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Re: Magazine Village - Bromborough [Re: billy_anorak59] #335307
10th Jul 2009 9:41pm
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Very good research, but I'm afraid I may be going to throw a spanner in the works.

The HMS Swallow which you cite was built in 1868, however most reports say that the powder hulks were in position in the early to mid 1850s.

The HMS Swallow before the one you mention was built in 1854 and sold in 1866. This is also too late.

I can find no reference to it (the earlier Swallow that I can find was about at the end of the 1790s), I would imagine that there was an HMS Swallow which would have been disposed of around 1852/53. (probably built at the end of the 1830s)

This could well be the one used as the powder hulk.

Please don't be disheartened, as I am probably totally wrong!!

Carry on the research.


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Re: Magazine Village - Bromborough [Re: uptoncx] #335311
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I have a recollection from the '50s that parts of the Mulberry Harbour were built at Port Rainbow (McTays now?) about 1944, but haven't any proof. It's unlikely there would be any photos!! Highly secret stuff!
Bri

Re: Magazine Village - Bromborough [Re: bri445] #335542
12th Jul 2009 9:22pm
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Further to my above post, I've found this from the fascinating book 'The Railways of Port Sunlight and Bromborough Port' by M.D.Lister, Oakwood Press, 1980.
It's about WW2 activities in the soap works and Bromborough Dock area:

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Re: Magazine Village - Bromborough [Re: bri445] #335596
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billy_anorak59 Offline OP

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Quote
The HMS Swallow which you cite was built in 1868, however most reports say that the powder hulks were in position in the early to mid 1850s.


Hi uptoncx - Thanks happy. I know were you are coming from - I looked at the earlier Swallow's too - but none of these matched the size (175ft) of the ship that was built in 1868.

All the other facts fit this later ship too:

The Tobin family bought an HMS Swallow from the Navy in 1882 - part of their interests was as gunpowder merchants

The Hampshire Telegraph article (posted by greasby-lad) from 1882 states that the owners:

Quote
have applied to the Admiralty for permission to use the Lapwing or Swallow gunboats as a powder depot


This must be the ship built in 1868, as that was the only Swallow under Admiralty control in 1882.

The Swallow and Lapwing were also sister ships - earlier HMS Swallow's did not have sister ships of that name. It would seem logical to choose ships of equal size.

So why would the Swallow be a "late arrival", so to speak? Well I think there may be another clue in the same Hampshire Telegraph article. It starts:

Quote
The question of the storage of powder in the Mersey is likely to be speedily settled

Don't forget that this is 1882 - and the powder hulks, as you say, had been in position since the 1850's.

So what was the question about the storage - inadaquate facilities?

Could it be, that the 'Mersey' and 'Liverpool' (the only other two hulks that I know about) were either a) inadaquate to store the quantities demanded, or b) were in such a poor state of repair that a 'new' hulk - the Swallow - had to be drafted in?

My guess is b), as the 'Mersey' and 'Liverpool' do not seem to survive the turn of the century - I can't find any drawing or photograph of them, although it is likely that they were ex-RN also (but of an earlier period). I'm guessing that they were 'HMS Mersey' and 'HMS Liverpool' at one time - I've no idea when though - can anyone help?. The Swallow soldiered on alone until just after the end of WW2, when she was broken up on the foreshore in front of the village.

What do you reckon? I appreciate that spanner though - all helps to concentrate the mind!! smile

Thanks as well Bri445 happy for the mention if the Mulberry Harbours and the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Company Ltd .
I spoke to my Father last night - and he tells me that, yes, they were built at Magazine Village too. My Fathers' first job was working for the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Company Ltd which in 1943 were building the Maunsell Sea Forts. Once that contract ended another company moved in (he couldn't remember the name off-hand) and started on the Mulberry Harbours. He said that he couldn't remember too much about them, as he had moved to a new job by that time - wiring up Mosquito's for Martin Hearn's at Hooton Park.

Anyway, hope that this is all of interest somehow.

Cheers,
Billy
thumbsup


Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come.
Re: Magazine Village - Bromborough [Re: billy_anorak59] #335704
13th Jul 2009 9:36pm
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Thanks,Billy, for the confirmation on Mulberry Harbour. Apparently the components were made in many different places around the coast, so that no one really knew what they were for, thus maintaining the secrecy.
Bri

Re: Magazine Village - Bromborough [Re: billy_anorak59] #335717
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A few notes on the powder vessels, all from the Liverpool Mercury (no spanners this time .... well, maybe the odd one)

November 19th 1850

Reported on the preliminary meeting to consider the removal of the Gunpowder Magazines at Liscard.

May 16th 1851

A bill was introduced into parliament by Sir George Grey and Mr Bouverie on 16th May 1851 to enable floating magazines to be moored on the River Mersey.

