Port of Newhaven

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Port of Newhaven
Newhaven Marina and Port - geograph.org.uk - 1216489.jpg
View of Newhaven marina and ferry port
Location
Country England
Location Newhaven, East Sussex
Coordinates 50°47′23″N 0°03′16″E / 50.78961°N 0.05437°E / 50.78961; 0.05437Coordinates: 50°47′23″N 0°03′16″E / 50.78961°N 0.05437°E / 50.78961; 0.05437
Details
Opened 1847
Operated by Newhaven Port & Properties Ltd
Owned by Department of Seine-Maritime, France
Type of harbor Natural/Artificial with Marina
Website
http://www.newhavenportauthority.co.uk

The Port of Newhaven is a port and associated docks complex located within Newhaven, East Sussex, England, situated at the mouth of the River Ouse.

International ferries run to the French port of Dieppe, Seine-Maritime, a distance of 75.5mi.[1] Although there are some derelict signs of the one-time train ferry operations, the harbour still sees a great deal of freight and passengers movement.[2]

The port is also served by Newhaven Harbour railway station.

History[edit]

The fish village of Newhaven was of little maritime importance until the opening of the railway line to Lewes in 1847.

Seaford branch[edit]

From 1864, under instruction from the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) which had acquired lands around the then fishing village, their Chief Engineer Frederick Banister was instructed to design a new commercial-scale port facility and transport access system.[3]

In 1864, Banister eabled the construction of the Seaford Branch Line from the East Coastway Line at Lewes via Newhaven town to Newhaven harbour, on the east side of the river. This would later allow the bulk transport and supply of building materials to enable construction of the docks at Newhaven.

LB&SCR passenger ferry services[edit]

A map showing the main LB&SCR ferry routes in 1888

Up until this point, cross-channel passenger services from London to Paris, had mainly operated from Brighthelmstone (now Brighton) using the 1820 completed Chain Pier, and secondly from Shoreham. However, both of these ports severely restricted the size of accessible vessels, and hence volume and profit from a commercial passenger operation.[4]

With the opening of the Seaford branchline, the LB&SCR funded the dredging of the harbours channel, and then other associated improvements between 1850 and 1878.[5] This enabled the company to operate three new purpose built mahogany-hulled paddle steamers with oscillating engines from the harbour, called: Newhaven; Brighton; and Dieppe. LB&SCR proposed to use these on services to Dieppe, but at the time France was entering a period of revolution. The exiled last King of France, Louis Philippe I and his Queen, used the port in 1848 during their flight from France,[6] staying overnight at the Bridge Hotel in Bridge Street before travelling onwards to London the next day.[4]

After completion of the new docks facility, the LB&SCR funded the dredging of the channel, and the other improvements to the harbour between 1850 and 1878, to enable it to be used by cross channel ferries.[7]

Although the Newhaven-Dieppe service was discontinued soon after its establishment,[8] in 1850 it established a Newhaven-Jersey ferry service. In 1853 it re-instated the Dieppe service, which flourished because it provided the claimed shortest land and sea route between London and Paris.[8] By this time the LB&SCR had built both a new passenger terminal, and the imposing London and Paris Hotel to enable the increased activity.[4]

An 1862 Act of Parliament gave the LB&SCR power to own and operate its own steam vessels.[9] Resultantly, in 1863 the companies French-partner Chemins de Fer de l'Ouest agreed to operate the Newhaven-Dieppe passenger service jointly. Although advertised as the "shortest and cheapest" route to Paris,[10] it was never the quickest because of the much longer time taken at sea than the rival Dover to Calais route.[11]

1878 expansion[edit]

Due to expanding cross-channel services and shortage of quay capacity at Newhaven, in 1863 the LB&SCR transferred the Jersey service to Littlehampton, and soon afterwards established the Littlehampton-Honfleur service.

