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PLYMOUTH AND ITS ENVIRONS.

The south-west corner of Devonshire is admirably suited for a great naval station. Few portions of our coasts equal it in the facilities offered for works of such a description. Plymouth Sound, the estuary to the Tamar and the Plym, is a noble harbour, sheltered on the east, west, and north from winds and storms. As we approach the northern portion of this harbour or sound, we find it narrowed by the promontory of Mount Batten on the east, and the still bolder promontory of Mount Edgcumbe on the west. Arrived at the northern limit, where the citadel and Hoe of Plymouth form a termination to the Sound due northward, we find the inlet of the Catwater in the north-east, leading to the quays of Plymouth and to the River Plym; while in the north-west we have the remarkable passage or strait between Cremill Point and Mount Edgcumbe. Having passed through this strait, we come at once into the magnificent harbour of the Hamoaze, where a secure anchorage is found for whole fleets of men-of-war; here, too, are seen the extensive works of the Devonport Dockyard, Victualling Yard, Steam Dock, and other Government establishments. Proceeding onwards towards Saltash, we come to the River Tamar, the lower portion of which is so broad as to form a harbour for three miles. The bays and inlets all around and within the Sound and the Hamaoze are so numerous, as to afford remarkable facilities for the construction of works connected with ship-building, fortifications, naval defence, and maritime commerce.

But this nook of the country has other claims also to our attention. There are around it scenes of great loveliness and beauty. We may take our departure from the sea-margin, with its bustle of shipping and commerce, and in a few minutes find ourselves surrounded by all the attractions of rivers and valleys, and of a fruitful agricultural district. It is, too, within a short distance of the rich mining districts of Cornwall on the one hand, and the vast storehouse of granite at Dartmoor on the other.

We proceed now to give a slight sketch of Plymouth and Devonport as maritime towns, to glance at some of the varied scenes by which these towns are surrounded, and to peep at one or two of the Cornish mines.

Devonport has possessed the honours of a town for comparatively a few years only. Its original importance was wholly due to the existence of the Government ship-yard. Groups of houses for the workmen and the officers gradually grew up around the yard, and there formed a town or hamlet, to which the name of Plymouth Dock was given; but so large did the population become, and so important the place generally, that it has within our own generation been made a distinct town, by the name of Devonport. A wide space once separated the two towns ; but bricks and mortar have nearly taken the place of the green grass.

As at present exhibited to our view, the entire town (if we may so speak) consists of five parts—Plymouth, Devonport, Stonehouse, Stoke Damerel, and Morice Town ; and these are separated or indented by the numerous inlets and bays which, as we

before remarked, give so much maritime value to the whole district. Let us endeavour to give a general sketch of the place; and to do this we will begin at the north-east corner of Plymouth Sound. Here we find a kind of estuary called the Catwater, into which the River Lara or Plym empties its waters, approaching it from the north-east. On the south-east of this river (which is generally called the Plym in its upper part, and the Lara or Laira in its lower), near the mouth, are the quarries of Oreston, of which we shall have somewhat to say presently; and on the north-west is an elevated peninsula called Catdown, which is connected with the Oreston side of the river by an elegant bridge. If Plymouth should ever extend much beyond its present limits on the south-east, Catdown will afford some fine sites for terraces and crescents; but as yet the hod and the trowel have not done much there. The peninsula of Catdown is bounded on the east and south-east by the Lara, on the south and south-west by the Catwater, and on the north-west by Sutton Pool. Once arrived at Sutton Pool, and we have no longer any doubt of our whereabouts. Plymouth and its quays and ships, sailors and boatmen, slop-sellers and marine store-dealers, warehouses and wharfs, public-houses and eating-houses, mud and dirt--all are before us. The busy part of Plymouth lies around Sutton Pool, which forms its harbour. Inland or northward extend long ranges of streets, forming the centre of the town; while at the south-west corner of Sutton Pool, where the entrances both to Sutton Pool and to the Catwater branch out of the Sound, is situated the commanding hill on which the citadel or fort is built. Alas for the hostile ship that should attempt to pass this citadel into either of the two inlets here named!

