation to France particularly has greatly influenced the direction of trade through the port. Regular and frequent freight connexions with various Continental ports form important links in regard to its cargo traffic, whilst the steamers of the Southern Railway Company convey a large number of passengers between Southampton, French ports, and the Channel Islands. Three sources from which a good proportion of Southampton's imports are derived are the grain, fruit, and timber trades. Grain and fruit are mainly dealt with at the Inner Dock where elevator equipment and spacious warehouses are provided for the former, whilst Messrs. Simons and Company specialize in the distribution of fruit imports. This firm's auction sales room at Berth No. 14 is a modern structure capable of seating 300 buyers. Express freight train services bring the metropolitan markets within a few hours of the docks, this being an important factor in the growth of the perishable traffic.

As a base for the world's finest and largest ships, Southampton provides dry-docking facilities of an unequalled character, consisting of six graving docks of various sizes in addition to the 60,000-ton floating dock which can accommodate the largest vessels afloat, as well as those at present under construction or contemplated.

The great scheme of dock extension which the Southern Railway Company have now undertaken further emphasizes their progressive policy, and is a step destined possibly to make the position of Southampton supreme amongst the seaports of Great Britain.

Supermarine Aviation Works

Supermarine Aviation

The works were established in 1912, and are situated close to the floating bridge on the River Itchen at Woolston. The firm specializes in the design and construction of all types of flying boats. During the War a large amount of repair work, as well as of new and experimental construction, was carried out for the R.F.C. and the R.N.A.S. Since the War continuous progress has been made in the development of flying boats as the following items of interest will serve to show. Thus in 1919, the first flying boat service across the English Channel was inaugurated and the firm's "Channel" type machine was employed; in 1921, "Seagull" type amphibian deck-landing machines were supplied in quantities to the Air Ministry and to the Imperial Japanese Navy; in 1922 the "Sea Lion H" was the winner of the Schneider Trophy at Naples; again, on 26th September 1927, the Supermarine Napier S 5 won the Trophy, and another Supermarine machine finished second; the first "Southampton" was designed and built in 1925, and in 1927 the "Southampton" metal-constructed machine was built. Four machines of the last-mentioned type started on the 28,000 miles flight to the Far East, and reached Singapore on 28th February 1928.

During the last year it has been found necessary still further to extend the works, and at the Hythe an extra floor space of about 77,000 square feet has been acquired; this extension includes one of the largest seaplane sheds in England. The works at Hythe are utilized for testing and for erecting complete machines from components manufactured at Woolston. At present the factories are mainly engaged upon the production of the "Southampton" type of flying boat, both in metal and in wood constructions, and a large amount of secret experimental work is in progress.

John I. Thornycroft and Co


The present works, which were acquired and reconstructed by the firm in 1905, had been employed for building sailing and steam-vessels for the last half-century, and many ships which were considered large for their period were constructed. The premises cover about thirty-five acres and have an extensive frontage on the River Itchen, opposite the entrance to the older part of Southampton Docks. In the South Yard there are five building berths for vessels up to 350 feet in length and a covered building shed for vessels up to 250 feet, and in the North Yard there are three berths in which vessels up to 450 feet in lengths can be laid down. The shipyard plant comprises hydraulic and other presses, keel-benders, etc., and is equipped with bending rolls large enough to deal with the keel plates of the largest Atlantic liners. The plate and angle-bar furnaces are oil-fired. The fitting-out berths, which are opposite the engine works, are served by one 42-ton and several lighter cranes. The plant has been laid out for dealing with the construction of the turbine machinery of destroyers of up to 40,000 horse-power. It should be mentioned that during the War the firm's output of machinery was amongst the largest in the country, and in one particular year the total horse-power constructed exceeded that of any other single firm. In addition to the ordinary machine-tools a dynamic balancer for turbine rotors has been installed. The equipment of the boiler shop includes plant for both the ordinary shell-type boilers and the water-tube type, and there is an interesting dual-purpose bending press for the barrels of water-tube boilers, as well as a complete electro-zincing plant for coating boiler tubes in compliance with Admiralty requirements. The iron and brass foundries are capable of dealing with all the firm's work, and the brass foundry in addition carries out a considerable amount of work such as casting gunmetal and bronze propellers for outside firms. Materials are mainly delivered to the yard by water transport and are handled by cranes on "A" jetty in the South Yard, whence a railway leads to a space reserved for laying out plates, etc. Adjacent to this is a large plant for hot galvanizing, which is of considerable interest as a gas-heated bath has recently been installed. The laboratory is equipped with various machines for making physical tests, including those on the chains of lifting tackle.

In addition to new construction a large amount of repair work is undertaken, and there is a special department for upholstery and repairs to furniture of the large liners. At the present time there are under construction in the works six torpedo-boat destroyers for the Chilean Government; shallow-draught vessels (to carry 600 live cattle each) for the Bovril Company's service on the River Plate; a number of tug-boats and a motor yacht. An order has just been received for the construction of the hull and boilers of a special experimental destroyer for the British Admiralty.

A branch repair establishment is situated in the middle of Southampton Docks, and includes well-equipped platers' shops, machine, joiners', shipwrights', riggers' shops, etc.

University College, Southampton


The College is situated in University Road, near the north-east corner of Southampton Common. The engineering departments include the following laboratories:-

Heat Engines Laboratory, which contains a locomotive boiler and a compound condensing steam-engine; a 10 h.p. de Laval impulse turbine driving a d.c. generator; a triple-expansion steam-engine; a paraffin-engine driving a three-stage air-compressor; two petrol-engines and two gas-engines. All the apparatus is arranged to be suitable for experimental work.

Hydraulics Laboratory, comprising a multiple-lift pump and a single-impeller centrifugal pump, a Pelton wheel and a hydraulic ram, besides apparatus for demonstrating the loss of head in pipes and pipe bends.

Fuels Laboratory equipped with various types of calorimeters, fuel and exhaust gas analysis apparatus, viscosimeters, etc., of modern commercial kinds.