In light of increased passenger and commercial activity, and with increased competition from the Port of Dover, the LB&SCR instructed Banister to greatly expand the port. After guiding the required approvals through the UK parliament, Banister personally managed the civil engineering works for the new docks in 1878, without the use of contractors, including:[3]

  • The provision of new and additional quays
  • The construction of new sea-walls
  • New entrance piers and lighthouses
  • The building of a concrete breakwater, extending seawards for 800 yards (730 m)

The resultant works created through reclamation several new acres of land which were subsequently developed and then sub-leased to various industrial companies.[3]

Peak operations: 1880s-1930s[edit]

A view of Newhaven Harbour railway station, taken sometime in the early 1900s

The village of Newhaven greatly expanded on the back of the works to a town, as they allowed a large increase in both trade and subsequently population.[3] Imports included French farm products and manufactures, timber, granite and slates.[12]

The harbour was officially recognised as The Port of Newhaven in 1882.[13]

Southern Railway: 1923-1948[edit]

As a result of the Railways Act 1921, in January 1923 the LB&SCR was merged with its local rivals to form the Southern Railway (SR). In addition to inheriting railway operations, the SR also gained several important South Coast of England port and harbour facilities, all constrcuted at least in part for handling ocean-going and cross-channel passneger traffic. Including Newhaven, these included Folkestone and the larger Port of Southampton. The SR also ran railways services to the harbours at Portsmouth, Dover and Plymouth. This source of regular passenger traffic, together with the density of population served in the London suburbs, ensured that the SR was a predominantly passenger-orientated railway.

Use during the two World Wars[edit]

Newhaven fort

Newhaven was designated as the principal port for the movement of men and materiel to the European continent during World War I, and was taken over by the military authorities and the ferries requisitioned for the duration of the war. Between 22 September 1916 and 2 December 1918, the port and town of Newhaven were designated a 'Special Military Area' under the 'Defence of the Realm Regulations', and the Harbour station was closed to the public.[14] The port and harbour facilities, rail sidings and warehousing were greatly enlarged at this time and electric lighting installed to allow for 24-hour operation. Some 17,000 crossings of the Channel took place and over six million tons of supplies were carried to the French coastal ports. Eleven of the ships were lost to enemy attacks from mines, submarines, aeroplanes or destroyers and about a hundred of the seamen, who had become well known to the local townspeople, were killed. Many survivors of the ships were brought back to the port.

During World War II, large numbers of Canadian troops were stationed at Newhaven, and the ill-fated Dieppe Raid in 1942 was largely launched from the harbour. As one of the few ports within the proposed landing area, Newhaven was targeted by the German invasion plans for Operation Sea Lion and additional guns and fortifications were added in 1940. In 1944, Newhaven was an important embarkation port for the D-Day landings. At any one time the port could handle four medium coasters, 3 LCT, 1 LCI and 1,800 troops per embarkation and 19 vessels per 24 hours.

1950s-1990s[edit]

The freight traffic of the port has always been supplemental to the passenger traffic, but was key in keeping the port operational post-World War II. Initially reliant on coal in the Victorian era, the port was redeveloped in 1938 by filling in basins and leaving a straight frontage along the River Ouse.

With post-WW2 freight traffic dropping, the council wished to improve the nearby A259 road which crossed by the railway on a narrow bridge, restricting traffic flow for both the road and rail. In 1968 the goods sidings access was removed from Newhaven Harbour railway station, resulting in the closure of the local coal yard and that traffic source.

In 1981, the old railway wharf began to be used for aggregates import and export and the production of concrete, until that ceased in 1996. Much of the derelict port facilities have since been used for scrap storage and processing, while redevelopment is debated between the owners and local residents.

