It has been almost a year since I last ventured out with the camera, life just seems to get in the way these days, what with changing jobs, buying my first house and what not, there were just never enough days in the weekend to get out.
With everything sorted in life now and the long bank holiday weekend approaching, I got in contact with my longtime exploring partner to see if he had any plans for the weekend, he checked his diary and found that there were no real plans on his side, but it was very much weather dependent as there were rumours that another boat load of snow was due to arrive.
We narrowed down the four day weekend down to what appeared to be the best day weather wise and made plans to visit here, the former Lord Line shipping buildings, which I have seen many a photo of but have never got round to seeing it in person, so this was the designated target for the day.
I arrived at the site and awaited my guide for the day (as my exploring partner had been here twice already), I parked across from the Chinese restaurant which oddly seemed to also make Thai, Italian and Japanese food as well (by all accounts on Trip Adviser, all very badly and very overpriced), however bad they appear to be, they were seeing regular custom coming and going and I was starting to wonder if it would impact getting into the site, I needn’t have worried really as this place seems to be a popular place for families, dog walkers and drone flyers.
Now, this place is certainly no epic, but that was not what I was after, I was looking for something simple to get into and with enough to get the photography juices flowing again and gladly this place did both!
St. Andrew’s Dock was originally designed for the coal trade but by the time it opened in 1883 it was earmarked solely for the use of the fishing industry which, with the development of steam powered trawlers and of the railway network, was undergoing a period of rapid expansion. The dock extension was opened in 1897. By the 1930s road transport was challenging rail and the last fish train ran in 1965. The last boom period in the industry was in the early 1970s, but by this time the fish market buildings on the north side of the dock were in need of repair. With the expansion of the freezer trawler fleet it was decided to move the fish docks to new buildings at Albert Dock in 1975 and St. Andrew’s Dock was closed. This move unfortunately coincided with the declaration by Iceland of a 200 mile limit, the outbreak of the last Cod War, and a decline in the industry from which it has never recovered.
During the 1980s several factors led to changes in the use of land in the St. Andrews Dock and Dock extension areas, such as containerisation and the concentration of port activities in King George and Queen Elizabeth Docks to the east, the construction of Clive Sullivan Way as the major road into the city from the west and the sudden prominence that this gave to the western docks area, and the trend with increased car ownership towards out of town shopping and leisure uses previously concentrated in the City Centre. Filling of the dock itself began in the late 1980s.