Physics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory, which includes a general physics laboratory and dynamo and research rooms, equipped with the appropriate measuring apparatus: the machinery comprises a 30 h.p. motor-generator, and a number of small a.c. and d.c. motors and generators. A research on the specific heat of mercury at temperatures near its freezing point is in progress in the research laboratory.

RMS Homeric

RMS Homeric

The "Homeric" was designed to the following general particulars: length b.p., 750 feet; length overall, 775 feet; and moulded breadth 83 feet. Her gross and registered tonnages are 34,350 and 18,058 tons respectively and her service speed is 20 knots. The main propelling machinery comprises two sets of four-cylinder triple-expansion engines, the cylinders having the following dimensions: high-pressure, 50.6, middle-pressure, 82.7, and low-pressure (two), 96.5 inches diameter, and a common stroke of 70.9 inches. The aggregate power developed by the two engines is 36,000 i.h.p. The propeller shafts are 26 inches diameter and the propellers, which are three-bladed, are 23 ft. 7.5 in. diameter over the tips; the blades each weigh 6.38 tons. The supply of steam is from twelve double-end Scotch boilers, eight of 16 ft. 11 in. and four of 15 ft. 3 in. diameter, the length of each being 20 ft. 4 in., with a total heating surface of 78,500 sq. ft. The pressure of the steam supply is 206 lb. per sq. in. The boiler furnaces are adapted for oil-burning on the Todd system; previous to the conversion in 1924 the furnaces were coal fired. The Howden system of forced draught is employed, and the whole of the stokehold is fitted with the "Foamite" system for extinguishing fire. The two condensers have a total cooling surface of 21,200 sq. ft., the number of tubes being 5,600. The auxiliary machinery in the engine-room comprises 6 d.c. generators each driven direct by a totally enclosed compound steam-engine, supplying current for lighting purposes and power for lifts, fans, etc., about the ship. There is also an emergency generating set. The refrigerating arrangements include a total capacity of 26,000 cu. ft. used for ship's stores (apart from the cold larders and ice-water fountains), the insulated chambers being cooled by two Linde CO2 machines. The deck machinery is steam-driven and comprises windlass, twelve cargo winches, and four boat winches.

Of general interest are the excellent passenger accommodation, public rooms, etc. The vessel is equipped with electric lifts for passengers, provisions, baggage and mails. Apart from natural ventilation there are 59 electric fans ranging in size from 15 inches to 30 inches diameter. The system of water-tight doors, which is on the Stone-Lloyd principle, is of interest as the doors can be closed from the bridge as well as from their individual positions.

White Star Line, Laundry


The laundry, which is situated over the boiler shop at Messrs. Harland and Wolff's ship-repairing and engineering works, deals with the linen of the three large mail steamers and other ships of the White Star Line calling at Southampton. The plant is entirely electrically driven and is arranged so that the linen progresses continuously from stage to stage in the various processes of washing, thus enabling the washes of from 90,000 to 130,000 pieces weekly to be handled with dispatch. The machinery includes six large ironing machines, twelve washing machines, and eight hydro-extractors; and a water-softening plant and drying rooms complete the equipment. There is also a repair room with eight electrically driven sewing machines. The number of persons employed is 86.

RAF Seaplane Station, Calshot

Seaplane Station, Calshot

Calshot was first used as a base at the end of 1912 and practically the first seaplane to be worked from there was a small flying-boat built by Messrs. Sopwith. Some of the seaplanes used in the Schneider Cup Race 1912 had their base at Calshot, and the only buildings erected at that time were one small shed and some auxiliary buildings. The personnel consisted of officers and men of the Naval Wing of the Royal Flying Corps who worked under the orders of the Admiralty. In the summer of 1914 seaplanes were collected from the air stations at the Isle of Grain, Felixstowe and Great Yarmouth, and took part in the naval review at Spithead.

At the commencement of the War, Calshot was rapidly developed as a Royal Naval Air Service training station for work connected with seaplanes and flying-boats; and substations were inaugurated round the South Coast, using Calshot as their operational headquarters. The majority of the pilots employed on anti-submarine patrols during the War were trained at Calshot. Officers and men were accommodated at Warsash, but at the end of 1916 the Admiralty commenced building Eaglehurst Camp, and the number and size of the sheds on Calshot Spit were increased. The Camp was completed in 1918 and in that year all the personnel were transferred from the R.N.A.S. to the R.A.F. The Aerial Navigation School was opened in 1920, and short courses in naval co-operation were given to officers. In 1923 an operational flight was formed for coastal reconnaissance and naval co-operation duties, which was afterwards named No. 480 (C.R.) Flight. In the same year a three months' course for instructing R.A.F. officers in air pilotage was started, and the training school for seaplane instruction was also commenced. In February 1924, Squadron Leader McLaren started on his flight round the world from Calshot. In 1925 the first of the "Southampton" twin-engined flying-boats was put into service; these machines have gradually replaced the F.5 type as the standard R.A.F. twin-engined flying-boat.

In 1926 the Coastal Reconnaissance Course for pilots was started in place of the Seaplane Training Course; that and the Air Pilotage Courses are still in operations. In addition to these courses one or two officers every year undertake a Long Navigation Course, and instruction in several trades is also given to airmen.

In 1927 Captain Courtney completed his preparation for his flight to America, and in the same year the High Speed Flight finished their practices and won the Schneider Trophy Cup at Venice. During the last six years a number of foreign officers have been trained at Calshot in navigation and naval co-operation work on twin-engined flying-boats.

J. Samuel White and Co

J. Samuel White and Co

The origin of this firm is of some antiquity, as a member of the White family was established in 1764 as a shipbuilder at Broadstairs; but in the beginning of the nineteenth century the firm moved to Cowes and in the early days at their Medina Dockyard built many steamships for the Peninsular and Oriental and the Royal Mail Companies. For the last fifty years the company have been primarily associated with the construction of torpedo craft, and have also specialized in the design and building of lifeboats and of medium-size fast ships, yachts, etc.