August 22nd 1851

Reported that the site for the floating magazine had been agreed, but not yet named.

September 9th 1851

“A preliminary meeting of the owners and occupiers of property at the Dingle and Aigburth [. . . .] to protest against the removal of the powder magazines to Bromborough Pool.”

April 9th 1852

“Three vessels are now being built to be anchored in the river as the powder ships on the removal of the magazines – one by Mr Royden, one by Mr Clarke, and another by a builder not yet named . [ . . . . ] The vessel building by Mr Royden, from which we judge of the whole, is a wooden ship, of about 700 tons. Her framing and planks are fastened with wooden trunnels and copper bolts and not the smallest particle of iron will be used in the construction of any part of the vessel. These floating magazines are so formed as to be best adapted to their purpose.”

June 1st 1852

“Arrangements have been perfected for commencing the erection of the storekeeper, assistant keeper, and workmen’s houses on a plot of land at Bromborough. The land purchased comprises about two acres; and buildings, which will, for the present, be about ten in number, will cost about £2,500. The powder vessels, which are to be three in number, are to be moored between Bromborough Pool and Eastham [ . . . . ] Two of the floating magazines will cost £21,000 and they are now ready for launching – one from the yard of Messrs, Clarke, and the other from that of Mr Royden.”

July 27th 1852

The powder ships were in position by 27th July 1852 as the Liverpool Mercury of that date describes a model yacht race which used one of them as a marker.

July 9th 1881

“over 400 tons [of gunpowder] stored in the two hulks or powder vessels.”

July 28th 1881

J.A.Tobin is described as the “Superintendent of the powder magazines”.

October 23rd 1882

"It is proposed to put a third gunpowder hulk in the neighbourhood of the two now moored off Bromborough, this hulk is an old gunboat, not specially constructed, as are the existing ones”

June 4th 1890

“But what are these strange-looking craft that are now coming in sight? Secured by thick-linked iron cables, their position being not far from the prettily-wooded Eastham, and just below the ominously named sandbank “The Devil’s Spit’, these are the Mersey powder hulks. They are painted a sort of dirty yellow, with a broad belt of dirty red, and the copper fastening adds a dirty green tint. [ . . . . ] Coming close to the first of the hulks [ . . . . ] they saw that the hulk was named the Liverpool. [ . . . . ] Hulk No 2 is called the Mersey and her dimensions and proportions are similar to those of the Liverpool. [ . . . . ] The [third] hulk is called the Swallow, the name the vessel bore when she sailed proudly in distant seas under her Majesty’s flag. Her figure-head, a flying swallow, remains, and the grace of her outlines is a striking contrast to the clumsiness of those of her companions. “

So it would appear that the original powder vessels were not hulks at all, but brand new, purpose built ships. Were three ever built? Only two builders are named, and only two were ready for launching in June 1852, and again in July 1881 only two are referred to.



Last edited by uptoncx; 13th Jul 2009 10:52pm. Reason: Must learn how to spell
Re: Magazine Village - Bromborough [Re: uptoncx] #335776
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billy_anorak59 Offline OP

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There's some really good stuff in there Upton - thanks, it's very much appreciated.

It will take me a bit of time to digest, but there doesn't appear to be too many spanners in there (OK, maybe a small wrench!!)

Interesting that the Liverpool and Mersey were purpose built - now that's completely thrown me!! shocked

I wonder what happened to the figurehead on the Swallow? - it had certainly disappeared in later years.

Thanks again,
Billy.

thumbsup


Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come.
Re: Magazine Village - Bromborough [Re: billy_anorak59] #335838
14th Jul 2009 3:56pm
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Quote
So it would appear that the original powder vessels were not hulks at all, but brand new, purpose built ships.


I thought looking through all the evidence above, the Swallow and Lapwing were most certainly the ships of the same HMS name. There is a description of all the changes made to one of these to make it into a powder hulk, somewhere. These changes were quite comprehensive and may have been called a "build".

I spotted some candidates for the Mersey and Liverpool last night, there were quit a few ships sold and became powder hulks. I presume they were called Mersey and Liverpool because of their final occupation, not because of their original names, highly unlikely to be HMS with the same names.


The further you are down the pay scale, the more 'essential' you are when the s--- hits the fan... Sue Farbysmith 2020

Insults are engendered from vulgar minds, like toadstools from a dunghill - Charles Caleb Colton

We don't do charity in Germany, We pay taxes. Charity is a failure of governments' responsibilities - Henning Wehn
Re: Magazine Village - Bromborough [Re: diggingdeeper] #335954
15th Jul 2009 12:18pm
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The only information I can find about the fitting out of the Swallow is this:

The 'Powder Ships' were painted yellow with wide red bands all round. In daytime they flew a red flag, 6ft by 3ft; at night time two lamps were hoisted on a central mast, one red the other white; the red one was six feet above the white one, both lights being about 3 ft from the deck. A special oil was used in all lamps on board called 'Colzar', a vegetable oil. There was also a white light on the stern.

