The Hamilton Dock & Pumphouse and the Caisson Gate

Built in 1867, the Caisson gate is one of the oldest remaining Harland Wolff constructions, and is actually a vessel, given the hull number 50 in H&W’s shipping register.

Hamilton Dock and Caisson Gate

The Hamilton Dock houses the SS Nomadic, and is the oldest graving dock on this side of the river Lagan. Built between 1864 and 1867, the dock is now listed as a historic scheduled monument, and for more than 120 years it was used for repairing, maintaining and fitting out ships. The small pumphouse at the Abercorn Basin end of the dock still contains the original pumping machinery, though the chimney has long been removed.

The Caisson gate is the original dock gate, and sits at the other end of the Hamilton dock to the Nomadic. Built in 1867, the Caisson gate is one of the oldest remaining Harland Wolff constructions, and is actually a vessel, given the hull number 50 in H&W’s shipping register. A hollow vessel built from wood and steel, its job was to stop water from going in or out of the Hamilton Dock. It would have been flooded to close the dock, or pumped dry to float it and allow it to be towed clear of the dock.

The black and white image above shows the Caisson gate in use when the SS Majestic was being completed around 1889-90.

Titanic Foundation Limited acquired the lease for the Hamilton Dock alongside the transfer of the SS Nomadic in April 2015.