Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Portland Breakwater

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Breakwaters seen from Weymouth

Isle of Portland, Dorset

See Wikipedia entry for Portland Harbour.

Construction of the southern breakwaters began in 1849 to the design of James Meadows Rendel. The contractor was J T Leather. The 'tipped mound' method was used, with locally quarried stone in all sizes up to 7 tons tipped from railway wagons running on wooden trestles. The southern breakwaters were completed in 1868 by John Orme Andrews who took over from the Resident Engineer John Coode in 1867.

As part of defence works against torpedo attack, work began on the two northern breakwaters in 1893 and, at that time, the southern breakwaters were topped with paved roads.

In 1914, as a defensive measure, the old battleship HMS Hood was sunk across the south entrance.[1]

A thorough account of the railway system used in building the breakwater (and for quarrying on the island in general) was published in 1999[2]. Locomotives on the broad gauge breakwater construction system included five 0-4-0 well tanks made by E. B. Wilson and Co of Leeds.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 'Civil Engineering Heritage - Southern England' Ed R. A. Otter, Publ. Thomas Telford Ltd for I.C.E., 1994
  2. 'Isle of Portland Railways, Volume 1, The Admiralty and Quarry Railways' by B. L. Jackson. The Oakwood Press, 1999