The shipyard is self-contained and is well equipped to undertake high-class constructional work. The mould-loft floor is of sufficient extent to allow the lines of a destroyer to be laid off full-size. The building facilities comprise six slipways, including a covered building berth, and a modern slip capable of hauling up a ship of 1,000 tom. All the slips are adequately provided with electric derricks and pneumatic and electric power tools. The platers' sheds are situated near the head of the building berths, and the joiners' shops and saw-mills, which are also quite close, are capable of dealing with all the woodwork in a modern ship, or required for boat-building.

The boat-building department has accommodation for the construction at one time of twelve of the largest motor lifeboats, and alongside are slips to which the boats can be hauled for the installation of their machinery.

The engine works situated at West Cowes consist of pattern shops, iron and brass foundries, coppersmiths', heavy and light machine, and erecting shops, tool and testing rooms, and boiler shops, and are equipped for the building and fitting out of all main and auxiliary machinery. The fitting-out quay, which is sheltered from the weather, is provided with an 80-ton electric revolving cantilever crane, and a floating workshop.

The firm specializes in the manufacture of marine express-type water-tube boilers, and of their "White-Forster" design nearly four million horse-power has been constructed; a marine semi-Diesel oil-engine in which the usual mode of scavenging by crank-case compression is supplemented by a supercharging pump resulting in increased efficiency; and the "J. Samuel White" oil-burning plant, which is used extensively for both land and marine purposes and which operates in conjunction with forced or with natural draught.

At present there are under construction in the works three destroyer flotilla leaders of 2,000 tons displacement for a speed of 36 knots.

Southern Railway Locomotive Workshops, Eastleigh

Eastleigh Works

These works are utilized for the construction of new engines and for the maintenance of the 860 locomotives which formerly belonged to the London and South Western Railway Company, and were laid out in 1909 to the plans of the late Mr. Dugald Drummond, then Locomotive Superintendent of that railway. The works consist of the main buildings and a subsidiary block, the latter comprising iron and brass foundries, pattern shop, forge, electricians', and brick-shops.

Foundries. — The iron foundry, in two bays each 250 feet long by 55 feet wide, is served by two cupolas of 10 cwt. capacity. The maximum output is about 75 tons of castings per week. Each bay is provided with an overhead travelling crane of 15 tons capacity, as well as with hydraulic wall-cranes. The brass foundry is served by coke-fired underground pot furnaces, and in the same block are located the pattern shop and store, and the carpenters' shop.

Forge. — This shop, which is 142 feet long by 104 feet wide, includes in its equipment one 3-ton and two 35-cwt. steam-hammers, a 200-ton hydraulic press for flanging boiler plates, etc., a large punching and shearing machine, an "Ajax" forging machine, and a complete range of smaller apparatus.

Brick Shop. — This is an interesting feature of the works, as all the firebrick used in the locomotive furnaces, etc., is prepared here.

De-oiling Plant. — A "Tern" plant has been installed for the reclamation of oil from the swabs issued to the drivers, cleaners and the workshops.

The extent of the main building is 800 feet long by 400 feet wide and it comprises the following departments:-

Erecting Shop. — This occupies nearly half the main building and is divided into four bays, each having parallel sets of tracks arranged over pits. Locomotive repairs are confined to three bays giving about 85 pits, and the fourth bay is given over to boiler and tender repairs. At the end of the fourth bay a weighbridge of 120 tons capacity is installed, and as ten tables are provided, the weight on each wheel of a 4-6-0 locomotive can be adjusted separately. Each bay is served by two 30-ton travelling cranes, and 3-ton wall cranes are also provided. On the pits allocated to new work several engines of the "Lord Nelson" class will be seen in various stages of construction.

Fitting Shop. — This is adjacent to the foregoing. Each bench is provided with at least two pneumatic hoists on overhead runways, thus obviating any necessity for heavy manual lifting. Next to this shop the grinding machinery is installed, including a 23-inch cylindrical grinder for piston-rods, valve-spindles, etc., a vertical-spindle machine with magnetic table, and a combined cylinder-surface and link-grinding machine.

Machine Shop. — This shop is 500 feet long by 90 feet wide. Process work is carried out on a comprehensive battery of turret lathes. The equipment also includes a large range of all types of lathes, milling machines, planers, etc. The shafting is divided for group driving, but some of the heavier machines are driven by independent motors.

Wheel Shop. — This comprises five large wheel lathes driven through double helical gears and capable of taking wheels 7 ft. 6 in. in diameter. There are also several smaller lathes, tyre-boring mills, quartering machines, two wheel presses, tyre furnaces, etc. A 5-ton hydraulic crane is provided near the furnaces and a 15-ton travelling crane serves the shop.

Boiler Shop. — The machinery includes 12-ft. vertical plate-bending rolls, a large hydraulic riveting machine, frame-slotting and drilling machines, and a 30-ft. plate-edge planer in which the work is gripped by means of hydraulic rams.

Other shops in the main building are the smiths,' copper and tinsmiths' and paint shops.

Electrical Power. — Arrangements are in hand for the Southampton Corporation to supply current to the works at 6,600 volts, three phase. Two 500 kw. Mather and Platt rotary converters, giving 500 volts, three-wire supply, are being installed; and the 250 volt motors in the shops will be balanced across this supply. A 125 kw. mercury-arc rectifier gives a similar supply for overtime or night requirements.

Hydraulic and Pneumatic Power. — Water is supplied through a pump and accumulator to all shops at a pressure of 1,500 lb. per sq. in., and compressed air at 80 lb. per sq. in. from a two-stage, steam-engine driven compressor.

Southern Railway Carriage and Wagon Workshops, Eastleigh

Eastleigh Works

These works were built in 1890, when the London and South Western Railway Carriage and Wagon Works were removed from Nine Elms; but since the amalgamation a large amount of wagon building has been allotted to the Southern Railway's Ashford Works, leaving Eastleigh free for coach building and maintenance. During the last few years the works have been extensively reorganized on a mass production basis, and this has resulted in a large increase in output.

