« ForrigeFortsett »
by the Trinity House at the Liverpool Exhibition of 1886.
A survey and chart dated 1771, executed by M. Mackenzie, shows the old Formby, Rock, and Horse Channels, the former with twelve feet as the least water, and the others with three feet. These channels were buoyed after the method which has become the uniform system recently adopted by all maritime countries, which recognises the advantage of distinguishing buoys marking the sides of a channel by their shape rather than by their colour; thus, conical buoys, painted red, are placed on the starboard hand of a channel coming in from sea, and can buoys, painted black, on the port side.
The Duke of Edinburgh, when presiding at a conference in 1882–3 on the subject of a uniform system, strongly favoured the Liverpool method.
New lights were also introduced, viz., two at Bootle, to lead up the Rock Channel, and the present Bidston light, which superseded the inner light at Leasowe.
The Bidston light on the hill, and the Leasowe light on the shore, were required to indicate the line of sailing up the Horse Channel from sea.
A chart published by Laurie, in 1794, gave directions for sailing through the Horse, Rock, and Formby Channels, the depths of water remaining the same as they were in 1771; the channels being also buoyed in the same
The two Bootle landmarks, the lights of which had been discontinued, were the leading marks in line over the bar of the Rock Channel.
Floating lights were not introduced until 1813, eightyone years ago, when parliamentary powers were obtained for the levying of dues for the maintenance of the N. W. Lightship, which was then stationed to indicate the entrance to the Horse Channel, with Leasowe and Bidston
Lighthouses in a line bearing 8. E., now the site of the Horse Channel Fairway Bell Beacon. The years 1819 to 1825 were occupied by Francis Giles in making surveys of the River Mersey and Liverpool Bay. The bay channels showed considerable changes since 1813; their buoyage, however, being still confined to the two inshore channels. The first stone of the Rock Lighthouse was laid on June 8th, 1827, was completed two years later, and opened on the 1st March, 1830.
In 1833, at the request of the port authorities, Lieut. Denham, R.N., who afterwards became Admiral Sir H. M. Denham, F.R.S., was despatched from the survey of the Bristol Channel, just completed, to survey the sea channels of Liverpool Bay. This resulted in the discovery of a new channel, which was, at Denham's earnest suggestion, buoyed and lighted for day and night navigation. This new channel laid in the direction of W. $ N. from the Formby Lighthouse, which was erected and lighted in 1834, its bar had ten feet over it at low water of spring tides, and its outer edge was five and three-quarter miles from the Formby Lighthouse, which displayed a fixed light of the natural colour. In addition to the above, a floating light was also established, and exhibited a red flag by day and a red light by night, to act in conjunction with the Formby Lighthouse as a leading line over the bar of the new channel. It was named the Formby Lightship, and was moored six and a half miles N. by W. 1 W. from Rock Lighthouse, which at the time displayed a revolving light of two white flashes and one red.
The bar of the new channel was nearly a quarter of a mile wide by half a mile long, and a fairway buoy was also stationed three-quarters of a mile outside of it, in twenty-four feet at low water on the leading line of lights above described.
In the Crosby Channel, the N. E. elbow of Great Burbo Bank was only four miles distant from the Rock Lighthouse.
The entrance into the old Formby Channel was also buoyed and further indicated by a beacon erected above high water mark, near the lifeboat house, and called the N. W. mark, which, together with the Formby Lighthouse, denoted that channel course on a bearing of 8. E. } S. This mark occupied the site where the Formby lifeboat flagstaff now stands.
In 1837 an important change for the worse observed in Denham's new channel. The shoal ridge of the bar had widened considerably, and the channel itself had become so tortuous as to necessitate three courses to the Formby Lightship instead of one. The Formby Lighthouse had its light changed to red, and the Formby Lightvessel to white, and a bell beacon was placed outside the bar in lieu of the fairway buoy of 1833.
The last chart of the bay issued by Captain Denham, in 1838, showed further deterioration of the new channel, but fortunately gave intimation of a new cut breaking through, about three-quarters of a mile to the northward, so that Denham's new channel only lasted five years.
Before we take leave of Captain Denham, who, after 1833, had been retained by the Dock Committee as the first Marine Surveyor to the port, and who had inaugurated annual surveys of Liverpool Bay, it may be well to state that his eminent services to the port of Liverpool were fittingly recognised when he received a letter, dated 3rd July, 1834, from the Mayor of the good old town, John Wright, Esq., informing him that the Common Council had been pleased at their meeting on the previous day to present him unanimously the freedom of the borough. But this was not all; the matter was referred to the Admiralty by the Mayor and members of the Dock Committee, and as a special mark of their lordship’s appreciation of his services, Lieut. Denham was specially promoted to the rank of Commander. It must be borne in mind that Denham was the first to seal the doom of the Horse and Rock Channels as the principal entrance to the Mersey. I have often been told that it was a very pretty sight on a clear day to witness from Everton Hill the sailing traffic of the port, either running in before the westerly breeze, or working out against it, as the case might be, of ships inward or outward bound; but the Rock Channel was even then narrow and inconvenient, not to say dangerous, for vessels of heavy burdens in those days, say from 500 to 600 tons.
The year 1839 was ushered in by one of the most terrific gales on record, which took place in January, and brought about considerable changes in the principal channels. In a few months the new cut of 1838 broke through. Denham's channel of 1833 became closed to navigation and its buoyage removed. The new cut was named the Victoria Channel, and was buoyed by Lieutenant Lord, R.N., who succeeded Captain Denham.
The Formby Lighthouse being no further guide had its red light discontinued and transferred to a new square tower erected one and a half miles towards Crosby Point, and called the Crosby Lighthouse. The bar of Victoria Channel had nine feet upon it at low water of spring tides, was a quarter of a mile wide by three quarters of a mile long, and was six miles distant from the disused Formby Lighthouse.
In 1840 the Clarence was still the northernmost dock, as in 1833. In this year no change appeared in the Victoria Channel, but the navigation of the Crosby Channel was improved by the addition of a lightship called