Doxford Old Yard

Doxford Old Yard

Postby fitter » Wed May 01, 2013 4:21 pm

Doxford Shipyard 1928.jpg
Doxfords old, east yard

The yard that Doxfords moved to from Coxgreen. The newer yard can be seen in the background. The craneage in the old yard takes a little working out, probably quite innovative for the time. The photograph is dated 1928 which may or may not be accurate, and it looks like a keel is being laid on one of the berths.

SS Aztec Cyl Tks 1913.jpg
Doxfords East yard

A view down on of the three gantry berths. The plight of the crane drivers can be seen clearly here as one is travelling along the rails in the hut that covered a winch that was called a crane. In the noise of riveted ships, he would have to rely entirely on hand signals. It might not be surprising if he was subject to occasional verbal abuse when he landed on earth again if he hadn't responded quick enough to some signal. It would be interesting to hear of their experiences, Every day would begin with a long vertical climb and end with along descent. Dinner times would be the same. Toilet needs would be interesting, perhaps they just ........... :o Cold, wind, red hot sun, riveting and burning fumes as well as the stink of the small steam locos would add to the general discomfort of the small cockpit that was their daily workplace. The cranes wobbled from side to side as they travelled along the rails. The skill and patience of these men was best manifest when they had to lift a "heavy" load. Girders were slung between as many cranes as were needed for a particular lift and the cranes would have to work in absolute synchro to handle the loads. There may have been seven cranes over each berth. Night shift must have been very interesting. The additional interest here is the use of the six circular oil tanks used in early oil tanker design. The ship is Aztec, yard number 465 for Ragnvald Blakstad, registered in Christiana. The 5624 GRT ship was fitted with a a Doxford Triple expansion engine.




P04 Torpedo Boat 1897 copy.jpg
Torpedo Boat, Doxford west yard

This is one of the Torpedo boats being built on a berth in the west yard.
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Re: Doxford Old Yard

Postby magoonigal » Thu May 02, 2013 7:44 pm

That's a very interesting picture of the AZTEC, Tom.

Circular tanks !

AZTEC was launched on the 9th April 1914 and Broken up at Hamburg, arriving 16th November 1933.
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Re: Doxford Old Yard

Postby fitter » Thu May 02, 2013 9:39 pm

Circular tanks were the first major development after carrying oil in barrels that leaked and in some cases resulted in fires. Some time ago I came across a website that had an excellent cartoon presentation of the development of oil tankers. It might have been the Castrol website, or BP. "Oil tanker design" would probably get you there. There is another picture of Doxfords, patented, horizontally corrugated bulkheads that I will find and post.
The craneage in the foreground is interesting. I 'm reluctant to suggest how I think it works, but if I am right it seems a terrifying set up. The towers seem to be supported by "guy" ropes, presumably they would have to rotate on some kind of pivot at the base, but. there doesn't appear to be a cabin for a driver. If not, are they operated from the ground by electric or steam winches? don't know when electric came into industrial use, but the west yard opened in 1858. The 100 ton steam crane on the quayside was a museum piece in its own right. I may be wrong but I think by the time I first worked in the yard in the late 1960's it was only fired up when it was to be used, but not being a Doxfords hand I may have that wrong.
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Re: Doxford Old Yard

Postby magoonigal » Fri May 03, 2013 6:59 am

I don't think the Towers moved Tom, ONLY the Jibs moved.
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Re: Doxford Old Yard

Postby fitter » Fri May 03, 2013 7:50 pm

Yes, I agree that it would be unlikely that the towers would rotate, but that so, they would only be able to lift and drop in exactly the same spot. The tapering of the bottom of the tower seems to suggest a pivot at the base and I assumed that if that was the case, that they would be pulled round by hand. Having said that, the S.W.L. must have been very small. It would be interesting to know how they got the guns, turbines and propellers in place.
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Re: Doxford Old Yard

Postby Whickham » Fri May 03, 2013 10:02 pm

They could have been a bit like the big Palmers cranes. In them the steel frames just supported a network of wires and then hooks were suspended from the wires. He says this and is not at all sure how it would then be controlled.
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Re: Doxford Old Yard

Postby magoonigal » Sat May 04, 2013 12:33 am

OK. I know its not easy to work it out, a plan view might help but here goes.

The Towers are Fixed and do not move. They are supported by Cables passing from the ground to the tops of the Towers and they all appear to be cross supported.

Now to the Boxes.

They have a ladder going up to them but I don't think they were intended to have a Crane Driver. The faces of the Boxes have a swivel joint rivited to them and the Jibs are mounted on this joint allowing them to pivot through an arce of 180 degrees. Some boxes seem to have two Jibs, one at either side and others have three. By using this method all parts of the ship would be covered. It may have been nessessary to put the load down and then pick it up again using another Jib in order to get it to its intended place.

The Jibs appear to be "Fixed" height. ie the tip does not move up and down.

Now we get to the intellegent guess bit......

Its possible that the hooks were controlled by Winches on the ground. Note the White Cabs at the base of the Towers.
Untitled-Scanned-02.jpg
The rope comes up from the ground, round a pulley just under the Pivot then around another pulley at the end of the Jib. They would not have been capable of lifting very heavy objects, but two of three jibs could be used at once where a heavy lift is required.
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Re: Doxford Old Yard

Postby fitter » Sat May 04, 2013 11:10 pm

Thanks to both of you for your help. Doxfords east yard with its little overhead cranes must have been nothing short of a revolution in ship building. Those that went before us must have had very hard working lives and the output of the yards at that time was almost miraculous.
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Re: Doxford Old Yard

Postby fitter » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:03 pm

DoxfordDesignOffice LunchTime 1955.jpg
doxford design office staff 1955

The ship fitting out is at Shorts Quay
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Re: Doxford Old Yard

Postby northeast » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:16 am

I wonder what they were designing just then :)
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