THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Plans for new shipping canal and floating dock for Belfast port published

From the News Letter, March 11, 1836

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 6:00 am
Belfast Harbour Commissioners Office. Picture: News Letter archives
Belfast Harbour Commissioners Office. Picture: News Letter archives

Details of a new ship canal and floating dock for the port of Belfast were published in the News Letter on this day in 1836.

The paper reported: “It is proposed to form a canal from the eastern or lower end of the ballast bank reach, to near the mouth of Conn’s water, and to construct two locks communication with the channels there, where there is 12 feet water at low water in spring tides.”

It was proposed that the canal would be 200 feet wide and 50 feet wide, the sills were to be laid 12 feet under the level of low water spring tides.

Meanwhile, a sluice and dead weir were to be constructed across the river “immediately above the junction therewith of the Mile Water”.

The sluice was to be 50 feet long, while the dead weir was to be 250 feet long. It was also noted that Mr Dunbar’s dock was to be converted into floating dock which was to be “always accessible both from the harbour and the interior, and a constant means of communication, at all times of tide, will be created between Belfast and the Lagan navigation”.

The estimated costs of the work came to about £120,000 and it was anticipated that the funds may be raised by Ballast Office bonds which were to bear from four to five per cent interest.

It was good news for steamers coming into Belfast: “On arrival at the canal, steamers will proceed to the quays without delay, and having a longer time for loading and discharging, the extra expense and occasional damage necessarily attendant on the present hurried mode of landing and shipping goods will no longer exist,” remarked the News Letter.