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Harbours history

1650 to 1796

1650 Derbyhaven Light erected at entrance to harbour NNW Seaward to SSW 46ft above HW, 31ft above ground. Only lighted during the herring fishing.
1660 Douglas 'Bulwarks' was ordered to be kept in good repair.
c1670 Castletown High arched stone bridge built on site of existing footbridge.
1671 Douglas Great Lantern with 2 lights (5/-)
1692   Applications from interested parties, to Earl of Derby to build one or more lighthouses.
1736   Earl of Derby dies without issue and Island passed to Duke of Atholl.
1750 Castletown Quays being built.
1758   Sketch of Douglas Pier brick lighthouse (in Blair Castle (Atholl) Papers).
1760 Douglas Pier erected.
1761 Peel Pier entirely carried away.
1765 Peel Pier built
1765   Duke of Atholl sold and conveyed Harbours to Crown
1765 Castletown Light at Castletown established, white 22ft above HW 16ft from lantern to ground. Only when a ship wishes to enter and exhibited all night during herring fishing.
1766 Douglas Ramsey Lighthouses existing (appx BNo2) Commissioners Report 17
1768 Douglas Lake encroachment (P Heywood)
1773   Proposal to establish Light Tower on Calf of Man
1777 Douglas Harbour Bridge removed and re-erected 180 yards higher up river (in 1779)
1786 Douglas Bridge washed away
1787 Douglas 84 yards of Old Pier with Lighthouse destroyed by E’ly gale
1787 Douglas 21st September further damage to Old Pier. Part of fishing fleet lost
1790 Douglas Treasury Engineer's Report on need for sheltering breakwater
1790 Ramsey South Pier built
1791 Peel 'A light is very much needed at Peel Harbour' ('Cumberland Paquet' 9/4/1791 reporting wreck near Peel).
1791   Duke of Atholl gives evidence on state of Harbours before Commissioners
1791 Ramsey Small Pier 80 yards long existed on N side of Harbour
1791 Douglas Only harbour light in Douglas was lantern on pole at extremity of remains of Pier Head
1791 Douglas Tongue built
1792   Commissioners Report
1792   No Coastal Lighthouses in this year
1793 Douglas £24,000 voted to erect Red Pier
1793 Douglas Red Pier commenced (Predecessor in 1764)
1795 Castletown Parallelogram Bridge at Castletown
1796 Peel Causeway erected
1796 Douglas Light established Red Pier. 34 ft above HW, 6 miles
1796 Douglas October – Bridge destroyed

1800 to 1844

1800 Ramsey Light established on Larboard Hand in entering 35 ft above HW, 29ft from lantern to ground
1801 Douglas Red Pier completed cost £25,000
1801   Mr Stevenson made his tour of English Lighthouses
1801 Peel A small piece added to Peel Pier
1802   Mr Stevenson's Report stresses need for Lighthouse on Calf of Man
1807 Douglas 1807 to 1881 Encroachment of beach between Red Pier and Pollock Rocks. (Scott – Receiver General)
1809 Peel Pier carried away
1810   Repairing and lengthening of Pier at Peel
1811   Red light on east side of entrance Peel harbour 21 ft above HW visibility 8 miles
1811 Douglas Tower erected on Douglas Head by British Government
1811 Langness Tower erected by British Government
1812 Port St Mary Inner Pier built
1812 Port St Mary Pier Head light established 25ft above HW 17ft lantern to ground visibility 9 miles
1814 Ramsey Sir John Rennie visits harbour
1815   (June) Northern Lighthouse Board authorised by Act of Parliament to erect lighthouses in the Isle of Man and levy dues.
1815   (August) Committee of Northern Lighthouse Board visit Calf of Man to fix position of lights
1815-16 Peel Pier straightened
1818 Point of Ayre Lighthouse established 01/02/1818. 103ft above HW visibility 15 miles
1818 Calf of Man Lighthouse established 01/02/1818
1819 Douglas First regular steamer service to Douglas
1823 Peel 'White Wall' built at Peel to divert river.
1826 Douglas Sir Wm Hillary's Breakwater Scheme placed before Admiralty.
1827 Port St Mary Crane erected to ship limestone
1829 Douglas Lake enclosed by walling (by Major Taubman) (see 1768)
1829 Peel Jetty built £700
1831   Drawing of Manx Light by Flower
1832 Douglas Tower of Refuge erected
1832-33 Douglas Douglas Head Lighthouse erected by IOMHC under 11 Geo 2 c 52 104 ft above HW visibility 15 miles
1835 Douglas Capt Denham RN.FRS. Breakwater Scheme
1835 Douglas Sir John Rennie Breakwater Scheme
1835 Douglas Fort Anne Jetty built. Cost £2,900
1841   Timperley's Survey of Manx Harbours
1842-3 Peel Encroachment (At present Railway Station) by Caeasar Corris 400 ft x 120 ft
1842 Peel Tongue of Quay widened, £600
1842 Derbyhaven Breakwater commenced March, completed October 1843. Cost £3,524
1842 Ramsey Northern Pier commenced March. Completed November 1843 (November) Cost £2,570
1844   Harbour dues abolished
1844 Castletown Pier commenced. Completed late 1845 Cost £2,685

