Sea Wall Build 1947

Sea Wall Build 1947

We love to see how things around us evolved – this page is about the Sea Wall Build 1947. The sea defences we see today were built in phases, over many years. Take a look!

Sea Wall Build Over the Years

Here on the north west coast of Britain, there’s a ‘hold the line’ strategy for the sea defences. It means there’s a long history of building man-made revetments and seawalls, to stop the sea from encroaching onto the land.

Look back through local history and you’ll see that most of the sea defences were built or strengthened in response to flood events. There were serious floods along this coast in 1927, 1953 and 1977.

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Take a look at the most recent phase of sea defence works here in Cleveleys, back in 2007.

Cleveleys Sea Wall Build 1947

In 1947, the outer seawall collapsed near The Venue. Look at these fascinating photos of the damage and then the wall being rebuilt.

Surveying the damage of a collapsed sea wall at Cleveleys back in 1947
Surveying the damage of a collapsed sea wall at Cleveleys back in 1947

We asked you what the third building is in the next photo. We thought it might be the former Rossall Hospital which once stood on the corner of Westway. Looking again, we wonder if it’s the Durban Hotel, and the shadowy buildings in the back of the shot are actually Rossall School/Hospital?

The two houses in the foreground are just before you get to Thornton Gate, The Venue would be to your right.
The two houses in the foreground are just before you get to Thornton Gate, The Venue would be to your right.

Building Cleveleys Sea Wall

These photos of Cleveleys seawall build 1947 date back to a time long before health and safety! These are the days when men were construction workers in waistcoats and flat caps. PPE (personal protection equipment) hadn’t been invented, and it’s well before the days of the current regulations.

However, it’s interesting to see that the construction methods they used are much the same as the ones that are used today. Apart from the fact that the machinery and equipment today is much improved, it’s the same principle that’s used.

In this photo they’ve formed the area that they’re going to fill with concrete, using wooden planks (bottom right corner). Three men are making the fill in a concrete mixer. Today, the area would be formed with shuttering and the concrete delivered to site ready made in a wagon.

The bullnose headland was across from The Venue, roughly where the cafe area is now.
The bullnose headland was across from The Venue, roughly where the cafe area is now.

You can’t quite tell what these workmen are doing in the next photo. The most striking thing is what they’re wearing. Imagine todays builders turning up to a construction site in a shirt and trousers, wearing a flat cap! You can just see the top of The Venue in the photo.

Building Cleveleys sea wall in 1947
Building Cleveleys sea wall in 1947

Piles and Toes

It’s not a biology lesson, rather the names for two parts of the construction of the sea wall!

In the next photo of Cleveleys sea wall build 1947, a steel pile hangs off the crane. The piles are delivered to site as long lengths of metal, each one is individually knocked vertically deep into the beach. Today, piles are literally pushed into the ground by a vibrating piling rig, like a knife into butter, until they hit rock. In 1947 they’d be knocked in with a drop-hammer, hung from the end of the crane.

Putting the piles in to form the edge of the sea wall
Putting the piles in to form the edge of the sea wall

Each individual pile is shaped so they form an interlocking honeycomb line, which you can see below. This is the ‘toe’ of the sea wall, or the seaward edge of it. The line of piles provides a solid foundation which does two things. It carries the weight of the sea wall and stops it from sliding onto the beach. It also provides a strong leading front edge which is resistant to erosion from the sea.

The 'toe' of the sea wall, formed with individual steel piles
The ‘toe’ of the sea wall, formed with individual steel piles

We’re not quite sure exactly what they’re doing in this next photo. Are they building a wooden groyne? Or are they lining up the sheet piles before they’re hammered into place. What do you think?

Building one of the wooden groynes
Building one of the wooden groynes

This is a mystery photo, can you identify it? We can’t quite work out where this bit was.

Building Cleveleys sea wall in 1947

Anything to add?

Do you know anything about the construction of the sea defences in Cleveleys in 1947? If you do, please get in touch and we’ll add your information/photos to this article. Full credit will be given.

Just email jane@theRabbitPatch.co.uk

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