Photos of Bremerhaven harbour, and its almost lost dry dock

Old dry docks at Bremerhaven

The 1850 dry docks at Bremerhaven, photographed last week

The dry dock photo from Bremerhaven harbour above shows what can happen when these treasures of industrial archaeology fall into utter neglect. No doubt the folks of Appledore will take careful note, and perhaps these photos will also seem relevant to those interested in the future of Faversham Creek.

The shot was taken on a brief trip last week by regular contributor Hans-Christian Riecke of Nordhorn’s Graf Ship Association. (By the way, we’re going to be at Nordhorn’s Canal Festival in a few weeks. If you’re in the area, please stop by to say hello!)

Here’s what Hans has to say:

‘Last week I have been on a short trip to the port of Bremerhaven. It was founded in the 19th century, when the River Weser became so severely silted that the original port of Bremen could not be reached by seagoing vessels.

‘Soon it became a thriving coastal town, with famous shipyards like Vulcan, Lloyd and Tecklenborg. Later it was the centre of German high sea fishing. But changing times claimed their toll and by 1995 nothing was left, the yards were bankrupt, the fishing industry was gone and unemployment was soaring.

‘Now it has been developed somewhat, with the Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum (our national maritime museum), the Klimahaus (which is devoted to the subject of the world climate) and the Columbus Centre. It is also a great rallying point for traditional wooden boats and historic ships, as you can see from the photos [below].

‘One shows the last working steam icebreakerWal, and in the background you can see as replica of a German-built replica hansekogge, the famous medieval trading vessel. Another is of a part of the port reserved for traditional boats. On the third you can see the remains of the old drydocks of 1850. It is not only in Appledore that they fall in decay.’

Steam icebreaker Wal and kogge Bremerhaven Kogge at Bremerhaven traditional wooden boats at Bremerhaven

For more on the Graf Ship Association, zompen, tjalks and the rest, click here.

 

 

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Faithful James Caird replica to sail from Elephant to South Georgia

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Adventurer Tim Jarvis and the Hon Alexandra Shackleton
with the original James Caird at last year’s Earl’s Court
Sail, Power & Watersports Show

A replica of Shackleton’s famous boat the James Caird built at the the Sail, Power & Watersports Show at Earl’s Court will be used to re-enact Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1916 voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia.

The boat to be built at the show from the 26th to the 30th November is to be completed by the International Boat Building Training College (IBTC) by the end of 2009, when she will go to Antarctica to follow in the wake of the original James Caird under the leadership of adventurer Tim Jarvis.

Show sales director Caroline Evans and the Hon Alexandra Shackleton last year asked the IBTC to consider building a replica of the James Caird suitable for a re-enactment. The college then met expedition leader Tim, and the build was agreed.

Extensive help from both Dulwich College (where the original James Caird is housed) and Greenwich Maritime Museum has enabled the IBTC to build a boat that is faithful to the original.

I’ve read original expedition member Frank Worsley’s 1933 account of the original voyage Shackleton’s Boat Journey,  and all I can say is that Jarvis must be a very brave man, even if he will presumably have modern equipment to help him and his crew.

The International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC) trains people of all ages from all over the world in the skills and techniques required to build and restore traditional wooden boats. The teaching ‘tools’ are a range of 30 boats from 9ft dinghies to 44ft blue water cruisers, all of which are completed to a professional standard.

The IBTC always runs an ‘active’ stand with work on various projects going on from building small boats to steaming mast hoops etc. The team is always happy to answer the boating public’s questions where it can, and people are welcome to ‘have a go’ where appropriate even down to such basics as sharpening a chisel.

PS – While you’re at the show, do drop in on the Wooden Boatbuilders Trade Association stand, where we’re told craftsmen will be only too happy to show you their latest work, and answer questions on restorations.

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