Saw-mill. — Timber is purchased, from Empire sources as far as possible, in logs, scantlings and flitches, and is brought in under a 5-ton gantry crane of 72 feet span. The logs are broken down on a horizontal band-saw and planks are cut to length on a reciprocating cross-cut saw. The green timber is passed into a seasoning shed, for withdrawal as required. The mill is arranged so that the timber travels forward, each machine receiving it in sequence. The machinery includes a "White" 6-head cutter, running at 3,500 r.p.m. and capable of dealing with 150 feet of timber per minute; a "White" 3 ft. 6 in. centre-spindle machine running at 6,500 r.p.m.; a "Hertzog" feed, facing machine; a duplex moulding sander; a double-end tenon cross-cutting and slotting machine, etc. Many of the machines are fitted with automatic recorders showing the number of feet of timber planed, etc.

Body Shop. — Mass production principles are also practised here; a gang of 34 men and boys employed on new work is able to build a corridor third-class coach of eight compartments with two lavatories, in 21 hours. The underframes complete are run in at one end of the shop between stagings, no coach being allowed to remain at any one staging longer than 13 hours, and the remaining time is occupied in assembling, framing, etc. In the polishing room all interior woodwork is spray polished and finished by hand.

Repair Shop. — Use is made of two hydraulically operated drop pits, and a standard coach can be thoroughly examined for framing, and the bogies removed and replaced in 14 hours. The coach is run over the pits, trestles and jacks are placed beneath, bogies are dropped and traversed to the next road and lifted and examined, in a very short time.

Forge and Smiths' Shop. — This is equipped with three steam drop-stamps, 7 cwt., 10 cwt. and 20 cwt. each respectively, also two electrically driven stamps of 20 cwt. and 30 cwt. each. An interesting operation is that of forging from the solid the three-link coupling for wagons. There are two 30-cwt. steam-hammers, and numerous smaller steam-hammers. Steam is supplied from four locomotive-type boilers. In the paint shop the work is planned by the progress department so that the painters' and finishers' work in rotation on each road. In the electricians' shop there are test-panels for train dynamos and batteries. All carriage springs are tested on a hydraulically operated machine capable of applying a load of 20 tons.

Power Supply. — Electricity is generated by two 500 volt d.c. generators, driven by four-cylinder, four-cycle, horizontal M.A.N. Diesel engines of 500 b.h.p. In addition two mercury-arc rectifiers of capacity 90 and 300 kw. respectively are to be installed, to take power from the Southampton Corporation. Water is supplied at a pressure of 1,350 lb. per sq. in. from a 60 h.p. Tangye pump; and compressed air at 100 lb. per sq. in. is supplied to the works from two motor-driven "Sentinel" compressors.

Otterbourne Pumping Station


On 16th June 1290, in the reign of Edward the First, the Order of Grey Friars obtained from Nicholas de Shirlee the right to take water from a spring at Springhill, Hill Lane, and to convey the water via Achard's Spring in Commercial Road, along the King's highway to their church in the town of Southampton. In 1310 the Friars granted a supply from their conduits to the inhabitants of the town, and on 3rd October 1420, the Friars conveyed all their rights and title in the springs and conduits to the Mayor and Community of the town. On the 1st June 1515, in the reign of Henry the Eighth, a spring in Grosvenor Square was given to the town by John Fleminge, and these springs together with that at Houndwell constituted the supply till 1803. The first Act of Parliament was obtained in 1747. The ornamental ponds on the Common were formerly reservoirs, the first of which was constructed in 1804, the second in 1811, and the third in 1823, and these supplied the town till 1852. The earlier pipes conveying the water to the town were made of elm.

In 1838, the great well on the Common was commenced, but was abandoned after thirteen years' labour, when a depth of 1,317 feet had been reached at an expenditure of £20,000, as only 130,000 gallons per day were obtained.

In 1851, the Corporation obtained a supply from the River Itchen at Mansbridge and at the same time the existing reservoirs on the Common were constructed. But in 1884 it was decided to abandon the Mansbridge supply and to sink wells in the chalk at Otterbourne eight miles from the town. The works, which were completed in 1888 under the powers of the 1885 Act, comprise two compound beam engines, speed 18 r.p.m., each capable of pumping 2 million gallons per day of 24 hours, against a combined lift and head of 220 feet; three Lancashire boilers, supplying steam at 60 lb. per sq. in.; water-softening plant with lime-kilns, railway siding, etc.; and a covered reservoir on Otterbourne Hill, with a 24-inch pumping main and a 16-inch gravitation main to the town. These works were described in detail by Mr. William Matthews, then Waterworks Engineer to the Corporation, in a Paper read before the Institution in 1893. In 1896 an additional engine-house was built and additions made to the filtering plant, and in 1901 a fourth engine was installed.

By the Act of 1921, the Corporation acquired the undertaking of the South Hants Water Company which supplied the added areas of the Borough of Southampton as well as a large area outside. To-day the Corporation supply water to a population of 247,000 over an area of 220 square miles, and it has accordingly become necessary still further to extend the pumping station at Otterbourne.

Two additional wells were sunk, each 10 feet diameter, to a depth of 90 feet below engine-house floor, 9 feet diameter for a further depth of 70 feet, and a 2 feet diameter boring to a total depth of 214 feet. The pumping plant consists of two vertical, triple-expansion engines by Messrs. Worthington-Simpson, the steam supply being at a pressure of 200 lb. per sq. in. from Lancashire boilers, fitted with superheaters, economizers, etc. Each engine is capable of delivering 6 million gallons per day of 24 hours against a lift and head combined of 280 feet. Each set of high-lift pumps consists of three single-acting, externally-packed plunger pumps, driven direct from the three crossheads of the engine. The well pumps are of the single-acting bucket type, driven by quadrant levers and connecting-rods from extensions of the crank-shaft of each engine. The new engine and pump house is 120 feet long by 80 feet wide, space being reserved for a third engine. The total pumping capacity of the plant at Otterbourne is now 10 million gallons per day, in duplicate.