1845 to 1936

1845 Ramsey North Pier 550ft in extent at this date
1845 Ramsey South Pier Lighthouse erected 28ft above HW, 4 miles visibility. Dark stone tower. Length of Pier 400 ft
1845 Peel Harbour deepened by 3 ft. Pier foundation planked. Cost £1,041
1848 Port St Mary New Quay (West) built cost £391
1848 Bahama Bank Light vessel established in 11 fathoms 38ft above HW
1849 Castletown Pier extended 30 yds
1849 Castletown Pier Head light established (Red) 32ft above HW. Visibility 8 miles
1849 Douglas Bulwark rebuilt
1849 Ramsey 103 yds. New quay built extending towards Bridge.
1850 Fort Island Light established (12 Aug to 10 Oct annual and 50ft above HW 6 miles
1853 Douglas 20,000 gravel removed from harbour (1843-53)
1856 Peel 200 ft of West Quay built before this date
1859 Douglas Douglas Head Light transferred 01/08/1859
1861 Peel New Lighthouse on Pier Head
1862 Douglas Abernethy breakwater commenced
1863 Peel Abernethy breakwater foundation stone laid by Governor och
1863 Port Erin Breakwater commenced
1864 Douglas Abernethy breakwater partly destroyed (Jan/Feb)
1865 Peel Breakwater light established 32 ft above HW
1867 Douglas Breakwater totally destroyed
1867 Douglas Victoria Pier Commenced
1868 Ramsey Abernethy Breakwater completed and lighthouse established 34 ft above HW
1869 Douglas Iron Pier at Broadway opened in August
1869-70 Ramsey West Quay built
1869 Chicken Rock Lighthouse foundations D&T Stevenson
1870 Peel Encasing of Abernethy Breakwater commenced
1872 Douglas Victoria Pier opened by Lord Loch
1874 Chicken Rock Light established. Tower 143 ft high 122 ft above HW 16 miles
1874   Harbour Dues re-imposed
1874-6 Ramsey South breakwater built 510 ft
1875 Peel Encasing of breakwater completed
1875 Chicken Rock Ligh exhibited – 1 January
1875 Calf of Man Lights extinguished 1 January
1876 Ramsey South Breakwater timber staging erected
1876 Port Erin Breakwater completed
1877 Ramsey East Quay wall commenced (June) at harbour office
1878 Ramsey East Quay wall completed in November 765 ft
1879 Douglas Battery Pier completed cost £110,000
1880 Langness Light established 63ft high 76 ft above HW
1881 Port Erin Breakwater destroyed
1881-2 Peel West quay built
1882 Port St Mary Alfred Pier foundation stone laid by Duke of Edinburgh 31/1/1882
1883 Ramsey Queen's Pier commenced
1883 Fort Island Light discontinued
1884 Port Erin Fixed red lead-in lights 130 ft apart established on East Shore
1884 Port St Mary Fixed green light on extremity of finished portion of Alfred Pier
1884 Port Erin Black Buoy placed at end of breakwater ruins
1884 Peel Causeway and approach to breakwater built
1885 Peel Harbour wall of breakwater built and deck surfaced
1886 Port St Mary Alfred Pier completed
1886 Ramsey Queen's Pier opened 22/7/1886
1886 Castletown Swing Bridge built (patent shaft and Axletree Ltd) £1,000
1887 Douglas Victoria Pier extension commenced
1890 Laxey Harbour acquired by Isle of Man Harbour Commissioners
1890 Douglas Victoria Pier Buildings erected cost £6,900
1892 Douglas Head Lighthouse re-built
1892 Ramsey Swing Bridge built by Cleveland engineering Company cost £20,325
1892 Port St Mary Alfred Pier extension commenced
1892 Peel Breakwater extension commenced
c1892 Douglas Broadway Iron Pier demolished and re-erected at Colwyn Bay
1894 Douglas Swing Bridge contract (Sir W G Armstrong Mitchell £6,590)
1894 Douglas Victoria Pier extension completed
1896 Peel Breakwater extension completed
1900 Ramsey Queen's Pier extension completed
1903 Castletown Footbridge. Handyside and Co cost £414.
1906 Douglas Callie Stage built
1912 Port Erin Raglan Pier built
1936 Douglas Edward Pier built

