Author Topic: No - it can't be! (Seaplane Base?)  (Read 5035 times)

Nelson

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #30 on: October 17, 2018, 09:02:54 am »
Yes but it’s frustratingly unclear to be sure. Another consideration is that the 1879 map shows an old oyster bed ‘wall’ ridge around point that the left ridge appears in the photo?

Spinalman

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #31 on: October 18, 2018, 08:26:25 am »
Hi guys,

I see this thread continues to intrigue. I can't see the slip way you guys are speaking about.

My fourpence worth: I am still convinced the two hangars are rigid construction and on the sea side not riverside. I disagree with Brian's blue circle location and I believe it is on the same line of sight but further distance - ie where I earlier stated, on the corner of Ferry Road / Old Fort Road junction where the Coastguards properties used to be  http://www.shorehambysea.com/blockade-coastguard-station/ , and adjacent to the Lifeboat House that as Nelson says, was used for aviation use (and presumably had easy access). The bungalows between us and Ripley are evident and nothing is to be seen beyond the hangars.  I think the other reason to doubt a riverside location is that West of the footbridge offers little value as a launch area - indeed the undeveloped Watercraft site would be a better choice, but that is still not as good as a seaside hangar - especially as if constructed for trials they would need to be for launch/landing at sea, and if for operational reasons they would be for shipping protection as Lofty suggests - again sea access the priority.  Also note that the Shoreham-based concrete RAF tender that was mentioned earlier would be recovering from the sea... as there would be no need for a tender if they were recovering from a river due to the proximity to a slipway IF there was a hangar on the river front.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 08:45:42 am by Spinalman »
Spinalman

Nelson

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #32 on: October 18, 2018, 09:50:48 am »
Yes, I would have thought on the beach Spinalman but my first reaction to your thoughts was that there were too many existing bungalows in the area as well as the old coastguard/blockade cottages as shown on the 1912 map. But – could it be that the hangars were what hastened the demolition of the cottages? Once the cottages were removed the ground area left (without tremoving any bungalows) would have been big enough to take even those large hangars – the bungalows shown in the same area on the 1931 map (coloured red) were obviously built later.

Spinalman

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #33 on: October 18, 2018, 10:11:29 am »
Hi Nelson,

I think all map references are especially suspect in this location and especially during this period. The maps we have seen are often revisions or 20 years out of date either way, and bungalows here were often temporary, and of course the beach properties were built, demolished, built again during the war and again afterwards.   So some plots in and around Ferry Road have seen 5 or 6 properties in the space of 50 years.  The maps don't seem to bear much correlation to equivalent date aerial photos. Whilst the hangars could have been demolished without a trace, the concrete pad would have been less easy to remove... I wonder if anything remained?
« Last Edit: October 18, 2018, 10:15:59 am by Spinalman »
Spinalman

Nelson

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #34 on: October 18, 2018, 06:57:22 pm »
Britain from Above aerial photos seem to show - not just the footprint but the concrete ramp as well.Seems to settle it I guess.

Spinalman

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #35 on: October 19, 2018, 09:26:29 am »
By Jove! I think you have the conclusive proof there Nelson!

I have had a revisit the OS maps and have tried to provide an accurate marker on current plots. This is my best estimate based on the ramp and the homes that were demolished prior to WWII.
Spinalman

Spinalman

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #36 on: October 19, 2018, 09:30:53 am »
Curiously the 1949 detail shows posts in the front of the ramp.  And secondly there is another walled ramp to the East that sits closer to the sea... I wonder if this was a later extension or a separate structure?

Nelson. How big is your spade? Fancy nipping over the bridge and shifting the shingle to find the concrete ramp?

There is a certain irony in that the Council are about to embark on laying another £100,000 of plastic boardwalk over this bit yet are oblivious to the potential archaeological discovery beneath. Oh well - add that to the newly buried Pill Boxes that are lost forever at the airport!
« Last Edit: October 19, 2018, 12:54:08 pm by Spinalman »
Spinalman

Nelson

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #37 on: October 19, 2018, 12:50:03 pm »
My James Bond-like days of butch antics like that are well and truly over I’m afraid Spinalman. I am a bit concerned about the loss of the airport pill boxes though – I hadn’t heard about that. I see the official progress report states that they will ‘remain as islands’ – hasn’t that happened?

Spinalman

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #38 on: October 19, 2018, 12:52:54 pm »
I am a bit concerned about the loss of the airport pill boxes though – I hadn’t heard about that. I see the official progress report states that they will ‘remain as islands’ – hasn’t that happened?
There is a lively spat on FB about some of the pillboxes being carefully archaeologically explored, recorded, photographed and then covered in a few tons of earth to "preserve" them and prevent damage from vandals.  There was PR statement about intending to make islands of them but word has it (and I am not in Shoreham so can't confirm) that they buried them and the PR was all talk.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2018, 01:48:31 pm by Spinalman »
Spinalman

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #39 on: October 19, 2018, 12:54:59 pm »
I bet whoever built that swimming pool will have had to dig through a few feet of concrete!