HMS Barham

HMS Barham

H.M.S. "Barham" is a battleship of the "Queen Elizabeth" Class, built at Clydebank, laid down in February 1913, and completed in October 1915. She has a length of 600 feet, beam 90.5 feet, and a normal displacement of 27,500 tons. The propelling machinery consists of Brown-Curtis turbines having a designed aggregate horsepower of 75,000. The high-pressure turbines are on the wing shafts with cruising turbines geared at the forward end; the low-pressure turbines are on the inner shafts. Steam is supplied from twenty-four oil-fired Yarrow boilers; the oil stowage capacity is 3,400 tons. This class of ship steams very well and maintains a high average speed over long periods. The vessel carries eight 15-inch and twelve 6-inch guns, together with high-angle guns and small gun armament, and has four submerged torpedo-tubes firing 21-inch torpedoes. Her armour varies from 13 inches on the water-line, 11 inches round the gun-houses and barbettes, to 4 inches at the ends of the ship. The "Barham" was present at the Battle of Jutland when she focused part of the Grand Fleet. At the conclusion of the War she carried the flag of the Vice-Admiral Commanding the Second Battle Squadron, but was afterwards transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet with her sister ships. At the conclusion of her refit, which is now being completed, she will return to the Mediterranean.

HM Dockyard, Portsmouth

Portsmouth Dockyard

The Dockyard has been established at least 700 years and is situated on the east side of Portsmouth Harbour. Its proximity to the Forest of Bere and the New Forest was possibly the reason for the selection of the site. The earliest reference to it is an order from King John in the year 1212 for a wall to be built round the docks and for the erection of sheds for rigging and ships' gear. There is little mention of the yard in the records until the reign of Henry VII, to whom the credit is due of having placed the Royal Navy upon a more efficient footing. The first dry-dock was commenced in 1495. In addition to the dock, which could accommodate a ship of 600 tons, a forge, a store-house and an engine to draw water from the dock were comprised in the establishment (this dock was filled up in 1623). Portsmouth was at that time practically the only naval station, and was the only Royal Dockyard; the fleet included galleys, pinnaces, and row-barges, amounting in all to forty-three vessels.

During the Dutch War of 1649, Commissioners were appointed to the Dockyards, and from a record of about that date, the number of shipwrights employed at Portsmouth was not more than 100, and there was one team of horses; but the yard possessed neither a dry-dock nor a mast-house. In the eighteenth century much progress was made, the area was extended, store-houses were built and a wharf was added. In 1835 the first steam-vessel was launched; this was the "Hermes," a paddle steamer of 712 tons and 220 h.p.

The introduction of steam-power into the Navy necessitated increased accommodation, and in 1843 eighteen acres were acquired in which were built the Steam Basin (seven acres), four docks and several large buildings. In 1864 the area of the yard was 110 acres, but in that year still greater extensions were commenced, increasing the area by 150 per cent, and the new works included four basins aggregating sixty acres, seven docks and 10,000 feet additional wharfage. In the last few years further extensive alterations have been carried out, including the conversion of three basins to form one large basin, the provision of a floating dock and many important additions to machinery and plant.

Entering the Dockyard at the Main Gates from the Common Hard, Portsea, one passes first by the Cashier's office and then the Navigation School, beyond which is the house of the Commander-in-Chief of the Port and the Staff Offices. On the other side of the lawn are the Port Library and the Lecture Rooms. After passing through the archway in No. 18 Store (which is 1,000 feet long and was formerly the ropewalk) one passes on the right the fire station and on the left the Admiralty chemist's laboratory and the drawing office and mould loft of the Constructive Department. The loft consists of a large floor (150 feet by 100 feet) upon which the lines of new vessels are laid off and faired, for the preparation of full-size moulds and patterns. Near at hand are the residences of the principal dockyard officers, and the joiners' shops.

Electric Steel Foundry. — This is in Murray's Lane and was completed in 1927. It is provided with three overhead electric travellers, two electric steel furnaces of 3 tons and 30 cwt. capacity respectively, drying ovens, etc. The brass and iron foundries are passed on the right-hand side of Victoria Road, on the other side of which is the Steam Basin.

Electric Light and Power Station. — After passing Marlborough Gate the visitor enters the power station, which has been equipped recently with new machinery and has a total capacity of 19,000 kw. In the Dockyard there are over 20,000 lighting points, and the total horse-power of the motors is over 30,000, the underground cables extending over 200 miles.

The Electrical Department occupies two well-lighted and modern workshops where a considerable amount of intricate work connected with searchlights, motors, wireless telegraphy, etc., is carried out. Continuing along Victoria Road, four large docks are passed on the left, and on the right are seen the saw-mills and the boiler shop (the latter employing between 400 and 500 men).

Engineering Factory. — The building is 600 feet long and 270 feet wide and is equipped with modern machinery capable of dealing with the engine repairs of the largest ships. The factory was built in 1907, and the five bays are divided into three shops: torpedo-tube shop, erecting shop, and fitting shop. There are over 200 lathes in the building, the largest of which can accommodate work 17 feet diameter by 55 feet long. The three shops are served by fourteen electric travelling cranes, three of which will lift 40 tons. Between 500 and 600 workmen are employed.

Leaving the factory, one proceeds along the south side of No. 3 Basin. Originally there were three basins on this site, but alterations were carried out and one large basin and two locks were formed. These locks can also be used as dry-docks to accommodate the largest ships in H.M. Navy. On the promontory projecting into No. 3 Basin is the 250-ton electric revolving cantilever crane erected in 1912. The height of the lift is 140 feet. On the north side of the wall of the basin is the floating dock capable of lifting a ship of over 30,000 tons. Three floating cranes are attached to the Dockyard; the largest has a maximum permissible lift of 200 tons at a radius of 110 feet, the two others have a capacity of 25 tons and 4 tons respectively.

The Main and North Pumping Stations for emptying the docks in their vicinity are situated near at hand. The main station contains the air-compressing plant for the yard, the supply to all parts being at 100 lb. per sq. in. pressure. The oxygen-producing plant which was built in 1920 is capable of producing 3,500 cubic feet of 98 per cent pure oxygen per hour. At the North Corner of the Dockyard a number of torpedo-boat destroyers are generally berthed.