Douglas harbour

Prior to 1700 Some crude wharfs and jetties on the river banks of the present inner harbour.
1700 The 'Tongue' built, being the first masonry structure. Followed by rebuilding of North and South Quay walls
1765-1790 Approx North Quay extended seawards to seek deeper water. More exposure to sea resulted.
1790 Treasury sent a skilled Engineer to report on state of the harbour. Inter alia, recommended the first breakwater. One only of his various proposals materialised; the construction of the Red Pier in 1801 for £25,000
1826 Sir William Hillary suggested a harbour of refuge being made at Douglas. An Admiralty Commissioner investigated and reported, advocating a 1900 feet breakwater from Douglas Head overlapping a similar structure commencing on Conister Rock. Not proceeded with on account of great estimated cost.
1835 AT request of Lieutenant Governor, Sir John Rennie, FRS investigated and recommended various outer works at a cost of £216,000. The only proposal to materialise was the Fort Anne Jetty, then the outer limit of the harbour.
1839 Need of outer works revived by Mr John Hawshaw, eminent Engineer.
1840 and 1846 Mr James Walker, Engineer to the Harbour Commissioners, revived the same proposals unsuccessfully.
1846 Commissioners sought Treasury assistance with a masonry breakwater from 'Little Head' to the design of their new Engineer, John Temperley. No success achieved.
1853 Similar approach again, but with no success.
1858 Royal Commission on Harbours of Refuge sate at a public enquiry. Outer works proposed at cost of £100,000 half of which would be found by British Government. Proposals were not acted upon.
1864 Manx Legislature resolved that protective works were vital. Abernethy-style breakwater built from the 'Little Head'.
1865 (Jan) Most of breakwater demolished in South-East storm.
1867 Remainder of breakwater demolished in South-East storm. Pertinent to note that the harbour Commissioners strongly opposed an Abernethy breakwater and advocated masonry, but were over-ruled on grounds of cost.
1867 Construction of Victoria Pier commenced.
1871 Up to this year all landings of passengers were at the Red Pier and at periods of high water.
1872 Victoria Pier opened by Lord Loch. Little use in storm conditions from North-East round to South-East.
1879 Battery Pier in present form completed to the design of Sir John Coode.
1887 Agitation for better accommodation within sheltered harbour. Decision to lengthen Victoria Pier by 400 feet.
1891 Victoria Pier extension opened. Need of further shelter still voiced.
1904-1908-1914 Schemes put forward for lengthening of the Red Pier. Shelved due to Great War.
1922 Resurrection of Red Pier Scheme, leading to:
1925 Exhausstive enquiry by Committee of Tynwald. Proposals for outer works put forward by the Committee (The 'Hunter' report). Of three possible schemes Tynwald recommended widening of existing breakwater and extension by 500 feet at an estimated cost of £750,000. Left in abeyance due to looming trade depression.
1929 Failure to proceed with outer works led to revival of pleas for more berthage. Tynwald resolved to proceed with the Red Pier extention.
1936 Red Pier extension opened in May 1936, 32 years after its first being proposed.
1953 Victoria Pier widened by 19 feet on the north side throughout its whole length.
1954 The Coffee Palace Berth in the inner harbour set back and re-constructed to give better accommodation for cargo vessels and more turning space.
1963-1967 Construction of Sea Terminal Building. Opened by HRH The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon on 6 July 1965.
1978 Construction of first stage standage area between roots of Victoria and King Edward Piers to which Linkspan is attached.
1979 Construction and installation of pedestrian footbridge to replace vehicular bridge installed in 1895
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