The citadel is bounded on the west by the fine wide, open, elevated expanse called the Hoe; and this again is bounded on the west by Mill Bay-an inlet much wider than Sutton Pool. North ward of the Hoe and Mill Bay are the western portions of Plymouth, and the rapidly extending town or suburb of Stonehouse, which has nearly filled up all the open space which once existed between Plymouth and Devonport. Mill Bay is bounded on the west by a very remarkable promontory, so bold and so elongated, and connected with Stonehouse by so narrow an isthmus, that one could almost imagine that it will one day be cut off into an island by one of those freaks of wind and water which take such liberties with our coasts. This promontory is called Cremill Point or Devil's Point, and on it is built one of the finest of the Government establishments—the Royal William Victualling Yard. Rounding this promontory, we come to another inlet, Stonehouse Pool, which is the mouth of a shallow stream called Stonehouse Creek, or sometimes Mill Lake; when seen at low water it is anything but a beautiful lake, but at high water it winds gracefully between the towns. Stonehouse Pool and Creek form a very decided division between Plymouth and Stonehouse on the one hand, and Devonport and Stoke on the other; and although there are two bridges, yet this water boundary will always point out the beginning and the end of the two pairs of towns. Crossing Stonehouse Pool, we arrive at the lines' or fortifications of Devonport; and immediately afterwards see before us Mount Wise—a rival to the Hoe in all that renders the latter attractive. Mount Wise is an elevated, gravelled, park-like spot; northward of it is Devonport town, north-west is the dockyard, and south-west, across the strait or entrance to the Hamoaze, is the lovely Mount Edgcumbe. At Mutton Cove, a small inlet, which bounds Mount Wise on the west, the coast line turns northward ; and the dockyard, the gun wharf, the steam ferry station, and the vast new steam-dock at Keyham Point, may be considered as fronting the west. Stoke Damerel is an inland suburb, which is becoming more and more filled up with rows of houses : it lies north of Stonehouse and north-east of Devonport.

To sum up this sketch, we may consider the united towns as presenting, seaward, four projections or promontories, marked by the Catdown, the Hoe, Cromill Point, and Mount Wise; and separated by three inlets, Sutton Pool, Mill Bay, and Stonehouse Pool. Rows of houses now extend pretty nearly to the Lara, and if we allow this river to form the eastern limit, we have a length of three miles in a direct line westward to the dockyard, while the breadth from Cremill Point to Higher Stoke may be a mile and a half.

PLYMOUTH, we are told, was originally inhabited by fishermen ; and such was probably the case. By the Saxons it was called Tameorworth. After the Norman Conquest it received the name of South Down, or Sutton; which name is still retained in Sutton Pool. In the time of Edward I. the northern part of the town, built on the land of the Priory of Plympton, was called Sutton Prior; while the southern part, built on the estate of the Valletorts, was distinguished as Sutton Valletort. There appears also to have been a third portion called Sutton Ralph. In the reign of Henry II. it was, according to Leland, “a mene thing as an inhabitation for fischars." The name of Plymouth (rightly named as being at the mouth of the Plym) was given to it about 1380. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the French cast many a wistful eye on Plymouth, and subjected it to repeated attacks, in some of which the town suffered severely; especially in 1403, when six hundred houses were burned. Both sovereign and townsmen thought it full time to adopt some defensive measures. Henry VI. fortified and incorporated the town, although it is supposed to have been a borough by prescription from an earlier date. The fortifications consisted of a wall, a square tower at the point where the citadel now stands, and forts extending along the shore to Mill Bay; and an Act of Parliament was passed, in 1512, for enlarging and strengthening the defences. On the dissolution of the monasteries, the lordship of the town and other immunities of the Priory of Plympton were granted to the mayor and corporation of Plymouth. Sir Francis Drake, who was born not many miles from Plymouth, greatly befriended the town. By his influence with Queen Elizabeth, he obtained an Act of Parliament, empowering him to bring a leat or stream of water from Dartmoor, twenty-five miles distant, to a reservoir in the northern suburb of the town, whence an ample supply was furnished to the inhabitants. On the Ordnance map this stream, under the name of the Plymouth Leat, may be seen winding its way along from the hilly region towards the sea. It is difficult to imagine a greater boon to a town than this; for three centuries the leat has continued to furnish its supply, uncontaminated by town refuse.