Building Slip. — Many famous ships have been launched from this slip, notably H.M.S. " Queen Elizabeth," which had a launching weight of 10,000 tons, and recently it has been occupied by cruisers of the Washington 10,000-ton class. Attached to the slip is No. 3 Ship Shop equipped with batteries of drilling machines, plate rolls, etc.

Block Mills, etc. — Here will be seen in operation the block-making machinery designed in 1801 by the elder Brunel. About that date the old-fashioned dock pumps were replaced and the first steam-engine erected in the yard. The dock (No. 2) where the "Victory" now lies, is the centre of the area which was the first naval establishment. The docks leading from the Ship Basin are small and of the earliest type. Two of them have been modernized by fitting them with caissons and by lengthening them. The inscription "Britannia, 1801" in the masonry at the entrance to the basin, refers to a vessel of that name, the first to pass through after reconstruction. Facing the "Victory" is the office of the Admiral Superintendent, over which is the figurehead of the original "Victoria and Albert" built at Pembroke in 1842. Near the Main Gate is the Dockyard Museum containing many Nelson relics which it is hoped eventually to place in a "Victory" Museum.

South Railway Jetty was originally the situation of the Semaphore Tower and the Rigging House, which were burnt down in 1913, but which are now being reconstructed. Before the introduction of the electric telegraph the Semaphore Tower was in use as a means of communication with ships in the harbour, and, by means of a chain of similar towers on the hills between Portsmouth and London, with the Admiralty; the time occupied for the transmission of a message in the latter case was half an hour. The time taken to transmit the daily time signal from Greenwich was half a minute. The last message was so transmitted on 31st December 1847.

Portsmouth Pumping Station and Outfall Works


About the year 1868 Portsmouth had completed its first main drainage scheme and a pumping station was erected at Henderson Road, Eastney, the beam-engines in which were in operation until quite recently. The position chosen for the outfall was the mouth of Langstone Harbour, where at ebb-tide there is a current of between 4 and 5 knots passing directly out to sea. The drainage system was modernized and the new work completed in 1887, the plant at Eastney being augmented by additional beam-engine driven pumps and by three brick-work collecting tanks built near the outfall, into which sewage could be pumped continuously through a rising main. The provision of the tanks avoided closing the sewers during flood tides and allowed discharge into the sea to be made during the most suitable period of the ebb-tide. In consequence of the damage caused by the gales in November 1926, heavy coast defence Works on the sea-side of the tanks were constructed. In 1902 further additions to the station became necessary and centrifugal pumps driven by gas-engines and a second rising main were installed, as well as the addition of four reinforced-concrete collecting tanks. In 1922 the plant was still further increased by the addition of an electrically driven centrifugal pump and an electrically operated mechanical sewage screen, and at present storm-water tanks are in course of construction at the outfall. As Portsea Island is at no part more than 28 feet above Ordnance Datum, the sewage from the outlying districts has to be lifted at sub-pumping stations into the main sewers through which it gravitates to Eastney. There are three such substations, where the heights of lift are respectively 8, 10 and 18 feet. There are 135 miles of sewers in the city, not including those employed for the disposal of storm water. The largest sewer is 5 feet diameter. Most of the storm water falling on the streets is conveyed by separate sewers to the nearest coast and discharged without pumping.

At Burgoyne Road substation, which is wholly underground, there are arrangements for dealing with excessive storm water; thus when the low-level sewage sewer runs full, a weir at the level of the crown of the sewer allows the upper part of its contents, which is practically all storm water, to overflow into a sump whence it is discharged by separate outfall to the sea. Three electrically driven pumps can discharge 600,000 gallons per hour, and in the same building are two electrically driven pumps, automatically controlled, dealing only with storm water which is brought through separate sewers to a storm-water sump.

Cosham district was added to the City in 1920 and its drainage system is quite separate from the main scheme. The district is almost entirely on the south slope of Portsdown and being fairly high has presented no difficulties in sewering. The sewage is treated at a works situated at, and the effluent discharged into, Port Creek.

The steam-plant at Eastney station consists of two condensing compound beam-engines running at 20 r.p.m., of which the high-pressure cylinders are 1 ft. 8 in. bore by 4 ft. 6 in. stroke and the low-pressure cylinders 2 ft. 6 in. bore by 6 feet stroke, each engine lifting 450,000 gallons per hour. Steam at 60 lb. per sq. in. is supplied from four Lancashire boilers 7 ft. 6 in. diameter by 26 feet long, fitted with corrugated furnace tubes; however, during the greater portion of a week, sufficient steam is available from the Heenan and Froude refuse destructor which is adjoining. This has a burning capacity of 100 tons of house refuse per 24 hours. In connexion with the condensing arrangements of the engine there is a cooling pond containing 835,000 gallons of water.

The gas-engine plant comprises three 180 b.h.p., double-end Crossley gas-engines with tube ignition. Each engine drives a 24-inch Tangye centrifugal pump at 180 r.p.m.; the capacity of each pump is 500,000 gallons per hour. There is also an air-compressing and a priming engine. The electrical pumping plant consists of four 20-inch Cochrane centrifugal pumps each directly driven by a three-phase English Electric Company's motor and each capable of lifting 431,000 gallons per hour. The total pumping capacity of the station is about 4 million gallons per hour.

The arrangement of the three 42-inch rising mains between the station to the outfall is such that any pump can be made to deliver to any collecting tank. The greatest height of lift of the pumps is 20 feet, and the discharge head from the tanks to the sea, under the worst conditions (spring tides), is 12 feet. The total capacity of the collecting tanks is over 11 million gallons. The outfall pipes from the collecting tanks are carried out to sea and their ends, which are at the lowest water-level, are each fitted with Johnson Boving valves. The function of the valves is to prevent tailings finding their way into the sea after the penstocks at the tanks have been closed. They are operated hydraulically from the pumping station.

