Grimsby Dock Tower

July 7, 2013 by  

Grimsby Dock Tower, Grimsby Dock Tower is a hydraulic accumulator tower and a famous maritime landmark in Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, England. It was completed on 27 March 1852 with the purpose of containing a 30,000 UK gallon (136 m³) hydraulic wrought iron reservoir at a height of 200 feet (61 m), that was used to provide hydraulic power (rather than a supply of water) to the lock gates and cranes of Grimsby Docks. The extreme height of the tower was necessary to achieve sufficient pressure. Water towers for water supply purposes don’t need anything approaching this height.

An outline of the development of different methods of supplying water under pressure for operating hydraulic appliances may be of assistance in setting the Grimsby Tower in its context. The first hydraulic operation was in 1846 when William Armstrong built a crane powered by water from the town mains at Newcastle. Further cranes followed but one major problem was the fluctuating pressure of water in the town mains. At Grimsby Docks, Armstrong decided that the hydraulic machinery (for cranes, lock gates and sluices) should have its own constant pressure supply, so the tower was built to carry a tank 200 feet (61 m) above the ground with a direct feed into the machinery.

Small pumps topped up the tank as the hydraulic machinery drew off water. The tower system was brought into use in 1852 working the machinery of the lock gates, dry-docks and fifteen quayside cranes, and also to supply fresh water to ships and the dwelling houses on the dock premises. The water was obtained from a well, fifteen feet in diameter and forty-seven feet deep, with a boring of five inches in diameter to the chalk rock in the centre, situated near to where the Grimsby Evening Telegraph has its present offices. The well was also fed by seven borings of five inches in diameter, at intervals in a length of three hundred feet, which discharged into the well by a brick culvert three feet in diameter.

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