The later history of Plymouth need not engage us long. With few exceptions, it is a bistory of advancement. We may here say that Stonehouse has a history of its own, but not an important one. Stonehouse was originally called Hippeston—the name of a mansion first inhabited by Joel de Stonehouse, in the reign of Edward III. This is sometimes called East Stonehouse, to distinguish it from West Stonehonse, which once stood on the other side of the Hamoaze. During the civil wars, the men of Stonehouse and the men of Plymouth, for reasons which we cannot now assign, took different sides: the former took part with the king, while the Plymouth men sided with the Parliament, and underwent three sieges, all of which they successfully resisted. Devonport may date its birth from the reign of William and Mary, when a naval station was established there, under the designation of Plymouth Dock, and land was purchased for the construction of docks and other works. It was first fortified in the reign of George II. and the fortifications were considerably enlarged in the next reign. In 1824, the royal permission was obtained for the assumption of the name of Devonport; and in 1832, another sprinkling of dignity showered upon it, in the shape of an elective franchise. Meanwhile Stonehouse had been gradually acquiring importance by the construction of Government buildings within its limits ; such as the Royal Marine Barracks, the Royal Naval Hospital, the Royal Military Hospital, and more recently the magnificent Victualling Yard on Cremill Point. Plymouth; too, continued to advance; but this advance was rather in a commercial than a warlike direction. Devonport lives by Government expenditure: Plymouth chiefly by mercantile expenditure.

THE DOCKYARD.-We will suppose the reader to do, as most visitors do, run off to look at the dockyard before attending much to the towns of Plymouth and Devonport. All the hotel-keepers are alive to this thirst of curiosity; and whether located at the * London,' or the Royal,' or elsewhere, you can have no difficulty in procuring the requisite card of admission-unless you unfortunately smack of the foreigner in complexion or accent, in which case a little more scruple is exhibited.

The Dockyard is a wide-spreading self-contained establishment, extending nearly half a mile from north to south, by half as much from east to west. A lofty wall, with one single entrance-gate, bounds its whole extent on the land side. Entering within this gate, we see before us a wide open court, bounded on each side by buildings. One of the first of these buildings which we meet with is the Dockyard Chapel, which has its chaplain and organist, and other functionaries, and internal arrangements to accommodate the resident officers of the dockyard, while the free seats are open to all indiscriminately; for the dockyard gates are opened for this purpose on Sundays. The chapel is large but simple, and calls for no particular comment. Near the entrance of the dockyard, also, are the Guard-house, the Payoffice, and a Dockyard Surgery.

To understand the industrial arrangements of the yard we must first know what work is done there. To build ships then ; to build boats of all sizes; to fashion masts, and yards, and bowsprits for the ships; to spin and twist ropes; to cut and sew sails; to forge anchors and other heavy specimens of metal; and to fit together all the various portions of a ship—these are the labours of the dockyard. On these labours, and on others subsidiary to them, nearly 3000 men and boys are employed. This force is classified in about forty divisions. When a Government inquiry was being conducted in 1848, the chief groups were ascertained to be filled up as follows :-Shipwrights, 894; Labourers, 619; Spinners, 235; Smiths, 211; Joiners, 198 ; Riggers, 208; and Sawyers, 132. There are two classes-established and hired workmen. The first have a sort of claim on the continued support of the Government; but the others have not. That the employment of such a force leads to the expenditure of a large amount of money in Devonport need hardly be said ; the salaries of officers and superintendents amounted, in 1848, to £20,000; and the wages of workmen and labourers to about £130,000; and the navy estimates for 1850-1851 give about the same figures. In these estimates are enumerated seventeen chief officers, at salaries varying from £200 to £1000 each ; twenty-six clerks, at salaries from £80 to £450 each ; and fifty foremen, &c., at salaries from £100 to £250 each.