Portsmouth Electricity Generating Station

Portsmouth Power Station

The generating station situated in Gunwharf Road first supplied electricity in 1894, the area of supply being then confined to the County Borough of Portsmouth, which at that time comprised only a part of Portsea Island; but hardly any of the original buildings and none of the plant are now in existence. The whole of the present plant has been installed since the War, and the present system of generation, which is three-phase, 50 cycles, was inaugurated at the end of 1922.

The electric generating plant consists of the following turbo- alternators: one of 2,500 kw. capacity by Parsons-English Electric; one of 5,000 kw. capacity by Metropolitan-Vickers; one of 5,000 and one of 10,000 kw. capacity by Fraser and Chalmers. There is also an additional 10,000 kw. set under construction by Fraser and Chalmers. The steam-generating plant consists of six Babcock and Wilcox boilers each of 30,000 lb. per hour steaming capacity. Two additional boilers each of 50,000 lb. per hour capacity are under construction. The working pressure of the station is 250 lb. per sq. in., and the steam is superheated to a total temperature of 600° F.

The dry-dock on the opposite side of Gunwharf Road is being converted to a floating basin for the accommodation of the coal steamers. Travelling cranes alongside the dock will take the coal from the steamers' holds and a conveyer passing across Gunwharf Road will deliver the coal into the bunkers of the station. The coal-handling plant has been designed to enable a steamer carrying 1,000 tons of coal to be berthed on one high tide and released on the next.

The energy generated is distributed by the Portsmouth Corporation within the area comprising Lee-on-the-Solent, Titchfield, Horndean, and the boundary of Chichester, and energy in bulk is supplied to Fareham and the city of Chichester, the Corporation of which distributes southwards to Selsey. During the coming winter it is anticipated that electricity will be supplied in bulk to the supply companies of Petersfield and Bognor respectively. The population of the area served is about one-third million.

Portsmouth Gas Co's Works

Portsmouth Gas Works

The company was incorporated in 1821, and in that year also gas lighting was first used in the district. The area now supplied includes the City of Portsmouth, with outlying districts extending from Portchester to Havant and Emsworth and in a northerly direction to Horndean. There are 250 miles of mains of which the largest is 36 inches in diameter.

The works at Hilsea cover an area of nearly thirty-two acres and adjoin the Southern Railway Company's main line. The horizontal-retort house is supplied direct from the wagons with coal which is transferred from the coal-breakers by dredger elevators and push-plate conveyers to the overhead continuous hoppers feeding the stoking machines. The vertical-retort house is served by a Babcock and Wilcox rotary wagon tippler (capacity, 12 tons net load); and duplicate coal-breakers, automatic fillers, and gravity-bucket conveyers are installed, the capacity of each item of this plant being 50 tons of coal per hour. Either of the gravity-bucket conveyers can be interconnected (in case of breakdown) by a travelling reversible band-conveyer running above the overhead coal and coke hoppers.

The vertical-retort house contains 14 beds of Woodall-Duckham continuous vertical retorts capable of producing 4 million cubic feet (18,000 therms) of coal gas per 24 hours.

The horizontal-retort house comprises 20 beds of retorts constructed on modern lines. The retorts are operated by electrically driven machinery, and their capacity is approximately 2.5 million cubic feet (11,250 therms) of coal gas per day.

The water-gas plant includes two sets of generators by Humphreys and Glasgow, each capable of producing from coke one million cubic feet (4,500 therms) of carburetted water gas per 24 hours. The coke is delivered by the telpher plant to an overhead storage hopper above each generator. A third set of water-gas plants is in course of erection near the existing house, and will have a total capacity of 2 million cubic feet per day. Included in the new installation is a waste-heat recovery plant embodying an upright multitubular boiler designed to generate steam at 125 lb. per sq. in.

The mono-rail telpher plant was built by Strachan and Henshaw. The height of the track is 52 feet above datum, the lifting capacity of the machine is 3 tons gross load at 60 ft. per min. and its travelling speed is 500 ft. per min. The lay-out of the plant is such that coke from both the vertical- and horizontal-retort houses can be transferred to the yard, or to either of the two sets of ferro-concrete hunkers, and screened coke can be taken to the steel hoppers over the water-gas plant, and breeze to the smaller bunkers above the main boiler-house. A Columbus waste-fuel recovery plant (Type "C") has been erected on the centre-line of the telpher track, and is of sufficient capacity to deal with ashes from both the Hilsea, and Flathouse Works.

The steam supply in the power house is from four Lancashire boilers, and there are other Lancashire boilers at the horizontal-retort house and at the sulphate of ammonia plant. In the last few years three waste-heat boilers have been installed and have been found to be satisfactory; these deal with the waste gases from the vertical-retort benches and from the water-gas plant. The two boilers connected to the vertical retorts are each capable of raising 2,600 lb. of steam per hour and that on the water-gas plant 3,500 lb. all at a pressure of 125 lb. per sq. in.

The water-tower is built over a well 75 feet deep whence water is delivered by a Deane deep-well pump (20,000 gallons per hour) to the elevated storage tank 60 feet above the ground. Adjacent is the pump-house containing in duplicate tar, liquor, and boiler feed-pumps; feed-water heaters; and "Permutit" and lime-soda water-softening plants. A naphthalene and dri-gas washer of the rotary-brush type in two sections of six bays each has recently been erected, and is connected to the inlet to the holders, serving to eliminate naphthalene and to remove moisture from 6 million cubic feet of gas per day.

Flathouse Works were built in 1834 and cover over three acres; the total output of the plant is 2.5 million cubic feet of coal-gas and 1.5 million cubic feet of carburetted water-gas per 24 hours.

Rudmore Works comprise a boosting and governor house, gas-holder, and stove and meter shops. The holder, which has a capacity of 1.5 million cubic feet, can be fed from either Hilsea or Flathouse.

Portsmouth Waterworks Co's Havant Pumping Station

Portsmouth Waterworks Company

This company, which was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1857, is the water authority for the City of Portsmouth and outlying districts, having a total population of nearly 300,000 and an average daily consumption of 10 million gallons.