Present[edit]

Transmanche Ferries ro-ro ship MS Dieppe, unloading at Newhaven having arrived from Dieppe, Seine-Maritime, France

Although there are some signs of the derelict facilities that serviced the train ferry operations, the port still sees a great deal of freight and passengers movement.[15]

Passenger ferries[edit]

International ferries run to the French port of Dieppe, operated by LD Lines.[1] Currently there are two sailings per day, one in the morning and one in the evening, using the 18,654 GT ro-ro MS Seven Sisters. Rail passengers wishing to connect with the ferries are advised nationally to travel to Newhaven Town, and then use the free bus service; this has resulted in a dramatic fall in passenger services at Newhaven Harbour, leading to questions re its future.

P&O Stena Line operated the Dieppe route until 1998, after which Hoverspeed operated the route until 2004. Because the French government did not want the route to be lost, they started a new subsidised company named Transmanche Ferries in April 2001. After five years of successful service and the arrival of two newbuild ships, the government decided to tender the line in a paid-for concession. One of five companies invited to tender for the operation of the service, LD Lines was awarded the contract on 21 December 2006, receiving an annual subsidy of up to €14.6 million. LD Lines commenced sailings on the route on 1 May 2007. In addition to three round trips between Dieppe and Newhaven, LD Lines started a single round trip per day between Le Havre and Newhaven during high season using the MS Seven Sisters. However in August 2008 they announced that this service would not be continued.

Industrial operations[edit]

In 2011, Sussex Yachts Ltd initiated a scheme to regenerate the East Quay with their yacht refit business, opening Newhaven Boatyard the largest marine refit facility in the South East. The project expanded into commercial vessel maintenance and refit in 2012.[16]

The port is the proposed main landside site for E.ON's development of the offshore Rampion Wind Farm.[17]

Lifeboat[edit]

The current Newhaven lifeboat, RNLB David and Elizabeth Acland a Severn class lifeboat, on station at Newhaven

The Newhaven Lifeboat, the first of which was commissioned in 1803, is among the oldest in Britain, and was established some 20 years before the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The town established the rescue lifeboat in response to the wreck of HMS Brazen in January 1800 when only one man of her crew of some 105 men could be saved.[18] The town used a combination of funds raised locally and contributed by Lloyd's of London to purchase a lifeboat built to Henry Greathead's "Original" design. Newhaven also has one of the Watch stations of the National Coastwatch Institution.[19] The current boat, RNLB David and Elizabeth Acland, is a Severn class lifeboat named after David Acland DL, who was a member of the RNLI's Committee of Management for 34 years and its Chairman from 1996 to 2000.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Newhaven ferries
  2. ^ Set of photographs of Newhaven Harbour
  3. ^ a b c d "Federick Dale Banister". GracesGuide.co.uk. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "History of Newhaven". Newhaven Town Council. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  5. ^ Pratt, Edwin (1921). British railways and the Great War. Selwyn & Blount.  p.1032-3.
  6. ^ The Times of 6 March 1848
  7. ^ Pratt, Edwin (1921). British railways and the Great War. Selwyn & Blount.  p.1032-3.
  8. ^ a b Measom, George S. (1863). The official illustrated guide to the Brighton and south coast railways and all their branches. London: Collins. OCLC 55653470
  9. ^ 25 & 26 Vic. cap.78 30 June 1862,
  10. ^ Acworth (1888), p.101.
  11. ^ Jordan, S (1998). Ferry Services of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway. Usk: The Oakwood Press. ISBN 0-85361-521-7. .
  12. ^ Official Guide to the London Brighton and South Coast Railway, (1912) 260-2.
  13. ^ The Official Guide to the London Brighton and South Coast Railway. Cassell. 1912. pp. 260–2. .
  14. ^ Pratt, British railways and the Great War, p.1033.
  15. ^ Set of photographs of Newhaven Harbour
  16. ^ Sussex Yachts Ltd
  17. ^ "Newhaven Port reveals how the Rampion wind farm will help secure its future". Sussex Express. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  18. ^ "Newhaven Lifeboat". Newhaven Lifeboat. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  19. ^ Newhaven NCI
  20. ^ "Current boat". Newhaven Lifeboat. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 

External links[edit]