What is interesting is that the Western ramp is there in 1924. The additional eastern ramp is there in 1949... built after the hangars had been removed. So why would anyone invest in building a second ramp (between 1927 and 1946) to be adjacent a redundant but servicable ramp to the West?  It is evident in 1946. Was there a temporary, bigger seaplane base there during WWII possibly?  we know that there was a Walrus Squadron of Search and Rescue at Shoreham - Would it make some sense to have amphibious aircraft on the beach?

« Last Edit: October 19, 2018, 01:07:30 pm by Spinalman »
Spinalman

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #40 on: October 19, 2018, 01:12:36 pm »
RNAS Newhaven has a website. Maybe Shoreham was an annexe?

http://www.cherrymortgages.com/historic_britain/RAF_Newhaven_Seaford_Bay_Air_Station_WWI.htm

The photo of the hangars looks, to me, to be very similar to Shoreham.(120ft x 50ft – approx. 36.6m x 15.25m)... and the layout would fit at Shoreham. Newhaven opened in 1917 and disbanded in 1919.
Interestingly, Newhaven was surveyed by SAS in 2009.
One of Newhaven's bigger hangars is still in use- in Wimbledon.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2018, 01:42:13 pm by Spinalman »
Spinalman

Nelson

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #41 on: October 19, 2018, 02:29:14 pm »
Do you find that after a while doubt starts to creep in about things you were sure of to begin with? I’m having one of those moments now – the 1949 image shows wooden piles in front of the ‘ramp’ that surely would have impeded aircraft there. Additionally there appears to be a wall on the seaward side, not a ramp. Look at the 1924 photo, that seems to have a wall too that would have prevented aircraft from being wheeled up there? Were they after all merely sea defences for the properties behind?
« Last Edit: October 19, 2018, 02:33:04 pm by Nelson »

Spinalman

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #42 on: October 19, 2018, 02:47:02 pm »
Do you find that after a while doubt starts to creep in about things you were sure of to begin with? I’m having one of those moments now – the 1949 image shows wooden piles in front of the ‘ramp’ that surely would have impeded aircraft there. Additionally there appears to be a wall on the seaward side, not a ramp. Look at the 1924 photo, that seems to have a wall too that would have prevented aircraft from being wheeled up there? Were they after all merely sea defences for the properties behind?

Hi Roger,

Yes I did look and check. Those sea defence piles/groynes are not in the 1920's photos. The western ramp has posts that could be demountable, and are most probably retrospective installation ( for windbreaks, remnant of garden fence?).    Earlier the Western ramp appears to have been entirely walled at some time - presumably new owners wished to enclose their plot of two houses. (to avoid a council assuming it was theirs and build a plastic boardwalk on it.)
The 1924 image also shows a pedestrian access through the centre of the seaward wall, a rail carriage on the plot and a marquee on the grass. I am guessing both the houses were maybe using that as access to the sea. Maybe they were a holiday camp /guest houses. Timaru and Lalerne

As for the wall to the eastern ramp - look at the people clustered on that right hand bit - are they on a ramp or sitting on the lowest part of a wall. What is more interesting is there seems to be a full width step in the ramp at the back...  So what would be the reason to build such a structure after 1927 and before 1946?   Leisure?   Edit: Looking to the East then the now demolished Lido (extant in 1938 but gone in 46)  may explain why they built the Eastern Ramp/structure.  I can only think they tried to Butlinfy the beach to be thwarted by the war.

I think the fundamentals are correct:

We have a clear image of two hangars in 1921-1923. We have a concrete pad and ramp that was there in 1924.  Both structures look identical to a similar one at Newhaven.  We have a seaplane tender being stationed at Shoreham Harbour during the war.  and we know that Piffard had a plane in the old Lifeboat station adjacent to our site.   What other post-war austerity reason could anyone have to build such structures?
« Last Edit: October 21, 2018, 11:17:10 am by Spinalman »
Spinalman

Nelson

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #43 on: October 19, 2018, 04:04:13 pm »
Thank you Paul, the dream is still alive! (well, the discovery of a possible seaplane site anyway)

Spinalman

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Re: No - it can't be!
« Reply #44 on: October 19, 2018, 04:06:38 pm »
Thank you Paul, the dream is still alive! (well, the discovery of a possible seaplane site anyway)
maybe mention it to SAS or Newhaven Museum... they might send Tony Robinson to dig up the beach.
Spinalman