The 'Swallow' was overall wooden, 175 ft long, the bottom being copper sheathed up to the water line; just above the water line it had hard wooden belting for fenders. On each side were five ports, with hinged door flaps, which would be pulled upright by hand to reveal a leather padded passage which was on an approximate level with the decks of the 'hoys' and used to roll the kegs of gunpowder in and out of the vessels.

On the foredeck was a storage cabin where ropes etc. were kept. At the stern end were the watchmen's quarters and the 'skipping' room. From the watchmen's quarters a companion ladder went down below to a platform which went right round the inside of the ship, with a wall of interlocked timber totally enclosing the magazines. Opposite the five ports in the outer hull on each side were five doors, with brass locks and hinges only, opened by a master key. The doors were named after their position in the ship: the After Door, the After But One, Middle Port, Bow But One, and the Bow Door, each giving access to a stage 6ft square which was raised 3ft off the ship's bottom floor.


Quote
highly unlikely to be HMS with the same names


Quite right dd - on reflection it should have been obvious (or a very big coincidence) that an "HMS Mersey" and "HMS Liverpool" should have ended up together as hulks... I'm still new to this 'sleuthing' stuff sorry

Cheers,
Billy.


Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come.
Re: Magazine Village - Bromborough [Re: billy_anorak59] #335980
15th Jul 2009 5:22pm
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Thanks for that Billy, that is the description I was thinking of, it would be quite a conversion from the original ship.

I wasn't aware the Mulberry Harbours had a connection here, what a massive project!


The further you are down the pay scale, the more 'essential' you are when the s--- hits the fan... Sue Farbysmith 2020

Insults are engendered from vulgar minds, like toadstools from a dunghill - Charles Caleb Colton

We don't do charity in Germany, We pay taxes. Charity is a failure of governments' responsibilities - Henning Wehn
Re: Magazine Village - Bromborough [Re: diggingdeeper] #335999
15th Jul 2009 7:15pm
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Mulberry Harbours as well as Pluto - Bromborough must have been buzzing during the war.

Re: Magazine Village - Bromborough [Re: billy_anorak59] #336025
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Originally Posted by billy_anorak59
My Fathers' first job was working for the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Company Ltd which in 1943 were building the Maunsell Sea Forts. :


Picture of the Maunsell Forts under construction at the Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Co, Bromborough.




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Re: Magazine Village - Bromborough [Re: uptoncx] #337023
20th Jul 2009 11:48am
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Something pictures of the Village itself that I hope is of interest:

I believe that Lever brothers owned Magazine Village (certainly in later years) so that prompted me to contact the very helpful people in Unilever Archives to see if they had anything. After some digging, they provided me with a few high quality photographs of the Village as it was in 1953 - so thanks to them. happy

Whilst Unilever Archives has no objection to the publishing of these photographs on this forum, no records survive about the photographer(s) and Unilever do not know what rights they bought with these photographs. Therefore, although every effort has been made to trace copyright holders and gain permission for use of these images, I would be grateful for any information concerning copyright and will ask for the withdrawal of the images immediately on the copyright holder’s request if necessary.

Three photographs are shown here - I hope that they convey something of the atmosphere to those who never saw the Village (and those that did). Also, if anyone has anything similar, please, please post it!!

Cheers,
Billy.
thumbsup

Photo 1 shows a distant view of the whole of the village - the track in the foreground (Magazine Lane) was the main access road. It's all a bit different now!!

Photo 2 shows the rear of the cottages which faced the river (seen in the background). My grandparents lived in this block of cottages until 1969/70.

Photo 3 shows the middle of the village - I believe that this was once the pay office, although it seemed to contain oars, ropes, etc in later years. The MacTay buildings sit bang on top of this site now...

Attached Files
MV53c1.jpg (469 downloads)
MV53c2.JPG (471 downloads)
MV53c3.JPG (475 downloads)

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Re: Magazine Village - Bromborough [Re: billy_anorak59] #337044
20th Jul 2009 12:50pm
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Hey - good digging there Billy - thanks


The further you are down the pay scale, the more 'essential' you are when the s--- hits the fan... Sue Farbysmith 2020

Insults are engendered from vulgar minds, like toadstools from a dunghill - Charles Caleb Colton

We don't do charity in Germany, We pay taxes. Charity is a failure of governments' responsibilities - Henning Wehn
Re: Magazine Village - Bromborough [Re: diggingdeeper] #337050
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Also a big Thank You to Unilever Archives

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