The pumping station was opened last year and contains three pumping engines of the triple-expansion, vertical, open-fronted, three-crank, fly-wheel type. Each engine drives three single-acting, externally packed, plunger pumps. The whole of the machinery was supplied and erected by Messrs. Worthington-Simpson. The steam-cylinders are 18, 31, and 50 inches diameter respectively, and the main pump plungers are 20.5 inches diameter, the common stroke being 36 inches. Each engine delivers from 5 to 6 million gallons per 24 hours at a speed varying from 27 to 33 r.p.m. against a normal working head of about 150 feet. The maximum capacity of the station is therefore 18 million gallons per day. The engine-house is 100 feet long by 30 feet wide, and each engine is 38 feet high measured from the pump-pit floor. The supply of steam is taken from four Lancashire boilers, 8 ft. 6 in. diam. by 28 feet long, at a pressure of 175 lb. per sq. in. and superheated through 200° F. The boiler-house is at the rear of the engine-room. There is no separate circulating system for condensing purposes, the water pumped to supply being employed as the cooling medium in the surface condenser of each engine. The condensate is purified in a Harris-Anderson oil-eliminator and passes through a Green's economizer on its return to the boilers.

The total capacity of the station (18 million gallons) is believed to be larger than that of any other single waterworks station in the British Isles, apart from the London supply, for the reason that all other undertakings of similar size to that of Portsmouth take their supplies, if pumped, from several different sites owing to the impracticability of procuring the necessary quantity at a single point.

Springs which rise in the grounds near the station are the sole source of the supply of water, which flows through a 40-inch intake main into the three 8 feet diameter by 20 feet deep suction wells from which the pumps draw. The minimum yield of the springs is at all times larger than the demand, so that there is always a surplus running to waste. The water is pumped to the Farlington works about 2 miles away on the southern slope of Portsdown (about 150 feet above sea level) where it is filtered through eight slow sand filter beds. From these it flows into five adjacent covered service reservoirs. The latter have a total capacity of 16 million gallons, and supply practically the whole of the company's district with the exception of certain outlying areas on high ground. To serve these a small portion of the filtered water is repumped by a substation at Farlington to two high-level reservoirs, nearly 300 feet above the sea.

There is a second main pumping station at Bedhampton, about a quarter of a mile from Havant, but since the opening of the new station at the latter place, the Bedhampton station has become a standby.

Joseph J. Armfield and Co

Joseph J. Armfield and Co

Ringwood works were established nearly a century ago as a millwright's shop serving the flour-, paper-, and saw-mills situated on the local rivers, and the proprietor achieved some distinction as a builder of water-wheels and their mill-gearing. In 1876 the present chairman of the company purchased the business and continued the development of machinery for water-driven mills, and as an outcome of the experience gained in that class of engineering, the firm in 1886 designed and constructed their first water-turbine which is still in regular operation in a local mill. The exploitation of water-power for industrial purposes has since been closely followed, and the manufacture of water-turbines, Pelton wheels and other kinds of hydraulic machinery now forms the principal feature of the firm's business. The perfection of their compensated automatic turbine-governor, which has achieved a reputation in all parts of the world, has made possible the economical and reliable application of the water-turbine to the drive of alternating-current as well as to direct-current generators.

The company were pioneers in the transformation of flour mills from millstone to roller milling, and on the latter system they have installed several hundred plants. Besides hydraulic apparatus and flour-milling and grain-handling machinery, the manufactures include coffee machinery, coal pulverizers, and agricultural apparatus generally.

The works cover about three acres. The iron foundry, which is about 100 feet long by 40 feet wide, is served by a 10-ton travelling crane and two cupolas. The floor is of an excellent quality of moulding sand which is obtained locally. The brass foundry is a smaller adjacent building and is equipped with two air furnaces, and pneumatic and hand moulding-machines. The engineering shops have an area of 10,000 sq. ft., are equipped with a considerable variety of machine-tools, and contain a break-lathe in which a 25 ft. diameter fly-wheel or pulley can be turned. The smiths' shop adjoining is well equipped for executing riveted steel-pipe, bend and tank work. The erecting shop is served by a travelling crane and at one end lies a plate furnace and stamping presses.

The works contain also a usefully equipped woodworking shop, pattern makers' and millwrights' shops, timber drying and seasoning sheds, and pattern stores.

Ringwood Electric Supply Co's Hydro-Electric Station

Ringwood Electric Supply Co

On the Avon, between Salisbury and the sea, seven waterfalls are utilized for power production, aggregating 545 h.p., and there are nine falls not so utilized; were they all exploited, over 13 million h.p.-hrs. would be obtained annually. The Ringwood Hydro-Electric Supply Company was promoted by local residents, the capital being raised by local enterprise and the hydraulic machinery built by a local firm, Messrs. J. J. Armfield and Company. The power station was formally opened on 30th January 1925, and is believed to be unique in that the fall of water is only 4 feet. Although the available head is small, water shortage is not probable, and it is estimated that the average flow is 26,000 cubic feet per minute. Two 50 h.p. turbines have been installed; these are identical in every respect, and are of the vertical-spindle reaction type running at 70 r.p.m. Each of the two 45 kva. alternators is driven at 500 r.p.m. from one turbine, through step-up bevel-gear. The exciter for each alternator is on an extension of the shaft of the latter. The supply is three-phase, 50 cycles, with 400 volts between phases. All the electrical apparatus was manufactured by the General Electric Company.

The speed control of the turbines, which has been a considerable achievement in view of the difficulties met with in utilizing such a low fall, is self-regulating within a 3 per cent speed variation from no load to full load, and is accomplished by a sensitive centrifugal governor operating through a relay (oil circulating under pressure) on the guide vanes.

An auxiliary oil-engine directly coupled to a 60 kva. alternator has recently been installed in the station. At present only the town of Ringwood is supplied, a four-core cable transmitting from the switchboard direct at the pressure of generation to a central distribution pillar, whence single-phase current is distributed by twin cables at 230 volts between phase and neutral. Provision has been made for future high-pressure overhead transmission to outlying districts.

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