Author Topic: No - it can't be! (Seaplane Base?)  (Read 4430 times)

Nelson

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No - it can't be! (Seaplane Base?)
« on: October 07, 2018, 09:30:16 am »
I am assured this is not a doctored photograph and a highly magnified look doesn’t betray any joins. The footbridge (in the distance) was opened in 1921 and the suspension bridge demolished in 1923 – so what are the large sheds to the right of the footbridge?
« Last Edit: October 25, 2018, 05:06:27 pm by Nelson »

johnjohn

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2018, 07:37:32 pm »
Could that be where the concrete ships were built  ?
Johnjohn

Nelson

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2018, 09:59:58 am »
I wondered that too johnjohn but running a line on the map from the Norfolk Bridge to the right of the footbridge ends up near the bottom of the Ferry Road area.

Spinalman

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2018, 10:38:30 am »
This is really a curiosity. There were areas of undeveloped land to the East of the footbridge - so maybe that land was used for a temporary structure.. maybe to build seaplanes??  But those structures look too big for such.  And why would concrete ships not be built on a dock with slipway?

I have had a look at aerial photos from 1920 (top) and can't see anything, and 1927 (bottom) shows empty land.. so these structures were short lived.  However the road Riverside turns up on maps around this time (in the 1927 photo) and takes a fairly arbitrary route East from Ferry Road and an inexplicable turn South -I wonder why?  Was this (concrete I seem to recall) road built to service a hangar or works?  Are there slipways to the river that would afford access for a seaplane?

PS. We often see photos of Seaplanes in the Adur next to the Norfolk bridge etc... but why are they there?  The proximity to the airport is irrelevant as you could not get a plane from the airport to the river.  Where would you launch a seaplane from?   Presumably from where it was kept or manufactured - which, unless you have a way of transporting on land, would mean a hangar or field with access to the sea or some calm inland waters.  In which case for them to get to the Norfolk Bridge would indicate land between the Harbour and the Bridge (assuming the footbridge did not exist).  Where has a shallow slope from bank to water and isn't already congested?   Golden Sands or where Watercraft was.

« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 10:44:55 am by Spinalman »
Spinalman

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2018, 10:53:33 am »
Nelson, Sorry I didn't read your second post. Yes it can't be on the river bank... so ignore my conjecture!  I think it is here and immediately below the red line... That indicates it was, as you correctly said, on the SW corner of Ferry Road and Old Fort Road junction.
Spinalman

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2018, 10:57:16 am »
But by 1924 that parcel of land was built on...
« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 11:00:55 am by Spinalman »
Spinalman

Doug Attrell

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2018, 11:00:31 am »
Interesting. I'm wondering if they could be Bessonneau hangars.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bessonneau_hangar

Lofty

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2018, 01:56:46 pm »
Once again eagle-eyed Nelson has got us all going !

Looking at the location in the first (Norfolk Bridge) photo above, and taking into account the dates, I thought that perhaps the large buildings may have been associated with the film industry.

Referring to NEB Wolters Bungalow Town book, on page 40 there is a paragraph which starts "The carpenters shop where all the sets were made was actually bigger than the studio stage, being 70 feet by 80 feet to allow for work to continue on more than one set at a time.  Additional buildings were put up: a storehouse of 140 feet by 20 feet and, later a generator house when some artificial light was introduced about 1922".

Could this be the answer ?



 
« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 02:02:45 pm by Lofty »
Lofty

Spinalman

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2018, 02:47:21 pm »
Mmm.. nice idea, but I am not so sure such a big workshop would be needed for set building, especially if it is so far from the set locations or the studios themselves.  The twin spans does look more like a hangar than anything else.
Spinalman

Lihpsir

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2018, 03:54:05 pm »
Re: Concrete hull construction.
Going back into the distant memory I remember my father telling me that these where built on the south side of the river opposite the Chemical works site where
a concrete hulled ship sat on the quay just after the war.
Clearer location where the Lower Brighton road went up and over the railway line just before the Maltings.

Lofty

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2018, 03:58:56 pm »
These buildings were huge.  I am surprised that we have never come across them before.

I have today trawled through my postcard and photo collections and not found any images of them whatsoever.

Although the buildings are aircraft hangars in style we know that there were no aeroplanes manufactured on or flown from the beach (or if there were, there are no records of them apart from Piffard's hydro-aeroplane).
Perhaps the hangers suited the purpose required and were available off the peg, so to speak.

As far as I can make out, any Shoreham based seaplanes that we know of were kept in hangars on the aerodrome and were taken to the river from there - see the photo below.
ps - ignore the caption on the photo, it's an Avro 503.





« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 04:34:13 pm by Lofty »
Lofty

Nelson

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2018, 05:54:15 pm »
That's as I see it too Lofty - it's almost as if it is something that should never have been there.

Spinalman

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2018, 05:56:41 pm »
Could they have been for sea trials rather than manufacture?  My map estimates still puts them where the old Coastguard buildings were, South of the red line on that map.  So they can't be on the river.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 05:58:32 pm by Spinalman »
Spinalman

Nelson

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2018, 07:07:06 pm »
Yes Spinalman and Lofty that is more in line with my thoughts (included on another forum website) as follows:-
"Of all the possibilities (assuming an untouched photo and it does look untouched) one may be sea plane hangars from WW1. The site looks to be near the spot where the coastguard cottages were and alongside them was the old lifeboat house that Piffard later used to house his seaplane. Could this have influenced intended use of the site for WW1 seaplane use but was thwarted with the end of hostilities?
Canvas and wood hangars could be (had to be in wartime conditions) erected/dismantled within a short time – these in the photo don’t seem to be the slightly pointed top Bessonau hangars but more like the rounded  wooden ‘Belfast’ roof struts.
I don’t believe I’m writing this – if they did exist why have we never known of them?" 
 

Spinalman

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2018, 07:13:24 pm »
I don’t believe I’m writing this – if they did exist why have we never known of them?"
... because we were too busy looking at the Mystery Towers!

PS. Do any of the images from the top of the 2nd Mystery Tower show the view West? That would be the same period and the hangars would be visible.

also I found this about the Crete ships:

The only other concrete ship to see service at
Shoreham was the seaplane tender RFC 109 (later
RAF 109) (Fig 7). It was based at Shoreham,
being discarded at the end of the Great War. It was
then acquired by the Brighton & Hove Gas Co .,
being used to transport tar from the gas works at
Portslade to Lennard & Co . Tarworks (latterly South
Western Tar) at Shoreham Beach .

http://sias2.pastfinder.org.uk/sih_1970_2008/35-2005.pdf


Now that implies Seaplanes flew from Shoreham and then lifted and recovered.  So where did they unload?  The tender would not get near the beach, so would have to recover and ship back up the river to... the airport? a dedicated hanger on the river?...
« Last Edit: October 08, 2018, 07:16:45 pm by Spinalman »
Spinalman