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1 Keel blocks
Time spent by ships in the dock
was measured in tides rather than in days.
Typically, ships would spend a maximum of two weeks in the dock, being cleaned, re-painted, fitted with propellers or anchors, or repaired. Rental rates were high and ship-builders preferred to use the dry dock only when it was absolutely necessary.
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Left Hamilton Dock, c.1902
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· Metal plates on either side of the dock's entrance cover screw mechanisms which were used to open and close the sluice gates of the dock's inlet and outlet culverts.
· Basalt tool chutes installed on the edge of the dock provided a quick and safe way to transfer tools from the dockside to the dock floor.
Arabic and Roman numerals are carved into the wall by the caisson to indicate the depth of the water. Can you spot something unusual about these numbers?
[Diagram showing numerals and mock water level]
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spaced along the dockside allowed ships to be moored securely by attaching ropes to them.
· Capstans were used to control the movements of a ship being floated into the dock. By turning levers [cut?] into the capstan's drum, ropes wound around it could be tightened or released.
· The stepped sides, known as altar[?] courses, were designed to support the wooden props, or shears, that held the ship in place. Alexandra Graving Dock
· Divers had an important role to play in the operation of the dock. Alexandra Graving Dock, c.1900
· Keel blocks are the large blocks on which ships rested while in the dock. Hamilton Dock in 1872.