From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

British Waterways Warehouse

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The British Waterways Warehouse is located in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. It acted as a goods transfer terminal between the river Trent and the railway.

The Nottingham Corporation gained control by Royal Assent in 1915, of a portion of the Trent Navigation from 1917 which stretched between Nottingham and Newark. After World War I it took over from the Trent Navigation Company and set about improving the waterways. New locks were built and the river deepened in key areas.

In Nottingham a new terminus was built. A transit shed was built in 1928 and two warehouses soon after. The first warehouse was built along the river and a basin dock was constructed with the second warehouse along side with another transit shed. Railway lines ran alongside the warehouses and linked up with the L.M.S. railway a short distance away.

The warehouses are constructed from reinforced concrete, the first warehouse with four floors and the second with five. Each floor is 170 foot long and 50 foot wide. The ground floors are made of reinforced concrete treated to lessen dust and the upper floors are made of wood laid down on reinforced concrete.

The cargo was handled by electric fork trucks capable of 100 feet per second over the full length of the warehouse and could stack goods to a height of nine feet above the floor level. These could also load goods from barges onto railway trucks, load lorries or drays at the many bays. The upper floors had four electric hoists of ten cwt capacity, two of them work inside pent houses so barges can be unloaded or loaded under cover in wet weather handling water sensitive goods. As well as electrically operated machinery, spiral sack chutes were installed as well as gravity chutes able to handle loads 3 ft 3 in wide.

With these improvements and expansion the annual tonnage dramatically increased from 29,062 tons in 1913 to 284,666 tones in 1932.

Nottingham proved its worth as an inland port, with the Trent navigable at all seasons of the year from Nottingham to the sea. In addition to the river service with the Humber ports, there was a canal service via Leicester and the Grand Union Canal between Nottingham and London, and also services between Nottingham and Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool. The service was mainly by steam or motor barges, and the canal carriers have first-class accommodation for the storage and handling of traffic

Sadly it all came to an end with the decline of the canals, the Beeching Axe of the railways and motor transport becoming the norm with the construction of the motorways.