The most important feature in the yard is the assemblage of docks and slips, in which the ships are built and repaired. There are six building slips for vessels of various dimensions; and five docks for fitting and repairing vessels, three for first-rates, and two for second-rates. The building slips are covered with immense roofs of sheetiron, copper, or zinc, and beneath these roofs the huge fabrics of the ships rest in shelter, until they are dismissed from the shipwrights' hands. Devonport has not produced so many first-rate men-of-war as Portsmouth, but she still boasts a goodly list. There were twenty-seven war ships of various sizes built on these slips in the twenty-one years from 1828 to 1848; among which were the St. George of 120 guns, the Royal Adelaide of 110 guns, and the Albion of 90 guns. It is impossible to stand under the projecting bow of one of these huge floating castles, as it stands in the building slip, without a feeling of astonishment. The vast quantity of wood employed, the bulky scantling of many of the beams, the art with which the shape of the timber is accommodated to the curve of the ship, the strength with which the timbers are made to hold together in spite of wind and waves, the calculation required to fit the interior for the reception of everything necessary for a complement of (perhaps) a thousand men, the process of transferring this monster to the element upon which it is to float, by merely knocking away a few wedgesmall combine to render a man-of-war on the slip' an object of great interest and importance to every beholder.

The timber required in the construction of large war vessels is enormous; and the quality is of so much importance, that no part of the Admiralty's duties in respect to the dockyards requires more care than the provision and selection of timber. There were 6000 loads of timber used in Devonport dockyard in 1847. The large consumption of timber renders it necessary to keep a reserve store so extensive that a sudden war would not find our dockyards unprepared ; and the timber-sheds show how orderly and systematically this great reserve is stored. The " conversion ” of the timber is the selection of pieces fitted in quality and in shape to the various curvatures of a ship, and the process of sawing and otherwise shaping, are important preliminaries to the shipwrights' labours. A visitor may pick up much information on all these points while being conducted round the yard ; but he must make good use of his eyes and thoughts the while.

The dockyard contains rather combustible materials, and has not always escaped mischief. A fire occurred in 1840, which did much damage ; besides burning, or injuring timbers, sheds, roofs, docks, and workshops, it destroyed two ships, the Talavera and the Imogene, and greatly injured a third, the Minden. The whole loss was estimated at £80,000.

In looking at the large docks and slips in this yard, we cannot fail to encounter the immense new dock now being formed, and which has been in formation several years. Explosions from time to time tell us that blasting is going on; and a glance at the vast cavity already made suffices to show that rock of great hardness is being excavated to a considerable depth. The estimate for these works amounted to the enormous sum of £345,000. The works were commenced in 1840, and by 1848 upwards of £100,000 had been expended upon them.

The longest buildings in the dockyard—as they are indeed the longest in any manufacturing establishments—are the Rope-houses. There are two of these buildings, each 1200 feet in length, one of them being built of stone, fire-proof. The largest of the works here conducted is the making of cables, of which the first-class are 100 fathoms in length by 25 inches in circumference. But the days of these monster hempen cables are nearly past; chain cables of wrought iron are used more and more extensively every year, and the rope house is occupied by the makers of smaller kinds of ropes. When an inventory of the stores in the Government yards was prepared in 1848, the number of chain cables was entered at 645, of which 165 (measuring 100 fathoms each) were for first, second, or third-class ships-a store this, which seems to show a tolerable provision in case of sudden exigencies. So important has the stock of chain-cables now become, that the Government built in the Devonport dockyard, between 1844 and 1848, a chain-cable storehouse, which cost nearly £40,000, If the reader is inclined to hear more of these yard stores, we may state that, at the same time, the stock of masts—those huge, tall, straight, ponderous timbers--was 533;

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