The Dry Dock was built in 1889 and then extended in 1904.
Picture of the Dry Dock taken from a postcard published by David Craze in his Portrait of Wivenhoe in Old Picture Postcards, published in 1998.
The gantry was 180 feet long and 45 feet high. It was constructed of 13 steel reinforced concrete pillars and was used to lower steel plates onto the sides of vessels in the dock. It was the only dry dock between Lowestoft and London, and reputedly, after its extension in 1904, the largest one on the east coast of England.
When the shipyard ceased in the early 1960s, and J. Gliksten & Son Ltd, the London timber merchants, acquired the yard for importing timber, the gantry was demolished.
Explosives expert Mr John Narborough of Dersingham arranged for gelignite to be placed around the 13 pillars, and after the concrete had been chipped away and the steel reinforcing rods cut through, the structure came crashing down on 8th September, 1966.
Much of it fell into the dry dock, on top of the remains of the Cap Pilar, a 295 ton three-masted schooner built around 1900 and laid up at Wivenhoe until being brought into the dry dock to be demolished, also using explosives.
The dry dock was eventually completely filled in by Glikstens, and concreted over, when they strengthened the river bank to take two vessels to bring timber to Wivenhoe.
Peter Hill (from some information supplied by Bill Ellis)
Below: The Dry Dock as it became in 2001, a ‘feature’ in the development called old Wivenhoe Quay, built on the site of the old shipyard.